Survey reveals that authors’ interest in OA is growing while publishers remain hesitant

10.01.2019

The preprint of the report on the results of a survey conducted by Graz University Library is now available.

In May and June 2018, Graz University Library’s Open Access Office surveyed representatives of a total of 82 scholarly publishers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland about their assessments of, and experiences with, open access and about their open access offerings.

The results of the survey reveal that open access is becoming more important for these publishers and their authors. The majority (90 percent) of the respondents who answered the question asking whether demand for open access on the part of their authors had increased in recent years (n = 39) reported either a slow or a considerable increase. Moreover, 33 percent of respondents expected that open access would become the norm in scholarly publishing in the future; a further 60 percent saw it as a supplement to existing publishing offerings.

Despite this assessment, the majority of publishers have been slow to develop open access offerings. The reasons for this are manifold. Most publishers expect sales to decline if the works they publish are freely available; as disadvantages of open access, respondents cited legal uncertainties, unclear business models, and pressure exerted by policymakers and research funders. However, a considerable percentage of respondents had obviously not dealt intensively with the topic of open access – only 67 percent reported that they were also familiar with the contents of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, and 43 percent were unclear about the requirements that open access publications should fulfil.

The respondents pointed to unresolved issues with regard to the financing of open access, and to a lack of recognition for publishing services. On the other hand, however, they expressed the wish for more standardization, information, and administrative simplification and a desire for increased cooperation with universities, libraries, and research funders.

Overall, however, the surveyed publishers were more open than expected towards the topic of open access – with good reason: Announcements by funding organisations that publications resulting from the research that they fund must be published in open access journals or on open access platforms are becoming more concrete (see also Science Europe’s “Plan S”).

Publication

Kaier, C., & Lackner, K. (2018). Open Access aus der Sicht von Verlagen [Open Access from the Publishers’ Point of View] BIBLIOTHEK – Forschung und Praxis preprint. DOI: 10.18452/19635