Is it worth establishing institutional repositories? The strategies for open access to Spanish peer-reviewed articles

Learned Publishing

We examine open access to the Spanish scientific literature via investigation of a sample of peer-reviewed articles in seven subject categories. Of the 28,259 papers published in 2000, 26.89% were freely accessible, with the share varying among disciplines. Articles in the social and behavioral sciences were the most widely available for free. This disciplinary divide applies also to the strategies used to offer open access to documents. In clinical medicine, life sciences, arts and humanities and social sciences open access was mainly based on the publishers§ side, while subject-based repositories were dominant in physical, chemical and earth sciences and deposit on homepages was the preferred strategy in engineering, computing and technology. Institutional and general repositories seem to play a minor role in providing free access to the Spanish peer-reviewed literature. Papers published in commercial journals are less accessible than those that appear in non-commercial journals, and we found overlaps in almost 20% of papers deposited. The fastest way to gain open access is to deposit in subject-based repositories and the longest delays are related to deposits in homepages and especially to institutional repositories. Open access to Spanish peer-reviewed articles is dominated by the passive mechanism of the ?gold route? and the editorial strategy with self-archiving practices in the minority and directed mainly towards subject-based repositories and homepage posting of the papers. The results of this study could serve as a reference point for further study on the evolution of open access in Spain.