Investigating open access, citation and usage: what’s the advantage? : Of Schemes and Memes Blog
The Research Information Network is a small independent policy consultancy working on scholarly communications. We’ve existed since 2005 in various guises, working with librarians, publishers, research funders and academics themselves to understand how researchers want to find, use and share information. Our aim has always been to create an evidence base that will help others to make informed decisions about the best way to support researchers. We’ve worked with a number of methodologies and techniques over the years to do this, qualitative and quantitative. When Nature Publishing Group approached us earlier this year to undertake a brief and independent statistical analysis of usage and citation data for Nature Communications, we were happy to do it. They wanted a report that they could use to kick off a bigger conversation about what the data might tell us about open access and what this means for article use and citation. The data about the 2,878 articles published in Nature Communications was easily machine-harvestable, and therefore fairly basic. For every article published between the journal’s launch in April 2010 and the end of 2013 we were given its open access status (open or not), discipline, year and date of publication, Web of Knowledge citation data and, where available, Altmetric scores. For the articles published in the first half of 2013, we were also given the number of HTML views and PDF downloads, 90 and 180 days after publication ... We found, on the whole, a small positive effect on citations for the OA articles, and a larger positive effect for the online usage measures of HTML views and PDF downloads from the Nature Communicationswebsite. This chimes with the findings of other studies, which also suggest that OA has a positive effect on the visibility of work that is hosted online ..."