How open is open access research in Library and Information Science?

Keywords: Open Access self-archiving, LIS journals


The study investigates Library and Information Science (LIS) journals that published research articles between 2003 and 2013, which were about open access (OA) and were indexed in LIS databases. The purpose was to investigate the journals’ OA policies, ascertain the degree to which these policies facilitate OA to publications, and investigate whether such texts are also available as OA. The results show that literature growth in the domain has been significant, with a total of 1,402 articles produced during the eleven years under study. The OA policies of the fifty-six journals that published the highest number of articles were analysed. The results show that most articles (404; 41%) were published in hybrid journals, whereas 272 (29.7%) appeared in OA journals. Some 143 (53%) of the articles published in hybrid journals were available as green OA copies. In total, 602 (66%) of all the articles published were available as OA. The results show that the adoption of OA for research articles on that very subject is somewhat higher than in other fields. The study calls on LIS professionals to be conversant with the OA policies of the various journals that may publish their research.

Author Biography

Wanyenda Leonard Chilimo, Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya
University Librarian at Technical University of Mombasa, Kenya


American Psychological Society (APS). 2007. Opening up open access: weaving the ‘author pays’ safety net. The Physiologist, 50(30): 106–107.

Björk, B.C. 2012. The hybrid model for publication of scholarly articles: a failed experiment? Journal of American Society of Information Science, 63(8): 1496–1504.

Bowley, C. and Vandegrift, M. 2014. Librarian heal thyself: a scholarly communication analysis of LIS journals. In the Library with the Lead Pipe. 23 April. DOI:10.6084/m9.figshare.994261.

Click, A.B., Wiley, C.W. and Houlihan, M., 2017. The internationalization of the academic library: a systematic review of 25 years of literature on international students. College & Research Libraries, 78(3): 328-358.

Fourie, I., Bitso, C. and JD Bothma, T., 2014. Methods and resources to monitor internet censorship. Library Hi Tech, 32(4): 723-739.

Laakso, M. 2014. Green open access policies of scholarly journal publishers: a study of what, when, and where self-archiving is allowed. Scientometrics, 9(2): 475–494.

Laakso, M. and Björk, B.C. 2012. Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure. BMC Medicine, 10(124): 1–9

Lin, S. 2006. Delayed open access or permanent non-open access. Molecules, 11(7): 496–497.

Mercer, H. 2011. Almost halfway there: an analysis of the open access behaviors of academic librarians. College & Research Libraries, 72(5): 443–453.

Miguel, S., Tannuri de Oliveira, E.F. and Cabrini Grácio, M.C. 2016. Scientific production on open access: a worldwide bibliometric analysis in the academic and scientific context. Publications, 4(1): 1–16

Mizera, K. 2013. Delayed vs. immediate open access. [Online]. (11 December 2014).

Poynder, R. 2012. Open access mandates: ensuring compliance. [Online]. (15 December 2014).

Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies (ROARMAP). 2014. Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies. [Online]. (7 April 2014).

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). 2013. How open is it? The open access spectrum. [Online]. (8 September 2014).

Tonta, Y., Doğan, G., Al, U. and Madran, O. 2015. Open access policies of research funders: the case study of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). [Online]. (7 April 2014).

United Kingdom Serial Group (UKSG). 2015. Serials: The Journal for the Serials Community [Online]. (8 January 2015).

University of Nottingham. 2014. Publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. [Online]. (8 May 2014).

Way, D. 2010. The open access availability of library and information science literature. College & Research Libraries, 71(4): 302–309.

Vinson, T.C. and Welsh, T.S. 2014. A comparison of three Library and Information Science Databases. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 26(2): 114-126.

Xia, J. 2012. Positioning open access journals in a LIS journal ranking. College & Research Libraries, 73(2): 134–145.

Xia, J., Wilhoite, S.K. and Myers, R.L. 2011. A “librarian–LIS faculty” divide in open access practice. Journal of Documentation, 67(5): 791–805.

Research Articles