'Scientists are wary of open-access journals'

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Scientists fear that non-traditional publication could affect their chances of promotion, according to a new study.

Researchers at University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), USA and the University of Munich, Germany found that 60 per cent of those questioned believe online publication impacts promotion and tenure. In particular, they found that researchers are reluctant to publish their research within open-access outlets, even though open-access publications have higher speed of publication and citation rates.

According to the study by UALR’s Rolf Wigand, Munich’s Thomas Hess and their colleagues, academics are very positive about the speed by which online journals can distribute new findings to their colleagues and the academic world and about the opportunities for their research to be more widely-read because of open access.

However, 51 per cent of those questioned said open-access publishing is not well-known enough to use it as a medium for publishing their own work. In addition, 58 per cent perceive the impact factor of open-access publishing as a barrier and 53 per cent think open-access publications lack a guarantee of long-term availability of research.

‘This suggests a gap between the high positive attitude toward open access publication and the low-level of use as well as future intention to use open access media. It is interesting to note that accessing open-access literature is already roughly twice as common as publishing this way,’ commented UALR’s Wigand.