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Sorry, we’re open: Golden open-access and inequality in non-human biological sciences


Golden Open-access (GOA) journals make research more accessible and therefore more citable; however, the publication fees associated with GOA journals can be costly and therefore not a viable option for many researchers seeking high-impact publication outlets. In this study, metadata was collected from 174 open-access, non-human biological science journals and analyzed to determine relationships between Article Processing Charges (APC), Impact Factor (IF), Eigen Factor (EF), citability, h-index, journal rank, and potential contributing factors to publishing preference, such as years of available open access, publication frequency, and average review process time. Further, the aforementioned bibliometrics were examined in relation to country of publisher, as well as their national income threshold. The results of this study provide evidence that bibliometric values such as IF, EF, citability, h-index, and journal rank all increase as APC increases, and each of these metrics are higher in publishers from high-income countries in comparison to upper-middle and lower-middle income countries. Implications of these trends are discussed in regards to non-human biological sciences, and potential consequences of inequality within the global scientific community overall.

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Correspondence to Russell J. Gray.

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Gray, R.J. Sorry, we’re open: Golden open-access and inequality in non-human biological sciences. Scientometrics 124, 1663–1675 (2020).

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  • Open-access
  • Impact factor
  • Article Publishing Costs
  • Inequality
  • h-index