This study explored the publication behaviour of academics from Australian universities and how this impacted on the adoption of open access models of scholarly publishing. Using grounded theory as its methodology, the study developed theoretical models that identified publication practice. The study also indicated how this practice had been influenced by ongoing changes in government policy associated with research recognition. While the government policies aimed to improve Australian research quality, studies such as this thesis assist in determining the impact that changes made to research evaluation policies may have on the research community and research dissemination.
The study examined data collected through three methods: focus groups held with Australian academics and publishers, an online survey of academics from Australian universities and interviews with Australian academics and university based e-press managers. In total, two hundred and eighty-one participants contributed to this study, including twenty-three in-depth interviewees and thirteen focus group participants. The survey participants represented a cross section of the Australian university community, whilst the focus groups and interviews represented academics from two universities, one from the Group of Eight and the other from the Australian Technology Network.
The outcome of this study was a number of theoretical models that suggested that the changing policies associated with research recognition have narrowed the publication behaviour of the Australian academic community and that this could be to the detriment of the adoption of alternative models of scholarly publishing. The publication behaviour, which had a focus on tiered journal listings, resulted in a dissemination pattern that was primarily directed to the academy. This was of concern for disciplines that had a practitioner-based research focus. Such disciplines would benefit from open access dissemination.
The study also examined engagement with institutional repositories and highlighted the importance of mediation in populating the content of repositories. The process of permission-based mandates was supported as a means to develop repository content. Permission-based mandates allow academics to enter a non-exclusive agreement with their university or institution so that the university can manage copyright and repository submission processes on behalf of the academic. Academics can then focus on the process of publication, while mediators can manage copyright and the repository submission processes.