Publishing strategies in transformation

DFG study reveals increasing acceptance and importance of open access

The dissemination of research findings on special, free-to-user or open access platforms on the internet is approved by a majority of research scientists in all disciplines. However, only around ten percent have actually used the opportunity to make their own articles available in this way. These are the findings of a survey of researchers' publishing habits and means of accessing information, commissioned by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) in the summer of 2004. The study, which reveals some important insights into a change taking place in the publishing landscape, was published in German in July 2005 and is now available in English.

Over one thousand DFG-funded scientists from all disciplines took part in the survey. Of these, young researchers in the natural, life and engineering sciences expressed themselves more strongly in favour of promoting open access publications than their older colleagues. In the humanities and social sciences, the result was exactly the reverse. Above all, secondary publications or "self-archiving" on open access platforms of scientific papers that have already appeared in conventional journals met with widespread approval. In the opinion of the respondents, subject-specific servers were the best suited to this purpose. Some of the scientists expressed reservations about the status of open access publications in specialist circles and worried about the long-term availability of electronic publications. However, these doubts decreased in line with the experience researchers already had of online publications.

Open access is designed to facilitate scientific exchange within the scientific community. Since freely accessible publications are quoted more frequently, open access increases the visibility of research results and can thereby boost the reputation of research scientists. When it signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities on 22 October 2003, the DFG had already made a decisive commitment to supporting and promoting free access to scientific publications on the internet.

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Further information

The results of the study, entitled "Publishing Strategies in Transformation?", are available at www.dfg.de/lis.

Contacts at the DFG are:

Dr. Johannes Fournier, Scientific Library Services and Information Systems,
Tel.: +49 (0)228/885-2418, e-mail: Johannes.Fournier@dfg.de

Dr. Alexis-Michel Mugabushaka, Information Management, Tel.: +49 (0)228/885-2849,
e-mail: Alexis-Michel.Mugabushaka@dfg.de.


Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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