Open access and global participation in science

Science. 2009 Feb 20;323(5917):1025. doi: 10.1126/science.1154562.


Previous investigations into the impact of open-access journals on subsequent citations confounded open and electronic access and failed to track availability over time. With new data, we separated these effects. We demonstrate that a journal receives a modest increase in citations when it comes online freely, but the jump is larger when it first comes online through commercial sources. This effect reverses for poor countries where free-access articles are much more likely to be cited. Together, findings suggest that free Internet access widens the circle of those who read and make use of scientists' investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information*
  • Bibliometrics*
  • Developing Countries
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internationality*
  • Internet*
  • Periodicals as Topic*