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How academics across the globe perceive open access: Insights from a large-scale survey

How academics across the globe perceive open access: Insights from a large-scale survey

The concept of open access (OA), which took root more than a decade ago, has steadily revolutionized the global publishing landscape. As the term suggests, it is a bid to move away from the conventional stance of keeping scholarly literature behind paywalls to making it accessible. As the concept of OA started gaining ground, some academics became staunch advocates, while some regarded it with skepticism in the wake of debates regarding OA and the sustainability of scholarly publishing.

As more and more scholarly societies, funders, and publishers around the world are embracing and even mandating OA, one aspect deserves special attention: What are researchers’ perspectives on OA? Researchers form the core of the academic and scholarly publishing system, so understanding their attitudes toward OA is vital to gain a 360-degree view on how OA is altering and will alter the fabric of scholarly publishing.

Editage recently published a well-received report titled "Author Perspectives on Academic Publishing: Global Survey Report 2018." It is a first-of-its-kind report as it showcases the perspectives of almost 7000 researchers on a broad range of topics related to scholarly publishing.

In the survey, we had asked authors whether they had ever published in an open access journal or not, and why, and we presented an overview of their responses in the report. Subsequently, we re-examined the survey data to glean deeper insights into what researchers from different geographies think about open access. What emerged from this is a much-needed, unique global author perspective on OA, which we have now presented in a separate report titled “Geographic Trends in Attitudes to Open Access: Findings from the Editage Global Author Survey 2018.”

This report showcases the views of authors from the seven most represented countries in the survey: China, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, India, the U.S.A., and the U.K. It offers insights into the following aspects:

  • Geographic differences in the level of OA awareness
  • Country-specific trends in researchers’ stated reasons for choosing or refraining from OA journals
  • Specific perspectives of Chinese researchers toward the OA publishing model

The open access movement has progressed at a different pace in every research-producing country,” says Clarinda Cerejo, Associate Vice President, Scholarly Communications, at Editage. “In the wake of the Plan S initiative launched by Science Europe in September this year, the publishing industry is waiting with bated breath to see how open access will evolve and shape the scholarly communications landscape. While overall awareness of open access among authors has increased in recent years, it was very interesting for us to segment our survey responses by country and correlate opinions on open access with the known trends in those regions. Some of the findings are definitely eye-opening and would be very valuable for publishers and funders who are formulating and refining their open access policies,” she adds.

The report can be downloaded below.  

Geographic Trends in Attitudes toward Open Access.pdf

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