Dr. Marc Scheufen
Passionate Teacher, Researcher & Consultant
We study the role of open access versus established closed access journals in the market for academic publishing. Using data generated throughout metadata harvesting and matching it with the Journal Citation Report (2013) from Thomson Reuters, we find significantly higher impact factor levels for traditional CA journals as compared to OA journals.
We also point to significant differences in the perceived role of OA between different disciplines. Despite some exceptions in fields like biology and health science, OA journals still lack in signaling a sufficient level of reputation to attract both readers and authors, providing evidence for a phenomenon that is being discussed in the literature as the dilemma or chicken-egg problem of OA publishing.
We develop a simple model which fulfills two objectives: First, we want to follow the influential approach by Shavell (2010) as closely as possible. Second, as our focus is on the effort incentives for quality, we need to assume that demand does not only depend on prices, but also on the quality of a paper. Extending on Feess/Scheufen (2013) we show that the conclusions differ due to distortion effects between low and high type (e.g. productivity or talent in scientific research) researchers.
We then find that quality incentives are always too low for both types with closed access. Interestingly, however, quality incentives for the low type would be even lower with open access, while the ranking depends on the royalties earned with closed access for the high type. A preliminary conclusion is that open access is more likely to be superior for articles, while closed access might be better for textbooks.
Universities in developing countries have rarely been able to subscribe to academic journals in the past. The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” initiative (OARE) provides institutions in developing countries with free online access to more than 5,700 environmental science journals. Here we analyze the effect of OARE on scientific output in five developing countries. We apply difference-in-difference estimation using panel data for 18,955 articles from 798 research institutions. We find that online access via OARE increases publication output by at least 43% while lower-ranked institutions located in remote areas benefit less. Results are robust when we apply instrumental variables to account for information diffusion and Bayesian estimation to control for self-selection.