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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL RESEARCH REPORT
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 17-19

Open access publishing: A review of publications originating from a medical college in Nigeria


1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Sciences, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication21-Jul-2014

Correspondence Address:
Wasiu Lanre Adeyemo
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Faculty of Dental Sciences, College of Medicine University of Lagos, Lagos
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1595-9587.137245

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  Abstract 

Background: Open Access (OA) publishing has gained tremendous acceptance in academic publishing over the last decade. This paper reviews the number and trend of OA publishing of research papers originating from College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL), Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A computerized literature search of PubMed for all published articles originating from CMUL between 1976 and 2013 was conducted. The search phrase used was "College of Medicine University of Lagos". The search was conducted on March 30, 2013. All articles tagged "Free article" or "Free PubMed article" were selected. Results: A total of 1255 articles appeared in PubMed between 1976 and 2013 (37 years). At the first level of screening, 162 articles were identified as "Open Access". Second level of screening to eliminate articles not originating from CMUL identified 124 articles. Only 15 OA articles were published between 1976 and 2000 (24 years), 11 articles appeared as "Open Access" journals between 2001 and 2005 (5 years), 44 between 2006 and 2010 (5 years), and 54 articles were published between 2011 and 2013. Twenty-four of these articles were published in Nigerian OA Journals, and the remaining articles (100) in foreign journals. Conclusions: OA publishing is becoming popular among researchers at CMUL. This trend has been observed worldwide. Nigerian researchers are advised that while going along with the worldwide trend, they should however, be aware of predatory OA journals and publishers. The criteria for determining predatory OA publishers can be accessed via: www.scholarlyoa.com/publishers.

Keywords: Medical College, Nigeria, open access, review


How to cite this article:
Adeyemo WL, James O, Adeyemo TA. Open access publishing: A review of publications originating from a medical college in Nigeria. J Clin Sci 2014;11:17-9

How to cite this URL:
Adeyemo WL, James O, Adeyemo TA. Open access publishing: A review of publications originating from a medical college in Nigeria. J Clin Sci [serial online] 2014 [cited 2018 Aug 14];11:17-9. Available from: http://www.jcsjournal.org/text.asp?2014/11/1/17/137245


  Introduction Top


Open access (OA) is the practice of providing unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. [1],[2],[3] OA publishing has gained tremendous acceptance in academic publishing over the last decade. [1],[2],[3] OA to the research literature has the potential to accelerate recognition and dissemination of research findings but its actual effects are controversial. [4] The following categories of OA are recognized: Gold OA, Green OA (Self Archiving), and Hybrid OA. [2] Gold OA means scientific journals are openly accessible, and Green OA denotes that publications are self-archived in repositories. Hybrid OA journals are subscription journals that provide Gold OA only for those individual articles for which their authors (or their author's institution or funder) pay an OA publishing fee. [2],[3],[4]

With the growing use of the internet, new publishing models are emerging, which are committed to providing free access to the full text of research articles. [3] Many society-owned journals now offer their archives online free of charge, while retaining subscription-only access to newer material. The challenge now is to make access free from the moment of publication in a way that has long term sustainability. [3]

Many research funding agencies like National Institute of Health (NIH) and Welcome Trust have endorsed OA policy. Many governments, especially in Europe and North America are also openly endorsing OA policy. Many subscription-based publishers (Elsevier, Springer) now give authors an option of "Open Access" for their articles. Once the authors agree and pay the fees, the full text of their research work can be accessed by other researchers without subscription. Studies have also shown that OA articles are more likely to be used and cited than one behind subscription barriers. [4] However, it must be recognized that ease of accessibility to the internet has created many "junks" in OA publishing. Researchers must be wary of such journals otherwise called "Predatory OA journals" as described by "Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association" (http://oaspa.org/), and a list of predatory OA journals can be found at http://scholarlyoa.com/.

In Nigeria, anecdotal evidence suggests that many peer-reviewed journals as well as scholars are now embracing OA publication. It is important to explore the attitude of Nigerian researchers to the "Open Access" publication and compare with trends in other part of the world. Therefore, this paper reviews the trend of OA publishing of research papers originating from College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) between 1976 and 2013.


  Materials and Methods Top


A computerized literature search of PubMed for all published articles originating from the College of Medicine University of Lagos (CMUL) between 1976 and 2013 was conducted. The search phrase used was "College of Medicine University of Lagos". The search was conducted on the March 30, 2013. All articles tagged "Free article" or "Free PubMed article" were selected as OA articles. Two levels of screening for the articles were employed during the search. The search phrase "College of Medicine University of Lagos" was used for the first level. At the second level of screening, all articles that appeared at the first level of screening were manually searched, and only those that strictly have College of Medicine University of Lagos address were selected for analysis.


