Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What Is the Impact of Open Access?

A website devoted to exploring the advantages offered by open access has a bibliography of studies examining the possible relationship between open access and one of the more highly regarded (but also criticized) measures of an article's significance, the impact factor. According to the website, "Recent studies have begun to show that open access increases impact. More studies and more substantial investigations are needed to confirm the effect . . . " According to the bibliography's editor, Steve Hitchcock, University of Southampton, UK, "This chronological bibliography is intended to describe progress in reporting these studies; it also lists the Web tools available to measure impact. It is a focused bibliography, on the relationship between impact and access."

Because of the radical difference between electronic and print media, impact may eventually be measured in ways quite different from the traditional method. For a provocative blog post about some of the issues involved, see Ologeez Founder joins Mendeley / Changing the Journal Impact Factor. Mendeley is an example of a software company exploring new approaches to enhancing research and identifying research trends. According to Mendeley's blog, "Mendeley is free social software for managing and sharing research papers. It is also a Web 2.0 site for discovering research trends and connecting to like-minded academics."

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