Article on SciDevNet called “Open Access: not just about citations“. It follows discussion on some recently published studies: The Study of Open Access Publishing (SOAP) and a study by Philip Davis of Cornell University “Open access, readership, citations: a randomized controlled trial of scientific journal publishing“.
The discussions have surrounded the intepretation, by some, that the results of this research question the citation advantage offered by OA publishing. This advantage is:
“generally perceived as a major benefit of OA publishing — the ‘OA citation advantage'”
The item talks about how whilst there has been widespread support for OA, there has not been not widespread practice of OA. Money was cited as the first disincentive blocking OA uptake, followed by the preference for “established journals with high citation rates.” This second argument goes back to the long running discussion on how institutes and/or individual scientists are evaluated.
We agree wholeheartedly with the SciDevNet article, when it goes on to discuss the full value of OA journals even if one puts aside the citation aspect for a moment:
“This lies not merely in how they benefit science specialists, but also in making scientific research widely available to those who can neither afford high subscription rates for specialist journals, nor get access to scientific libraries — but whose work or personal interest depend on having access to the global pool of scientific knowledge…
… And as Chan et al. point out [ref Chan article], standards for assessing journal quality and relevance are generally based on “Northern” values that often ignore development needs and marginalise local scholarship”
But what about downloads? According to the Physics Today blog, “Open access boosts downloads but not citations“, downloads are boosted by OA. Stevan Harnard left a comment on both posts saying “the evidence of the open-access download advantage is growing” and linking to some research to illustrate.