Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur December 10, 2007

The Effect of Open Access on Citation Impact: A Comparison Study Based on Web Citation Analysis

Yanjun Zhang
From the journal

The academic impact advantage of Open Access (OA) is a prominent topic of debate in the library and publishing communities. Web citations have been proposed as comparable to, even replacements for, bibliographic citations in assessing the academic impact of journals. In our study, we compare Web citations to articles in an OA journal, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (JCMC), and a traditional access journal, New Media & Society (NMS), in the communication discipline. Web citation counts for JCMC are significantly higher than those for NMS. Furthermore, JCMC receives significantly higher Web citations from the formal scholarly publications posted on the Web than NMS does. The types of Web citations for journal articles were also examined. In the Web context, the impact of a journal can be assessed using more than one type of source: citations from scholarly articles, teaching materials and non-authoritative documents. The OA journal has higher percentages of citations from the third type, which suggests that, in addition to the research community, the impact advantage of open access is also detectable among ordinary users participating in Web-based academic communication. Moreover, our study also proves that the OA journal has impact advantage in developing countries. Compared with NMS, JCMC has more Web citations from developing countries.


Yanjun Zhang is Ph.D. Student in Library and Information Science, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7, Canada, E-mail:

Received: 2006-05-30
Accepted: 2006-08-14
Published Online: 2007-12-10
Published in Print: 2006-September-22

© 2006 by K. G. Saur Verlag, Federal Republic of Germany