On the open-access “citation advantage”

This is an archival repost of something I wrote on the old blog in october 2008.

This week, I am mostly clearing my Google Docs of old half-written blog posts which I never got around to publishing…

From the discussions in the publishing/OA blogosphere, one would get the impression that the “citation advantage” gained by open-access publishing is an important issue. Peter Suber collects links to recent items on the question of whether open-access papers are cited more often than equivalent closed-access articles here. There evidence so far is mixed: some studies show the effect, some do not.

So what? Sorry, that may sound flippant, and all to easy for somebody who has no need to gratify grant agencies or tenure comities to say. But I have yet to find anybody in either publishing or academia who finds journal citation rates a satisfactory metric for anything at all, and I’m not convinced that it is of any use in this case either. Are we advocates of open access because we want more citations flying back and forth? Pffft. Open access is about doing cool things (reading, mining, building, using) with information that rightfully belongs to humanity. No “advantage” shown for single outdated measure of “use”? Who cares?

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