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Open access: researchers are positive but some uncertainty still remains
30 June 2014
Taylor & Francis
What are authors’ attitudes to open access publishing in 2014? With open access continuing to have a high profile, is all the debate and discussion helping to inform researchers and influence their thinking? Released for the first time today, the 2014 Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey asked researchers a series of questions on their perceptions of open access; their attitudes, values and understanding of it; and what they believe the future of research communication to be. Having previously surveyed their authors in 2013, Taylor & Francis are now able to offer some intriguing shifts in opinions, placing responses from both years next to each other to show how views have changed, and to what degree.
Responses showed that positive attitudes towards open access, when discussed in general, are growing. There were significant increases in the proportions strongly agreeing that open access offered a wider circulation than publication in a subscription journal (from 38% to 49%), and that it offered higher visibility (27% to 35%). 70% of respondents also disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement ‘There are no fundamental benefits to open access publication’, an increase of 10% year-on-year and a strong indicator that open access continues to be viewed as a force for good.
This positive picture blurs though when contrasted against authors’ future intentions on publishing their own work. When authors were asked about their future plans for publishing more articles as gold open access, 47% were unsure (the largest group). When asked if they plan to publish more articles as green open access, 46% said yes, with 41% unsure. Could understanding how to deposit their work be one of the causes of this uncertainty? Half of respondents report making their last article green open access, whether depositing it in a repository, uploading it to a website, or giving permission for someone to do this on their behalf. Lack of understanding of publishers’ policies on repositories was given as the single most important factor in deciding not to deposit. Other reasons, in descending order, were lack of time, lack of technical understanding, concerns around discoverability, and around longevity.
Licences continue to be a contentious issue, with 53% of authors showing a first or second preference for the CC-BY-NC-ND licence. Despite strong advocates for CC-BY, it remained the ‘least preferred’ option in this survey. However, there is evidence that opinions on this are softening as understanding increases, with this proportion dropping from 52% in 2013 to 35% this year.
Dr David Green, Global Journals Publishing Director, said of the survey,
“This year’s follow-up survey builds on the largest OA author survey undertaken by any publisher, and provides us with more evidence that we are on the right track in the transition to Open Access. We clearly have much work left to do in simplifying our policies and documentation so that our author communities are in no doubt as to what their OA options are. We will also continue to inform and work with global research funders and those societies for whom we publish, so that we can continue to improve the services and products that author communities require of a professional research publisher. ”
The full survey results and top level report is now available on Taylor & Francis Online, with findings on open access mandates to be published soon.