I’m asking you.

Just talked to a job candidate, who must remain nameless for now, whose work is involved in looking into who publishes in Open Access journals and who doesn’t and why? This got me to thinking of the various factors that academics weigh when deciding where to publish an article (also part of his work) and what kinds of things can be done to influence those choices.

Ideas?

8 Responses to “Why do people publish in Open Access journals?”
  1. John Weis says:

    People who publish in OA may be trying to build a reputation, much like how programmers will establish their cred through contributions to open source projects. I’ve read that OA articles are cited more often, though that doesn’t necessarily indicate the research impact that such articles have. Also, at least in one case (http://informationr.net/ir/11-3/paper255.html), the peer review process for OA journals is faster than in the closed system. The monetary rewards aren’t as great, but establishing a presence in academia through OA has other perks.

  2. jkd says:

    This is just a hunch, but I’d be surprised if there weren’t a pretty strong correlation with age – that is, younger academics, who do most/all of their research online, tend to read and cite and be aware of primarily those journals that are available online/freely, and thus also target those journals for publication. Maybe.

  3. Simon Spero says:

    I don’t know if this says much, but for the past few weeks the lead story in the science section of The Economist has been based on articles published in PLoS; the SSRI meta-analysis has been all over the headlines.

    OA gets noticed.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s really simple, at least for me: the motivation is purely mercenary. Several studies (Lawrence 2001; Antelman 2004; Eysenbach 2006; and there are others) have shown that articles available in OA venues get cited more. So being pre-tenure myself, since the coin of the realm is reputation, I would publish *only* in OA venues if I could. The only reason I don’t do that is that generally OA journals don’t have impact factors as high as non-OA journals.

  5. PomeRantz says:

    It’s really simple, at least for me: the motivation is purely mercenary. Several studies (Lawrence 2001; Antelman 2004; Eysenbach 2006; and there are others) have shown that articles available in OA venues get cited more. So being pre-tenure myself, since the coin of the realm is reputation, I would publish *only* in OA venues if I could. The only reason I don’t do that is that generally OA journals don’t have impact factors as high as non-OA journals.

  6. bill says:

    that doesn’t necessarily indicate the research impact that such articles have.

    I don’t understand this — if citations don’t indicate research impact, what other metric do we have? The only working proxy for impact that I know of is citation analysis. I’d love to hear of others.

  7. Some of us do it simple because we believe it is the right thing to do. If you have ever worked in a developing country you know what a life-line open access journals are. I remember that as late as 2001, when over a million Kenyans were estimated to be infected with HIV, not a single library in the country fronted up the 400-odd dollars a year for a subscription to AIDS, the lead journal in the HIV field. That includes the library of the University of Nairobi medical school. I paid up myself and resented every penny, but was pretty pleased when I saw how widely my copies were circulated, photocopied, scanned.

    The point about press access is also critically important. Impact factor is all well and good, but if you’re in public health at any rate, you judge your impact by the effect you have on policy, not on your academic standing. One article in the Economist will do more to move a finance minister to fund generic drugs than a dozen articles in the Lancet or the NEJM.

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