Contrasting the open access dissemination of COVID-19 and SDG research | bioRxiv

Abstract:  This paper examines the extent to which research has been published open access in response to two global threats: COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including climate change. We compare the accessibility of COVID-19 content versus SDG literature using the Dimensions database between 2000 and 2021, classifying each publication as gold open access, green, bronze, hybrid, or closed. We found that 79.9% of COVID-19 research papers published between January 2020 and December 2021 was open access, with 39.0% published with gold open access licenses. In contrast, just 55.7% of SDG papers were open access in the same time period, with only 36.0% published with gold open access licenses. Papers related to the climate emergency overall had the second-lowest level of open access at just 55.5%. Papers published by the largest for-profit publishers that committed to both the SDG Publishers Compact and climate actions were not predominantly published open access. The paper highlights the need for continued efforts to promote open access publishing to facilitate scientific research and technological development to address global challenges.


Fully Open Access Journals – Size Does Matter

“Most publishers need to ensure that their income at least covers their costs, whether they are mission based or profit driven. Assuming constant prices, for open access publishing, income is driven primarily by the number of papers published. For subscription publishing, it’s driven primarily by the numbers of journals published. Costs scale based on numbers of papers for both. It would then be logical to assume that publishers focus increasingly on article volumes over numbers of journals as they publish more open access. But what do the data tell us?…

OA Only publishers publish more articles per journal….OA Only publishers’ journals contain 4 to 5 times as many papers as journals from Mixed Model publishers….

It appears that publisher type, rather than journal type, is a better predictor of journal size. Whatever the journal’s economics – and whether the organization is for profit or not – it seems that Mixed Model publishers continue to publish fully OA journals of similar sizes to their other journal types. OA Only publishers have historically published slightly larger journals, but the size of their journals has really taken off over the last decade.

It appears that Mixed Model publishers continue apply their tried and trusted subscription thinking to their fully OA journals. This means that they need to create more and more journals to keep up with demand, with all the overhead that implies. Meanwhile, the new kids on the block have no such qualms. Why publish more journals when you can simply publish more stuff?”

Opening the Future at CEU Press: an update on progress

“A brief look at our progress so far, since launching our OA funding programme in 2021

Central European University (CEU) Press, in partnership with the COPIM project, are proud to share the first insights into the global reach of open access (OA) titles funded by their Opening the Future (OtF) initiative. This collective subscription model gives libraries access to a selection of the Press’ backlist and uses the membership fees to publish new OA titles to increase readership. A forthcoming report, based on Project MUSE usage data, looks in detail at the usage of these OA books – below we outline a few highlights from the report.

WHAT did we achieve so far?

The model, launched in 2021, has grown its membership continuously and we already have the funding for more than 35 OA titles over the next few years.

HOW did OA book usage grow?

Looking at usage data on the Project MUSE platform between December 2021 and December 2022, we compared the ten OtF-funded OA books to ten similar closed titles. Similar titles were chosen on the basis of close publication dates and subject scope.

Project MUSE host the gated backlist packages as well as the new frontlist OA titles and we can see that the readership of our books has risen substantially with the introduction of OA, which is no surprise. Since 2021 our OA books funded by Opening the Future have been downloaded 36 times more frequently than similar gated titles. 

In fact, for the same time period, the overall download numbers for all CEU Press books on Project MUSE also show not only significant increase in usage across all titles, but more specifically a strong growth in the usage of OA books….”

Ferwerda et. al. (2023) Open Access to Books – the Perspective of a Non-profit Infrastructure Provider | The Journal of Electronic Publishing

Ferwerda, E. & Snijder, R. & Stern, N., (2023) “Open Access to Books – the Perspective of a Non-profit Infrastructure Provider”, The Journal of Electronic Publishing 26(1). doi:


This article describes the open access (OA) book platforms OAPEN Library and Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), based on 1.the development and activities of OAPEN in the first ten years; 2. the underlying technical approach behind the platforms; 3. the current role of OAPEN and DOAB and future outlook.

OAPEN started out as a project funded by the European Commission, and become a legal non-profit Dutch entity in 2011. It hosts, disseminates and preserves open access books. OA book publishing has been explored in several pilot projects. Its current collection contains over 24,000 documents. DOAB launched in 2012, inspired and supported by DOAJ. It became a legal non-profit Dutch entity in 2019, owned by the OAPEN Foundationand OpenEdition. It’s current collection contains close to 60,000 titles.

