Academics’ behaviors and attitudes towards open access publishing in scholarly journals

Authors : Jennifer Rowley, Frances Johnson, Laura Sbaffi, Will Frass, Elaine Devine

While there is significant progress with policy and a lively debate regarding the potential impact of open access publishing, few studies have examined academics’ behavior and attitudes to open access publishing (OAP) in scholarly journals.

This article seeks to address this gap through an international and interdisciplinary survey of academics. Issues covered include: use of and intentions regarding OAP, and perceptions regarding advantages and disadvantages of OAP, journal article publication services, peer review, and reuse.

Despite reporting engagement in OAP, academics were unsure about their future intentions regarding OAP. Broadly, academics identified the potential for wider circulation as the key advantage of OAP, and were more positive about its benefits than they were negative about its disadvantages. As regards services, rigorous peer review, followed by rapid publication were most valued.

Academics reported strong views on reuse of their work; they were relatively happy with noncommercial reuse, but not in favor of commercial reuse, adaptations, and inclusion in anthologies. Comparing science, technology, and medicine with arts, humanities, and social sciences showed a significant difference in attitude on a number of questions, but, in general, the effect size was small, suggesting that attitudes are relatively consistent across the academic community.