Despite being key stakeholders in the research communication process, researchers have never been widely consulted on the creation of worldwide research communication policies. In order to better understand researcher viewpoints and to better inform future policy reform efforts, OSI conducted a number of surveys in early and mid-2022.
Research is a profession, subject to the same types of incentives and pressures as any other profession. It should therefore come as no surprise that what researchers want most from research communication reforms are solutions that prioritize their individual career needs. These needs include paying less for publishing, having the freedom to publish where they choose (because choosing the best available journal is important for recognition and advancement), ensuring that the work they conduct and publish is of high quality, collaborating more effectively with their peers, being able to read other research work more easily, and having their institutions better support them. Our current global research communication reform efforts, such as open access (OA) and open science, have yet to effectively address these concerns, focusing instead on implementing policies like replacing the subscription model and requiring CC-BY licensing.
The Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI) conducted two global surveys of researchers in the spring and summer of 2022 to determine how this audience felt about open access policies. While the number of researchers who participated in these surveys was too small to reach any statistically significant conclusions, the responses we received were consistent with previous researcher surveys and suggest that most researchers are not being adequately served by OA policies and that these policies should focus instead on higher research communication priorities. More research is recommended.
Efforts to reform scholarly communication through open access have been happening for decades now. In recent years, however, the global influence of open access policies has expanded. In 2019, Plan S was launched in the EU; in 2020, the enormous University of California system penned a transformative agreement with Elsevier (other universities have also reached their own one-off agreements with Elsevier and other publishers); in 2021, UNESCO adopted a new global policy defining and advocating for open science; and in 2022, the US adopted a new policy (the Nelson Memo) requiring all federally funded research to be available immediately and free of charge.
Whereas OA reforms prior to 2019 tended to be more institutional or regional, the reach of more recent actions and policies has been global. This is particularly true in the case of Plan S, which directly affects only a subset of EU researchers and a small fraction of the overall number of research papers published annually, but whose ripple effects have been far reaching. Publishers everywhere quickly adjusted their business plans and product offerings to align with the requirements of this plan, affecting researchers around the globe. Similar policies from UNESCO and the US have followed suit, in effect multiplying Plan S into a global tidal wave of change.
Plan S and many other OA policies are based on the 2002 Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI; see BOAI 2002 and endnote 1). This viewpoint maintains that open access involves not just being free to read but also promptly accessible (zero embargo), and licensed in a way that maximizes free reuse (with a CC-BY license). Other definitions of OA used today differ from policy to policy and frequently include a number of additional characteristics. Plan S, for instance, also prohibits publishers from combining free and paid content in the same journals (referred to as hybrids), outlines where and how research data should be deposited, and necessitates publisher disclosure of operational costs and profit.
This mandate-based approach to OA policy is not embraced by everyone. Early in 2015, in collaboration with UNESCO, the Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI) was founded in order to better understand the wide range of viewpoints in this field and to help facilitate the creation of OA policies and strategies based on facts, best practices, common ground, and shared objectives. One of OSI’s most significant findings has been that researchers are vastly underrepresented in policy conversations regarding OA. This isn’t inherently the fault of open access proponents and policymakers; rather, the lack of representation has led to research communication policies that are primarily focused on meeting the demands of libraries and research funders rather than those of researchers (see endnote 2).
In light of this underrepresentation, OSI set out in early 2022 to gauge the attitudes of open access policies among researchers worldwide. The data from non-OSI surveys paints a very clear picture of researcher priorities (see endnote 3), but specific information is still lacking, such as the reason(s) for needing CC-BY licenses (if any), and how open access policies rank in relation to the broader priorities researchers have for non-communication issues like funding, recruiting, and salary. In this broader context, is OA still a priority? And do the specific requirements imposed by OA regulations, such as CC-BY, align with the incentives, needs and priorities of researchers? The majority of past studies also lacked free form responses. The surveys conducted by OSI gave researchers a chance to share their ideas.
Two separate surveys were conducted as part of this effort. The first—the OSI Research Communication Survey—was circulated by OSI and four other organizations (Emerald Publishing, SciELO, Figshare, and the Research Data Alliance) between March and August of 2022. Each organization provided unique survey links for their audiences (all forms were identical except for a version identifier number). Surveys were closed at the end of August and tabulated in October. Approximately 200 responses were received in all, of which 110 responses were valid after accounting for spam replies and duplicates. Additional procedural notes are included in the dataset linked to this publication.
The second survey—the OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress—consisted of four separate surveys. The first of these surveys was administered the first week of July, followed by a second survey in the second week, another in the third, and a final survey in the fourth week of July. The OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress included 130 participants, of whom 99 had also taken the OSI Research Communication Survey earlier in the year and volunteered to be part of this next survey group. Nineteen additional participants were added from Clarivate’s list of Highly Cited Researchers (following email invitations to around 250 researchers on this list during April), and 12 participants came from OSI.
All surveys were conducted in English only and using Google Forms. Results were tabulated in Excel. Participants were contacted using MailChimp and a Google listserv. Due to the small sample sizes, no advanced analysis was conducted on these datasets (p values, demographic breakdowns, etc.)—just totals and percentage distributions.
The raw data and full, unedited questions from these surveys are in Annex section of this report and also in the linked data file. The profile of a typical respondent in these surveys is a university-based researcher and/or professor with significant experience. Several dozen countries are represented. Detailed demographics are in the Annex tables.
