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Open access at ASSA 2014

Attended an interesting session this morning on open access.

Several papers examine the effect of open repositories of academic articles. Davis et al. (2008) find no effect on citations; McCabe and Snyder (2013) find a very modest effect and Kim (2014) also finds a small positive effect.

Interesting comment by David Card: is the increase in citations driven by something about Google search (i.e. does it help you FIND the articles?) or something about “access” (i.e. can you READ it more easily?)? Particularly relevant as most people don’t read the papers they cite….

Overall, it was nice to see economics catching up to some of the other disciplines in caring enough about open access to have a session on it. I suspect benefits to having openly available papers vary depending on the discipline as there are equilibrium effects.

So, what do you think ?