Going Open Access: The Attitudes and Actions of Scientific Journal Editors in China

Authors : Wenqi Fu, Jie Xu, Qing Fang, Jingjia Ding, Hanqing Ma

This study aims to investigate the attitudes and actions of scientific journal editors in China towards open access. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 Chinese editors from various scientific journals during September and October of 2022.

The results indicate that the editors generally possess knowledge of open access and have implemented an appropriate open access model for their respective journals. However, the Chinese-language journal editors expressed a lack of motivation to adopt open access, unless there is a reform in the mechanism of academic publishing or a policy is imposed.

On the other hand, the English-language journal editors acknowledged that they have no other choice but to adopt open access. This study helps us learn about Chinese editors’ understanding and attitudes towards open access, the current status of open access in China’s scientific journals, and the mechanisms of academic publishing in China.

URL : Going Open Access: The Attitudes and Actions of Scientific Journal Editors in China

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications12010001

The pandemic and changes in early career researchers’ career prospects, research and publishing practices

Authors : Hamid R. Jamali, David Nicholas, David Sims, Anthony Watkinson, Eti Herman, Cherifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodrıguez-Bravo, Marzena Świgoń, Abdullah Abrizah, Jie Xu, Carol Tenopir , Suzie Allard


As part of the Harbnger-2 project, this study aimed to discover the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on junior researchers’ work-life, career prospects, research and publishing practices and networking.


An online international survey of 800 early career researchers (ECRs) was conducted in 2022. A questionnaire was developed based on three rounds of interviews and distributed using multiple channels including publishers, social media, and direct email to ECRs.


The impact of the pandemic on career prospects, morale, job security, productivity, ability to network and collaborate, and quality and speed of peer review has on the whole been more negative than positive.

A quarter of ECRs shifted their research focus to pandemic-related topics and half of those who did, benefited largely due to increased productivity and impact. The majority worked remotely/from home and more than two-thirds of those who did so benefitted from it. While virtual or hybrid conferences have been embraced by the majority of ECRs, around a third still preferred face-to-face only conferences.

The use of library online platforms, Sci-Hub, ResearchGate, Google Scholar and smartphone to search and access full-text papers increased. ECRs prioritised journals with fast submission procedures for the publishing of their papers and spent more time on increasing the visibility of their research. Fees were a problem for publishing open access.


Although, generally, the pandemic negatively impacted many aspects of ECRs’ work-life, certain research areas and individuals benefited from being more appreciated and valued, and, in some cases, resulted in increased resources, better productivity and greater impact.

Changes, such as the use of digital technologies and remote working created new opportunities for some ECRs. While continuing work flexibility and hybrid conferences might benefit some ECRs, institutions should also take measures to help those ECRs whose career and productivity have been adversely impacted.

URL : The pandemic and changes in early career researchers’ career prospects, research and publishing practices

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0281058

Choosing the ‘right’ journal for publication: Perceptions and practices of pandemic-era early career researchers

Authors : David Nicholas, Eti Herman, David Clark, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Abdullah Abrizah, Anthony Watkinson, Jie Xu, David Sims, Galina Serbina, Marzena Świgoń, Hamid R. Jamali, Carol Tenopir, Suzie Allard

Presents early data from an investigation of the work lives and scholarly communication practices of 177 early career researchers (ECRs) from eight countries. Utilizing mainly coded and textual data from interviews, the paper reports on the findings that pertain to publishing papers in peer reviewed journals.

We examine which factors are taken into account when choosing the journal to publish their research in, identifying similarities/differences by country, age, academic status and discipline. Also, explored is whether the pandemic has changed decision-making. Main findings are that the aim for ECRs is to publish in the ‘best’ journals, variably measured by prestige, impact factor, standards of peer review and indexation.

Appropriateness of audience is the only factor unrelated to the quality of the journal that figures highly among the factors that guide ECRs in the process of selecting a journal.

