Open Access journals as a new way of scholarly communication: survey on advantages and measures to increase acceptance / OpAA

Aims and tasks

Since the declarations of Budapest, Bethesda and Berlin in 2002 / 2003, open access has been discussed intensively. By signing the declaration of Berlin, the German Research Foundation, the Fraunhofer Society, the Helmholtz Community, the German Rectors’ Conference, the Leibniz Community, the Max Planck Society and other scholarly organisations advocated for the principle of open access: “supply scientific knowledge for everybody by means of the internet”.

Albeit the continously increasing number of open access journal, many complaints still remain as the potentials of this new way of publication are not realized sufficiently, especially in the humanities and the social sciences. Thus authors often hesitate and prefer established ways of publishing.

The aim of this project consisted in developing measures to promote the realisation of the idea of open access. Empirical studies on open access do exist, but they do not sufficiently expose the needs of authors and do not provide any measures motivating them to publish more in open access journals and repositories. Although various differences between the disciplines are well known, they are not systematically documentated. The projects tryed to face these both deficits by examining open access journals and the reasons whether and why they succeed. The results shall help to develop measures to increase acceptance.

Research Strategy

In May and June 2008, about 1000 authors of open access journals appearing in Germany were surveyed. What was their motivation to publish in such journals and what could increase the acceptance of this way of publication? The survey was conducted as an online survey.

To improve the attractiveness of open access journals, the creativity of authors was taken info account and considered as possible suggestions. The approach was strictly solution oriented. Only efficient open access journals were examined with the aim to emphasize the advantages of this new way of publication and to reduce existing prejudices and disadvantages.

The results of the survey were analysed considering the differences between the disciplines. It was assumed that every discipline is characterized by different requirements and that only part of all demands concerning open access journals are valid accross all disciplines. At the same time the international literature on the subject was extensively reviewed.

First results were presented in the journal „Forschung Aktuell“ published by the Institute for Work and Technology in August 2007. A presentation on the 60th annual meeting of the DGI (German Society for Information Science and Practice) held on the Frankfurt book fair followed shortly. New aspects were discussed in a more recent edition of „Forschung Aktuell“. A complete documentation of the survey and its results was accepted as a doctoral thesis by the Humboldt University at Berlin and was published on its server of electronic documents.

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