Mark McCabe, a research investigator at the University of Michigan School of Information, and Christopher Snyder, a faculty member in Economics at Dartmouth College, have published a new study of the impact of open access on citation rates for science journal content. McCabe and Snyder found that open access increases citation rates for high-quality content, while reducing citations to lower-quality content. In their paper, “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer: The Effect of Open Access on Cites to Science Journals Across the Quality Spectrum,” McCabe and Snyder construct a model to explain their findings, which was based on an analysis of 100 journals in ecology, botany, and general science. The authors document what they call a “superstar effect,” in which the benefits of open access (namely, increased citations) accrue to higher quality content and journals, while lower-tier content does not receive such benefits.
Mark McCabe has written widely on the economics of information and publishing. In 2008, he contributed a chapter on journal pricing to Economics and Usage of Digital Libraries: Byting the Bullet, an early work produced as part of the library-based publishing operations at the University of Michigan.
To read more about McCabe and Snyder’s analysis of citation rates for open access journal content, see: McCabe, Mark J. and Snyder, Christopher M., The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer: The Effect of Open Access on Cites to Science Journals Across the Quality Spectrum (May 23, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2269040 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2269040