The Rise of Open Access Journals in Radiation Oncology: Influence on Resident Research, 2015 to 2019

Kunal K. Sindhu, Jared P. Rowley, William H. Smith, Anthony D. Nehlsen, Andrew W. Smith, Eric J. Lehrer, Brianna M. Jones, Michael Buckstein, Stanislav Lazarev, Kenneth E. Rosenzweig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: While a rising share of scientific research articles are being published in open access (OA) journals, their impact on resident research in radiation oncology is unknown. Thus, we sought to determine the number, content, and costs of first-author, PubMed-searchable articles radiation oncology residents in the United States (US) published in OA journals in recent years. Methods and Materials: We built a database of first-author, PubMed-searchable articles published by US radiation oncology residents who graduated between 2015 and 2019. We then classified each journal in which these articles appeared as either OA or non-OA and obtained the current article-processing charge (APC) for each publication that appeared in an OA journal. Results: The residents in this study published 2637 first-author, PubMed-searchable articles, 555 of which (21.0%) appeared in 138 OA journals. The number of publications in OA journals per resident increased from 0.47 for the class of 2015 to 0.79 for the class of 2019. Publications in OA journals garnered fewer citations than those in non-OA journals (8.9 vs 14.9, P < .01). Furthermore, 90.6% of OA journals levy an APC for original research reports (median, $1896), which is positively correlated with their 2019 impact factor (r = 0.63, P < .01). Aggregate APCs totaled $900,319.21 and appeared to increase over the study period. Conclusions: The number of first-author, PubMed-searchable articles published by graduating US radiation oncology residents in OA journals rose significantly between 2015 and 2019. To maximize the benefits of OA publishing in the future, US radiation oncology residents will need to ensure that they use vetted OA journals to publish their research findings and avoid predatory journals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101121
JournalAdvances in Radiation Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


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