Do journals flipping to gold open access show an OA citation or publication advantage?


The effects of Open Access (OA) upon journal performance are investigated. The key research question holds: How does the citation impact and publication output of journals switching (“flipping”) from non-OA to Gold-OA develop after their switch to Gold-OA? A review is given of the literature, with an emphasis on studies dealing with flipping journals. Two study sets with 119 and 100 flipping journals, derived from two different OA data sources (DOAJ and OAD), are compared with two control groups, one based on a standard bibliometric criterion, and a second controlling for a journal’s national orientation. Comparing post-switch indicators with pre-switch ones in paired T-tests, evidence was obtained of an OA Citation advantage but not of an OA Publication Advantage. Shifts in the affiliation countries of publishing and citing authors are characterized in terms of countries’ income class and geographical world region. Suggestions are made for qualitative follow-up studies to obtain more insight into OA flipping or reverse-flipping.

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    The Scopus Source List contains information on the OA status at the level of journals, derived from DOAJ. As from 02/01/2018, Scopus contains data on OA status at the level of individual articles, based on an analysis conducted by the Scopus team in collaboration with CrossRef. The Article Level Open Access indicator identifies articles both in Gold OA journals and in hybrid journals. ( ImpactStory’s UnPaywall posted on its website already in July 2018 the following message: “We’re pleased to announce that Elsevier has become the newest customer of Impactstory’s Unpaywall Data Feed, which provides a weekly feed of changes in Unpaywall, our open database of 20 million open access articles. It is uncertain whether UnPayWall-based data were used in Scopus at the date the data for the current study were collected” (End of December 2019). Akbaritabar and Stahlschmidt (2019) compared Scopus with Unpaywall, and concluded that “Only about 70% of articles and reviews from WOS and Scopus could be matched via a DOI to Unpaywall” (Akbaritabar and Stahlschmidt 2019, p. 1).


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Correspondence to Henk F. Moed.

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Bautista-Puig, N., Lopez-Illescas, C., de Moya-Anegon, F. et al. Do journals flipping to gold open access show an OA citation or publication advantage?. Scientometrics 124, 2551–2575 (2020).

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  • Open access
  • Publishing model
  • Citation analysis
  • Paired t-test
  • Effects of OA
  • OA flipping