Open Access journals proven to compete on quality

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 October 2004



(2004), "Open Access journals proven to compete on quality", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Open Access journals proven to compete on quality

Open Access journals proven to compete on quality

Open Access journals published by BioMed Central have received ISI impact factors that compare well with equivalent subscription titles. The high impact factors, all for journals that are just a few years old, prove that Open Access to research literature achieves impact fast and makes quality articles much more widely visible.

Arthritis Research & Therapy jumped from 3.44 to 5.03, propelling it to rank second in the rheumatology field in only its 5th year of publication. Breast Cancer Research also increased its impact factor – moving from 2.81 to 2.93, placing it on even footing with its direct competitor, Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, which was established more than 20 years ago. Critical Care moved up to 6th in its field, and now has an impact factor of 1.9.

Four journals published by BioMed Central received their first impact factors this year. Respiratory Research (5.53) comes in from nowhere to immediately take second place in the respiratory field. Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine has an impact factor of 3.12. BMC Cell Biology (2.61) and BMC Health Services Research (0.67) also entered well.

BioMed Central saw its impact factors go up across the board. BMC Cancer now has an impact factor of 1.7, while BMC Infectious Diseases (1.25) and BMC Public Health (0.93) also saw increases in their impact factors from the 2002 Journal Citation Report.

The impact factors, which are calculated by ISI, look at articles published in the journals in the period 2001-2002. To BioMed Central, the excellent performance of its titles answers spurious accusations of low quality of Open Access journals by some traditional subscriptions publishers.

Jan Velterop, BioMed Central’s publisher, said: “It is becoming ever clearer that BioMed Central’s Open Access journals, once beyond their early infancy, are recognized as superior to their subscription-based competitors with regard to making their quality articles widely visible to, and usable by, anyone with an interest in them.”

Traditional subscription publishers such as Elsevier have cast aspersions on the objectivity of Open Access journals’ editorial decision-making. According to CEO of Reed Elsevier Crispin Davis, “If you are receiving potential payment for every article submitted there is an inherent conflict of interest that could threaten the quality of the peer review system and so on.”

The impact and quality of BioMed Central’s Open Access journals resoundingly contradict this assertion. BioMed Central journals are all thoroughly peer-reviewed and typically reject more than 50 per cent of the manuscripts that are submitted.

Thomson ISI is expected to publish an update of their citation analysis shortly – comparing citation counts for Open Access journals and traditional subscription products. In the press release announcing the April version of the report, ISI stated, “journals published in the new Open Access (OA) model are beginning to register impact in the world of scholarly research”. The statement continues: “Using ISI citation metrics such as impact factor and cited half life, the study focuses on determining whether OA journals perform differently from other journals in their respective fields. The study’s initial findings indicate that there was no discernible difference in terms of citation impact or frequency with which the journal is cited.” BioMed Central expects this to change in favour of Open Access journals as more data become available.

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