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Springer Growth Rate Estimate for ISI-Indexed Journals

Posted by Harnad on 22 Jun 2011 at 02:25 GMT

The Gold OA growth rate for articles published in ISI-indexed journals according Springer to Springer's estimates is 20% rather than 30% per year:

The Laakso curve would reach 100% Gold OA for all journals (ISI + non-ISI) in 2022, at a time when the Springer curve would not yet have reached 40% for ISI journals.

Do you have any comments on this discrepancy?

No competing interests declared.

RE: Springer Growth Rate Estimate for ISI-Indexed Journals

laaksomik replied to Harnad on 23 Jun 2011 at 11:53 GMT

Thank you for commenting on our article and providing a link to the related comparative analysis.

I think one aspect of the discrepancy between our numbers and Springer's is explained by the fact that we considered all DOAJ journals as our population while Springer only looked at the subset of ISI indexed OA journals. Another aspect, which is partly related to the first, is that for the most recent years growth has not been as high as the decade average of 30% but closer to the 20% as reported by Springer (2006= 17,1%, 2007= 20,8%, 2008=19,8%, 2009= 24,7%). The high percentual growth from the early years increases the decade average to such a degree that extrapolating future year-on-year growth figures based on those annual growth averages is not recommended. For example the growth between 2008 and 2009 accounts for more than the entire estimated OA output for 2001. It is unlikely that Gold OA will see an annual year-on-year growth of 66,6% like our numbers suggest it did in 2001, as annual article volume is already so much higher than they were back then.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Springer Growth Rate Estimate for ISI-Indexed Journals

Harnad replied to laaksomik on 23 Jun 2011 at 14:25 GMT


Thanks for clarifying that your estimate is much closer to the Springer estimate as of 2005, with the earlier, higher rate possibly due in part to the fact that the early Gold OA journals had had much fewer articles per year, and have now caught up with other journals. (Indeed, PLoS ONE is now a mega-journal that publishes more articles than any other journal: That is why Nature going to a launch a Gold OA competitor!)

But I wonder if you would comment on a couple of other things:

The difference between the 10,000 journals that are indexed by ISI and the remaining c. 15,000 journals that are not indexed by ISI (or SCOPUS) is generally thought to be one of quality and impact: For years, ISI was quite selective about what journals it covered, and journals strove to be indexed by ISI (for visibility, but also because ISI then provided a citation-impact factor for them). The ISI-indexed journals also include, as a subset, the "core" journals in most (but perhaps not all) disciplines -- the "must have" journals that institutional libraries want most, if they can afford to subscribe to them.

The percentage of Gold OA journals among the 10, 000 ISI-indexed journals is lower than among the 15,000 non-ISI journals. My guess would be that percent Gold would be even lower among the "core" journals (except perhaps for the hybrid option, which may account for a lot of journals, but so far few articles per journal).

Gold OA also comes in two varieties: those that ask for payment for publishing and those that don't: The former are the pure-gold and hybrid gold OA journals, and the latter are the Gold OA journals that still cover their costs through subscriptions and subsidies and simply make their online editions free for all. Far more Gold OA journals are of the latter kind than the former kind.

So my questions would be: How does Gold OA growth rate correlate with (1) whether or not a journal is ISI-indexed, (2) whether or not the journal charges for publication, (3) the quality and/or impact of the journal, and (4) whether or not the journal is a "core" journal in its field?

No competing interests declared.

RE: RE: Springer Growth Rate Estimate for ISI-Indexed Journals

laaksomik replied to Harnad on 27 Jun 2011 at 10:53 GMT

Thank you for your interest towards our research. The questions you pose are very interesting, however, unfortunately our stratified random sampling of under 600 OA journals is not big enough for determining the development within smaller subsets of the total OA journal population. Such enquiries would need sampling based on the subsets specifically in order to get reliable enough figures, e.g. collecting annual publication volume data for all ISI indexed OA journals listed in the DOAJ. Fortunately ISI journals are reliably indexed without much need for manual counting so it might at some point become relevant for us to conduct a comparative study looking into questions like this, however, at the current time it is not possible to explore these avenues with the data we have.

No competing interests declared.