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“It’s Like The Wild West Out There”: Faculty Attitudes Towards Open Access Publishing

“It’s Like the Wild West Out There”: Faculty Attitudes Towards Open Access Publishing

What do faculty members think about Open Access (OA) publishing and how do they choose where to publish?

The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain: Faculty members at Laurier and Brock universities expressed some positive statements about Open Access publishing, but also demonstrated negativity and uncertainty about this trend in scholarly communication.

The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain: Faculty members at Laurier and Brock universities expressed some positive statements about Open Access publishing, but also demonstrated negativity and uncertainty about this trend in scholarly communication.

While some librarians embrace OA for the potential it offers to improve scholarly journal publishing, we wondered how faculty members felt about the current “Wild West” environment of OA publishing. Do they embrace or avoid OA journals? How do they select publishing venues? Do their publishing practices reflect their beliefs?

We surveyed faculty at Brock and Wilfrid Laurier universities – institutions of comparable size and scope — to examine disciplinary and institutional differences within similar communities of researchers. Our preliminary analysis indicates that peer review, journal prestige, and impact factor are the key factors considered by faculty at both institutions when deciding where to publish.

Faculty at both institutions expressed interest in OA and supported the idea of making their research widely accessible. However, there were also many negative perceptions of the quality of OA journals and their potential value during promotion and tenure processes. The potential costs associated with publishing OA were also seen as a major impediment.

Preliminary analysis suggests that discipline, age, and career stage account for some of the differences in awareness and perceptions of OA, but further analysis is required to verify the validity of these findings. We would also like to replicate the survey at other institutions to draw more definitive conclusions.

For more information about the study, you can view slides from our 2015 OLA Super Conference presentation.

Ian Gibson is a Collections Librarian at Brock University, Barbara McDonald is the Interim University Librarian at Brock University, Carol Stephenson is a Librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Elizabeth Yates is a Liaison/Scholarly Communication Librarian at Brock University.

 

 

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