Till, J. (2007). Tags Indicate That Open Access Is Flourishing. PHILICA.COM Observation number 34.
Tags Indicate That Open Access Is Flourishing

James Tillconfirmed user (Ontario Cancer Institute)

Published in socio.philica.com

On the basis of qualitative evidence, awareness of the open access (OA) movement increased substantially in 2006 (Suber, 2007; Morrison, 2006), and OA has become an academic area unto itself (Morrison, 2006). Could a simple quantitative indicator be used to measure growth of interest in OA?

Social bookmarking services, such as Connotea (Lund, 2006), can be used to tag noteworthy articles. There were 104 entries in Connotea tagged “open access” in 2005. This number increased dramatically in 2006, to 738 (a 7-fold increase).

However, social bookmarking itself increased markedly during the past two years.

For example, entries tagged “internet” in Connotea increased from 299 in 2005 to 907 in 2006 (a 3-fold increase) and entries tagged “neuroscience” increased from 177 in 2005 to 491 in 2006 (also a 2.8-fold increase). Similar increases from 2005 to 2006 were also observed for other tags, such as “cancer” (920/320, a 2.9-fold increase) and “diabetes” (242/90, a 2.7-fold increase). Because awareness of topics such as these were not expected to have increased significantly between 2005 and 2006, it was assumed that these 3-fold increases were a result of the increasing popularity of tagging via Connotea, and not of increased interest in the topics themselves.

A chi-square test of association (Lowry, 2006), in which the observed numbers of entries for “open access” in 2006 and 2005 (738 and 104) were compared with those obtained for “internet” (907 and 299) in a 2x2 contingency table, indicated that the difference in the 2006/2005 ratios for these two tags was highly significant at the P < 0.0001 level.

These results provide preliminary quantitative evidence that interest in OA is indeed burgeoning, and that frequencies of Connotea tags may provide a useful indicator for tracking these changes.

Suber, P. (2007). Open access in 2006. SPARC Open Access Newsletter, Issue 105, 2 January.
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/01-02-07.htm - 2006

Morrison, H. (2006). Dramatic growth December 2006 & predictions for 2007. The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, 31 December. http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com/2006/12/dramatic-growth-december-2006.html

Lund, B. (2006). Tagging and bookmarking in institutional repositories.
Nascent, Nature’s blog on web technology and science, 13 March. http://blogs.nature.com/wp/nascent/2006/03/tagging_and_bookmarking_in_ins.html

Lowry, R. (1998-2006). Chi-Square test of association. VassarStats For a 2x2 Contingency Table. http://faculty.vassar.edu/lowry/tab2x2.html

Information about this Observation
This Observation has not yet been peer-reviewed

Published on Monday 8th January, 2007 at 15:40:39.

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The full citation for this Observation is:
Till, J. (2007). Tags Indicate That Open Access Is Flourishing. PHILICA.COM Observation number 34.

Author comment added 10th April, 2007 at 17:11:56

Matt Hodgkinson has posted an item about my “Observation” in Philica, in his Journalology blog (10 March 2007): Tags track growth in open access (and a dig at Philica). I have posted a response in his blog. As noted in my response, the “Observation” had its origins in an item posted on December 31, 2006 to my own blog. See: Tags as indicators of growing awareness about OA? I’ve subsequently added some further comments to this blog entry of mine, and may add more in the future.

Author comment added 10th April, 2007 at 17:21:53

The link for Matt Hodgkinson’s comment in his Journalology blog is: http://journalology.blogspot.com/2007/03/tags-track-growth-in-open-access-and.html

The link for the item in my own blog, entitled “Tags as indicators of growing awareness about OA?” is:

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