The SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) project presented the results of its two-year European Commission (EU) funded examination of open access publishing at an open symposium on January 13, 2011, in Berlin, Germany. Over the two-year study duration, the SOAP project performed a comprehensive study of open access journals, publishers and business models, including analysis of publishing houses, learned societies and licensing along with the overall supply and demand for open access.
The study surveyed over 50,000 researchers for their opinions on open-access journals, which make all their papers freely available online and usually charge authors a fee for each published paper. According to the study, while scientists like open-access papers as readers, as authors, they are still skeptical. The study found overwhelming support for the concept, with 89 percent of respondents stating that open access is beneficial to their field. However, this support did not always translate into action, the study noted. While 53 percent of respondents said they had published at least one open-access article, overall only about 10 percent of papers are published in open access journals.
The study found two main reasons as to why researchers do not submit their work to open-access journals. About 40 percent said that a lack of funding for author fees was a deterrent, while 30 percent cited a lack of high-quality open-access journals in their field.
Requiring authors to make sure the results of their work are freely available has reportedly had only partial success. Robert Kiley, head of digital services at the Wellcome Trust’s Wellcome Library in London, said at the symposium that open-access rates had risen from 12 percent to 50 percent since the funder began requiring its grantees to publish in open-access journals or deposit their papers in a freely available repository. However, Kiley acknowledged that Wellcome Trust had not imposed sanctions on researchers who failed to comply.
The study also makes it clear that open-access journals are proliferating, especially among small publishers. It was observed that one-third of open-access papers were published by the more than 1600 open-access publishers that publish only a single journal. The study also identified 14 ‘large publishers’ that publish either more than 50 journals or more than 1000 articles per year. The group accounts for roughly one-third of open-access publications, the study noted.”
Source: Knowledgespeak Newsletter, 1/17/11