Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Dec. 31, 2005 Update & 2006 Predictions

The dramatic growth of open access continues! Many areas of open access, particularly OA journals and repositories, appear to be showing a very rapid growth rate of more than 40% annually. The total number of articles in repositories is showing a somewhat lower growth rate, just over 25% annually.

My predictions for 2006:

Open Access Journals: continued high growth rate
This prediction is based on conversations with people in the process of developing new OA journals or working on converting to an OA journal model. DOAJ growth is assured, based on the many OA journals which await discovery and vetting. The truly important figure, however, is the total number of articles openly accessible, rather than journals. This growth will begin to become more obvious later in 2006, when the impact of mandated open access policies, from funding agencies and universities, begins to be felt.

Institutional Repositories: very high growth in repositories, slower growth in articles / documents, a trend that will gradually reverse
This prediction is based on conversations with people who are in the process of developing new institutional repositories. First we will see the repositories with few items, then they will begin to fill - slowly at first, then more rapidly as mandates and increased awareness kick in.

Following is the data on which my estimates of current growth are based. I am including some figures for future reference purposes; if no earlier data is presented, none is readily available. Only easily identifiable data is included. If your subject repository is not included, it may be because it is not easy to identify the total number of items from your website.

Early figures are from my preprint, The Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Implications and Opportunities for Resource Sharing, Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve, 16, 3 (2006).

Directory of Open Access Journals:
Dec. 31, 2005: 1,988 titles
February 2005 - over 1,400 titles
492 journals searchable at article level - 83,235 articles
This represents a growth of close to 600 titles, or 40% growth, in less than a year. In early 2005, the number of titles in DOAJ was roughly comparable to the number of titles in a general aggregator package for libraries (e.g. Academic Search Elite, Expanded Academic Index). DOAJ now clearly has more titles than these packages did in February 2005.
Note that the DOAJ list does not represent all open access journals, only the ones that have met DOAJ standards, and have gone through the DOAJ vetting process. Jan Szczepanski's list is much longer: over 4,705 titles total as of early December 2005.
The number of DOAJ titles will likely fluctuate over the next few months, as DOAJ has plans to weed out titles that no longer meet DOAJ criteria.

Dec. 22, 2005: 6,255,599 records from 578 institutions
February 2005: over 5 million records, 405 institutions
This is about a 25% increase in records in less than a year, and a 40% increase in institutions. Why is the number of institutions increasing faster than the number of records? It could be because there are a great many libraries which have very new institutional repositories. My expectation is that this trend will continue in 2006, as many libraries have institutional repositories in planning stages. Eventually, the trend will reverse, as the number of institutional repositories stabilizes, but the IRs begin to fill more rapidly for two reasons: mandates, and increased awareness of the potential once a few institutions have repositories worth showing off.

Highwire Press Free Online Fulltext Articles
Dec. 31, 2005: 1,131,135 free articles
early January 2005: over 800,000 free articles
This is about a 40% increase in less than a year.

Dec. 31, 2005: Open access to 350,745 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science and Quantitative Biology.

RePEC: Research Papers in Economics
Dec. 31, 2005: over 350,000 items of interest, over 250,000 of which are available online.
February 2005: over 200,000 freely available items.
This represents a growth rate of over 25% in less than a year. The growth rate for well-established repositories might be expected to be less than that for new repositories.

Dec. 31, 2005: 3,095 documents
No earlier figure available.

Open Access Publishers
Dec. 31, 2005: Over 140 open access journals covering all areas of biology and medicine
February 2005: over 100 open access journals.
Growth rate of about 40% in less than a year.
Public Library of Science
Dec. 31, 2005: 6 journals
February 2005: 2 journals
Threefold increase in journals in less than a year.
The interesting figure for the future for open access publishers will be the total number of articles, rather than journals, but setting up the journals likely does need to come first.

Canadian Association of Research Libraries : Metadata Harvester
Dec. 31, 2005: 21,9225 records from 11 archives.

This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.

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