The data model of both platforms  is optimised for a multilingual collection and supports funding information. Ingesting books has been optimised to support a wide array of publishers and the dissemination of books takes into account search engines; libraries and aggregators and other organisations. The usage has grown in the last years, to 1 million downloads per month.

The future developments entail increased support of research funders with the establishment of a FunderForum and multi-year research into policy development. DOAB will invest more in bibliodiversity, by adding more emphasis on African and Asian countries. Also,DOAB will roll out its Peer Review Information Service for Monographs (PRISM).

OAPEN and DOAB will continue to work on developing reliable infrastructures, policy development and quality assurance around open access books.


SAOA Surpasses 1 Million Pages of Open Access Content | CRL

“The South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) achieved a major milestone last month, surpassing one million pages in its online collection of free, open access digital content. 

For the past several years, members of the South Asia Open Archives initiative have been working collaboratively to build a robust collection of primary sources for researching, teaching, and learning about South Asia. Following its public launch in October 2019(link is external), SAOA has added hundreds of thousands of pages of newly digitized material from across the region. Now totaling over one-million pages of open-access primary source material, SAOA’s collection includes more than thirty-thousand items in twenty-seven different languages….”

Open access and international co-authorship: a longitudinal study of the United Arab Emirates research output | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press

Abstract:  This study investigates the interplay between open access (OA), co-authorship, and international research collaboration. While previous research has dealt with these factors separately, there is a knowledge gap in how these interact within a single dataset. The data includes all Scopus-indexed journal articles published over 11 years (2009–2019) where at least one of the authors has an affiliation to a United Arab Emirates (UAE) institution (30 400 articles in total). For assessment of OA status of articles, the study utilized Unpaywall data for articles with a digital object identifier, and manual web searches for articles without. There was consistently strong growth in publication volume counts as well as shares of OA articles across the years. The analysis provides statistically significant results supporting a positive relationship between a higher number of co-authors, in particular international, and OA status of articles. Further research is needed to investigate potentially explaining factors for the relationship between co-authorship and increased OA rate such as e.g., implementation of national science policy initiatives, varying availability of funding for OA publishing in different countries, patterns in adoption of various OA types in different co-authorship constellations, and potentially unique discipline-specific patterns as they relate to co-authorship and OA rate.


Fifteen years of Open Data Allows Advancements in Landsat Use and Research | U.S. Geological Survey

“On this day in 2008, the USGS announced their plan to ‘open’ the USGS EROS Landsat archives, making all Landsat data available to download at no charge, to all users worldwide. Fifteen years later, in the “Year of Open Science”, Landsat continues to lead how Earth Observation data is utilized, and how Landsat data is used to support science and research efforts. …

The graph below displays number of Landsat-related citations (orange line) and the cost per scene (blue line) from 1970 to 2022. As expected, citations increased greatly after the data became freely available starting in December 2008….”

Open everything, everywhere, all at once

“This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring the evolving Open landscape, library roles and OCLC’s place within it. This post provides a general overview of Open, sign-posting important categories as they relate to libraries and exploring motivations that draw libraries – and other stakeholders – into this ecosystem. Subsequent posts will describe OCLC’s engagement in the Open landscape and examine our distinctive position as a member-driven infrastructure partner.”


French Open Science Monitor 2022 Results

“For the fourth consecutive year, the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research records an increase in the sharing ratio of French research publications. As of December 2022, 67% of the 160,000 scientific publications published in France in 2021 are open. It shows an evolution of researchers’ publication practices and demonstrates the impact of public policies promoting open science.”

How covid-19 bolstered an already perverse publishing system | The BMJ

“This was the first global pandemic that the scientific publishing industry had ever faced—while journals existed, no organised industry did when the 1918 flu pandemic occurred—and the first in a new digital age of internet communication and publishing. An estimated 1.5 million articles were added to the global literature in 2020—the largest single year increase in history, says Vincent Larivière, who studies bibliometrics at the University of Montreal, Canada. This peaked in April 2020, when many countries were deep into lockdown or applying heavy restrictions.

Some saw it as an opportunity. There were promises of more open science and publishing: a number of journals and research institutions agreed to a data sharing pledge issued by the funder the Wellcome Trust on 31 January 2020 that intended to “ensure that research findings and data relevant to this outbreak are shared rapidly and openly to inform the public health response and help save lives.”2 But it also stoked an already, some say, twisted industry—one that thrives on competitiveness—to publish the first data or to have the greatest visibility and impact. This changed the ways that papers were produced and vetted, for good and bad….

