Identifying the Effect of Open Access on Citations Using a Panel of Science Journals
Mark J. McCabe
Boston University - Questrom School of Business; SKEMA Business School Sophia Antipolis Nice
Christopher M. Snyder
Dartmouth College - Department of Economics
October 30, 2013
An open-access journal allows free online access to its articles, obtaining revenue from fees charged to submitting authors or from institutional support. Using panel data on science journals, we are able to circumvent problems plaguing previous studies of the impact of open access on citations. In contrast to the huge effects found in these previous studies, we find a more modest effect: moving from paid to open access increases cites by 8% on average in our sample. The benefit is concentrated among top-ranked journals. In fact, open access causes a statistically significant reduction in cites to the bottom-ranked journals in our sample, leading us to conjecture that open access may intensify competition among articles for readers’ attention, generating losers as well as winners.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: open access, superstars, long tail, journal, citation, search, platform
JEL Classification: L17, O33
Date posted: May 25, 2013 ; Last revised: November 1, 2013
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