Much Library and Information Science Research on Open Access is Available in Open Access, But There Is Still Room to Grow


A Review of:

Chilimo, W. L., & Onyancha, O. B. (2018). How open is open access research in library and information science? South African Journal of Libraries & Information Science, 84(1), 11-19.


Objective – To investigate the open access (OA) availability of Library and Information Science (LIS) research on the topic of OA, the relative openness of the journals in which this research is published, and the degree to which the OA policies of LIS journals facilitate free access.

Design – Bibliometric, quantitative dataset analysis.

Setting – African academic library and information science department.

Subjects – 1,185 English-language, peer-reviewed articles published between 2003 and 2013 on OA and published in journals indexed by three major LIS databases, of which 909 articles in the top 56 journals received further analysis.

Methods – Authors first searched LIS indexes to compile a dataset of published articles focusing on OA. They then manually identified and evaluated the OA policies of the top 56 journals in which these articles were found. The openness of these journals was scored according to a rubric modified from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic resources Coalition’s (SPARC’s) 2013 OA spectrum. Finally, authors manually searched Google Scholar to determine the OA availability of the articles from the dataset.

Main Results – Of the 909 articles published in the top 56 journals, 602 were available in some form of OA. Of these, 431 were available as gold copies and 171 were available as green copies. Of the 56 journals evaluated for openness, 13 were considered OA, 3 delayed OA, 27 hybrid/unconditional post-print, 2 hybrid/conditional post-print, and 11 had unrecognized OA policies.

Conclusion – The increasing amount and significance of LIS research on OA has not directly translated to the comprehensive adoption of OA publishing. Although a majority of the articles in the dataset were available in OA, the authors indicate that some measures of OA adoption and growth assessed in this study are only somewhat higher than in other disciplines. The authors call upon LIS professionals to become more conversant with journals’ OA policies. An acknowledgement that not all LIS scholars researching OA are necessarily advocates thereof led the authors of this study to recommend further investigation of OA research not available in OA to shed light on those scholars’ perceptions and preferences.


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How to Cite
Scott, R. (2019). Much Library and Information Science Research on Open Access is Available in Open Access, But There Is Still Room to Grow. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 14(1), 68-70.
Evidence Summaries