May 23, 2022

Research Article: “Open Is Not Forever: A Study of Vanished Open Access Journals” (Preprint)

UPDATE (2) September 15, 2020 CNN has published an article about the preprint liked to below: “Dozens of Scientific Journals Have Vanished From the Internet, Study Found”

UPDATE September 8, 2020 Dozens Of Scientific Journals Have Vanished From the Internet, and No One Preserved Them (via Science)

—End Update—

The following full text article (preprint) was recently shared on arXiv.


Open Is Not Forever: A Study of Vanished Open Access Journals


Mikael Laakso
Hanken School of Economics

Lisa Matthias
John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

Najko Jahn
Göttingen State and University Library, University of Göttingen


via arXiv


The preservation of the scholarly record has been a point of concern since the beginning of knowledge production. With print publications, the responsibility rested primarily with librarians, but the shift towards digital publishing and, in particular, the introduction of open access (OA) have caused ambiguity and complexity. Consequently, the long-term accessibility of journals is not always guaranteed, and they can even disappear from the web completely. The purpose of this exploratory study is to systematically study the phenomenon of vanished journals, something that has not been done before. For the analysis, we consulted several major bibliographic indexes, such as Scopus, Ulrichsweb, and the Directory of Open Access Journals, and traced the journals through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. We found 192 OA journals that vanished from the web between 2000 and 2019, spanning all major research disciplines and geographic regions of the world. Our results raise vital concern for the integrity of the scholarly record and highlight the urgency to take collaborative action to ensure continued access and prevent the loss of more scholarly knowledge. We encourage those interested in the phenomenon of vanished journals to use the public dataset for their own research.

Direct to Full Text Article
31 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.