Percentage of the world population with subscription journal access?

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asked Aug 15, 2015 in Open Science by dhimmel (260 points)

Many scientists are under the impression that the majority of interested readers for their work have subscription journal access. I find this unlikely as a very small percentage of the global population has subscription journal access. To help illustrate the suicidal impact subscription publishing has on one's research, it would be helpful to have some estimates of the percent of individuals denied access to subscription works.

While such an estimate comes with many caveats, does anyone know of statistics or resources that could help answer this question? For example, how many people are affiliated with organizations that purchase institutional access? Even if the metrics are for a single journal, that could be a helpful starting point.

Note: this question was originally posted to the OpenCon Community Discussion Listserv.



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commented Aug 18, 2015 by Olek Wojnar (140 points)
This could be a research paper in itself! I believe that most journals either publish or are willing to provide subscription statistics. After all, how do you prove that you are relevant if you do not demonstrate the reach of your publication? The hard part is collecting all of that information...

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commented Aug 18, 2015 by rmounce (110 points)
This a great question and one I want to get hard data on too. I've often wondered why librarians don't openly publish lists of journals (and the age-range of accessibility e.g. 1990<->2015) they do / don't have subscriptions for at each higher education institution. It would be really interesting and I don't think it would be difficult to do. This seems like something librarians could definitely be in a position to answer.

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