The following article was published by PLOS ONE earlier this week.
Michigan Publishing, University Library, University of Michigan
PLoS ONE 11(8): e0159614
August 22, 2016
Many studies show that open access (OA) articles—articles from scholarly journals made freely available to readers without requiring subscription fees—are downloaded, and presumably read, more often than closed access/subscription-only articles. Assertions that OA articles are also cited more often generate more controversy. Confounding factors (authors may self-select only the best articles to make OA; absence of an appropriate control group of nonOA articles with which to compare itation figures; conflation of pre-publication vs. published/ publisher versions of articles, etc.) make demonstrating a real citation difference difficult. This study addresses those factors and shows that an open access citation advantage as high as 19% exists, even when articles are embargoed during some or all of their prime citation years. Not surprisingly, better (defined as above median) articles gain more when made OA.