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Abstract

We investigate the extent to which open-access (OA) journals and articles in biology, computer science, economics, history, medicine, and psychology are indexed in each of 11 bibliographic databases. We also look for variations in index coverage by journal subject, journal size, publisher type, publisher size, date of first OA issue, region of publication, language of publication, publication fee, and citation impact factor. Two databases, Biological Abstracts and PubMed, provide very good coverage of the OA journal literature, indexing 60 to 63% of all OA articles in their disciplines. Five databases provide moderately good coverage (22–41%), and four provide relatively poor coverage (0–12%). OA articles in biology journals, English-only journals, high-impact journals, and journals that charge publication fees of $1,000 or more are especially likely to be indexed. Conversely, articles from OA publishers in Africa, Asia, or Central/South America are especially unlikely to be indexed. Four of the 11 databases index commercially published articles at a substantially higher rate than articles published by universities, scholarly societies, nonprofit publishers, or governments. Finally, three databases—EBSCO Academic Search Complete, ProQuest Research Library, and Wilson OmniFile—provide less comprehensive coverage of OA articles than of articles in comparable subscription journals.