9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

P72 - The geographic distribution of Open Access journals: an analysis of journal publication data to establish the distribution of publishing countries of OA journals

The regional distribution of Open Access (OA) journals in the ISI citation databases differs significantly from the overall distribution of journals, namely in favour of peripheral areas and regions constituted predominantly of developing countries. A recent study (McVeigh 2004) found that while in the ISI citation databases as a whole, North America and Western Europe account for 90% of the titles indexed, they account for only 40% of OA journals. Less than 2% of European and North American journals employ the OA model, yet 15% of those from the Asia-Pacific region and 40% from Central and South America are OA.  This leads the author to conclude that & quot;[for] many journals, providing free content online expands their access to an international readership & quot; (McVeigh 2004, p.4).
The study at hand provides an analysis of available journal publication data to establish if and how the regional distribution of OA journals in general correlates with the above findings. It aims to establish the geographic distribution of OA journals and to compare their regional distribution with the distribution of scholarly journals in general and also with the subgroup of scholarly online journals. Furthermore,  differences between subject categories are considered, as are variations between and among economic groups of countries. For this purpose, data from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory were gathered and analysed using descriptive statistical techniques.
The results indicate interesting differences between the geographic distribution of scholarly journals in general and the subgroup of OA journals. To illustrate, among the top 25 publishing countries for all journals, 7 do not belong to the group of high incom e countries, and only 6 in the case of scholarly online journals. Yet for OA journals this number increases to 11, with Brazil taking the 3rd  and India the 5th spot. According to the DOAJ almost a fifth of OA journals in the Health Sciences and over a quarter of Biology and Life Science OA journals are published in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
The poster delivers a graphical representation and illustration of the findings, in order to provide a basis for discussion as well as to invite debate about possible interpretations.