Accessibility of published research to practicing veterinarians
Keywords:Veterinary Medicine, Open Access Publishing, Access to Information, Evidence-Based Practice, Education, Veterinary, Information Storage and Retrieval
Objectives: This study established the percentage of veterinary research articles that are freely available online, availability differences inside and outside of core veterinary medicine publications, sources and trends in article availability over time, and author archiving policies of veterinary journals. This research is particularly important for unaffiliated practitioners who lack broad subscription access and the librarians who assist them.
Methods: Web of Science citation data were collected for articles published from 2000–2014 by authors from twenty-eight accredited US colleges of veterinary medicine. A sample of these articles was searched by title in Google Scholar to determine which were freely available online and their sources. Journals represented in this dataset and a basic list of veterinary serials were cross-referenced with the Sherpa/RoMEO database to determine author archiving policies and the percentage of articles that could potentially be made freely available.
Results: Over half (62%) of the sample articles were freely available online, most of which (57%) were available from publishers’ websites. Articles published more recently were more likely to be freely available. More articles were found to be available in 2017 (62%) than in 2015 (57%). Most (62%) of the included journals had policies allowing authors to archive copies of their articles.Conclusions: Many articles are freely available online, but opportunity exists to archive additional articles while complying with existing copyright agreements. Articles in veterinary medicine–specific journals are less likely to be freely available than those in interdisciplinary journals. Requirements for federally funded research have likely influenced article availability and may continue to do so.
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