, Volume 120, Issue 3, pp 1031–1057 | Cite as

On the bibliometric nature of a foreseeable relationship: open access and education

  • Juan-Carlos Valderrama-Zurián
  • Remedios Aguilar-MoyaEmail author
  • Juan Gorraiz


The open access (OA) publication model is evolving and gaining support in the international scientific community. However, there is no evidence regarding the open access pathways being used in educational research or regarding the relationship between its subject categories and various scientometric indicators. The objective of this study was to use InCites to analyse documents published in journals from 2010 to 2016 in the SSCI categories of ‘Education and Educational Research’, ‘Education, Scientific Disciplines’ and ‘Education, Special’. The percentage of documents published in the Gold OA model increased gradually over the period studied and was higher than in the Green OA model. ‘Education, Scientific Disciplines’ was the subcategory with the highest percentage of documents published in the Gold OA. There was greater international collaboration on articles and reviews in Gold OA, especially in the pure model (publications in Gold Open Access journals), and the percentage of articles cited was higher in the Green OA and Gold OA models than in a non-OA model. There was no evidence that the Gold OA hybrid was cited more often than Green OA, and both had more impact than Gold OA pure. The Category Normalized Citation Impact values and the presence of documents in first quartile journals were higher in OA than in non-OA models. A more detailed analysis of the percentiles of the most cited publications clearly demonstrates that OA publications dominated the top percentiles of most cited articles to a greater degree than non-OA publications. The ‘Education, Special’ subcategory showed the greatest international collaboration and the highest percentage of cited documents.


Open access Green OA Gold OA Hybrid model Citation impact Education 



Remedios Aguilar-Moya and Juan-Carlos Valderrama-Zurián placement at the Bibliometrics and Publication Strategies Unit at the University of Vienna Library in April 2017 and March 2018, and February 2018, respectively. This was made possible thanks to funding received from the Erasmus + Program.

Supplementary material

11192_2019_3175_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (164 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 164 kb)


