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Self-selection and the citation advantage of open access articles

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Purpose ‐ This research seeks to examine the relationship between the open access availability of journal articles in anthropology and their citation conditions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper applies a statistical logistic regression model to explore this relationship, and compares two groups of articles, those published in high-ranked journals and those in low-ranked journals based on journal impact factor, to examine the likelihood that open access status is correlated to scholarly impact. Findings ‐ The results reveal that open access articles in general receive more citations. Moreover, this research finds that articles in high-ranked journals do not have a higher open access rate, and articles in lower-ranked journals have a greater increase rate of citations if they are freely accessible. Originality/value ‐ The findings are contrary to the existing theory that a higher citation rate of open access articles is caused by authors posting their best articles online. It is hoped that the research discoveries can help electronic publishers and digital project managers to adjust their strategies in open access advocacy.

Keywords: Anthropological journals; Citations; Open access journal articles; Open access publishing; Self-selection; Serials

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 17, 2012


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