Growth in use of the CC-BY license

Data for the above chart can be downloaded here: OASPA Members CC-BY Growth

A total of 252,418 articles were published with the CC-BY license during the period shown above.

Data was supplied by the following members of OASPA as number of CC-BY articles per year since implementation of the license by that publisher:

BioMed Central (2000-2012 which includes SpringerOpen 2011-2012), Hindawi (2006-2012), PLOS (2003-2012), Frontiers (2012 only), Leibniz-Institute for Psychology Information/ZPID (2012 only), American Institue of Physics (2011-2012), MDPI (2008-2012), ecancermedicalscience (2007-2012)

This chart will be updated periodically as publishers continue to contribute their data.


  1. says

    This looks very impressive. But is it about cc-by? or, alternatively, is it about the increase in membership of OSAPA? I would be interested in seeing a graph in which you divide each point by the number of articles published in total by members of OASPA. Even that would not fully take into account the fact that some publishers are excluded exactly because they do not use cc-by. (The Journal of Vision still does not use it. It is published by ARVO, a scholarly society, and is I think one of the oldest open-access scholarly journals outside of physics.)

    Not that I’m against cc-by. I’m just curious about the data.

  2. says

    Can you release the data as open data? As Jonathan points out, this increase likely reflects a combination of factors. For example, how does the use of this license compare with the overall dramatic growth of open access? For example, the percentage of open access journals using this license does not appear to have changed much – it is reasonable to hypothesize that the growth of OA journals NOT using any CC licenses at all would show a very similar growth pattern.

  3. AJ Nicol says

    That’s great news! Are all articles published by OSAPA members peer-reviewed? Would it be possible to have a look at the source data for further analysis?


  4. says

    Ironically this post demonstrates that CC-BY is not sufficient for one of its most touted goals, facilitating data and text mining. A picture-based chart is placed on a CC-BY licensed blog, but the data is not posted and there is no explanation provided of the method for collecting the data, which limits both our ability to interpret the data and (were the data available) our ability to mine or re-use the data.

    If the data had been posted in downloadable format, then anyone could have mined it. There would have been no need to check the license of the blog.

  5. says

    Creative Commons was not formed until 2003 and the first CC-BY license was not available until 2003 at the earliest, so the chart has a wrong starting date.

  6. Claire Redhead says

    A file has now been uploaded which contains the data used to produce the graph. The graph shows, for some publishers who are currently members of OASPA, the number of papers they have published with the CC-BY license. This is irrespective of when they joined OASPA and covers the whole period each publisher has been using CC-BY. For example, Frontiers were publishing OA papers prior to 2012 but only introduced the CC-BY license last year. Others such as BMC were using CC-BY well before they joined OASPA. All of our professional publisher members were invited to supply their figures but not all have done so, hence we will update the chart as more data is supplied. BioMed Central’s papers have been compatible with CC-BY from the outset and so figures for 2000-2003 were included here.

  7. says

    Thanks, Claire, this is most helpful! I see that the spreadsheet has no CC license. Good for OASPA!

    Can I assume that OASPA is now seeing – as I do – that CC licensing is not necessary to mine this data, and that there are downsides to CC licensing datasets?

  8. AJ Nicol says

    Thank you for posting the data, Claire. If you have the data that Andrew is referring to, I’d be interested too. Having the total number of articles (and the number of OA articles, if it differs from CC-BY licensed articles) would give help to put the data in context.

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