3:35 PM, March 13, 2024

Open access publishing models are a hot topic at Auburn University Libraries, so when Dr. Laurie Stevison wanted to incorporate a project on open access into her computational biology course, she turned to her librarians. Her collaboration with Patricia Hartman, biology liaison librarian, and Ali Krzton, the research data management librarian, developed into a quantitative study of the effects of open access on citation count. The resulting research article, “Does it pay to pay? A comparison of the benefits of open-access publishing across various subfields in biology”, was recently published in the journal PeerJ.

Biologists, in particular, are often confronted with expensive article processing charges (APCs) when they want publishers to make their work available under an open license (known as the “gold” model of open access). To find out whether paying these APCs is worthwhile for authors, Stevison’s interdisciplinary team analyzed five years of bibliographic records totaling 146,415 articles in 152 biology journals offering both open and subscription-access options. This large dataset was then analyzed to discover whether open articles enjoyed a citation advantage over comparable articles behind a paywall. They found that while paying APCs to make articles open via the “gold” route did yield increased citations, a more economical model of open access provided similar benefits.

“Green” open access involves placing articles into public repositories at no cost to the author. In the study, articles open via the “green” route were also cited more than subscription-access articles. At Auburn University, any AU-affiliated researcher can archive their work in the institutional repository, Auburn University repository of research assets (AUrora). Articles deposited in AUrora are indexed in Google Scholar and appear as alternate open versions of the paywalled originals in the search results. “We always encourage researchers to deposit their work into AUrora to support public access and increase their scholarly impact,” said Krzton, who manages the repository. “It’s good to see empirical evidence that institutional repositories accomplish those goals.”

Hartman, whose expertise in navigating the Web of Science database allowed the research team to download the necessary dataset, has promoted green open access on campus for years. She supervises efforts by library student workers to upload Auburn-authored research articles into AUrora and organizes informational sessions for Auburn scholars during the annual Open Access Week. Her advice for researchers is to talk to a librarian about their options for open access publishing before they submit their manuscript. “Keeping the author-accepted manuscript version is important if you want to archive your paper in the institutional repository, as you typically won’t have permission to upload the publisher’s finished PDF,” said Hartman. Although she has previously presented solo on open access and open data incentives at conferences, Krzton was grateful for the opportunity to coauthor a paper with practicing scientists. “It’s essential for librarians and others working in the scholarly communications space to consider the perspectives of authors in the disciplines,” she said. “We need to keep these conversations going.”

Posted by Jayson Hill | in Uncategorized | Comments Off on AU librarians and biologists team up and use big data to investigate open access publishing models

Comments are closed.