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And Poof! They Are Gone

Dozens of online-only open-access journals have disappeared from the internet, Science reports.

It notes that the number of open-access journals tripled between 2009 and 2019, but that some have also since ceased publishing and are no longer found online. A trio of researchers from Germany and Finland searched through bibliographic indexes, the internet Wayback Machine, and other sources to identify open-access journals that have disappeared. 

As they report in a preprint posted to ArXiv, they uncovered 176 such journals. Most of the vanished journals, they note, are from the humanities, but 14.8 percent were from the life sciences. Journals affiliated with academic institutions or scholarly societies were also more prone to disappearing, they report.

"Our results raise vital concern for the integrity of the scholarly record and highlight the urgency to take collaborative action to ensure continued access and prevent the loss of more scholarly nowledge," Mikael Laakso from the Hanken School of Economics in Finland and his colleagues write in their paper.