Medical journals halved their turnaround times in the first half of 2020.5 Despite the unknown nature of the virus and its science, editors took far less rather than more time over decisions, a February 2023 analysis of 339?000 papers has found.6

Naomi Lee, senior executive editor for research at the Lancet during the pandemic, recalls how the usually rare practice of “fast tracking” select papers was expanded so that “practically everyone and everything was accelerated with the goal of disseminating critical knowledge.” The PubMed database shows that the five most cited articles in the Lancet since 2020—most reporting early coronavirus data—were accepted within 14 days and published within 22 days of receipt.

Alarms were raised early on about the mix of sheer volume and unprecedented speed….

Proponents of open science had breathlessly heralded a revolution.10 medRxiv, a BMJ affiliated preprint server, saw a 10-fold rise in submissions within two months of the first reported covid case. But this enthusiasm receded, and submissions at medRxiv and others stabilised by mid-2020.

Analysis shows that just 5% of all peer reviewed journal articles about covid-19 published in 2020 started out as preprints.11 And, while some pivotal trials such as Recovery and Solidarity were first reported as open access preprints, none of the phase 3 covid vaccine trials supported by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, or Pfizer was, and only the Oxford-AstraZeneca phase 3 trial report was published with a gold open access licence. A 2022 evaluation by Wellcome of the data sharing commitment it initiated found that fewer than half of signatories’ covid papers contained information about where and how to access available data,12 raising concern about a lack of transparency, particularly in clinical trials.

Progress towards more open research has also disappointed. While the leading publishers agreed to make their covid content open and reusable,2 Wellcome’s assessment found that just 46% of signatories’ covid papers were genuinely open access, where re-use is permitted and authors retain copyright.12

Instead, most journals retained commercial rights and simply took down a paywall (“bronze” open access15), says Larivière. He adds that, while major publishers including Elsevier, Springer Nature, and Wiley continue to make covid content freely available, only about half of papers on the climate crisis are similarly available….”

The French Open Science Monitor 2022: 67% of publications in open access and new indicators for research data and codes and software

The Ministry of Higher Education and Research publishes the results of the French Open Science Monitor for 2022. The rate of French scientific publications in open access has increased for the fourth consecutive year. Thanks to an innovative methodology, the Monitor has been enriched with new indicators on the opening of doctoral theses, as well as research data, codes and software associated with publications.

The Rapid Growth of Mega-Journals: Threats and Opportunities | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Mega-journals, those that publish large numbers of articles per year,1 are growing rapidly across science and especially in biomedicine. Although 11 Scopus-indexed journals published more than 2000 biomedical full papers (articles or reviews) in 2015 and accounted for 6% of that year’s literature, in 2022 there were 55 journals publishing more than 2000 full articles, totaling more than 300?000 articles (almost a quarter of the biomedical literature that year). In 2015, 2 biomedical research journals (PLoS One and Scientific Reports) published more than 3500 full articles. In 2022, there were 26 such prolific journals (Table). The accelerating growth of mega-journals creates both threats and opportunities for biomedical science….”


Current Status of Open Access Journals in India: A Bird’s Eye View: The Serials Librarian: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  The present study aims to determine the current status of open access journals published in India in terms of numbers, yearly growth, funding organizations, major subject area, indexing, and abstracting status, publication charges, and open access licensing models of such journals. The study used the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) as the source database and retrieved the bibliographic records of selected 306 Open Access (OA) journals published in India from 2003 to May 20, 2021. Further, the study referred to other web sources such as Web of Science, and Scopus to examine the indexing status of 306 open access journals and Journal Citation Report (JCR) database was referred to know the impact factor (IF) status of these journals. As per DOAJ database records, India ranks 16th as an OA journal publishing country across the globe. The yearly growth of open access journals in India was found to be 22.36%. Among these 306 open access journals, about 44.11% of journals are indexed in Scopus, 34.96% of journals are indexed in Web of Science, and 7.18% of journals with impact factor (IF) are indexed in JCR. Almost 74% of open access journals published in India do not charge Article Processing Charges (APC). The quality and quantity of OA journals published in India will surely attract authors, researchers, and academicians to rethink open access journals and their extensive use will boost the impact of research in India.