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Acceleration of Humanities and Social Sciences Articles in Open Access

Six-fold increase in OA articles by HSS researchers at participating UK institutions

by Taylor & Francis Group
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The power of transformative agreements (TAs) to drive the transition to open access (OA), especially in the Humanities and Social Sciences, is revealed in a new report published by Taylor & Francis. "Accelerating open access in the UK" explores in detail the first two years of Taylor & Francis’ OA partnership with the Jisc consortium and how it has boosted the global impact of research from UK institutions.

Supporting Humanities and Social Sciences researchers to publish OA

One of the report’s standout findings is the benefit of the TA for Humanities and Social Science (HSS) researchers. In the last two years, 7,900 articles by HSS authors at participating UK institutions were published OA in Taylor & Francis journals, more than six times the number in 2019-20. This is a significant result because HSS researchers usually find it harder to publish open access, having less OA funding than their peers in STEM.

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The report highlights the example of History that, with 250 open access articles in Taylor & Francis journals, was the subject area with the highest number supported by the agreement. The proportion of OA history articles with an author at a participating UK institution rose from just 10 percent in 2020 to 74 percent last year.

Especially high rates of open access acceleration were seen in some specialist areas. In Teacher Education in 2020 there were no OA articles by authors at institutions that later participated in the agreement. After two years that number had risen to 81 percent of supported authors publishing open access. Similar levels of OA growth were seen in Middle East Studies, Sexual Diversity Studies, and Physical Education.

Jessica Vivian, HSS Publishing Director at Taylor & Francis, says: “I am delighted to see UK scholars in HSS realizing the full benefits of publishing OA via our arrangement with Jisc. We have seen articles gain considerably more impact by being published OA in subject areas that would not have traditionally had any funding, such as Literature, History, and Politics.”

More open access articles, citations, and full OA journals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

The agreement has also increased support for STEM researchers, with both a growth in the number of OA articles and a substantial impact on citations. More than 2,100 STEM articles were published OA through the agreement, more than three times the number of the previous two years. There was a particularly significant rise in OA articles by UK authors in Civil, Structural, and Geotechnical Engineering. In 2022, 80 percent of articles in this area were published OA, compared to just five percent in 2020.

Citations to STEM articles also grew as a result of being published OA. Control and Systems Engineering, for example, saw a 2,800 percent increase in citations between 2020 and 2022. In Substance Abuse there was a 600 percent citation growth over the same period.

The report notes that another important impact of the growth of OA articles through the agreement, and other similar TAs, is enabling hybrid journals to convert to fully open access. Journals recently converted include Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, RNA Biology, and Platelets.

Readership, reach, and impact

A wealth of additional detail about open access articles supported by the Jisc agreement is presented in the report, including:

  • 432 percent increase in OA articles between 2020 and 2022.
  • 16.2 million article downloads, including 3.5 million in the US.
  • Articles published OA via the agreement received an average of 2.18 scholarly citations, whereas non-OA articles by researchers at the same institutions had 1.33 citations.
  • 499 agreement articles cited in governmental, intergovernmental, and think tank policy documents.
  • 4,170 news stories about supported articles by 1,140 outlets in 70 countries.

Over 600 institutions around the world are now making the transition to open access with the support of Taylor & Francis, through more than 25 transformative agreements. In 2021-22 these TAs enabled researchers to publish 21,000+ OA articles in Taylor & Francis journals.

Transformative agreements require substantial investment in resources, system development, and capabilities at both publishers and institutions. However, the evidence presented in the new report is that the result of this investment is a significant boost to research reach and impact.

- This press release was provided by the Taylor & Francis Group