Dramatic Growth of Open Access: September 30, 2009

This issue of The Dramatic Growth of Open Access features a few key quotable numbers to illustrate the growth and current extent of open access: more than 4,000 fully open access, peer reviewed journals in DOAJ, growing by 2 titles per day; close to 1,500 open access repositories listed in OpenDOAR, adding a new repository every business day; over 30 million free publications through Scientific Commons, growing by more than 20 thousands items per day; more than 20% of the world’s medical literature is freely available 2 years after publication, and close to 10% is freely available immediately on publication; 1 more journal decides to submit all or most content to PMC every business day, and growth of open access journals in PMC is one new journal every other business day. The number of open access mandate policies is well over a hundred, and growing rapidly – but also likely understated. If you have a policy, please be sure to register with ROARMAP. This quarter saw some minor setbacks. Most notable (but still small) is a decrease in free content through Highwire Press.

Dramatic Growth quotables

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

  • Over 4,000 fully open access, peer reviewed scholarly journals
  • Adding 2 titles per day

OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories)

  • About 1,500 open access repositories worldwide
  • Adding 1 new repository every business day

Scientific Commons

  • 30 million scientific publications free online
  • Added 8 million publications in the last year
  • Growing by more than 20,000 publications per day


  • 20% of world’s medical literature freely available 2 years after publication
  • Close to 10% of world’s medical literature freely available immediately on publication
  • 1 new journal chooses to submit all or most content to PMC every business day
  • 1 more medical journal becomes fully open access in PMC every other business day

PLoS ONE may soon become the world’s largest scholarly journal. As reported this quarter on IJPE, based on Peter Binfield’s presentation at ELPUB 2009, PLoS ONE is already among the very largest of the world’s academic journals, and, if current trends continue, will become THE world’s largest journal sometime in 2010. PLoS ONE is one of the journals published by the high prestige, not-for-profit publisherPublic Library of Science.

Milestones this quarter

  • PubMedCentral internal researchers’ self-archiving rates now exceed 50% (for publications within past 3 years, and overall)

Thanks, PMC Staff! Also thanks for the neat “Free full text” tab, no doubt very handy for searchers, which also makes it much easier to collect data for the dramatic growth of open access.

Selected Details

Directory of Open Access Journals

  • 4,361 journals
  • Strong year (added 693 journals), slow quarter (109 titles). Note that additions to DOAJ are not the same as the total number of open access journals, but rather likely to reflect staffing / workflow issues. For example, this quarter covers summer months and the first OASPA conference, which Lund University, home of DOAJ, helped to host. Slow growth this quarterly is very likely to reflect such variables as vacation schedules and possibly staff secondments to help with the conference.
  • Strong growth in number of journals searchable at article level (32% annual increase, now 1,664 titles)
  • Strong growth in articles searchable at article level (59% increase, now at 315,407)


  • # journals actively participating in PMC 671
  • # journals in PMC with immediate free access 517
  • # journals in PMC with all articles open access 396

Open Access Mandate Policies (from ROARMAP)

  • Departmental 14
  • Funder 41
  • Institutional 43
  • Thesis 33
  • Total 131
  • Proposed Mandates 15

IF YOU HAVE AN OPEN ACCESS POLICY, please register with ROARMAP. The ROARMAP numbers are likely understated, for example many people have pointed out that the number of thesis deposit policies is likely much higher than what is reported in ROARMAP. Registering helps with the numbers, but more importantly, a link to your policy can be most helpful for others still developing their own policies.

Minor setbacks this quarter
PubMedCentral fully open access journals: despite strong annual growth, the number of fully OA journals participating in PMC dropped by 2 this quarter.
Highwire Free: the number of free articles has dropped since last year by over 4,000.
CARL Metadata Harvester: strong annual growth is offset by a loss of about 600 items this quarter (weeding project, perhaps?).

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access Dataverse (spreadsheets for download – thanks to Harvard)

Google docs for viewing (full)
Google docs for viewing (show growth)

Day = calendar day (total / 365 days per year)
Business day = calendar days – 104 (weekends), total / 261

This post is part of the Dramatic Growth of Open Access series.

New U.S. bill proposes OER mandate

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) last week introduced the Open College Textbook Act (S. 1714). (Thanks to TechLaw.) The bill has two main parts:

  • Authorizes $15 million for grants to develop open textbooks for college courses. The grants would be managed by the Department of Education, with a peer review process involving the National Science Foundation. Funding would be available to create new open textbooks, update existing open textbooks, or adapt traditional textbooks. The resulting works would have to be available OA: free online and under an open license.
  • Requires that “educational materials such as curricula and textbooks created through grants distributed by Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, for use in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary courses shall be licensed under an open license” and “made available free of charge”.

Also see Durbin’s press release on the bill.

Comment. Is this the first federal legislation to define “open license”?

See also our past posts on Sen. Durbin, or our past post on a similar piece of legislation in the House, the LOW COST Act.

