does OA increase citation diversity?

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Glenn Hampson

Jan 14, 2024, 2:17:52 PMJan 14

Hi Folks,


I’m trying to make sense of a new Springer paper published from COKI data by Cameron Neylon, Lucy Montgomery et al---all well-known experts in the OA community. See Open access research outputs receive more diverse citations | Scientometrics (


In this paper, the authors contend that while it is indeed difficult to establish a citation advantage for OA, there is in fact a diversity advantage for OA across fields, regions and institutions. This seems like an intuitive hypothesis and I want it to be true---if a more diverse group of researchers can access information, then a more diverse group can cite it as well (all else being equal). But I’m flummoxed by the data presentation and analysis.  Does anyone have a better grasp of this? Specifically, it looks like (without re-running the data analysis):


  • There are no significant performance differences between different types of open (or even closed)---the error bars all significantly overlap (the authors attempt to brush aside p-value concerns but I’m not following their argument)
  • Green open outperforms everything in terms of diversity (even though green is often dismissed as a less than ideal open outcome)
  • Visually anyway, it looks like the overall diversity of the publication environment as defined by the authors may actually be slightly declining over the 2010-2019 time period being studied (all slopes are negative)
  • There’s no accompanying analysis of how publication changes by field and region over this period might affect the data (e.g., more papers are being published in more fields by more authors, so how does this driver compare with the impact of OA on diversity?)
  • The east Asia region is not benefitting at all (ostensibly because of indexing issues), and finally
  • How do APCs figure into all this? We’ve all talked for years about how high APCs might affect diversity in the scholcomm system. This MIT paper from last year by Thomas Klebel and Tony Ross-Hellauer does a solid job of explaining how APC charges are related to publishing (over roughly the same time period as the COKI study) by author, field, region, and institution: The APC-barrier and its effect on stratification in open access publishing | Quantitative Science Studies | MIT Press. How are APCs involved in diversity? Are they both driving it (by making more publishing possible) and also restricting it (because APCs are too high)? It would be good to know how this push-pull relationship is working, and if there is “sweet spot” if APCs are going to stay part of the solution environment.


This is a lot for a Sunday morning---sorry---but maybe some of you are looking for something to keep your brain busy 😊


Hope you’re all staying warm!


Best regards,




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