  1. Aman, V., & Botte, A. (2017). A bibliometric view on the internationalization of European educational research. European Educational Research Journal, 16(6), 843–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Antelman, K. (2017). Leveraging the growth of open access in library collection decision making. In Mueller, D. M. (Ed.), At the Helm: Leading transformation: The Proceedings of the ACRL 2017 conference, March 2225, 2017, Baltimore, Maryland (pp. 411–422). Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries.Google Scholar
  3. Archambault, E., Amyot, D., Deschamps, P., Nicol, A., Provencher, F., Rebout, L., & Roberge, G. (2014). Proportion of open access papers published in peer-reviewed journals at the European and world levels19962013’, report for the European Commission. Accessed on June 2018.
  4. Archambault, E., Côté, G., Struck, B., & Voorons, M. (2016). Research impact of paywalled versus open access papers. Accessed on June 2018.
  5. Bedenlier, S., & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2015). Internationalization of higher education and the impacts on academic faculty members. Research in Comparative and International Education, 10(2), 185–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Björk, B.-C., Laakso, M., Welling, P., & Paetau, P. (2014). Anatomy of GREEN OPEN ACCESS. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 65(2), 237–250.Google Scholar
  7. Björk, B.-C., & Solomon, D. (2012). Open access versus subscription journals: A comparison of scientific impact. BMC Medicine, 10(1). Accessed on June 2018.
  8. Björk, B.-C., Welling, P., Laakso, M., Majlender, P., Hedlund, T., & Guðnason, G. (2010). Open Access to the scientific journal literature: Situation 2009. PLoS ONE, 5(6), e11273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bosman, J., & Kramer, B. (2018). Open access levels: a quantitative exploration using Web of Science and oaDOI data. PeerJ Preprints, 6, e3520v1. Accessed on June 2018.
  10. Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002). Read the Budapest open access initiative. Accessed on June 2018.
  11. Cabrera-Peña, K. I. (2014). Modelos de acceso abierto en educación y ciencia. Educación y Educadores, 17(2), 321–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Silva, P. U. K., & Vance, C. K. (2017). Scientific Scholarly communication. Fascinating life sciences. Basel: Springer International Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diestro Fernández, A., Ruiz Corbella, M., & Galán, A. (2017). Calidad editorial y científica en las revistas de educación. Tendencias y oportunidades en el contexto 2.0. Revista de Investigación Educativa, 35(1), 235–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Enserink, M. (2016). In dramatic statement, European leaders call for ‘immediate’ open access to all scientific papers by 2020. Science. Accessed on June 2018.
  15. Euan-Braga, E. I., & Echeverría-Echeverría, R. (2016). Evaluación psicopedagógica de menores con Necesidades Educativas Especiales: Una propuesta metodológica interdisciplinaria. Revista Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Niñez y Juventud, 14(2), 1103–1117.Google Scholar
  16. European Commission (2017). H2020 Programme. Guidelines to the rules on open access to scientific publications and open access to research data in Horizon 2020. Accessed on June 2018.
  17. Eysenbach, G. (2006). Citation advantage of open access articles. PLoS Biology, 4(5), e157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gargouri, Y., Larivière, V., Gingras, Y., Carr, L., & Harnad, S. (2012). Green and Gold Open Access percentages and growth, by discipline. Accessed on June 2018.
  19. González Alcaide, G., & Gómez Ferri, J. (2014). La colaboración científica: principales líneas de investigación y retos de futuro. Revista Española de Documentación Científica, 37(4), e062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. González-Betancor, S. M., & Dorta-González, P. (2017). An indicator of the impact of journals based on the percentage of their highly cited publications. Online Information Review, 41(3), 398–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodyear, R. K., Brewer, D. J., Gallagher, K. S., Tracey, T. J. G., Claiborn, C. D., Lichtenberg, J. W., et al. (2009). The intellectual foundations of education: Core journals and their impacts on scholarship and practice. Educational Researcher, 38(9), 700–706.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Granados, M. C. (2006). El contexto científico de la educación especial: bases psicológicas para el diseño y desarrollo de prácticas educativas adaptadas. Revista de Ciencias de la Educación del Instituto Calasanz de Ciencias de la Educación, 205, 111–141.Google Scholar
  23. Gumpenberger, C., & Gorraiz, J. (2018). Open access in the crosshairs. BIPCALBibliometrics in Practice: Challenges, Approaches & Limitations, 1. Accessed on June 2018.
  24. Hegarty, S. (2008). Investigación sobre educación especial en Europa. REICE. Revista Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 6(2), 191–199.Google Scholar
  25. Khabsa, M., & Giles, C. L. (2014). The number of scholarly documents on the public web. PLoS ONE, 9(5), e93949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Knaupp, M., Schnaufler, S., Hobauer, S., & Keiner, E. (2014). Education research and educational psychology in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom—An analysis of scholarly journals. Revue Suisse des Sciences de l’Éducation, 36(1), 83–108. Accessed on June 2018.
  27. Kosmützky, A., & Krücken, G. (2014). Investigación en educación superior internacional y análisis comparativo. International Higher Education, 79, 13–15. Accessed on June 2018.
  28. Kuzhabekova, A., Hendel, D. D., & Chapman, D. W. (2015). Mapping Global research on international higher education. Research in Higher Education, 56(8), 861–882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Laakso, M., Welling, P., Bukvova, H., Nyman, L., Björk, B. C., & Hedlund, T. (2011). The development of open access journal publishing from 1993 to 2009. PLoS ONE, 6(6), e20961.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McKiernan, E. C., Bourne, P. E., Brown, C. T., Buck, S., Kenall, A., Lin, J., et al. (2016). How open science helps researchers succeed. eLife, 5, e16800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nassi-Calò, L. (2018). Radiografía de la publicación académica en acceso abierto y sus indicadores bibliométricos [online]. Accessed on June 2018.
  32. OECD. (2013). Education at a glance 2013, OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Picasso, V., & Phelan, L. (2014). La evolución del acceso abierto a la investigación y a los datos en la educación superior en Australia. RUSC. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal, 11(3), 128–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Piwowar, H., Priem, J., Larivière, V., Alperin, J. P., Matthias, L., Norlander, B., et al. (2018). The state of OA: A large-scale analysis of the prevalence and impact of Open Access articles. PeerJ, 6, e4375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ramírez Montoya, M. S. (2015). Open Access and its impact on the knowledge society: Latin American case studies insights. Education in the Knowledge Society, 16(1), 103–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Science-Metrix (2018). Analytical support for bibliometrics indicators open access availability of scientific publications. Accessed on June 2018.
  37. Suber, P. (2015). Open access overview. Focusing on open access to peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints. Accessed on June 2018.
  38. Swan, A., Gargouri, Y., Hunt, M., & Harnad, S. (2015). Open access policy: Numbers, analysis, effectiveness. Pasteur4OA work package 3 report: Open Access policies. Accessed on June 2018.
  39. Teichler, U. (2014). Opportunities and problems of comparative higher education research: The daily life of research. Higher Education, 67(4), 393–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tomaszewski, R., Poulin, S., & MacDonald, K. I. (2013). Publishing in discipline-specific open access journals: Opportunities and outreach for librarians. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 39(1), 61–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tominac, A., & Zubac, A. (2012). The Presence of electronic versions of Croatian journals from the field of educational sciences in open access. Croatian Journal of Education, 15(4), 981–1012.Google Scholar
  42. UNESCO (2014). UNESCO education strategy 20142021. Accessed on June 2018.
  43. Van Noorden, R. (2013). Open access: The true cost of science publishing. Nature, 495(7442), 426–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yun, W., Hoong, K., Kabir, M. A., Peng, Ai, & Sinnasamy, J. (2014). Trend and impact of international collaboration in clinical medicine papers published in Malasya. Scientometrics, 98, 1521–1533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zawacki-Richter, O., Anderson, T., & Tuncay, N. (2010). The growing impact of open access distance education journals: A bibliometric analysis. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 24(3). Accessed on June 2018.
  46. Zawacki-Richter, O., & Naidu, S. (2016). Mapping research trends from 35 years of publications in distance education. Distance Education, 37(3), 245–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Zhang, L., & Watson, E. M. (2017). Measuring the impact of Gold and Green Open Access. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(4), 337–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Historia de la Ciencia y DocumentaciónUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Facultad de Magisterio y Ciencias de la EducaciónUniversidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente MártirGodellaSpain
  3. 3.Vienna University Library, Bibliometrics and Publication StrategiesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

Personalised recommendations