Research OA: more readers, more places

Research published open access nearly doubled to 47 per cent of all scholarly outputs between 2011 and 2020. But it is hard to tell how much is cited and where – so the Curtin U Open Knowledge Initiative team used ten-years of bibliographic data to find out.

COKI’s work matters because it can indicate the outcome of open access in expanding access to research publications.

Certainly OA publications grew 2011-2020 from 27 per cent to 49 per cent “of all outputs” but what this means for increasing the diversity of use of research, a core open access objective, is not easily assessed by citation counts. So COKI used “recent advances” in data and processing to assess affiliations of  authors globally citing research 

Quite a few papers, (19m “research outputs”) and a bunch of citations (420m).

How they did it: the COKI team used their “academic observatory” a “large-scale relational database tracking open knowledge performance of research” and used two measures to identify citation diversity, based on five characteristics, institutions, countries, subregions, regions and fields of research.

What they found: an “enhanced diversity” for OA research since 2010, across “almost all” fields of data and for institutions, countries, subregions, and regions, including;

* while causal links are not clear, OA outputs, “have a greater level of citation diversity”

* institutions in regions with, “wealth and scale” benefit most from increases in citations to their OA outputs

*  increased citations to OA outputs from institutions in subregions with “fewer research outputs,” “this is consistent with greater access to OA being linked to greater use of OA outputs from these subregions” but the citation diversity advantage is lower overall for outputs from underrepresented regions

* the citation diversity advantage applies to output OA via publishers and (with a “larger effect”) repositories

Why it matters: “by shifting attention from counting citations to assessing the diversity of citing outputs we have demonstrated that existing data can be repurposed to analyse different goals. In doing so we have demonstrated that even for the narrow form of usage that citation from research outputs represents, OA outputs are being used by a wider diversity of citing outputs, whether we analyse those citing outputs by institution, country, subregion, region, or fields of research.”



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