Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Bibliometrics and Open Access

Does Open Access-publishing have any effect in bibliometric analysis?

Through the conception that the number of citations is a measure of the impact and importance within the specific scientific field where the article is published scholars have, since the late 1990s, tried to explore if publishing Open Access, instead of publishing in traditional journals, increases the number of citations. Several studies come to that conclusion.

A common critique against studies of citation patterns is that the analysis can not describe the present, that is because you have to deal with a certain time span before any analysis can be carried out. Due to the current publication cycle it requires quite a long time span in order to perform these analysis, and as time goes by much has happened with how science is communicated (Bessemer 2006, Turk 2007).

Studies that come to the conclusions that publishing Open Access increases the amount of citations have been criticized for methodological reasons (see Craig et al 2007). But the methods are improving and refined as the scientific field gets more mature. In February (2008) Scopus published a list of the most cited articles during the period 2004-2008. The list contains 20 articles and all are Open Access (

Until recently the only source for bibliometric analysis was Web of Science-data but today Scopus (and soon Google Scholar) can be used as an important data provider in bibliometric analysis. This development will lead to more comprehensive bibliometric analysis of the impact of science in the future (Meho & Yang 2007). Today about 15% of all research output is available through Open Access-solutions (journals and open archives). Several scholars points out that; as long as a relative low amount of the scientific publication is available Open Access the citation advantage of publishing Open Access will continue 

Open Access and new indicators?

New interesting ways of evaluating the impact of the scientific output evolves as the Open Access initiatives are becoming more common. Brody, Harnad och Carr ask themselves if it is possible to predict the future citations of an article by studying the download statistics of a specific article. They are searching for the correlation between use/download and later citations. By download and citation analysis of the Open archive arXiv they show that such a correlation exists. This means that new bibliometric indicators could be on its way, indicators that could take the material from the Open archives in to account. A large amount of data can be collected from the log files of today’s Open archives and if it will be possible to make use of this statistics it would be useful for evaluating science in the future bibliometric analysis.

User statistics from Epsilon, SLU's system for electronic publishing, shows that the use of electronic Open Access-resources increases every year. If you want to know more about the user statistics of Epsilon you can read more about it here.

Bessemer, H. (2006), “Gathering evidence about the effectiveness of ‘open access’ publishing policies in agriculture”, Available: (080319):“open-access”-publishing-policies-in-agriculture/ gathering-evidence-about-the-effectiveness-of-percentE2percent80percent9Copenaccesspercent E2percent80percent9D-publishing-policies-in-agriculture/.

Brody, T. Harnad, S. & Carr, L. (2006) “Earlier Web usage statistics as predictors of later citation impact”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 57:8, s.1060 – 1072.

Craig, I. D. et al. “Do open access articles have greater citation impact? A critical review of the literature”, Journal of Informetrics, Vol. 1:3, s. 239-248.

Meho, L. I. & Yang, K (2007) “Impact of data sources on citation counts and rankings of LIS faculty: Web of science versus scopus and google scholar”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 58:13, s. 2105 – 2125.

Kousha, K. & Abdoli, M. (2010). The citation impact of Open Access agricultural research: A comparison between OA and non-OA publications. Online Information Review 34(5), 772-785.

Turk, N. (2008) “Citation impact of Open Access journals”, New Library World, 
Vol. 109:1/2, s. 65 – 74



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