Ready for the future? A survey on open access with scientists from the French National Research Center (CNRS)

Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Coline Ferrant, Francis André, Renaud Fabre


The paper presents empirical evidence on the opinion and behaviour of French scientists (senior management level) regarding open access to scientific and technical information.


The results are part of a nationwide survey on scientific information and documentation with 432 directors of French public research laboratories conducted by the French Research Center CNRS in 2014.


1. The CNRS senior research managers (laboratory directors) globally share the positive opinion towards open access revealed by other studies with researchers from the UK, Germany, the United States and other countries. However, they are more supportive of open repositories (green road) than of OA journal publishing (gold).

2. The response patterns reveal a gap between generally positive opinions about open access and less supportive behaviours, principally publishing articles with APCs.

3. A small group of senior research managers does not seem to be interested in green or gold open access and reluctant to self-archiving and OA publishing.

4. Similar to other studies, the French survey confirms disciplinary differences, i.e. a stronger support for self-archiving of records and documents in HAL by scientists from
Mathematics, Physics and Informatics than from Biology, Earth Sciences and Chemistry; and more experience and positive feelings with open access publishing and payment of APCs in Biology than in Mathematics or in Social Sciences and Humanities. Disciplinary differences and specific French factors are discussed, in particular in the context of the new European policy in favour of Open Science.


For the first time, a nationwide survey was conducted with the senior research management level from all scientific disciplines.

The response rate was high (>30%), and the results provide good insight into the real awareness, support and uptake of open access by senior research managers who provide both models (examples for good practice) and opinion leadership.