The influence of impact factor in open access publishing


The trends in open access publishing are the talking point of most academicians in scholarly publications. One of the most commonly misunderstood topics is the correlation between impact factors and open access journals.

One of the most significant benefits of publishing open access is that the article is freely accessible to everyone to read. Thus, valuable research data can be disseminated to a broader audience, and the article’s impact factor may increase.

Is the impact factor helpful in assessing the quality of research papers? Is open access publishing suppressing the efficacy of the impact factor? Well, some open access journals have an impact factor, while many do not endorse these metrics.

An open-access journal may not have an impact factor due to the following reasons: the scope and aim of the journal may be in the Arts & Humanities sector, such that it is not enlisted in the SSCI (Social Science Citation Index) or the SCI (Science Citation Index). These are databases that present the impact factors of journals.

The OA journal may be relatively new, and the process of application of indexing in SCI and SSCI databases may not have occurred. In the case of fairly old journals, the editorial board has to make an effort to apply to indexing processes.

However, most prestigious OA journals have an impact factor, but that does not mean other OA journals have published low quality research. On the contrary, the impact factor indicates the quality of research even in subscription journals of the same discipline.

Now, let us understand the complex aspects on which the impact factor depends. In general, patterns of citations in a particular subject area and the type of articles a journal publishes are taken into account before giving an impact factor to the journal.

For example, an open-access journal may be well-read by the masses. Its content is freely available to everyone and is not restricted by a paywall, like in subscription journals. An ordinary reader may expect the articles to be highly cited. However, if the readership is mainly due to medical practitioners, the articles won’t be highly cited.

Most researchers consider the impact factor of the journal before publishing an article. However, researchers and funders are moving beyond the scope of impact factor to assess the merits of scientific research. Today, they are exposed to a wider range of metrics, which enable a better assessment of the quality of research.

Furthermore, in open-access journal, the article is available online and is free to read for everyone and anywhere in the world with internet access. Therefore, the research published in open access journals will have a broader impact as it generates lots of downloads by researchers worldwide.

An acquisition deal between Brill and Wageningen Academic Publishers

Brill, the leading academic publisher from Europe, has made a strategic acquisition of Wageningen Academic Publishers this week. Brill publishes journals, books, and periodicals in humanities, social science, law, and biology.

The shareholders of Wageningen Publishers have agreed to sell all their shares and enable Brill publishers to acquire a 100% stake in the business. With this acquisition, Brill gained all titles of Wageningen Academic Publishers, which had journals and books in food science, health, animal studies, agriculture, and environment.

The publishers primarily published Open Access (OA) journals, books, and conference proceedings. In the year 2021, the total estimated revenue of Wageningen Academic Publishers (WAP) was around 1 million EUR. With the acquisition of WAP, Brill will strengthen its stand in the academic publishing domain of biology, which is seeing a spurt in new titles and issues.

Moreover, Brill’s main objective is to foray into emerging disciplines, such as agriculture and the environment. Therefore, it has to have publications that address global challenges. Furthermore, many researchers receive scholarships in these fields as they are all related to climate change.

According to Brill’s CEO, Peter Coebergh, WAP was an excellent international publisher in agriculture and biology. Moreover, it included a lot of journals that were highly attractive to researchers. With the acquisition of WAP, Brill has now taken on a humungous task of creating an interdisciplinary ecosystem of Science and International laws on climate change and the environment.

The portfolio of interdisciplinary journals will showcase the strong presence of open access models of publishing and research. Furthermore, according to managing directors and shareholders of WAP, the acquisition makes WAP a part of the Brill family, thereby further consolidating its programs on current titles of journals and books.

The purchase is effective from 15 April 2022 and marks a significant development in academic publishing.