  Results Top


A total of 1255 articles appeared in PubMed between 1976 and 2013 (37 years). At the first level of screening, 162 articles were identified as "Open Access". Second level of screening to eliminate articles not originating from CMUL identified 124 articles. A total of 124 articles from CMUL appeared in OA Journals. Only 15 OA articles were published between 1976 and 2000 (24 years), 11 articles appeared as "Open Access" journals between 2001 and 2005 (5 years), 44 between 2006 and 2010 (5 years), and 54 articles were published between 2011 and 2013 (less than 3 years). [Figure 1] shows the trend of OA publication from the College of Medicine University of Lagos. The trend reveals a steady rise in OA articles particularly between 2001 and 2013. Twenty-four of these articles were published in Nigerian OA Journals [Table 1], and the remaining articles (100) in foreign journals.
Figure 1: Trends of open access publication from CMUL

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Table 1: Nigerian OA Journals and their publishers


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  Discussion Top


There is currently an explosion of interest in the academic and publishing communities about the promise-and possible perils-of open-access scholarship and publishing. [1] According to Chatteriee et al., [4] the debate on OA to scientific literature has been raging in scholarly circles for quite some time now and has been fueled further by the recent developments in the realm of the OA movement. According to Eysencbach, [5] there are two parallel ''roads'' towards OA: OA journals and self-archiving. OA journals make published articles immediately freely available on their website, a model mostly funded by the fees paid by the author (usually through a research grant). The alternative for a researcher is ''self-archiving'' (i.e., to publish in a traditional journal, where only subscribers have immediate access, but not make the article available on their personal and/or institutional websites, including the so-called repositories or archives), which is a practice allowed by many scholarly journals. [5]

The quality of articles appearing in OA journals and subscription-based journals has also been a source of debate. [1],[3],[5] Some scholars have also questioned the review process of OA journals believing the process is not sufficiently rigorous. [6] However, other authors have reported no difference on the basis of impact factors between OA journals and subscription-based journals. [6] Sabharwal et al., [7] also suggested equivalent importance and quality of articles between OA and subscription-based orthopedic journals based on bibliometric data and the volume of level I evidence produced.

In a longitudinal bibliometric analysis of a cohort of OA and non-OA articles published between June and December 2004 in PLOS Biology, Eysenbach [5] reported that the average number of citations of OA articles was higher compared to non-OA articles. According to Eysenbach [5] OA articles compared to non-OA articles remained twice as likely to be cited in the first 4-10 months and 10-16 months after publication. He found strong evidence that, even in a journal that is widely available in research libraries, OA articles are more immediately recognized and cited by peers than non-OA articles published in the same journal. [5] He concluded that OA is likely to benefit science by accelerating dissemination and uptake of research findings. [5]

An increasing trend in OA Publishing was observed in the publications originating from College of Medicine University of Lagos, Nigeria. This trend is commendable and in line with what goes on around the academic World. It is also commendable that all five OA journals originating from Nigeria are either institutional- or society-based journals. This implies that our institutions and medical societies are already imbibing the OA policy.

It must be stated that ease accessibility to the Internet has created many "junks" in OA publishing. There are thousands of journals and publishers. However, researchers must be able to "separate the wheat from the chaff" when submitting their publications to OA journals. Researchers must be wary of "predatory journals and publishers" when submitting their papers for publications. A search through the following websites can be of help: http://oaspa.org, and http://scholarlyoa.com. The criteria for determining predatory OA publishers can be accessed via www.scholarlyoa.com/publishers.

Although there are no foolproof methods to find out fake journals (predatory journals/publishers) on OA platforms, scholars, according to Sau, [8] can take certain measures to avoid these counterfeit journals. First, they should check the scope of the journal as most of these predatory journals publish articles from different fields of science [9] within a short period of time, [9],[10] which is usually not possible for a normal regular journal. [8] The code of conduct of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) makes it mandatory that an OA journal should have editorial boards or other governing bodies consisting of recognized specialists from the field (s) that constitute the scope of the journal. OASPA also suggested that there should be some form of peer review and it should be clearly mentioned on the journal or publisher's website. The details of the Code of Conduct for OA Publishing can be found on the OASPA website: (http://oaspa.org/).

The fact that the method used in this study only explored articles that appeared in "PubMed search engine" is considered a limitation of the study. In addition, the scope is focused only on an institution (CMUL). However, it is our opinion that the present study forms a basis for understanding the trend of OA publishing in medical research in Nigeria.


  Conclusion Top


OA publishing is becoming popular among researchers at the CMUL. This trend has been observed worldwide. Nigerian researchers are advised that while going along with the worldwide trend, they should, however, be aware of predatory OA journals and publishers. With this new trend observed among researchers, our libraries should also be equipped to pursue OA publishing alternatives in addition to subscription-based journals.

 
  References Top

1.Antelman K. Do open-access articles have a greater research impact? Coll Res Libr 2004;65:372-82.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Abadal E. Gold or green: The debate on open access policies. Int Microbiol 2014;16:199-203.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Tamber PS, Godlee F, Newmark P. Open access peer-reviewed: Making it happen. Lancet 2003;362:1575-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.Chatterjee P, Biswas T, Mishra V. Open access: The changing face of scientific publishing. J Family Med Prim Care 2013;2:128-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.Eysenbach G. Citation advantage of open access articles. PLoS Biol 2006;4:e157.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]    
6.Bohannon J. Who's afraid of peer-review? Science 2013;342:60-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]    
7.Sabharwal S, Patel N, Johal K. Open access publishing: A study of current practices in orthopaedic research. Int Orthop 2014;38:1297-302.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Sau K. Facts about journal publishing in open access policy. Indian J Med Res 2013;138:1029-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
9.Haug C. The downside of open-access publishing. N Engl J Med 2013;368:791-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
[PUBMED]    
10.Beall J. Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature 2012;489:179.  Back to cited text no. 10
[PUBMED]    


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