The Open Access Availability of Articles from Highly Ranked Religious Studies Journals A Study of Ten Journals

Main Article Content

Joshua M. Avery


Across the past decade, open access (OA) journal scholarship has seen a massive global increase. Scant research, however, has been done to examine the effect of this trend on religious studies journal scholarship. This article seeks to explore the current state of OA scholarship among journals covering religion. To examine the state of OA scholarship among journals of religious studies, the OA availability of articles from ten, peer-reviewed, religious studies journals were examined. Using the SCImago Journal & Country Rank, a portal that includes the journals and country scientific indicators developed from the information contained in the Scopus® database, the ten most highly rated journals in mid-2015, according to the SJR indicator, were selected for evaluation. Articles that appeared in the journal volumes published in 2014 were selected for analysis, and were identified through online research databases and journal websites which provided bibliographic information. Only articles and essays dealing with research were included. A total of 377 articles were included in the study. Of the 377 articles examined, OA versions were found for 132 (35%) of them. Approximately one third of articles (33.3%) were located in multiple locations, with more than half of all OA articles found (53.0%) on either Institutional or Subject repositories, or, on the social networking sites or Of the total number of OA articles found, 87 (65.9%) were found by both Google and Google Scholar, and 43 (32.6%) were found by only Google or Google Scholar, but not both. The results indicate that religious studies journal scholarship is not widely archived and made available as OA, as a regular practice. Results also indicate that those scholars who publish in journals covering religious studies and who embrace open access, make strong use of either institutional or subject repositories and/or social networking sites to make their scholarship openly available. The relatively low rate of OA religious studies journal scholarship, has limited support in previous literature. While the results of this study indicate an increase in the OA availability of religious studies journal scholarship, as compared to previous findings, scholars and journals of religion still lag behind other disciplines in the output of OA research.

Article Details

Peer-Reviewed Articles
Author Biography

Joshua M. Avery, Wheaton College (IL)

Assistant Professor, Library Science
Buswell Library, Wheaton College (IL)