NEWS

Perceptions of open access publishing 'changing for the better'

A survey of 22,000 academic researchers by Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Palgrave Macmillan has found that a decreasing number of authors are concerned about perceptions of the quality of open access publications.

In 2014, 40 per cent of scientists who had not published open access in the last three years said 'I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications'. But this year, only 27 per cent said they were concerned. In the humanities, business and social sciences (HSS), the drop was more marked; from 54 per cent in 2014 to 41 per cent in 2015. Nonetheless, a concern about perceptions of the quality of OA publications is still the leading factor in authors choosing not to publish OA.

NPG and Palgrave Macmillan are making the anonymised data from their annual survey available for the second year running under a CC BY license, in order to achieve greater understanding between authors, funders and publishers.

The survey reveals authors’ views on a diverse range of topics, including open access, how they determine the reputation of a journal, the value they place on publisher activities and services, and funder mandates. A summary of views from authors based at Chinese institutions is also available, which provides some interesting comparisons between China and the rest of the world. All data is available to view and download on Figshare, along with summaries pulling out the highlights.

Dan Penny, head of insights at Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan, said: '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.'

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