A newly published report suggests that thousands of open access articles have vanished during the decent decade. Among the journal titles that disappeared in 2000–2019, over the half were journals in social sciences and humanities.
The report Open is not forever: A study of vanished open access journals, written by Mikael Laakso from the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Lisa Matthias from the Freie Universität Berlin and Najko Jahn from the University of Göttingen, examined the major bibliographic indexes for open access journals: Scopus, Ulrichsweb, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). The study identified 176 open access journals that had disappeared from the internet under the time period 2000–2019.
The number of open access journal titles have been on the increase during the latest decade, as it has been a political aim within the European Union to support open access publishing. Many open access journals seem not only to be struggling with financing and resources but there is no systematic archiving of the disappeared titles, the median age of the vanished titles being about five years.
In Laakso’s and colleagues’ sample, journals of social sciences and humanities constituted the largest group of vanished open access journals (52 %), the phenomenon being less prominent in health sciences (17 %), physical sciences and mathematics (17 %), and life sciences (15 %).
Open science is thus still missing systematic methods for long-time archiving and preservation.
– Traditionally, libraries have been good at archiving scientific publications that they subscribe to but currently they do not have a responsibility to archive open science – even if open access publications would be the easiest to save and archive, the authors point out in a press release.
Mikael Laakso, Lisa Matthias and Najko Jahn (2020):
Open is Not Forever: A Study of Vanished Open Access Journals