OASPA members’ output continues to grow, as does the use of CC BY licenses

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Each year, OASPA surveys its members about their publication output. This year, we are delighted to have worked with Delta Think who have helped us by taking on the analysis, structuring and presentation of the data we collected, and in this guest blog post they highlight our findings.  

This post is by Dan Pollock, Chief Digital Officer, Delta Think

OASPA members were invited to share their data to update the previous post on this topic which was published on the OASPA blog last year. Information covers the number of open access articles across all journals (including hybrid) and the license under which those articles were published, up to the year 2019. Figures were supplied as number of articles published per year since implementation of the license by that publisher. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details.


Continued increase in OA articles published by OASPA Members

The volume of publications from OASPA members continues to grow. Just under 2.1 million articles were published by members in the period 2000-2019. Over 425,000 of these were published in 2019, representing a growth of around 17% over the previous year. The total number of articles reported by members has grown just under 10-fold from 2011 to 2019. 

CC BY in fully OA journals continues to dominate output. However, beneath the headlines lie some interesting nuances, especially around articles in hybrid journals.


Rate of growth for CC BY articles in fully OA journals continues for OASPA members

Around 75% of OASPA members’ open access articles are published in fully OA journals. The chart below compares publications in fully OA journals with those in hybrid ones.

Figure 1: Open Access Articles Published by OASPA Members

The data show that CC BY articles in fully OA journals are by far the dominant type of articles published by OASPA members. Just over 1.7 million articles were published with the CC BY license in fully OA (open access-only) journals by members of OASPA during the period 2000-2019. Around 323,000 of those were published in 2019. A further 39,000 were published in 2019 under CC BY in hybrid journals.

Numbers of articles continue to grow across the board. In 2019, the volume of articles in fully OA journals grew by just under 20%, compared with a growth of just over 30% in hybrid output, and just under 21% overall.


CC BY article numbers for fully OA journals continue to grow, but we see some growth elsewhere too

CC BY licenses dominate, accounting for over 88% of articles in fully OA journals and around 66% of those in hybrid journals. 

In fully OA journals, the proportion of CC BY licenses had been falling slightly in previous years. This trend appears to have reversed in 2019. CC BY-NC licenses have held steady at around 7%-9% of fully OA output over the last few years. Meanwhile the use of CC BY-NC-ND took some share in 2018, but fell from 6% to 4% in 2019. 

Licenses with some restrictions are significantly more prevalent in hybrid journals. They are displacing the proportion of CC BY, which continues to fall, down 10 percentage points from just over 75% of hybrid OA in 2014. They are split roughly equally between NC and ND. Growth of more restricted licenses took share over the last few years, but lost ground slightly in 2019. 


Output is highly consolidated

6 publishers account for around 75% of OASPA members’ OA output, and for just under 85% of the CC BY articles published in fully OA journals. While the publishers are the same, the order has changed slightly from previous years. In 2019, MDPI published 34% of CC BY articles in fully OA journals, Springer Nature published 25%, Frontiers 10%, PLOS 5.5%, Hindawi 6% and Wiley 3.8%. Compared with 2018, we have seen MDPI move into top place, PLOS fall back and Wiley replacing De Gruyter in the top tier of publishers producing more than 10,000 articles per year.


Delta Think is a strategic consulting and advisory firm serving organizations in professional and academic communications as well as professional membership societies. Since 2005, Delta Think has engaged with more than 120 organizations across the scholarly enterprise by creating effective business and product strategies, developing and analyzing customer and market intelligence, and translating strategies into actionable and execution focused roadmaps and work plans. 

To support data-driven decisions surrounding Open Access, in 2017 Delta Think launched the Open Access Data and Analytics Tool (OA DAT), a subscription-based product which allows users to analyse open access data in detail and to stay abreast of the continually evolving market through carefully curated data, visualizations, and expert commentary on APCs, funding, market sizing and dynamics, and more. 

Learn more at www.deltathink.com and https://oainfo.deltathink.com/

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