The Transformation of the System of Scientific Journals on Mass Communication Under the Influence of Open Access


Since 2020 open access (OA) officially turns into the mainstream of academic publishing. The subject of open access is conceptually developed in the context of the OA2020 initiative, international documents, reports (Finch, 2013), and programs (Horizon 2020, OA2020), which are used by EU countries to create strategies for the development of open science. A separate corpus of materials is devoted to the effect of open access on the citation,the diffusion of scientific articles (McKiernan et al., 2016), the status of OA-articles (Piwowar et al., 2018), business models (Polydoratou & Schimmer, 2010), alternative metrics of scientific articles (Wang et al., 2015), and the visibility(mb “accessibility” is better?) of articles outside the scientific community (Teplitskiy, 2016).

The most common approaches to studying the transformation of the specific parts of the academic journals system are related to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and are focused on a particular area of research, e.g.: library science (Stephen & Balamurugan, 2015; Pujar, 2014), chemistry (Nisha, Ahmad, 2014), agriculture (Murili, 2018), religion (Loan et al., 2018), etc. Another corpus of materials is aimed to track the development process and the current state of open science in various countries, including Iran (Noruzi, 2007), China (Chen & Ren, 2008), India (Sahoo et al., 2017), and different African ones (Ezema & Onyancha, 2017). Mass media and communication journals have not received much attention (Husain & Nazim, 2013).

In the current study a comparative analysis of the citation counts, usage and alternative metrics was carried out for the articles published in 32 scientific journals indexed in Web of Science and Scopus. 17 expert interviews were conducted with the representatives of various organizations, including libraries, publishers and NGOs. DOAJ data and sites of 181 publications were considered, and a survey with representatives of 66 journals was conducted. In addition, data from WoS and Scopus for 86 subscription journals in the Communication category was collected, and their official sites were studied in accordance with the criteria used to analyze journals from the DOAJ database.

The results of the study have showed that the trends of scientific journal markets are similar to those in any other media sector: the decline of the printed press and the arrival of platforms. The transformation, triggered by the transition to the open access paradigm, resulted in a gradual reorientation of scientific journals from the b2b model (institutional sales) to the b2c model (empowering the user). The spread of the open access model contributes to the expansion of the linguistic and geographical diversity of scientific journals on mass communication compared to the segment of the traditional subscription journals, that are published mainly in English primarily by American and British publishers. Other alternatives to traditional journals are new forms of scientific media (mega journals, OA-platforms with open peer review, etc.), but they have not become a significant part of the system in the field of mass communication yet.