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An analysis of research output in open access journals in BRICS countries: a bibliometric study

Sana Zia (Department of Library and Information Science, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 24 February 2021

Issue publication date: 16 November 2021




This paper aims to investigate the current status of research output published in open access (OA) journals from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries from 2010 to 2019 and compare their performances in terms of OA research output.


Papers contributed by the researchers of BRICS countries were searched using an advanced search option in the Web of Science core collection database. The retrieved results were restricted to the “journal articles” published in the “English language” during the time period of 2010 to 2019. After that, the selected papers were again refined by using the “open access” section to identify the research output of BRICS countries published in OA journals.


Total 2,219,943 papers were published from BRICS countries, out of which 402,199 articles were published in OA journals and South Africa has published the highest number of research output in OA journals (31%). Although, there has been a constant increasing growth of research output published in OA journals in BRICS countries from 13,300 papers in 2010 to 82,310 articles in 2019. Engineering and Technology have published the maximum number of papers in OA journals. Researchers of BRICS countries mostly contributed their OA research output in journals published from the USA and Scientific Reports (UK) is identified as one of the leading OA journals. Additionally, among all the BRICS countries, China is found as the promising leader in terms of OA journals publications, the maximum share i.e. 71.25 per cent of total 402,199 OA journal publications have been produced by the highest number 137 (23.41%) of institutions of China and Chinese Academy of Sciences (China) is leading institution with 39,036 papers published in OA journals.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited to BRICS countries, but it offers theoretical implications for extending its scope to different countries. This study may be used for raising awareness of OA among researchers of BRICS countries and encouraging them to contribute their research work in OA journals. The findings of this study are useful and meaningful in understanding the comparative status of research across countries, disciplines, journals and institutions.


This is the first study in BRICS countries focusing on the research output published in OA journals.



Zia, S. (2021), "An analysis of research output in open access journals in BRICS countries: a bibliometric study", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. 70 No. 8/9, pp. 911-922.



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