OA uptake still small, says OUP study

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Uptake of the open-access (OA) option on Oxford Journals' papers is still small five years after the publishers' Oxford Open initiative first launched.

In 2009 the average uptake of the OA option for participating journals fell to 5.9 per cent, compared with 6.7 per cent in 2008. However, this reduction was due to a lower uptake amongst 11 new titles joining Oxford Open in 2009. On a like-for-like basis, the average uptake in 2009 for journals which entered the scheme prior to 2008 was stable (6.7 per cent, compared with 6.8 per cent in 2008). 

'These results indicate that, when given the option, most authors are not yet choosing to publish their research articles under an OA model,' commented Martin Richardson, managing director of OUP’s Academic and Journals Divisions.

The Oxford Open initiative launched in July 2005 and today over 90 Oxford Journals titles are hybrid OA and six are fully OA.

The figures over the past five years also reveal differences between subject areas. Based on titles included in Oxford Open prior to 2008, by broad subject area the highest uptake continues to be in the life sciences (11.4 per cent compared with 11.2 per cent in 2008). However, there was substantial variation between individual titles; for example, Bioinformatics (31 per cent) and HMG (20 per cent) have seen continued growth, whilst some other life science titles have seen a reduction of 5-10 per cent.

OA uptake on medical titles has declined from 5.0 per cent to 4.6 per cent, whilst humanities, social science, and law continue to have a much lower uptake (2.5 per cent). At 8.2 per cent, mathematics saw the second largest uptake, an increase compared with 2008 (6.8 per cent).