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Recent research tempers citation advantage of open access

'Do Open Access Articles Have Greater Citation Impact?  A 
critical review of the literature'

Ian Craig, Andrew Plume, Marie McVeigh, James Pringle and Mayur 

A new, comprehensive review of recent bibliometric literature 
finds decreasing evidence for an effect of 'Open Access' on 
article citation rates. The review, now accepted for publication 
in the Journal of Informetrics, was proposed by the Publishing 
Research Consortium (PRC) and is available at its web site at 
www.publishingresearch.net. It traces the development of this 
issue from Steve Lawrence's original study in Nature in 2001 to 
the most recent work of Henk Moed and others.

Researchers have delved more deeply into such factors as 
'selection bias' and 'early view' effects, and began to control 
more carefully for the effects of disciplinary differences and 
publication dates. As they have applied these more sophisticated 
techniques, the relationship between open access and citation, 
once thought to be almost self-evident, has almost disappeared.

Commenting on the paper, Lord May of Oxford, FRS, past president 
of the Royal Society, said 'In December 2005, the Royal Society 
called for an evidence-based approach to the scholarly 
communications debate. This excellent paper demonstrates that 
there is actually little evidence of a citation advantage for 
open access articles.'

The debate will certainly continue, and further studies will 
continue to refine current work. The PRC welcomes this 
discussion, and hopes that this latest paper may be a catalyst 
for a new round of informed scholarly exchange.

Sally Morris
on behalf of the Publishing Research Consortium

Email:  info@publishingresearch.net
Website:  www.publishingresearch.net