The bibliometrics of OA

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Mon Aug 27 08:04:15 EDT 2012

On 2012-08-27, David Wojick wrote on Sigmetrics:

> I quite agree that there are important metric issues
> with OA, beginning with how many articles are being
> published, or archieved, and where? Is this simple
> information available anywhere? I cannot find it.
> My original objection was to Arun's advocacy of OA,
> which I do not share in the case of mandatory OA.
> Do we want to debate policy here, as opposed to metrics?

Why do we have to keep hearing David Wojick's opinions 
if he does not believe they should be debated on the 
sigmetrics list? (I am accordingly branching it to GOAL, 
where they certainly can be debated.)

Now some clarifications:

Isidro F. Aguillo wrote:

> In my humble opinion this is a true Sigmetrics issue
> as bibliometrics (publishing in journals with a high
> impact factor) is one of the main reasons (perhaps
> the only reason) why the authors are signing contracts
> transferring their rights to the publishers, as usually
> they perceive that OA alternative journals have not
> the same value for evaluation purposes (my personal
> experience with authors from different countries). In
> my personal view OA status should be considered
> as an important indicator when building journal rankings. 

This is a little scrambled. Isidoro. 

OA means free online access. 

There are two ways to provide OA: Publish in an OA
journal (Gold OA) or publish in any journal and 
self-archive your final draft (Green OA). 

Green OA obviously has the same value for evaluation 
purposes as non-OA, since it is the same articles.

Inasmuch as journal rankings are based on quality or 
citation counts: quality is unaffected by Green OA; and 
citation (and download) counts are increased by Green 
OA (just as they are decreased by high journal prices).

As to Gold OA: Surely, Isidoro, you do not mean (as I'm 
sure you don't) that in ranking journals (or research or 
researchers) for either quality or citation counts, the 
journal's business-model should be given some weight, 
rather than just its quality or citation count? 

Now as to David Wojick, who wrote:

>> Stevan, you seem to have missed the word mandatory
>> in my 7 word sentence.

David's 7 word sentence was: 

>> I regard mandatory green OA as theft.

to which my  reply had been: 

"And a lot of authors and librarians consider journal 
subscription prices to be extortion."

Regarding mandates, I suppose David has in mind 
something along the lines of the following mind-numbing 
distinction from Elsevier's latest policy revision (I paraphrase 
to keep the double-talk to a minimum):

"Authors retain the right to provide Green OA if they may, 
but they not if they must."

In other words, it's not theft for authors to exercise their 
right because they feel like it, but it's "theft" if they exercise 
their right if their employers and/or funders require them 
to exercise it.

It would be an awkward day indeed, for publishers, if, in 
ascertaining that the text that authors submit for publication 
is  indeed their own to submit, and not stolen, the publisher's 
policy were:

 "We will publish your work if you submitted it because 
you felt like it, but it's theft if you submit it because your 
employers and/or funders require it."

In other words, the "publisher or perish" mandate is the 
publisher's best friend. Best not to bite the hand that feeds
 you, when the mandate is extended to "self-archive to flourish."

As to David's query about how many articles are being 
published, or archived, and where: There has been a good 
deal posted and published about this. Start with this figure 
about the UK data from a recent Nature editorial:

And then read some of the references cited here:

Stevan Harnad

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