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  • '100 percent open access'

    - 30% van alle wetenschappelijke artikelen is momenteel te vinden via Open Access journals of andere vrij te raadplegen archieven. Maar dat is nog niet genoeg. Bij vooorstanders van Open Access (OA) klinkt de roep om ‘100% open access’ om zo de aan de vraag bij wetenschappers te voldoen.

    Researchers estimate that by the end of 2011 one third of all scientific articles will be available for free online via OA platforms. Two main forms of OA have evolved: Green OA, on the one hand, where the author simply makes papers available in repository online archives; on the other hand, Gold OA where the author pays a professional agency to properly publish articles online together with peer reviews.

    Boom of Green and Gold OA

    Current star of the OA community is PLoS One, the largest peer-reviewed online journal in the world. This year, PLoS One expects to publish around 11.000 articles available for free on their website. The OA phenomenon has drawn considerable attention from researchers and publishers worldwide aiming at quantifying its success.

    Bo-Christer Björk from the Hanken School of Economics in Finland estimated that in 2009 Gold OA publishing had a market share of 7,7% growing at an annual rate of 0,5%. His research showed that since 2000 the number of Gold OA journals grew on average at 18% per year with 30% yearly growth in the number of scientific OA articles.

    Yassine Gargouri, postdoctoral researcher at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), conducted research into the field of Green OA and found that in 2010 its market share was around 21%. Bringing these findings together almost 30% of all scientific articles are available for free online with Gold OA representing 1/3 and Green OA 2/3.

    Doubts from Established Publishers

    Meanwhile, Derk Haank, CEO of the well established publisher Springer, remains critical of the current trend in OA. He doubts the OA market share estimates and states that he "expects [them] to remain between 5% and 10% at a maximum." These doubts may be well justified in some cases. Especially for Green OA, numbers can be often deceptive as it is difficult to distinguish complete scientific articles from short incomplete excerpts in online archives.

    Advocates of OA see these growth numbers even more critical with a slightly different angle. Stevan Harnad, cognition researcher at the British University of Southampton, says that "these growth rates are portrayed as dramatic, but they are not dramatic at all if the goal is 100% open access." For the sake of knowledge sharing and Isaac Newton's 'standing-on-shoulders-of-giants' OA has to grow much more and faster.


    Source: M. Laakso et al. PLoS ONE 6, e20961 (2011)