James Evans, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, discusses his research into the impact of open source publishing on disseminating scientific information. Evans and his partner Jacob Reimer, a student of neurobiology at the University of Chicago, examined millions of journal articles and other publications. They concluded that having a publication available online in an open source journal did increase the number of times it was read and cited, but having the publication available online in a commercial format increased its usage even more. These findings seemingly contradict previous research into open source publishing. Evans and Reimer did discover that open source publishing provides a vital source of information for researchers and scholars in the developing world who may not otherwise have access to this type of material. Their research appears in the February 20, 2009 edition of the journal Science.
Credit: National Science Foundation/AAAS