Open access publishing on the rise at KI

Published: 2021-10-28

Karolinska Institutet's policy for open publication, which in short states that KI's researchers must make their peer-reviewed publications open and freely available (open access, OA) under an open license, has existed in its current form for almost a year. In connection with the international open access week that is currently taking place, we will here present statistics on what the transition to open publishing looks like at Karolinska Institutet and to what extent open access publications are cited.

Open access publishing at KI is increasing

Chart showing an increase of open access publishing (gold, hybrid and green) at KI from 2018 (around 55%) to 2021 (around 70%, preliminary).
Please note that the percentages for 2021 are preliminary (based on data collected 2021-10-14).

Preliminary figures for 2021 show that open access publishing at the university continues to increase, and 68 percent of KI's articles and review articles have so far been published directly open access, which means that the articles have been published either in pure OA journals (so-called gold open access) or as OA-articles in hybrid journals (hybrid open access). Green open access (self-archiving in open archives) can usually only take place after an embargo period of six to twelve months, so the proportion of green open access for the current year is likely to increase over time to levels similar to those at the beginning of the period.

Chart showing an increased percentage of hybrid and gold open access publishing 2018-2021. Non-open access and green open access decreases. Hybrid open access has the sharpest increase, from 17% 2018 to 35% 2021. Gold open access increases from 27 to 34%.
Please note that the percentages for 2021 are preliminary (based on data collected 2021-10-14).

KI's agreements for open access publishing

The publishing agreements that KI has concluded with publishers provide good conditions for publishing open access. The agreements mean that the publication fee / article processing charge (APC) is prepaid by Karolinska Institutet. In order for the agreements to be utilized, the corresponding author of the article must be KI-affiliated. At present, the agreements cover 17 publishers, which together hold 11,037 journals. 

Reviewing the actual publications, the agreements seem to contribute to an increased share of open access at KI. Based on statistics on articles published by KI researchers during the years 2018-2021, the proportion of direct open access is higher if the article's corresponding author is from KI, compared with when the article's corresponding author does not belong to KI. Preliminary figures for 2021 show that 79 percent of articles with a KI-affiliated corresponding author have been published directly open access, compared with 59 percent for KI articles where the corresponding author is affiliated to another organization. 

To simplify the process of publishing open access, the university library has developed a search tool, Open Access/APC Checker Tool, which makes it easier for KI researchers to see if a specific journal is included in KI's publishing agreements. Via this tool below, you can also find further author instructions for the journals included in the agreements.


In the Open Access/APC Checker Tool, you can search for a specific journal title to see if it is included in an open access agreement with prepaid APCs.

Open access publishing and citation impact

Articles published open access are easier to distribute and can more easily reach more readers than articles published in subscription-based journals. There are several studies that show that open access publishing also leads to more citations (Langham-Putrow A, Bakker C, Riegelman A, 2021). We have studied whether it is possible to confirm this by looking at citations for KI articles.

Average field normalized citation score for KI publications 2015-2019 by OA type (gold, green, bronze, hybrid and non-OA). In general, average field normalized citation score is notably higher for hybrid, green and bronze OA than gold and non-OA.

A citation analysis of KI's publication 2015–2019 shows that articles available open access have a higher average field normalized citation score than articles that are not available open access. The field normalization means that the analysis compensates for differences that depend on the type of article, year of publication and subject in order to be able to more accurately compare the citation scores. It is mainly hybrid publishing, bronze open access and green open access that contribute to the higher citation scores and especially open access publishing linked to journals with a high impact factor. 

Although there is a positive relationship between open access and citations, it is conceivable that other factors with a positive impact on citations co-vary with open access publishing, such as how well-funded the study is, in which journal it is published, and that authors may choose to make their best publications open access.

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Publication support

Contact us with questions regarding open access, bibliometrics, literature searching, publishing in KI Open Archive and strategic publishing. 

Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of science 2021 of Clarivate Analytics (US) LLC. All rights reserved. No part of these materials may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic, mechanical, photographic, magnetic or other means without the express permission of Karolinska Institutet.