Research show growing awareness and uptake of Open Access publishing by authors

20 February 2012

IntechOpen, an Open Access publisher, has published the results of a survey appraising attitudes and awareness of the research community towards the Open Access (OA) business model in scholarly publishing.

The IntechOpen white paper: “Open Access: Awareness and Attitudes amongst the Author Community”, is based on a review of current research and a survey sent to 20,000 STM researchers worldwide. The survey attracted an overall response rate of 1.3%, with 275 participants taking part and 253 (92%) completing it. The majority of respondents were researchers (75%) based at a university (70%). The data was sourced from an independent provider of contact data for the research community (Mardev).

Key findings:

  • High levels of awareness of Open Access - of 258 participants who responded when asked, 51% said they understood OA publishing, and 36% said they had some knowledge of it
  • OA publishing experience is lower but still strong - 26% said they had published with an OA publisher for a journal article and 10% for a book
  • Awareness and experience of OA publishing varies by subject – researchers in Biological Sciences had greater awareness and experience, particularly in journals, while participants from the Earth Sciences and Technology had lower awareness and less OA publishing experience
  • Over 25% of researchers are aware of Open Access publishers such as PLoS, IntechOpen, BioMedCentral and Hindawi
  • For Open Access journal publications, it is the image and reputation of the journal itself that is the most important factor for authors when considering where to submit their work; but for Books it is the image and reputation of the publisher
  • The survey highlighted that authors want more support from publishers in getting their work noticed – services provided by publishers where the level of satisfaction scored lowest centred on PR and media support; post-publication information on usage/citations/peer feedback; and promoting the author effectively alongside their work.

Henk Compier, Managing Director at IntechOpen is not surprised by the evidence supporting widespread awareness of Open Access within the research community, “We have seen great enthusiasm amongst our authors for the Open Access model.”

The survey also explored the most common concerns surrounding OA publishing; among these were author fees – over 65% (of the 256 participants who responded) said they were willing to pay author fees, 30% said they would be willing to pay if it helped ensure the widest possible audience for their work, while 38% would only pay in exceptional circumstances.

Henk Compier commented on this saying, “Any concerns that we hear from authors usually come from a lack of understanding of this relatively new model. Often we find that if we get a chance to explain our processes and dispel some of the myths surrounding Open Access publishing, authors are generally supportive of the principles.”

By sharing the results of this survey, IntechOpen hopes to encourage other OA publishers and advocates to promote understanding and discussion of the issues while making progress in shaping the model to meet the needs of the research community.

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