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Characteristics of open access scholarly publishing: A multidisciplinary study

Kayvan Kousha (Department of Library and Information Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 5 July 2009




More knowledge about open access (OA) scholarly publishing on the web would be helpful for citation data mining and the development of web‐based citation indexes. Hence, the main purpose of this study is to identify common characteristics of open access publishing, which may therefore enable us to measure different aspects of e‐research on the web.


In the current study, five characteristics of 545 OA citing sources targeting OA research articles in four science and four social science disciplines were manually identified, including file format, hyperlinking, internet domain, language and publication year.


About 60 per cent of the OA citing sources targeting research papers were in PDF format, 30 per cent were from academic domains ending in edu and ac and 70 per cent of the citations were not hyperlinked. Moreover, 16 per cent of the OA citing sources targeting studied papers in the eight selected disciplines were in non‐English languages. Additional analyses revealed significant disciplinary differences in some studied characteristics across science and the social sciences.


The OA web citation network was dominated by PDF format files and non‐hyperlinked citations. This knowledge of characteristics shaping the OA citation network gives a better understanding about their potential uses for open access scholarly research.



Kousha, K. (2009), "Characteristics of open access scholarly publishing: A multidisciplinary study", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 61 No. 4, pp. 394-406.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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