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PS: Political Science & Politics


The digital revolution has made it easier for Political Scientists to share and access high-quality research online. However, many of these articles are stored in proprietary databases that some institutions cannot afford. High-quality, peer reviewed, top-tier journal articles that have been made open access (freely available online) should theoretically be more easily accessed and cited than articles of similar quality that are only available to paying customers. Research into the efficacy of Open Access (OA) publishing has thus far focused mainly on the natural sciences, and the results have been mixed. Because OA has not been as widely adopted in the social sciences, disciplines like Political Science have received very little attention in the OA research. In this paper, we seek to determine the efficacy of OA in Political Science. Our primary hypothesis is that OA articles will be cited at higher rates than articles that are toll access (TA), meaning only available to paying customers. We test this by analyzing the mean citation rates of OA and TA articles from eight top-ranked Political Science journals. We find that OA publication results in a clear citation advantage in Political Science publishing.


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