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Authors’ opinions on Open Access according to a survey by Taylor&Francis

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Open Access grows year by year. Governments and institutions introduce OA policies and try to provide funding without which expansion of this publishing model would not be possible. But still, the most important factor of the development of OA is a readiness of researchers and academics to accept and publish in this model. That is why the opinions and insights of authors on Open Access publishing are very important. 

Recently published results of a survey conducted by the Taylor&Francis Group give an interesting insight to the attitudes of authors on Open Access. The results are very surprising.

According to the survey, only 38% respondents strongly agree that open access offers wider circulation than publication in a subscription journal (33% just agree). What is more, only 21% respondents strongly agree, that open access journals have a larger readership of researchers than subscription journals (24% just agree). It is very surprising, that only 10% strongly agree (15% just agree), that OA journals are cited more heavily than subscription journals. This opinion is in conflict with a number of reports on open access and citations, but it confirms that authors are not aware that OA can increase the level of citations.

This report reveals another interesting phenomenon, namely that authors are not willing to share their work without any limits; only 40% of respondents strongly agree and decide to allow their work to be re-used in any way. What is more interesting is that 43% of respondents strongly disagree to others using their work for commercial gain. The vast majority of respondents (95%) opted for CC BY-NC-ND license, and only 15% of them voted a strong yes to CC BY. These results show that authors want to maintain control over their works even if they publish in OA model.

Another very interesting insight is that 52% of respondents choose the best journals for articles, regardless of publication charges or whether articles are free to access and only 39% of them prefer to submit work to journals, which do not charge for publication. Furthermore, 38% of respondents said that their universities did not require an upload of the final accepted version of the article to its archive; 35% of respondents said the same thing in the case of research funders.

Most surprising, however, are the responses on publishing in OA; only 9% of respondents often actively choose to publish in Open Access journals, and 31% only sometimes. Most of them declared that their research funders or institutions do not provide funds for Open Access publishing or do not require them to publish in free access journals.

These data show that among researchers and scientists Open Access still raises many questions. Authors are not entirely convinced of the advantages of this model and are reluctant to provide full access to their work. The survey also shows that there is still a problem with resources to finance publishing in Open Access, and so far very few institutions request scientists to publish within this model. The report suggests, among other things, that there is still much to be done to promote and disseminate Open Access in the scientific community.

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