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The trend is supported by several previous studies, but some have questioned whether the effect exists.Waltman says that it’s difficult to know for sure whether these studies are being cited more frequently specifically because they are open.
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Another 9% of the studies were still published behind a paywall, but authors later uploaded their paper — or some version of it, such as a peer-reviewed manuscript — to an online repository (see ‘The state of open research’).
The most intriguing category of papers were the 15% that were posted on a publisher’s site as free to read, but without any explicit open licence.
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Any information that you use to support ideas and arguments in a research paper should be given some scrutiny.The widget then signals to the user whether a free-to-read version of the article is available.The study authors analysed server logs of 100,000 papers that Unpaywall users tried to access during one week in June, and found that 47% of accessed studies were legally available to read for free somewhere on the web.Printed materials that are collected in a library go through an evaluative process as librarians select them to include in their collections.There is also an evaluation of Web sites that are included in search directories, such as Yahoo!As tensions over the costs of institutional subscription packages grow between universities and publishers, the finding that roughly half of recently published research may be available to read for free could “tip the scales toward cancellation for some institutions”, the study says. “In the next few decades, we’re going to be seeing nearly all the literature available freely.” An earlier version of this story stated that free-to-read articles are cited 18% more than paywalled articles; in fact, the comparison is with the average for all articles for a given subject area and publication year.For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines.Free Online Research Papers is made possible by people like you submitting and commenting on research papers, research articles, book reviews, poetry, and creative writing pieces.Almost half of the scholarly papers that people attempt to access online are now freely and legally available, according to a huge study that tracked 100,000 online requests for journal papers in June.The work, published on 2 August in Peer J Preprints, examined reader data from a web-browser extension called Unpaywall, which trawls the Internet to find free-to-read versions of paywalled papers.The tool, which launched in April, was developed by two authors of the study, Jason Priem and Heather Piwowar, who co-founded the non-profit company Impactstory in Vancouver, Canada.