The favourable perception of open access increases among researchers

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One of the main reasons reported by researchers who did not publish in open access (OA) journals refers to their perception on the quality of these publications. The erroneous idea that associates OA to the absence of peer review or low quality articles remains the main obstacle to select OA journals as the first choice for publication.

A survey made with 21,377 researchers worldwide indicates that the acceptance of OA publications is increasing rapidly among researchers1. The Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and its associate publisher Palgrave Macmillan held annually the Authors Insights Survey2, which aims to periodically assess the attitude and behavior of authors regarding scientific publication. This year’s survey polled 18,354 (86%) authors in the fields of science, technology and medicine (STM) and 3,023 (14%) authors in the fields of social sciences and humanities (CSH).

The 2014 survey indicated that 40% of the researchers who have not published in OA journals were primarily concerned about the quality of OA publications. By 2015, this number dropped to 27%, but the quality remains a major concern among the authors who chose not OA journals.

The opinion of the authors on various topics related to the choice of the journal, besides OA, was also evaluated in the study. For STM authors, the most important factors in choosing the journal are, in descending order, the reputation of the journal, its relevance to the discipline, the quality of peer review and the Impact Factor. Among CSH authors, however, it includes the relevance to the discipline, reputation, quality of peer review and the journal’s target audience.

In general, among the factors that most contribute to the perception of a journal’s reputation in the authors’ opinion are the Impact Factor, the opinion of the community on the publication, the quality consistency, and the quality of peer review.

According to the authors, the target audience of the publications, besides researchers in the field, is composed of researchers from other areas, institution members and funding agencies. Regarding OA publication policies of funding agencies, however, only 30% of authors adequately met the requirements, another 30% partially met them, and 40% thought that the main financier did not have a specific OA policy, when, in fact, there was.

When asked about the main reasons for not publishing in open access journals, 30% of researchers reported being concerned about the perception of quality of OA journals, another 29% said they did not wish to pay article processing fees, and 18% claimed not having the funds to pay them.

According to Dan Penny, Head of Insights at NPG, “Perceptions are likely to change over time as more open access publications establish strong reputations, funders mandate open access, and authors publish their best research in OA journals. Last year in particular saw a significant improvement in attitudes.”1

To that extent, NPG switched Nature Communications to become its most important multi-disciplinary OA journal. Penny adds “In fact, in 2015, 56% of the research NPG publishes is open access at the point of publication, and we have moved to CC BY as default. We have also set up an open access funding support service, which matches authors with funds to enable open access publishing. However, there is still more education needed, especially on the subject of available funding and OA mandates.”

The SciELO program has, from its inception, pioneered the adoption of open access and has just adopted preferably CC BY license for the journals it publishes (which allows distribution, adaptation and modification of content, even for commercial purposes, provided that credit is given to the original author). This license, which is adopted by leading open access journals, has the advantage of maximizing the dissemination of information, providing greater degree of freedom for contents re-use, and it enables interoperability with different systems and services, including commercials ones.

Notes

1. DOUGLAS, J. Perceptions of open access publishing are changing for the better, a survey by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan finds. STM Publishing News. 2015. Available from: http://www.stm-publishing.com/perceptions-of-open-access-publishing-are-changing-for-the-better-a-survey-by-nature-publishing-group-and-palgrave-macmillan-finds/?utm_content=bufferfe92d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

2. (NPG), Nature Publishing Group (2015): Author Insights 2015 survey. figshare. [viewed August 27 2015]. DOI: http://dx..org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1425362

References

(NPG), Nature Publishing Group (2015): Author Insights 2015 survey. figshare. [viewed August 27 2015]. DOI: http://dx..org/10.6084/m9.figshare.1425362

BABINI, D. UNESCO Guidelines provide a detailed review of Open Access. SciELO in Perspective. [viewed 31 August 2015]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/09/13/unesco-guidelines-provide-a-detailed-review-of-open-access/

DOUGLAS, J. Perceptions of open access publishing are changing for the better, a survey by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan finds. STM Publishing News. 2015. Available from: http://www.stm-publishing.com/perceptions-of-open-access-publishing-are-changing-for-the-better-a-survey-by-nature-publishing-group-and-palgrave-macmillan-finds/?utm_content=bufferfe92d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

SANTOS, S.; PERES, D. and PACKER, A.L. SciELO adopts CC-BY as main Open Access attribution. SciELO in Perspective. [viewed 31 August 2015]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2015/06/19/scielo-adopts-cc-by-as-main-open-access-attribution/

SCIENTIFIC ELECTRONIC LIBRARY ONLINE. Controversial Article in The Journal “Science” exposes the weaknesses of Peer-Review in a set of Open Access Journals. SciELO in Perspective. [viewed 31 August 2015]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/11/05/controversial-article-in-the-journal-science-exposes-the-weaknesses-of-peer-review-in-a-set-of-open-access-journals/

SCIENTIFIC ELECTRONIC LIBRARY ONLINE. How much does it cost to publish in Open Access?. SciELO in Perspective. [viewed 31 August 2015]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/09/18/how-much-does-it-cost-to-publish-in-open-access/

SPINAK, E. Open access articles are here to stay: in less than 10 years nearly 50% of articles worldwide can be accessed this way. SciELO in Perspective. [viewed 31 August 2015]. Available from: http://blog.scielo.org/en/2013/08/28/open-access-articles-are-here-to-stay-in-less-than-10-years-nearly-50-of-articles-worldwide-can-be-accessed-this-way/

 

lilianAbout Lilian Nassi-Calò

Lilian Nassi-Calò studied chemistry at Instituto de Química – USP, holds a doctorate in Biochemistry by the same institution and a post-doctorate as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow in Wuerzburg, Germany. After her studies, she was a professor and researcher at IQ-USP. She also worked as an industrial chemist and presently she is Coordinator of Scientific Communication at BIREME/PAHO/WHO and a collaborator of SciELO.

 

Translated from the original in portuguese by Lilian Nassi-Calò.

 

Como citar este post [ISO 690/2010]:

NASSI-CALÒ, L. The favourable perception of open access increases among researchers [online]. SciELO in Perspective, 2015 [viewed ]. Available from: https://blog.scielo.org/en/2015/09/17/the-favourable-perception-of-open-access-increases-among-researchers/

 

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