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Perceptions of open access publishing are 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 (OA) publications. Press releases regarding the survey can be found here and here. Additionally, a blog from BioMed Central can be found here.

In 2014, 40% 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% said they were concerned. In the humanities, business and social sciences (HSS), the drop was more marked; from 54% in 2014 to 41% in 2015. Nonetheless, concerns about perceptions of the quality of OA publications is still the leading factor in authors choosing not to publish OA.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • The four most important factors for author when choosing where to publish were:
    • Reputation of the journal
    • Relevance of journal content
    • Quality of peer review
    • The journal’s Impact Factor (although authors in the HSS disciplines placed more importance on journal readership than Impact Factor.)
  • Factors that contributed most to a journal’s reputation were:
    • The journal’s Impact Factor
    • Seen as the place to publish the best research
    • The consistency of quality
    • Quality of peer review
  • When asked about their understanding of their main funders’ open access policy, 30.7% of authors accurately matched the policy.
  • Another 30% partially matched their funders’ policy, and 40% did not match their funders’ policy.
  • Of those who did not match their funders’ policy, 41% thought their funder had no open access requirement when it did, while another 41% thought their funder had an open access requirement but it did not.
  • Chinese authors are much more likely to receive support to publish their research via open access (OA) than their global colleagues and an increasing proportion are choosing to do so exclusively.
  • 92% of Chinese researchers who took part had sufficient funds to publish their research in OA journals, substantially higher than the global average 68% of researchers from the rest of the world.
  • 20% of Chinese authors report having published exclusively in OA journals in the last 3 years.

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