Leaders call for OA to agricultural info. in India

T. V. Padma, Agricultural research ‘should be open access’, SciDev.Net, September 29, 2009.

Providing open access to agricultural research in India will help drive development and reduce poverty, says Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science. …

He was speaking at a meeting on open access in agriculture, held at the International Centre for Crop Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, this month (7–8 September). …

Stevan Harnad, Canada research chair in cognitive sciences at the University of Montreal, Quebec, pointed out at the meeting that universities and libraries subscribe to only a fraction of the roughly 25,000 peer-reviewed journals that are published worldwide, in all languages and all disciplines.

This means “research is having only a fraction of its potential usage and impact”.

India’s Agricultural Research Service Scientists’ Forum (ARSSF) agrees that the country’s crop research journals should be made open access. Sridhar Gutam, ARSSF joint secretary, told SciDev.Net that it is time the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) took a policy decision on open access journals.

In January, India launched ‘AgroPedia‘, an online repository of agricultural information.

Gutam says that there is a broad understanding among the ICRISAT meeting participants that an open access agricultural research publications repository will be created within AgroPedia, where participants will be able to deposit their research articles.

Penn may form OA committee

This was alluded to in the Daily Pennsylvanian column which we linked to yesterday, but here’s official confirmation that the University of Pennsylvania may form a group to consider OA:

Minutes from the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, September 23, 2009:

… [Vice Provost and Director of Libraries H. Carton Rogers] outlined various current models used for open access publishing, and the growing interest from the government and numerous universities in the open access movement. He suggested that the increased visibility and accessibility that comes with open access publishing benefits authors as well as readers and is a way to make the research and scholarship happening at Penn more widely available to the global community of scholars. Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty also announced that Provost Vincent Price would be interested in forming a faculty committee to address Open Access issues in the Penn context….

Hey, why aren’t we part of COPE?

Two recent comments on the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity, where students from schools not participating in the compact call on their universities to do so:

Danny Crichton, On open access, Stanford’s leadership falters, The Stanford Daily, September 29, 2009.

… The five schools that joined the compact are Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT and our rivals across the Bay, Berkeley. Stanford’s name is quite conspicuously absent from this list. Our school has been one of the leaders of this movement for many years, and thus, it is discouraging to see that other schools are carrying the torch for this necessary push. …

With the announcement of this new consortium, Stanford appears to be trending behind its peer institutions in this battle over publishing. …

Our motto at Stanford is “The Wind of Freedom Blows.” Let us take that motto to heart and open up the best research on Earth. …

Lindsey Stull, Strengthening shoulders, The Daily Pennsylvanian, September 29, 2009.

… [The University of Pennsylvania]’s name is noticeably lacking from the compact. According to Vice Provost for Research Steven Fluharty, the Provost’s Office and the University Libraries plan to work together to determine the optimal way for the school to implement an openaccess policy. Emphasizing the diversity present in Penn scholarship, Fluharty stressed that “one size is not going to fit all.” He estimates that a committee charged with finding a solution to this issue will spend the next four to six months developing recommendations for a policy.

While universities should clearly seek models that best suit their own interests, this every-man-for-himself plan, in which institutions individually adopt conflicting policies, leaves much to be desired. Practically, it could mean myriad logistical difficulties for journals concerning how they cover publication costs. …

Instead, researchers, institutions and publishers should come together to create a comprehensive plan for the future of open access. …

Also see comments by Parker Higgins of Students for Free Culture.

See also our past post on COPE.

Georgia building a statewide IR

On September 24, the Institute of Museum and Library Services announced its latest National Leadership Grants. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.) Among the grants is $850,000 to Georgia Tech to develop a statewide IR:

The Georgia Institute of Technology, in partnership with the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Valdosta State University, Albany State University, North Georgia College and State University, and the College of Coastal Georgia, will build a statewide institutional repository (IR) called the GALILEO Knowledge Repository. The partners will also host a national symposium on statewide and consortial repositories, create instructional materials, conduct consortial IR training, and offer consulting services. This project will advance scholarly communication by expanding the use of IRs by U.S. colleges and universities and by increasing the number of professionals with knowledge and skills in managing consortial IRs.

Several of the other grants ($17.9 million in all) are also related to OA; see the full list, especially the “Advancing Digital Resources” category.

JISC endorses EnablingOpenScholarship

JISC, the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee, has made a statement of support for EOS.

Dr Malcolm Read, OBE, JISC’s Executive Secretary, says: "We’re delighted to support the new EnablingOpenScholarship venture to encourage global discussion about open scholarly communications among institutions, and help address the issues those institutions can face in this area. As the drive for Open Access achieves ever-greater momentum, a membership organisation which provides a central focus, together with practical outreach to institutions, could not be better timed. We look forward to continuing to promote open scholarship and to working with EOS over the coming years."

JISC is funded by the UK HE and FE funding bodies to provide world-class leadership in the innovative use of ICT to support education and research. It manages and funds more than 200 projects within 16 programmes. Outputs and lessons are made available to the HE and FE community. JISC also supports 49 Services that provide expertise, advice, guidance and resources to address the needs of all users in HE and FE.