The Open Access Dichotomy among authors in Taylor & Francis survey
Oxford, April, 2013
Authors agree that publication should not be limited by the ability to pay, but all research outputs should be free to read online. In the fifth in a series of Press Releases on the themes and findings of the Open Access Survey, Taylor & Francis investigates authors’ attitudes and values relating to the communication of research when publishing in Open Access Journals.
Respondents were asked about their level of agreement with statements concerning the communication of their research. Findings from the survey confirmed agreement that, ‘the publication of research should not be limited by the ability to pay’, as affirmed by 86% of authors surveyed. However, 66% of respondents agree that ‘all research outputs should be free for everyone to read online’. This is evidence of the ‘Open Access Dichotomy’ - a tension between aspirations and reality – publication of research does incur costs (even in OA journals which don’t charge authors to publish within them); so how can this tension be addressed?
77% of respondents agree that publishers are an essential part of the research communication process and significantly contribute to the dissemination of research. One respondent notes by contrast that it is the researcher’s output which is the lifeblood of a publisher:
‘Publishers are fantastic at disseminating research, but without researchers, their value is substantially reduced’.
Associate Professor in Business and Economics
Another respondent voices a concern around the curation of knowledge in a post-subscription world:
‘I worry about who will maintain the journals if there is not a subscription base of income to support the work. PDF will not be the archival medium for all time so who will pay to convert the existing knowledge base to any new format? I think we have yet to work out a lot of the details of an effective archival system for systematic knowledge storage and recovery.’
Professor in Environmental Science
Taylor & Francis charge article publishing charges (APCs) for those authors wishing to take the gold OA route to publication, which cover the costs of OA publication. We do, however, offer waivers for authors in developing countries and are also an active participant in a number of development initiatives offering free or reduced price access to research for those in the developing world. 94.5% of our journals now comply with the author mandates for those funded by Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust.
Regional and Subject Differences
Biological Sciences, Public Health and Social Care appear consistently in the top three subjects most committed to the ideals surrounding the freedom of data, namely that ‘all research outputs should be free for everyone to read online’, ‘the dissemination of research is a common good that should not be monetised in any way’ and ‘there should be no restrictions on research outputs’. Additional, Biological Science authors also show the highest level of agreement that ‘publication of research should not be limited by ability pay’.
At a regional level, agreement with the above statements was consistently highest in either Latin America or Africa.
Business and Economics stands out as the subject with the highest level of agreement for the statements ‘researchers have access to most of the articles they need’ and ‘free access to data matters more to me than free access to research articles’. In the case of free access to data – the level of agreement in Business and Economics (39%) is 50% higher than the next most supportive subjects, Politics, International Relations and Geography (26%).
Worldwide, as many authors agree (37%) as disagree (38%) that they have access to the articles they need. One could be forgiven for thinking those at either end of the spectrum were likely to be from very different regions of the globe. However, examining the level of agreement for each region reveals a surprising degree of homogeneity.
The subject and regional breakdowns relating to the distribution of licence preferences can be found here:
The basic results from the full survey and a copy of the questionnaire can be found here and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence: www.tandf.co.uk/journals/pdf/open-access-survey-march2013.pdf
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For more information, please contact:
Victoria Wright, Communications Manager, Taylor & Francis Group Journals
About Taylor & Francis Group
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