The purpose of the article is to show the current status of Open Access (OA) in biomedical field, and compare some countries such as the U.S., the U.K. and Japan in terms of the OA situation. There are controversies about the definition of OA. After examining the requirements about OA, we recognized OA as the situation in which researchers could read the full text of articles in unrestricted way. In order to investigate the current situation of OA, 4,756 articles were sampled randomly from articles published between January and September in 2005 and indexed in PubMed. The main results are as follows: 1) The rate of OA articles was 25%, and 75% of all the articles were available online including electronic subscription journal articles. 2) The means of OA was classified into five types. Among them, the rate of OA articles by "OA and Hybrid OA journals" was overwhelming (more than 70%), and that of PMC was 26.2%. The rates of OA articles by "institutional repositories" and "authors' personal sites" were considerably low (6.0% and 4.9% respectively). 3) When comparing the rates of OA articles by countries, Belgium ranked the first with 41.7%. The five countries indicated more than 30% in OA articles: Canada and India (38.7%), Brazil (36.4%), Australia (30.8%), and the U.S. (30.7%). Each country was different in the means of OA. 4) We explored the rates of OA for two groups; one group consists of articles published in journals with IF, and the other consists of articles published in journals without IF. The rate of OA for the group of articles in journals with IF is 20.6%, and that of articles in journals without IF is 30.8%.
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