Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Open Access and Publishing

The report from the SOAP Symposium provided by Derek Haank CEO from Springer (see my older posting).

The key findings of the project are:

* The number of OA articles published in “full” or “hybrid” OA journals was around 120’000 in 2009, some 8-10% of the estimated yearly global scientific output (see also Journals offering a “hybrid” OA option had a take-up of around 2%.
* OA journals in several disciplines (including Life Sciences, Medicine, and Earth Sciences) are of outstanding quality, and have Impact Factors in the top 1-2% of their disciplines.
* Out of some 40’000 published scholars who answered a large-scale online survey, approximately 90% are convinced that OA journals are or would be beneficial for their field. The main reasons given for this view are: benefit for the scientific community as a whole; financial issues; public good; and benefit to the individual scientist. The vast majority disagrees with the idea that OA journals are either of low quality or undermine the process of peer review.
* A separate survey of scientists who published in OA journals reveals that their drivers for this choice were the free availability of the content to readers and the quality of the journal, as well as the speed of publication and, in some cases, the fact that no fee had to be paid directly by the author.
* The main barriers encountered by 5’000 scientists who would like to publish in OA journals but did not manage to do so are funding (for 39% of them) and the lack of journals of sufficient quality in their field (for 30%).

The latter is the most often heared argument against OA in the domain of taxonomy, where authors assume that publishing is linked to no costs involved. The US authors are more used to page charges, but when it comes to pay the very modest page charges in taxonomic hybrid open access journals (eg Zootaxa) they also tend rather not to pay them. The numbers of authors paying is below 25%.


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