Re: Leading academics back UK Research Councils on self-archiving

From: Michael Kurtz <kurtz_at_CFA.HARVARD.EDU>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 12:50:48 -0400

A quick data point to the discussion of the financial impact of open
access sources on journals.

The Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System is the primary access
point for nearly every professional astronomer to access the journal
literature, usage trends from its logs are definative as to the behavior
of astronomers.

Astronomers have long used the open access Cornel arXiv astro_ph data
base to read the current literaure, its use is, as with ADS, nearly
universal among research astronomers.

For the leading astronomy journal, The Astrophysical Journal, for the
year 2004, 75% of its articles, representing 90% of citations to these
articles, appeared in the astro_ph database.

Once the journal article is published ADS makes an automatic link
between it and the astro_ph version, this link receives equal prominance
with the links to the journal itself, and all other links associated
with the article. Once a scientist has looked up an article s/he needs
to decide which link to follow to read further.

For the month of July 2005, looking at ApJ articles from 2004, there
were 46,128 links followed, 19,149 of these were to the full text of the
article, and 1,479 of these were to the OA astro_ph version. The OA
version was 3.2% of total links and 7.7% of full text links (with the
rest of the full text links to the subscription only journal).

This seems to indicate that for astronomers the existence of a widely
used OA alternative source, with total equality of access, does not pose
a serious financial threat to the journals, at least for now.

Dr. Michael J. Kurtz
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
VOICE: +1-617-495-7434
FAX: +1-617-495-7467
Received on Tue Aug 23 2005 - 18:52:22 BST

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