The purpose of this paper is to discuss the evidence about the benefits of running open access repositories, with particular emphasis on the so‐called “open access advantage.”
A brief account of the evolving arguments for open access, together with a summary and analysis of some recent articles proposing arguments for and against the idea of “open access advantage.”
The paper finds that many of the original arguments for the benefits of open access have fallen by the wayside; but that, in spite of this, there is a good evidence that an “open access advantage” does exist. The application of straightforward library statistical counting measures which are traditionally used to evaluate user benefits of mainstream services is just as effective an evaluation tool as more sophisticated citation analysis methods.
As much of the research into the impact of open access on citation counts of articles is highly complex and narrowly focussed, a continuation of such abstract research activity may obscure this topic rather than shed light.
The insights of practitioner librarians into repository evaluation are highly important.
This article attempts to refocus the discussion of open access repositories away from the more abstract and remote analysis of their benefits, and emphasise that open access repositories are straightforward information services like any other, and should be evaluated on the same terms.
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