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Open access

Disappearing journals

Digital open access scientific journals are vanishing from the internet, leaving no indication that their files are being kept in digital libraries or archives. From the year 2000 to 2019, 176 journals disappeared in this way, according to an analysis led by Mikael Laakso, from the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. Of the 176 periodicals, 92 were dedicated to the social sciences and humanities. Half (88 titles) were run by scientific societies and research institutions. Since journals that stop being published no longer appear in the main online databases, Laakso and his colleagues had to manually compare the historical lists of open access journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) against others from the Keepers Registry, which collates data from publications that participate in digital preservation initiatives. By analyzing past images of journal websites from the Internet Archive project, they were able to determine the last time they published new articles and when their website was last online. Most of the 176 titles disappeared five years after becoming inactive. According to the authors, this data suggests that about 900 open access journals are at risk of disappearing in the near future (arXiv, August 27).