Authors : David Nicholas, Hamid R. Jamali, Eti Herman, Jie Xu, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Anthony Watkinson, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Abdullah Abrizah, Marzena Świgoń, Tatiana Polezhaeva
This study explores early career researchers’ (ECRs) appreciation and utilisation of open access (OA) publishing. The evidence reported here results from a questionnaire-based international survey with 1600 participants, which forms the second leg and final year of a four year long, mixed methods, longitudinal study that sought to discover whether ECRs will be the harbingers of change when it comes to scholarly communications.
Proceeding from the notion that today’s neophyte researchers, believed to hold millennial values of openness to change, transparency and sharing, may be best placed to power the take-up of OA publishing, the study sought to discover: the extent to which ECRs publish OA papers; the main reasons for their doing or not doing so; and what were thought to be the broader advantages and disadvanta-ges of OA publishing.
The survey data is presented against a backdrop of the literature-based evidence on the subject, with the interview stage data providing contextualisation and qualitative depth. The findings show that the majority of ECRs published in OA journals and this varied by discipline and country.
Most importantly, there were more advantages and fewer disadvantages to OA publishing, which may be indicative of problems to do with cost and availability, rather than reputational factors.
Among the many reasons cited for publishing OA the most important one is societal, although OA is seen as especially benefiting ECRs in career progression. Cost is plainly considered the main downside.