The pandemic has made little difference to the majority of ECRs when they decide on a journal for publishing their research. However, there is a greater awareness of the need for a faster turnover rate, brought on by the importance accorded to speedy publication during the pandemic.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1488


The impact of the pandemic on early career researchers: what we already know from the internationally published literature

Authors : Eti Herman, David Nicholas, Anthony Watkinson, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Abdullah Abrizah, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Hamid R. Jamali, David Sims, Suzie Allard, Carol Tenopir, Jie Xu, Marzena Świgoń, Galina Serbina, Leah Parke Cannon

In order to take account of the impact of the pandemic on the already changing scholarly communications and work-life of early career researchers (ECRs), the 4-year long Harbingers study was extended for another two years.

As a precursor to the study (featuring interviews and a questionnaire survey), currently underway, an analytic review of the pertinent literature was undertaken and its results are presented here.

The review focuses on the challenges faced by ECRs and how these compare to the ones more senior researchers have to tackle. In the examination of the literature three general questions are posed: Q1) What are the identifiable and forthcoming impacts of the pandemic-induced financial pressures felt in the Higher Education sector on ECRs’ employment and career development prospects? Q2) What are the identifiable and forthcoming pandemic-associated disruptions in the pace/focus/direction of the research undertaking? Have any disruptions been predicted to exert an impact on ECRs’ research activities, and if so, with what scholarly consequences? Q3) How is the work-life of ECRs shaping up under the virus-dictated rules of the ‘new normal’ in the research undertaking? What challenges, if any, arise from the changes in practices identified, and what might their potential consequences be for ECRs?

The broad conclusion of the study is that the literature leaves little room for doubt: junior researchers are already disproportionally affected by and bear the burden of the ongoing pandemic-incurred hardships and they are likely to remain similarly impacted when more trials, still unfolding, materialise.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.mar.08

How is open access publishing going down with early career researchers? An international, multi-disciplinary study

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.

URL : How is open access publishing going down with early career researchers? An international, multi-disciplinary study

Alternative location : http://www.elprofesionaldelainformacion.com/contenidos/2020/nov/nicholas-herman-jamali-xu-boukacem-watkinson-rodriguez-abrizah-swigon-polezhaeva.pdf

Early career researchers: observing how the new wave of researchers is changing the scholarly communications market

Authors : David Nicholas, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Anthony Watkinson, Marzena Świgon, Jie Xu, Abdullah Abrizah, Eti Herman

The paper presents the early findings from the first two years of the Harbingers research project, a 3-year-long study of early career researchers (ECRs), the new wave of researchers, which sought to ascertain their current and changing habits with regard to scholarly communications.

The study recruited a convenience sample of 116 researchers from seven countries (China, France, Malaysia, Poland, Spain, UK and US) who were subject to repeat, in-depth interviews. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or remotely (via Skype).

A major focus of the study was to determine whether ECRs are taking the myriad opportunities proffered by digital innovations, developing within the context Open Science, Open Access and social media to disseminate their research.

The paper provides the highlights of the first-year benchmarking exercise and then investigates the strategic changes one year on.

URL : https://journals.openedition.org/rfsic/4635

Where and how early career researchers find scholarly information

Authors : David Nicholas, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Jie Xu, Anthony Watkinson, Abdullah Abrizah, Eti Herman, Marzena Świgon

This article presents findings from the first year of the Harbingers research project started in 2015. The project is a 3-year longitudinal study of early career researchers (ECRs) to ascertain their current and changing habits with regard to information searching, use, sharing, and publication.

The study recruited 116 researchers from seven countries (UK, USA, China, France, Malaysia, Poland, and Spain) and performed in-depth interviews by telephone, Skype, or face-to-face to discover behaviours and opinions.

This paper reports on findings regarding discovery and access to scholarly information. Findings confirm the universal popularity of Google/Google Scholar. Library platforms and web-scale discovery services are largely unmentioned and unnoticed by this user community, although many ECRs pass through them unknowingly on the way to authenticated use of their other preferred sources, such as Web of Science.

ECRs are conscious of the benefits of open access in delivering free access to papers. Social media are widely used as a source of discovering scholarly information. ResearchGate is popular and on the rise in all countries surveyed. Smartphones have become a regularly used platform on which to perform quick and occasional searches for scholarly information but are only rarely used for reading full text.

URL : http://ciber-research.eu/download/20170103-Where_and_How_ECRs_Find_Scholarly_Information-LEAP1087.pdf