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Nov 1 / scholarscooperative

The cost of open access?

Taylor and Francis recently conducted a survey of their author community on topics related to Open Access (OA).  Many authors were unsure, or in the middle on a lot of the questions posed to them.  For example , when asked about future intentions regarding article publishing practices, 51% reported they weren’t sure if they would CHOOSE to publish more often in OA journals with fees; and 35% claimed ‘no’ with certainty.  They were also asked in this same section if they would HAVE to publish more in OA journals due to mandates from a funder or their institution, of which 44% said they were unsure, and 47% responded no.

In another part of the survey, titled “research funders”, authors were asked to state how frequently certain statements apply.  One asked if the authors institution required publication in “free to access journals”, of which 74% said never.  There’s also a section on OA services, which asks participants to rate the importance of the services they expect when they pay to publish OA; the top area of importance was “rigorous peer review”.

Let’s take a quick walk through another part of the survey, the future of OA publishing. Half of the participants were asked questions about what they would like to happen, the other half about what they think will happen.  When asked about OA publication, authors were given three options to choose from related to research outputs; two of which specifically mentioned restrictions (no restrictions, and some restrictions) on re-use, and the statements used the words open access, but made no mention of fees.  The last option focused on research being published in subscription journals where there are no fees involved.  The last statement is the one most respondents said they thought would happen, or would like to see happen.

There’s an obvious recurring theme of paying, either literally, or figuratively throughout the survey.  There are many implications and conclusions to draw from this idea alone, but now  that you’ve read a lot about OA, authors, scholarly publishing, etc., when you read the words “open” and “access” what do you think? If it’s open, and accessible, should there be some sort of cost or “cost” to it?

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Taylor and Francis survey