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OA gains ground with authors, says study

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Over 30 per cent of Wiley authors have published at least one open-access paper, and 79 per cent see open access as more prevalent in their discipline than it was three years ago.

These are some of the findings of Wiley's survey of more than 10,000 authors into open access. The research explored the factors that authors assess when deciding where to publish, and whether to publish open access. Among the top factors considered by authors were the relevance and scope of the journal, the journal’s impact factor and the international reach of the journal.

In the survey, an open-access article was defined as 'free for all to read, download and share online and the author, their institution or funding body pays a fee to ensure that the article is made open access.'

Reasons that authors gave for not yet having published under an open-access model included a lack of high profile open-access journals (48 per cent), lack of funding (44 per cent) and concerns about quality (34 per cent). Authors said they would publish in an open-access journal if it had a high impact factor, if it were well regarded and if it had a rigorous peer-review process.

'Our goal was to better understand the opinions and behavior of our authors towards open access publishing. It’s clear from the survey results that authors are increasingly embracing this publishing model, and we have seen evidence of that too in the growth of our Wiley Open Access publishing program,” said Rachel Burley, vice president and director, open access at Wiley. 'The survey results also highlight the need for open-access journals to continue to build a strong foundation of rigorous peer review, wide international reach and a sharp focus on quality to respond to the needs that authors expressed in this research.'

The survey, which was conducted in May 2012, was sent to 104,000 authors who published research in Wiley journals in health, life, physical, and social sciences, and the humanities, during 2011. In total 10,673 authors participated.

The responding authors represented a range of international opinions on open access. 30 per cent of authors were located in the USA and 10 per cent in the UK but other represented nations included Germany (4 per cent), China (4 per cent), and India (3 per cent).

The highest proportion of open-access authors came from a medical background (28 per cent), closely followed by biological sciences (24 per cent). In contrast, authors who had not published open-access papers predominantly came from social science disciplines.