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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

The Two-Way Street of Open Access Journal Publishing: Flip It and Reverse It

John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Göttingen State and University Library, University of Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
Information Systems Science, Hanken School of Economics, 00100 Helsinki, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Publications 2019, 7(2), 23;
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 8 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers for Openness in Scholarly Publishing)
As Open access (OA) is often perceived as the end goal of scholarly publishing, much research has focused on flipping subscription journals to an OA model. Focusing on what can happen after the presumed finish line, this study identifies journals that have converted from OA to a subscription model, and places these “reverse flips” within the greater context of scholarly publishing. In particular, we examine specific journal descriptors, such as access mode, publisher, subject area, society affiliation, article volume, and citation metrics, to deepen our understanding of reverse flips. Our results show that at least 152 actively publishing journals have reverse-flipped since 2005, suggesting that this phenomenon does not constitute merely a few marginal outliers, but instead a common pattern within scholarly publishing. Notably, we found that 62% of reverse flips (N = 95) had not been born-OA journals, but had been founded as subscription journals, and hence have experienced a three-stage transformation from closed to open to closed. We argue that reverse flips present a unique perspective on OA, and that further research would greatly benefit from enhanced data and tools for identifying such cases. View Full-Text
Keywords: scholarly publishing; scholarly journals; open access; bibliometrics scholarly publishing; scholarly journals; open access; bibliometrics
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Matthias, L.; Jahn, N.; Laakso, M. The Two-Way Street of Open Access Journal Publishing: Flip It and Reverse It. Publications 2019, 7, 23.

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