Open access self-archiving: An author study

This, our second author international, cross-disciplinary study on open access had 1296 respondents. Its focus was on self-archiving. Almost half (49%) of the respondent population have self-archived at least one article during the last three years. Use of institutional repositories for this purpose has doubled and usage has increased by almost 60% for subject-based repositories. Self-archiving activity is greatest amongst those who publish the largest number of papers. There is still a substantial proportion of authors unaware of the possibility of providing open access to their work by self-archiving. Of the authors who have not yet self-archived any articles, 71% remain unaware of the option. With 49% of the author population having self-archived in some way, this means that 36% of the total author population (71% of the remaining 51%), has not yet been appraised of this way of providing open access. Authors have frequently expressed reluctance to self-archive because of the perceived time required and possible technical difficulties in carrying out this activity, yet findings here show that only 20% of authors found some degree of difficulty with the first act of depositing an article in a repository, and that this dropped to 9% for subsequent deposits. Another author worry is about infringing agreed copyright agreements with publishers, yet only 10% of authors currently know of the SHERPA/RoMEO list of publisher permissions policies with respect to self-archiving, where clear guidance as to what a publisher permits is provided. Where it is not known if permission is required, however, authors are not seeking it and are self-archiving without it. Communicating their results to peers remains the primary reason for scholars publishing their work; in other words, researchers publish to have an impact on their field. The vast majority of authors (81%) would willingly comply with a mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of their articles in an institutional or subject-based repository. A further 13% would comply reluctantly; 5% would not comply with such a mandate.

In a separate exercise we asked the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) what their experiences have been over the 14 years that arXiv has been in existence. How many subscriptions have been lost as a result of arXiv? Both societies said they could not identify any losses of subscriptions for this reason and that they do not view arXiv as a threat to their business (rather the opposite — this in fact the APS helped establish an arXiv mirror site at the Brookhaven National Laboratory).



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