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What is the threshold for open access Nirvana?

I though that the recent post (below) by Eugene Garfield, President, The
Scientist, will be of interest to all.


Alexei Koudinov

Approved-By: harnad@ECS.SOTON.AC.UK 
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2004 14:11:24 -0500 
From: "Garfield, Eugene" <Garfield@CODEX.CIS.UPENN.EDU> 
Subject: What is the threshold for  open access Nirvana? 

I have generally avoided discussion in this listserv but I think you have
introduced a significant distortion to the discussion by quoting the
figure of 24,000 scientific journals which allegedly produce 2,500,000
articles per year. I presume someone has estimated the average of 100
articles per year. A more realistic figure for journals would be ten to
fifteen thousand scientific journals putting aside the crucial question of

If open access is to become viable it seems to me the key factor is the
group of 500 to 1000 highest impact journals which account for a
substantial portion of the significant articles which are published and
most cited. Unless these journals make it possible for authors to
self-archive or to be freely accessible you cannot achieve open access
nirvana. One might argue that once e.g. 50% or more of these most
important journals are in the fold the breakthrough threshold has been

Since it has been demonstrated that on line access improves both
readership and citation impact we can certainly expect that the vast
majority of the low impact journals would be well advised to make their
journals open access. Whether this increases their impact remains to be
seen, but increased readership or attention seems inevitable.

Eugene Garfield, PhD. email:  garfield@codex.cis.upenn.edu
home page: www.eugenegarfield.org
Tel: 215-243-2205 Fax 215-387-1266
President, The Scientist LLC. www.the-scientist.com
3535 Market St., Phila. PA 19104-3389
Chairman Emeritus, ISI www.isinet.com
3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3302
Past President, American Society for Information Science and Technology
(ASIS&T) www.asis.org