The purpose of this paper is to report results of a study which investigated the growth of open access (OA) journals across the world with reference to the Asian region. Details of 117 OA journals were collected from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to determine the geographic distribution, language of publication and growth of periodical year-wise. The study makes detail analysis of four OA periodical published from India, Iran, Pakistan and Taiwan. Pattern of authorship and contribution according to nature of professional work were analyzed. The study reveals that most contributions were made by teaching professionals in comparison to working library and information officers. Single-authored contributions dominated (44 per cent) in all periodicals of the Asian region, indicating low amount of teamwork/collaborative contributions to library and information science (LIS) research by the authors of this region. To know the subject distribution of articles, the study was limited to 27 subfields within the broad spectrum of LIS. Annals of Library and Information Sciences (ALIS) published in India carried the highest number of articles (165) followed by Journal of Library and Information Sciences (JLIS) from Taiwan. The findings of the study also indicate that there is varied distribution of topics within the Asian LIS literature published in OA journals. Most popular areas of writing among authors in OA journals have been found to be bibliometics, webometrics, research productivity or research methods besides information seeking pattern, information need of users and digital libraries.
To gather data for the present investigation, survey of OA e-journals was made across the Web. The collection of data from OA journals and content was accompanied by searching the DOAJ. After selecting the OA journals, these were analyzed using the descriptions on their content page and key words chosen from each contribution. Selection of additional key words, i.e. words not in the title, was also made. Analysis of this data is discussed in this paper.
OA removes restrictions that exist on access to scholarly information and knowledge, it empowers the readers to read, download, distribute and make use of relevant literature, besides giving authors and their work fairly good visibility, readership and impact. The OA movement is gaining importance and the scholarly community is now realizing that tolled or subscribed access is creating a barrier and preventing their work from wider accessibility and readership. A number of journals across the world are now being published in OA mode. The present study attempts to map the growth of LIS literature in OA journals with special reference to periodicals published from Asian countries. The finding of this sample study suggests that many counties are promoting OA journals. While USA ranks first in publication of OA journals in the world. Taiwan publishes the highest number of articles in Asia. Majority of OA journals are published in English, and English appears to be most popular language for communicating research information. Of the four OA LIS journals analyzed in detail, it is observed that single-authored contributions are most popular. Collaborative contributions to LIS research were not so evident among authors of the Asian community. The teaching professionals or LIS teachers contributed the greatest number of articles, except for the Indian journal ALIS, demonstrating that working professional are more actively involved in writing and they outnumber the teaching community. Contributions from research students in all OA journals have been fairly significant. Research students may be encouraged to publish their master’s and doctoral research work in OA periodicals for better visibility, readership and impact. The study further reveals that ALIS from India and JLIS from Taiwan carried the highest number of articles. While areas like bibliometrics, webometrics and e-resources and OA are most popular areas of writing among Indian authors, information-seeking pattern, information need, digital and virtual libraries have been popular among authors from Taiwan. Webology from Iran has predominant articles on Web study or evaluation and social networking. Universities and LIS need to come forward to take a need-based approach to LIS research, suggesting ways for improving existing LIS services in their respective countries. To get the correct picture of growth of OA journals in the Asian region, more exhaustive and extensive study may be required. Researchers interested to carry further investigation will have to adopt appropriate measures to overcome the limitations mentioned in the study, for example, the source of data DOAJ may not be very extensive to give correct picture of OA journals. It is likely that some journals may not have been included in this directory. Researchers interested to carry further investigations will have to adopt appropriate measures to overcome these constraints.
Scope and limitation access to data and timely completion are the two vital factors for the success and accomplishment of the objectives of any investigation. Hence, considering the vast range of literature from every geographical region and limited time to complete research, the present study adhered to the following limitations. The study covers in its scope literature published in the period of five years (accessed from March 28 to May 25, 2011, only). The study includes only those publications/journals contributed by authors in English. The study includes four OA journals having full-text articles in English, abstracts not included. It considers those publications primarily inclined and relevant to library and information services. The study includes only those OA LIS journals listed or included in DOAJ.
The present study has been taken with view to analyze the growth of OA journals in LIS with special reference to Asian countries. While several studies have been conducted on growth and publishing of traditional LIS journals, the present study is perhaps an interesting attempt to make a comprehensive review of the phenomena. The finding of the recent study will be of interest to many LIS professionals, researchers and academicians as it demonstrate the growth of OA journals.
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