Friday, June 28, 2013

Support for gold open access journals and SCOAP3 #openaccess

I wrote this as a response to a discussion list on PAMnet, but I thought I would also post the majority of it here.

I would argue for another reason to support SCOAP3.  For the most part, researchers and scholars want to use, read and cite the final published version of an article (or book chapter or report or whatever piece of information.)  While researchers will often read the eprint/preprint/postprint, they might cite the final version once it appears.  In other words, they may not be reading the item that they are citing. (See  As more research gets published as gold open access, more researchers will be citing the things they are reading (or skimming), and that would be a good thing.

For example, just yesterday, the journal Science came out with three interesting articles concerning Voyager leaving the solar system.  I was curious if any of the three articles were available in repositories before they were published in Science.  Researchers in the field had probably already read "At Voyager 1 Starting on about August 25, 2012 at a Distance of 121.7 AU From the Sun, a Sudden Disappearance of Anomalous Cosmic Rays and an Unusually Large Sudden Increase of Galactic Cosmic Ray H and He Nuclei and Electron Occurred" via  In the future, I would bet that more researchers will probably cite the Science article "Voyager 1 Observes Low-Energy Galactic Cosmic Rays in a Region Depleted of Heliospheric Ions" ( by the same six authors even though the title of the article, the abstract, the text, the figures, and the references are significantly different.  The acknowledgement provides a clue that this is essentially the same research. (I did not find eprints for the other two Voyager articles,, and, but maybe I am not searching well enough.)

For background reading material, many people have studied the use and citation of papers found in the arXiv. (This is just a small sample. Scholarly Communication: The Use and Non-Use of E-Print Archives for the Dissemination of Scientific Information, Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact, Physics Conference Proceedings and the Electronic Environment-an Investigation of New Dissemination Patterns, Demographic and Citation Trends in Astrophysical Journal papers and Preprints, Citation Patterns to Traditional and Electronic Preprints in the Published Literature

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