This is a guest post by Miguel Navas, member of AccesoAbierto research group and Librarian at the Catalan Government in Barcelona, Spain.

According to Ulrich’s data 1, Spain is in tenth position in scholarly journal production, with  2.5% of the titles worldwide. The United States alone accounts for 21%, and nearly one third of journals are published by countries with fewer contributions than Spain.

However, when talking about Open Access journals, the output is quite different: according to both Ulrich’s and DOAJ2, Spain is currently country number four in the world with 5.5%,  after Brazil, UK and USA. Yet, what is the level of adoption of OA in Spanish journals?

According to Ulrich’s, 34% of active scholarly journals published in Spain are OA, but this proportion is higher when consulting Dulcinea3, the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate source for Spanish journals. A current search shows that 76% of the journals are freely available online, 10.2% operate under an embargo, and only 1.5% are hybrid. The remaining 12.3% of  journals are restricted to subscribers.

Nevertheless, free access does not necessarily imply Open Access. Thus, that 76% should be correlated with re-use rights in order to get the exact amount of OA journals.



A recent study5 has revealed that most of the Spanish journals indexed in Web of Science or Scopus are Open Access (56.9%). The extent of OA adoption varied by subject area; it represented 68% of the Social Sciences and Humanities titles, and 55% of Science, Technology and Medicine journals. It also depended on the publisher type; OA models were adopted by 81% of the journals published by universities and research centers, 71% of the titles published by associations and societies, and only 30% of journals belonging to commercial publishers. APC-funded OA journals, both full OA and hybrid, were very few.

Open Access in Spain is driven by the online presses of academic institutions, based mostly in OJS platforms at both individual and collective level. The Spanish Center for Advanced Studies (CSIC), Complutense University of Madrid, University of Barcelona and Catalan Open Access Journals (RACO) are good examples of that.

There are 507 Spanish journals indexed in DOAJ6, while the current total number of Spanish free-access journals is 1,3547 . This fact suggests that only about one third (37.4%) of the free-access Spanish journals appear in DOAJ as OA titles. Opposedly,  196 of the 253 Spanish OA journals indexed either in Wos or Scopus are included in DOAJ as well, showing a much higher rate for this specific group (77.5%).  Thus, there is a lot of work to do in order to index Spanish OA journals in DOAJ, especially those not being covered in WoS or Scopus.


1 consulted on May 2016. Query: Active, Journal, Scholarly/Academic, Primary edition type. Refereed/Peer-reviewed has not been applied because it has been discovered that many reviewed journals from “peripheral” countries are not considered so in Ulrich’s.

2 DOAJ consulted on March, 2016, before DOAJ weeding process.

3 Dulcinea is managed by Acceso Abierto research group.

4 Dulcinea consulted on November 8, 2016.

5 PhD thesis “Spanish scientific journals in Web of Science and Scopus: adoption of Open Access, relationship between price and impact, and internationality”, by the author of this post, awaiting public defense

6 DOAJ consulted on November 8, 2016, after the weeding process.

7 Dulcinea consulted on November 8, 2016.


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