Open Access on the rise

Digital Science, the company behind different research supporting technologies, such as the figure and data repository Figshare, published in January a report called “The Ascent of Open Access”. The report tracks the development in open access (OA) publications from 2000 to 2016. After stating that the number of OA publications is rising, but this could be due to the total research output rising, the authors dig deeper into trends in OA publishing, including its funding model and geographical distribution. Interestingly, the papers published in OA are more often the result of international collaboration. There can be a global citation advantage of open access, as OA papers form around 35% of all papers, and gathered a bit less than 48% of total citations. They also seem to gather more interest in social media and news outlets, as measured by their Altmetric score.

Open access to publications usually precedes open access to the research data, and SPARC Europe set out to analyse the policies on sharing research output in all EU countries. Its report, published in December 2018 looks at recently added policies in five EU countries, and new plans for policies announced in a further five. The regulation landscape varies, from access to research output being guaranteed in national law, as in France and Lithuania, to different funder mandates, to universities’ policies. The authors summarise and discuss the policies, and note that few policies cover monitoring of their implementation, leaving open the question who will check the compliance of researchers to the rules.