Open access is the future – Springer Nature survey

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The overwhelming majority of professional staff in research institutions and libraries across the globe view open access as the future of academic and scientific publishing. However, many are not satisfied with the speed of transition, according to a survey by Springer Nature.

The survey of 200 people aimed to gather opinions from people working in research institutions or research libraries, and who have responsibilities relating to scholarly communications, institutional policy, funding administration, or research data or publication management. 

More than 70 per cent of respondents agreed that all future research articles, scholarly books and research data should be accessible via open access, with 91 per cent of responding librarians in agreement that ‘open access is the future of academic and scientific publishing’. This level of agreement was noticeably higher than in surveys we have conducted with researchers; for comparison, in a survey of Springer Nature authors conducted in 2017, only 67 per cent agreed with this same statement.

In the views of these respondents there was desire for progress at a greater pace for various types of research output: journals, books and data. The lowest level of satisfaction was on the speed of movement of scholarly books becoming open access in the future.

The majority of respondents thought that the move to all future scholarly articles being made accessible via open access would be achieved, with two thirds believing this could happen within the next 10 years. 

Respondents’ preference for the type of open access e.g. gold or green was spread across the group surveyed. 

In their comments, respondents highlighted open science being on the agenda of many organisations and funders as a key driver of open access. Research data sharing was identified as an area that needed more work and support in terms of policy and education, with less than a third of respondents satisfied with the speed at which data was becoming open.

Carrie Calder, VP for business development and policy, open research at Springer Nature (pictured), said: 'The findings echo conversations we have been having with others in the research community, where researchers see the benefits of open data but are struggling to share their data in ways that make the data easy to find and use by others. 

'As an academic publisher, we see the rise of open research as one of the major forces reshaping the way that researchers collaborate to advance discovery. The options to speed up the dissemination of research are increasing year on year, with more and more funders, institutions and countries championing open access.

'We will continue to push forward open access in all its forms – from articles to books to data and beyond.  Open science beckons with innumerable rewards.'

Research Information will publish the graphic chart relating to the survey in its April/May issue, which will be delivered to readers on or around 24 March.

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