Do Open Access Articles Have Greater Citation Impact?

A critical review of the literature

Iain D Craig (Wiley-Blackwell), Andrew M Plume (Elsevier), Marie E McVeigh (Thomson Scientific), James Pringle (Thomson Scientific), Mayur Amin (Elsevier) (May 2007)

Summary Paper (Authors' preprint, May 2007) Press Release

DoopenaccessarticleshavegreatercitationimpactscoverThis comprehensive review of bibliometric literature finds decreasing evidence for a beneficial effect of ‘Open Access’ on article citation rates.

The review, published in the Journal of Informetricts Volume 1, Issue 3, July 2007, pp 239-248, was proposed by the Publishing Research Consortium. It traces the development of this issue from Lawrence’s original study in Nature in 2001 to the most recent work of Moed and others.

Recent researchers have delved more deeply into such factors as ‘selection bias’ and ‘early view’ effects, and have also begun to control more carefully for the effects of disciplinary differences and publication dates. As they have applied these more sophisticated techniques, the correlation between open access and citation, once thought to be almost self-evident, has almost disappeared.

Note:  A highly relevant article, 'Open Access does not increase citations for research articles from The Astrophysical Journal', by Michael Kurtz and Edwin Henneken, appeared in the ArXiv on 6 September 2007, after the PRC review was published.