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Hershey, PA, November 2023 – IGI Global, an independent international academic publishing house, recently challenged the validity of the presumption in the publishing industry that the basic concepts and principles of open access (OA) are commonly understood by all researchers in academic communities around the globe. Recent discoveries suggest the reality is that researchers worldwide appear to not be as well-versed in the dynamics of OA as previously thought, and at the same time, hold strong opinions on OA publishing support. In their first “IGI Global OA Annual Academic Publishing Trends and Open Access Survey” they measured the issues, challenges, and opportunities related to scholarly OA publishing in modern days, which includes an assessment of OA trends. The survey was sent to over 200,000 worldwide researchers of all ages, experiences, fields, ethnicities, etc. The survey results revealed some unexpected discoveries regarding OA publishing, especially surrounding the knowledge and support, or lack thereof, currently available to prospective authors.
Highlights of the Survey Results
The responses that IGI Global received from the survey respondents revealed some of the misconceptions revolving around their OA knowledge and available resources.
Researchers were asked the following questions:
How have you learned about OA publishing?
Respondents were given the option to choose more than one source: 27% of the researchers surveyed indicated that they learned from librarians at their institutions, 60% from publishers, 40% from their institution, and 67% stated they learned through their own self research.
How supported do you feel by your institution to pursue OA publishing?
Only 11% indicated that they are supported by their institution, 39% stated somewhat supported, and 50% of respondents claimed that they are not supported at all by their institution/library.
Does your institution/library have funds for OA publishing?
The results showed that 20% of respondents answered “yes,” 59% stated “no,” and 21% marked “I don’t know.”
Does your institution/library have OA agreements with publishers?
A mere 19% answered “yes,” 42% answered “no,” and 39% indicated “I don’t know.”
Do you think there are enough OA funding opportunities currently present to support a complete transition to OA publishing?
Only 12% of respondents stated “yes,” 60% answered “no,” and 28% indicated “unsure.”
Many researchers have expressed the difficulties in obtaining OA funding for their OA publishing aspirations, so IGI Global asked:
How easy is it to apply for funds for OA publishing?
Only 2% indicated “very easy,” 8% stated “somewhat easy,” 60% answered “not easy,” and 30% stated “I haven’t tried.”
Respondents were asked “What funding resources have you used for OA publishing?” and they had the ability to choose all resources that they have used.
As IGI Global had expected, the majority of respondents indicated they were “self-funded” at 48%, 8% stated “national funding body,” 5% answered “international funding body,” 18% indicated “my Institution/library/entity affiliated to my institution,” 4.5% stated “non-profit institutions,” 2% claimed they received funding through “private donors,” 5% indicated “associations/societies,” 2.5% indicated “business enterprise,” 3.5% stated “foundations,” 1% claimed “crowdfunding,” 14% claimed they received a “publisher waiver,” and 2% indicated they received funding from a “platinum open access publication” where the APC is waived by the publication. A large portion, 34% of respondents, had not used an OA funding resource.
How important is it that your published research is made widely discoverable/used?
Of the responses, 76% indicated “highly important,” 22% “somewhat important,” and 2% indicated “not important.”
Survey Analysis and Response
Although the concepts and practices of OA publishing have gained a tremendous amount of acceptance and popularity, the survey results indicate that many researchers strongly believe they are not supported in their OA publishing endeavors, leaving the majority to deal with many of the challenges of OA publishing, particularly with funding, on their own.
“At the moment, the burden of paying for OA publishing is left mostly to the faculty to deal with whereby default they have to pay APCs due to the fact that they have to publish in support of their career. However, OA publishing is bringing fundamental changes in knowledge discoveries to the entire world. Therefore, all players, including governments, institutions, research foundations, publishers, etc. need to genuinely support the sustainability of OA publishing by supporting researchers and informing them about funding opportunities, and making the funding application process less complicated,” states Dr. Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, Editor-in Chief of the Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Sixth Edition (A Gold Open Access Publication).
To make OA sustainable, librarians have the important and valuable role of becoming the facilitators of OA publishing in their institutions by supporting their faculty through holistic OA educational programs. Particularly, librarians can aid with funding by reducing some of the burden of the cost of OA publishing. An overwhelming majority (almost 50%) of the responsibility for Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Chapter Processing Charges (CPCs) are being carried by researchers while libraries and their institutions are the primary beneficiaries of OA publishing.
Dr. Kristine Blair, Dean of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University, a panel member of a recent webinar sponsored by IGI Global, “The Impact of OA on Researchers: Benefits & Pitfalls,” stated, “Often there is a disparity in resources between research-oriented universities and private institutions, which affects their ability to invest in OA agreements.” To ensure the sustainability and accessibility of OA, she suggests that universities need to make a comprehensive commitment to open access. Faculty can contribute by using digital repositories provided by their institutions to share their work, fostering an intellectual community, and celebrating the institution’s research mission.
From the publisher perspective, Melissa Wagner, Vice President of Editorial at IGI Global, found the results of the survey to be unexpected, stating, “While it came as no surprise that researchers are facing challenges in securing funding for OA initiatives, given the ongoing struggles libraries and institutions endure in balancing OA funding with their acquisition budgets, I was taken aback by the extent to which researchers reported feeling unsupported in their OA publishing endeavors. Many of them found themselves navigating the intricacies of OA independently or relying on publishers to gain insights into OA processes. As a publisher, it is evident that we must maintain our commitment to providing educational support for best practices in OA publishing. We will also persist in collaborating with libraries to organize OA publishing workshops for their faculty and provide them the supplemental tools they need in educating their patrons on the OA movement, further enhancing our collective efforts to promote open science in scholarly communication.”
It is IGI Global’s stance that more collaborative efforts must be undertaken by publishers, funders, and institutions/libraries to provide better support for researchers seeking to benefit from OA publishing opportunities. Their hope is that the results of this survey will shed light on the challenges facing the research community as they navigate OA publishing.
About IGI Global – Publishing Tomorrow’s Research Today
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA with a subsidiary office (IGI Science and Technology, Ltd.) operating out of Beijing, China, IGI Global is a leading medium-sized independent international academic publisher of cutting-edge, high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarly reference publications in the three major academic subject areas of Business & Management, Scientific, Technical, & Medical (STM), and Education. With a commitment to facilitating the discovery of pioneering scientific research, this publishing house has empowered over 200,000+ expert researchers from leading institutions globally to bring advanced research books from conceptualization to completion in an impressive 6-9 months from proposal acceptance to publication. IGI Global journal articles have a rapid turnaround, on average taking 2-4 weeks, and are then added to a significant portfolio of nearly 200 OA journals within IGI Global’s Open Access Journal Program. IGI Global is now considered to be the third largest 100% OA Journal Publishers in the World. Through traditional and open access publishing workflows, this unique proprietary process makes tomorrow’s research, which enhances and expands the body of knowledge, available to the research community today. For libraries interested in obtaining more information about IGI Global OA Agreements, please contact Mr. Nick Newcomer, VP of Sales and Marketing at email@example.com.
Learn more about IGI Global here.
View the official press release document here.
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