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Open access self-archiving : An introduction

Alma Swan

lundi 5 février 2007, par anass


This, our second author study on open access, was carried out to determine the current state of play with respect to author self-archiving behaviour. The survey was carried out during the last quarter of 2004. There were 1296 respondents. The survey also briefly explored author experiences and opinions on publishing in open access journals to follow up our previous study on this topic for JISC and the Open Society Institute. Many of the findings reported here match those of that previous study. For example, the main reasons for authors publishing their work in open access journals are the principle of free access for all and their perceptions that these journals reach larger audiences, publish more rapidly and are more prestigious that the toll-access (subscription-based) journals that they have traditionally published in. The principal reasons why authors have not published in open access journals are that they are unfamiliar with any in their field and that they cannot identify a suitable one in which to publish their work. These reasons, and their rank order, exactly match the findings from our survey that was specifically on open access publishing last year. The purpose of this present study, however, was to move the focus onto selfarchiving, the alternative means of providing open access to scholarly journal articles. Almost half (49%) of the respondent population have self-archived at least one article during the last three years in at least one of the three possible ways — by placing a copy of an article in an institutional (or departmental) repository, in a subject-based repository, or on a personal or institutional website. More people (27%) have so far opted for the last method — putting a copy on a website — than have used institutional (20%) or subject-based (12%) repositories, though the main growth in self-archiving activity over the last year has been in these latter two more structured, systematic methods for providing open access. Use of institutional repositories for this purpose has doubled and usage has increased by almost 60% for subject-based repositories. Postprints (peer-reviewed articles) are deposited more frequently than preprints (articles prior to peer review) except in the longstanding self-archiving communities of physics and computer science. There are some differences between subject disciplines with respect to the level of self-archiving activity and the location of deposit (website, institutional or subject-based repositories). Selfarchiving activity is greatest amongst the most prolific authors, that is, 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. The findings here show that 20% of authors found some degree of difficulty with the first act of depositing an article in a repository, but that this dropped to 9% for subsequent depositions. Similarly, 23% of authors took more than an hour to deposit their first article in a repository, but only 13% took this long subsequently, with most taking a few minutes. Another author worry regarding self-archiving is the danger of infringing agreed copyright agreements with publishers. 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 permission is understood by the author to be required, it seems it is being sought (this accounts for around 17% of self-archiving cases) ; where it is not known if permission is required, 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, they publish to have an impact on their field. Nonetheless, more than half still do not know what the citation rate is for their most recent articles. Almost all (98%) of authors use some form of bibliographic service to locate articles of interest in closed archives such as publisher websites, but only a much smaller proportion of people (up to 30%) are yet using the specialised OAI search engines to navigate the open access repositories. Nevertheless, at the time of this survey, 72% of authors were using Google to search the web for scholarly articles : the subsequent arrival of GoogleScholar, which indexes the content of open access repositories as well as general websites, and thus retrieves formally-archived open access material, can be expected have a bearing on the level to which open access archives are searched in future and consequently on the eventual impact of articles deposited therein. 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.

Source : Ecso.2005.Auteur :Alma Swan

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