Yet Another "OA" Study Comparing Apples and Fruit?

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jan 3 09:26:18 EST 2014

On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 2:42 AM, Bosman, J.M. <j.bosman at> wrote:

> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> I can confirm this. Green OA disregarded. But the finding that libre
> journals provide better info on their retractions stands.

Disregarded indeed, but in a rather roundabout way:

*Addendum: *Someone kindly sent me a copy of the full text, so I now see
that Green OA was taken into account in this study after all, although the
author persists in describing the non-differences found as pertaining to OA
publishing vs. non-OA publishing, whereas they do not: They pertain to *whether
or not the article is OA* -- and it can be OA whether it is published in a
Gold OA journal or in a non-OA journal. The author writes:

*"the increasingly prominent body of open access literature is as reliable
(and maybe more so) and of the same quality as the literature published
under the model that was the gold standard for scholarly communications in
the previous century"*

This continues to be a comparison of *apples versus fruit*, since at least
as much of the literature that is open access today is "published under the
gold standard for scholarly communications in the previous century" --
namely, the subscription-access (i.e., non-OA) publishing model (here
confusingly called the "gold standard" publishing model, which is of course
the opposite of the Gold OA publishing model) -- as is published under the
Gold OA publishing model.

Open access is a property of the *article*, not necessarily of the *journal*.
Hence OA articles are not necessarily being published under a different
publishing model.

The study compared biomedical articles that were Gratis OA (free online),
Libre OA (free online plus re-use rights) and non-OA, based on the PubMed
Central (Libre OA), PubMed (Gratis OA and non-OA), Google Scholar (Gratis
OA and non-OA) and Web of Science (journal impact factor and article
citation rates) databases, for the proportion of retracted articles (under
1%) and for their post-retraction citation rate drops.

The outcome was mostly the finding of no differences. The only exception
was a higher average impact factor for the journals in which Gratis OA
articles were published compared to the (mostly Gold) journals in which
Libre OA articles were published (not surprising, since most high impact
journals are still non-OA journals today). No difference at all between the
journals in which the Gratis Green OA articles were published and non-OA
journals (not surprising, since this was a comparison of apples with fruit).

*Stevan Harnad*

> Jeroen Bosman
> *From:* ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [mailto:
> SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] *On Behalf Of *Stevan Harnad
> *Sent:* vrijdag 3 januari 2014 3:04
> *Subject:* [SIGMETRICS] Yet Another "OA" Study Comparing Apples and Fruit?
> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> Peterson, G. M. (2013). Characteristics of retracted open access
> biomedical literature: A bibliographic analysis. *Journal of the American
> Society for Information Science and Technology*, 64(12), 2428-2436.
> *Abstract*: *The author analyzes retracted biomedical literature to
> determine if open access and fee-for-access works differ in terms of the
> practice and effectiveness of retraction. Citation and content analysis
> were applied to articles grouped by accessibility (libre, gratis, and fee
> for access) for various bibliometric attributes. Open access literature
> does not differ from fee-for-access literature in terms of impact factor,
> detection of error, or change in postretraction citation rates. Literature
> found in the PubMed Central Open Access subset provides detailed
> information about the nature of the anomaly more often than less accessible
> works. Open access literature appears to be of similar reliability and
> integrity as the population of biomedical literature in general, with the
> added value of being more forthcoming about the nature of errors when they
> are identified.*
> I can't read the article because it wasn't OA -- but what was being
> compared here<>?
> I doubt it was OA vs non-OA articles. More likely it was articles in Gold
> OA journals vs articles in toll journals. But the articles in toll journals
> might have been Green OA<>.
> And comparing Gold OA journal articles with toll journal articles is not
> comparing OA with non-OA. (And if you compare OA articles with non-OA
> articles<>,
> you can't draw conclusions about journal impact factor, error detection
> rates or retraction rates.)
> *Stevan Harnad*
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