Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas

William H. Walters, Anne C. Linvill


We examine the characteristics of 663 Open Access (OA) journals in biology, computer science, economics, history, medicine, and psychology, then compare the OA journals with impact factors to comparable subscription journals. There is great variation in the size of OA journals; the largest publishes more than 2,700 articles per year, but half publish 25 or fewer. While just 29 percent of OA journals charge publication fees, those journals represent 50 percent of the articles in our study. OA journals in the fields of biology and medicine are larger than the others, more likely to charge fees, and more likely to have a high citation impact. Overall, the OA journal landscape is greatly influenced by a few key publishers and journals.

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Copyright © American Library Association, 2011

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