The Holistic Librarian – Thing 12

Hi, I’m Diane Workman and I’m the Subject Librarian for Drama, English, Film Studies and Theology & Religion.

As part of the Holistic Librarian project I was asked to research three tasks of the ‘23 Things (+1) for Research Data Management’.

Task 12 was to research the answer to the question “What evidence can you cite that research made available on Open Access has more impact than research that is not available on Open Access?”

What I knew about the topic beforehand:

I attended Alma Swan’s presentation during Open Access (OA) Week in October, and remembered her citing some examples where placing research papers on OA had a positive impact on their use and/or citation. The concept of Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is one that takes me out of my comfort zone, as it has traditionally been of less importance to the Humanities disciplines that I provide library support for.

What I know now:

Since 2001 many studies have taken place, largely in the Sciences, to test the hypothesis that OA provides a citation advantage “by increasing visibility, findability and accessibility for research articles” (Swan, 2010). Swan summarizes 31 studies that were published between 2001 and 2010, concluding that 27 studies found a positive citation advantage to placing a research article on OA. She also provides data on the size of the OA citation advantage found (as a % increase in citations) by discipline.

There is a move away from reliance on that traditional citation metric the JIF in measuring the impact of research articles. Notice is also being taken of Social Media-based metrics and ‘Altmetrics’ in attempting to determine the impact of research made available on OA.

How did I obtain this knowledge?:

Swan’s report The Open Access citation advantage: Studies and results to date provides a useful summary of the relevant studies carried out up to 2010.

There is a useful web-based bibliography provided the OpCit Project, which you can use to bring your knowledge up to date. This provides abstracts for a variety of studies, including a number published as recently as 2012.

What else would I like to know about this topic:

I would like to have more information about the impact of OA on research in HASS disciplines, as so many of the published studies focus upon STEMM subjects, where OA is more established. There is an interesting article by Melissa Terras, published in the OA Journal of Digital Humanities called The impact of social media on the dissemination of research: results of an experiment which deals with the topic from a HASS perspective.

How did I find this task? How would I improve it?

I enjoyed finding out more about this topic. It was well-documented in sources available on OA, I’m pleased to say!

Posted under Holistic Librarian, Training

This post was written by Diane Workman on January 23, 2013

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