Journal article Open Access

Measuring Open Access uptake: Data sources, expectations, and misconceptions

Nicolas Robinson-Garcia; Thed N. van Leeuwen; Daniel Torres-Salinas

In this paper we briefly introduce the concept of Open Access and review the many variants that have been presented in the literature. We then critically examine how OA variants are presented by data source and how they are operationalized in practice. The goal of the paper is to provide a set of guidelines on how to effectively interpret OA information. For this, we compare OA figures reported in different data sources at the institutional and journal level and dig into the potential explanations behind the differences observed on the figures each source provides.

Policy highlights

  • Open Access reporting in bibliometric reports is now possible due the proliferation of data sources which now provide information on the OA status of publications.
  • Unpaywall has become the main primary source on OA metadata for publications for the main bibliometric databases, however there are divergences on how this is reported and showed by each of them.
  • Understanding how OA variants are defined by each source and later operationalized is key to correctly report and interpret Open Access uptake
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