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Nearly 200 Scientific Journals Have Vanished Online. No One Preserved Them

Open-Access is not forever.
IMAGE Kari Shea / UNSPLASH
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Almost 200 scientific journals published online in the last 20 years have vanished from the internet. But it is not because of some form of attack from obscure anti-science groups. The scientific journals vanished because publishers of the websites decided to discontinue maintaining the sites that hosted these journals. 

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In the study titled Open is Not Forever: A Study of Vanished Open-Access Journals, at least 184 scientific journals online were found to have disappeared. Of these journals, 100 were about the social sciences and humanities, and 84 were about the natural sciences. All of them were online-only, open-access studies, which means they were never published in print. No one thought of preserving them on another space online, which is why they are probably lost forever. 

According to the study, half of the journals that have gone dark were created by small research institutions and scholarly organizations. 

The news is a blow to thousands of scientists who rely on free, open-access journals available online to further their research. 

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In 2019, there were more than 14,000 scientific journals indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, the world’s largest database of free scientific research data. Of these, only a third backed up their publications to ensure their long-term preservation. 

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Studies from the Asia Pacific region accounted for 10 percent of the lost journals. The study did not mention whether anything published by Filipinos is part of those that have been wiped out. 

According to the authors, it is the responsibility of the publishers to invest in the preservation of their research published in open-access sites.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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