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The impact of open access on citations, Pageviews, and downloads: a scientometric analysis in Postgraduate Medical Journal.

PURPOSE: The influence of Open Access (OA) on the citation impact of scholarly articles remains a topic of considerable debate. This study aims to elucidate the relationship between OA publication and citation metrics, as well as article visibility, within the context of the Postgraduate Medical Journal (PMJ).

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 373 articles published in PMJ between 2020 and 2021. Data on OA status, citations, page views, PDF downloads, and other relevant variables were extracted from Journal Citation Reports and PMJ's official website. Multivariable linear regression and other statistical analyses were used to assess the impact of OA on these metrics.

RESULTS: OA articles (n = 78) demonstrated significantly higher citation counts, page views, and PDF downloads compared with subscription-based articles (n = 295). Specifically, OA articles showed a significant increase in citation frequency with a β coefficient of 25.08 and a 95% CI of 17.168-32.992 (P < .001). Similarly, OA status was independently associated with increases in page views [β = 288.636, 95%CI: 177.749-399.524, P < .001] and PDF downloads [β = 118.966, 95%CI: 86.357-151.575, P < .001]. Strong correlations among total citations, page views, and PDF downloads were observed in both OA and subscription articles.

CONCLUSION: The study highlights a significant and independent association of OA publishing with increased citation counts, page views, and PDF downloads in PMJ, suggesting that OA articles have broader reach and greater visibility. Further research, including randomized controlled studies across various journals, is needed to confirm these findings and explore the full impact of OA publishing.

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