Impact of Social Sciences – Self-archived articles receive higher citation counts than non-OA articles from same political science journals.
"In recent years, the Impact Blog has hosted a wide-ranging conversation about Open Access publishing. The posts have included discussions about the true cost of [Gold] OA, the benefits that a Green OA mandate could bring to the academic publishing model, the possibility of funding the costs of transitioning to OA by canceling journal subscriptions, and the academic and societal benefits of open academic data, just to name a few. What the majority of the posts have in common is that they focus on the macro-level effects of OA publishing. These are important discussions, and ones that help the field to evolve both in terms of research and practice. However, if one wants social scientists to adopt an Open Access model, it is also important to discuss the micro-level/personal benefits of OA. In this post, we focus on the benefits of Green OA to individual social scientists. We focus on Green OA for two micro-level reasons: perception and cost. First there is anecdotal and empirical evidence that authors are skeptical about the quality of OA articles. Anecdotally, when we first began researching OA citation effects in political science several political scientists asked why we were bothering to study OA in the discipline given that OA articles are poorly peer reviewed or are not peer reviewed at all. Empirically, Xia (2010) finds that while scholars (across all fields) do see some advantages to OA publishing, they also tend to view OA publishing as low-prestige, low quality, and/or potentially harmful to their careers. The negative perception seems to stem from concerns that OA is pay-to-play publishing which leads to lower standards. These concerns indicate that there is a clear lack of understanding about the differences between Green and Gold OA; however, the nature of the concerns indicates that Green OA would be the more palatable OA option. Second, in the United States the social sciences receive far less funding than do the physical sciences. For example, the National Science Foundation’s Science and Engineering Indicators, 2014 indicates that in 2012, the total amount of federal research and development spending on Chemistry was nearly fifteen times the total spent on Political Science. More generally, federal agencies spent about eight times more on the Physical Sciences (Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physics) than on the Social Sciences (Economics, Political Science, and Sociology). To be clear: we are not arguing that the Social Sciences should be receiving the same level of funding as the Physical Sciences. We are arguing, however, that the low level of research funding in the US is likely to have a direct and negative effect on social scientists’ ability to pay the article processing charges associated with the most common Gold OA business model. Thus, Green OA is not simply the more palatable option; it is also the more practical option for American Social Scientists ..."