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Research shows open-access growth

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The volume of peer-reviewed research articles published under an open-access (OA) model has grown at a much faster rate than the total annual volume of all peer-reviewed research articles, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

The PLoS ONE article reports on a study of OA journal publishing between 1993 and 2009. The article identifies three distinct periods of OA publishing: pioneering years (1993-1999, with some OA titles starting earlier than this), innovation years (2000–2004) and consolidation years (2005–2009).

It notes that OA journals today benefit from the increasing use of general search engines and free search engines like Google Scholar to search for articles, which puts OA material on equal terms with traditional subscription articles.

However, the article points out that OA journals are very heterogeneous. The majority are relatively newly-founded journals that have been OA online-only journals from the start but some older, established journals have also made OA online-versions of their journal available in parallel to the printed subscription version. There has also been a shift from journals founded by individual scholars on tailor-made IT-platforms, which dominated the picture in the 1990s, to the more recent addition of commercial OA publishers in the market.