Unlocking attitudes to Open Access – survey results

You may remember earlier this year that the RSP and UKCoRR invited UK repositories to carry out a survey of academic staff with a particular focus on informing advocacy plans and “joined up” institutional developments for Open Access in higher education institutions. The questions focused on attitudes toward open access and institutional repositories. The RSP blogged about this in March.

The results of this survey have now been collated and there are some interesting results. Unsurprisingly (other surveys have shown this), the majority of academics are in favour of open access:

85% strongly or mildly in favour of open access in principle

80% strongly or mildly in favour of open access repositories

69% strongly or mildly in favour of publishing in OA journals

However, rather less reported actually acting upon this: 59% make some of their publications available in the institutional repository but 41% don’t make any available. This is despite the fact that 73% were aware of their institution’s repository. Question 7a gave respondents the opportunity to give reasons why in their own words. The results of this were categorised and the most common reasons were:

Haven’t published yet/material not suitable (99)

Copyright concerns (94)

Lack of time/haven’t got round to doing it (58)

Lack of knowledge (48)

Use other method (28)

The questions on copyright and versions provided some encouraging results – the majority, 70%, thought that authors should own the copyright to the material and although we know that most authors sign away their copyright, it’s interesting to see that they don’t necessarily think that is a good thing.  The fact that 86% kept a copy of their own author, peer reviewed final version is also supportive to self archiving. In addition, 77% felt that this version was acceptable for deposit in the repository. These latter responses help to counter some commonly held beliefs that authors don’t keep a copy of their work and that only the publisher’s PDF is worthy of sharing.

Twenty institutions participated with a total of 1676 respondents. A summary of the results is attached here Attitudes to OA – Basic summary report. A fuller report is in progress which will be published in due course.

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About Jackie Wickham
I am based at the Centre for Research Communications at the University of Nottingham. I work on the JISC funded Repositories Support Project which supports the development and growth of the UK repositories network.

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