How Many Journals Use OJS?

October 1st, 2015 by  | Comments Off on How Many Journals Use OJS?

How many journals use OJS? This is one of the most frequent questions that PKP receives and the quickest answer is — a lot. Providing a more specific answer to that question is a challenge and for the past few years PKP has undertaken an annual exercise to count all of the journals currently using OJS as their publishing platform.

The first challenge is to attempt to identify all of the OJS instances that are accessible on the Internet. This is not as straight-forward as it sounds, because as open source software, OJS can be downloaded and used by anyone, with no requirement to register or let PKP know that you have started publishing.

To solve this problem, PKP has developed an automated web crawling system to try to find all of the OJS journals on the web. In 2015, PKP was able to identify over 32,000 OJS journal instances.

That large figure is not a particularly useful one, and the second challenge has been to try and make some sense out of these automatically harvested numbers. By filtering the crawling results, PKP discovered that almost half of these OJS instances have not been used for anything and do not contain any content. 17,941 had “something” in them (at least one article), but that is still not a very meaningful metric.

To get closer to an answer to the original question, PKP decided to apply the somewhat arbitrary criteria that an OJS journal must have at least 10 articles published in a single year to be officially included in the count of OJS journals. By this measure, we have been able to identify 8,286 journals using OJS for the management and/or publishing of their content for 2014. This is a very impressive figure when placed in the context of some of the world’s largest commercial providers of journals who typically have between two and three thousand journals in their portfolio.

Here are a few additional article metrics for OJS journals. There are approximately 3.24 million items that have been published in all known OJS journals, with 2.8 million of these coming from journals that meet the 10 articles per year filtering criteria.

A few qualifiers have to be attached to the figures. At best, they should be treated as estimates. It is likely PKP missed some journals, for example, some OJS installations have modified their front end to remove traces of PKP (which is how we identify journals), and others that do not make their OAI endpoints available (which is how we identify articles). As well, our “current” figure excludes the many OJS journals used to publish archived back issues of out-of-publication journals (still a valuable source of content), those with delayed publication cycles (not uncommon amongst new, small-scale publications), or those that only published pre-2014 content. On the other hand, it is also likely we have inadvertently included a few duplicate OJS instances or experimental journals in the total count. Overall, we are reasonably confident that these scenarios balance each other out and provide a reliable estimate of the size of the OJS community.

What is consistent, however, is that every year we have undertaken this OJS journal count, the total number of journals and articles has increased from the previous year, indicating greater uptake of our software and an ongoing expansion of the alternative publishing environment, based on open source and open access.

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