Informaticopia

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Open access - how well do our areas do?

We've discussed quite a few aspects of open access on this blog over the years, so a recent email from BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com) lead me to looking into our areas of interest - nursing, health informatics, e-learning, etc. - to see how well we scored in the open access stakes.

The 'Open Access Quotient' (OAQ) was introduced on the BioMed Central blog in July 2007 (>>>); the OAQ aims "to quantify just how open a particular research field is – i.e. what fraction of the research in that area is available with open access immediately following publication". It does this through a search of PubMed citations from the past 60 days - a metric you can argue with, but maybe as good as any other.

At the time, I did a quick look on nursing and found it then had an OAQ of only 2.55% - not a very good score, and well below the PubMed average of 6.8% at the time. Well, nursing, as many other areas (>>>), has improved a bit in the past 12 months - it now scores 4.3% - but only, I suspect, due to the effect of the increasing number of BioMed central journals, rather than any conversion to the open access model or philosophy by other publishers.

A comparison with some other subject areas of interest shows:
health informatics = 9.64%
medical informatics = 19.44%
e-learning = 26.67%

However, when 'nursing informatics' returns a result of 66.67%, then I start to suspect the reliability of the algorithm - although it is on a sample of 3 articles.

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