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Re: Alma Swan: The OA citation advantage: Studies and results to date


In my critique of this review today, I commented on the
inappropriate use of meta-analysis to the empirical OA citation

"Meta-analysis is set of powerful statistical techniques for
analyzing the literature. Its main function is to increase the
statistical power of observation by combining separate empirical
studies into one ueber-analysis. It's assumed, however, that the
studies are comparable (for instance, the same drug given to a
random group of patients with multiple myeloma), but conducted at
different times in different locales.

This is not the case with the empirical literature on open access
and citations. Most of the studies to date are observational
(simply observing the citation performance of two sets of
articles), and most of these use no statistical controls to
adjust for confounding variables. Some of the studies have
focused on the effect of OA publishing, while others on OA
self-archiving. To date, there is still only one published
randomized controlled trial.

Conducting a meta-analysis on this disparate collection of
studies is like taking a Veg-O-Matic to a seven-course dinner.
Not only does it homogenize the context (and limitations) of each
study into a brown and unseemly mess, but it assumes that
homogenization of disparate studies somehow results in a clearer
picture of scientific truth."

Rewriting the History of the Open Access Debate

--Phil Davis

Stevan Harnad wrote:

>      ** Cross-Posted **
> [Note added by SH: These data are derived from Dr. Steve
> Hitchcock's bibliography of studies on the effect of open
> access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact. They are now
> ripe for a meta-analysis: You are encouraged to do one -- or to
> contact Dr. Swan and Dr. Hitchcock if you are interested in
> collaborating]
> ------------
> Swan, A. (2010) The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and
> results to date. Technical Report, School of Electronics &
> Computer Science, University of Southampton.
> http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/18516/