Radiology needs to support more open-access publishing

Open-access (OA) publishing in radiology and nuclear medicine has slowed in recent years, and authors of a new study believe radiology—as a whole—needs to be more supportive in offering free access to the field’s latest research.

Despite a rise in the percentage of OA journals over a seven-year span, the median output and citation count were both lower in freely published radiology journals compared to subscription-based models, reported authors of a June 10 study published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

“With increasing calls for openness in science, OA publishing is one of the main pillars of the openness movement,” wrote Lna Malkawi, Jordan University Hospital’s Department of Radiology in Amman, Jordan, and colleagues. “We believe that the more a discipline encourages OA publishing, the more accessible its knowledge can be to researchers from all over the world.”

The researchers included data from 265 radiology journals in their study. All journals were part of the Scopus Source List which was filtered for the years 2011 to 2017.

Overall, there was an increase in the proportion of OA journals from 2011 to 2017, jumping from 14.7% to 21.9%. However, of the 265 radiology journals in the database, only 59 (22.3%) were OA.

Scholarly output and citation count were both “significantly” lower in OA radiology journals compared to those that require a subscription.

“This difference might be a result of preference of authors with novel and impactful (i.e., more citable) results to submit their findings to prestigious journals, which are usually subscription, thus attracting more citations to those journals,” Malkawi et al explained.

Prior studies, the researchers noted, have found that authors consider journal reputation and publication fees when selecting where to publish their research. Access, however, was not an important consideration.

“In light of our finding…we believe that the radiology field should be more supportive of OA publishing,” the group concluded.