As noted in the Methodology section, the Research Communication Survey was administered to 110 participants between March and August 2022. The four surveys of the Global Research Congress were administered during July 2022. For the Global Research Congress surveys, n=130 for the full group eligible to take each survey, but in terms of participation, week 1 n=41, week 2 n=34, week 3 n=25, and week 4 n=25. We didn’t track which participants from the full group completed each survey, so the demographic profile only applies to the full group and not to each survey group.
Because several of the questions asked in these surveys are closely related by design, the survey results in this summary report are not presented in chronological order. That is, our insight into certain subjects was gathered from several different surveys and questions, so rather than simply report the answers from each question in the order asked, the answers to these questions are grouped by subject instead.
SATISFACTION WITH OA POLICIES
In question 1 of the Research Communication Survey, researchers were asked to select statements about scholarly communication that best aligned with their experience. Researchers could choose as many statements as they liked. About 75% of respondents said there were better ways of doing research communication and wanted to hear about and explore new ideas and policies. Only 13% said they were comfortable with the ways things are currently. Seven percent said there were better ways of doing research communication, but were fine with whatever reforms governments, funders and/or universities make. Overall, 90% of respondents (99 of 110) selected some version of the “I think there are better ways” answer, and 83% of this group (82 of 99) picked the “and I’d like to hear about and explore new ideas and policies” suffix.
Researcher awareness of the scholarly communication landscape may be better than in years past. From the Research Communication Survey, question 2, key terms in scholarly communication were recognized by the majority of respondents (“familiar” or higher). This marks a significant increase from the awareness noted in researcher surveys from even a few years ago (for example, see Taylor & Francis 2019). From question 3 however, we note that most researchers have either never heard of are only sort of familiar with major global OA policies like Plan S.
Table 2: Percent of researchers familiar, very familiar, or expert with OA terms and efforts
|OA term||%||OA reform effort||%|
|Journal Impact Factor||94%||Some other global effort||35%|
|Open access||91%||The Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI)||34%|
|Preprint||91%||UNESCO Open Science plan||32%|
|Publish or perish||89%||Plan S||25%|
|Open data||85%||Open Research Funders Group (ORFG) effort||17%|
|Predatory or deceptive publishing||83%|
|APC (article publishing charge)||75%|
|Fair Use or Fair Dealing||37%|
Source: OSI Research Communication Survey, questions 2 and 3
RESEARCH COMMUNICATION PRIORITIES
In question 4 of the Researcher Communication Survey, respondents noted that their highest priority needs in scholarly communication were to lower costs and ensure equity between researchers in the Global North and Global South. Many other needs were also highly ranked, such as increasing the impact of research, which aligns with the findings from previous surveys (see References section). Indeed, the first 11 priorities were supported by at least 70% of respondents. Notably, the only sentiments not ranking highly were the ones central to current global OA policies—namely, reinventing the wheel, and creating one-size-fits-all communication policies for the global research community.
Table 3: Percent of researchers who say this communication priority is either high or a “must do”
|Research communication priority||%|
|Lower the costs to authors of publishing||84%|
|Narrow the equity gap between researchers in the Global North and Global South||82%|
|Lower the costs to institutions of publishing||82%|
|Improve the impact of research on developing better public policy||81%|
|Develop infrastructure solutions that make data repositories easier to maintain and access, and that possibly help level the playing field on access to computing resources||75%|
|Improve peer review systems||75%|
|Improve connections between research and the general public (for example, by making sure that all research publications include abstracts written in plain language)||74%|
|Improve connections between research (especially within each field)||72%|
|Reform the culture of communication in academia||71%|
|Improve the impact of research on advancing knowledge||71%|
|Improve the reusability of research (is the work properly licensed, is dataset complete and usable, etc.?)||71%|
|Improve the visibility of non-English work||67%|
|Improve safeguards (like gatekeeping) to ensure that published work isn’t fake or plagiarized (to ensure that bad work doesn’t pollute the knowledge stream)||63%|
|Improve the speed of publishing||59%|
|Develop turnkey systems that make it faster and easier to comply with publishing requirements (regarding data deposits, etc.)||55%|
|Reduce the influence of the Journal Impact Factor||55%|
|Improve the visibility of non-journal research work (industry white papers, government studies, etc.)||55%|
|Create new and better ways to officially record discovery (instead of relying on preprints or journal articles for this)||52%|
|Improve the indexing of research work||51%|
|Reduce the importance of publishing in promotion and tenure evaluations||50%|
|Fix what’s broken||42%|
|Create one-size-fits-all communication policies for the global research community||37%|
|Reinvent the wheel, even if this means some things end up being worse than before (or will take years to stabilize)||18%|
Source: OSI Research Communication Survey, question 4
More broadly, in the context of how communication fits in with their other priorities, researchers answering question 5 of the Researcher Communication Survey ranked their research-related priorities as follows, with the first 15 priorities supported by at least 70% of respondents (see Table 4A). Note that generic communication priorities like “publish in a journal” and “find the right research papers to read” are highly important, and that almost all of these general research priorities are communications related. This is an important point, highlighting how research communication isn’t a niche concern for researchers. It is, in fact, a central concern, meaning that our understanding of research communication needs to be robust, and the policy reforms we invent must be well planned and effective. Note as well that the specific solution at the centerpiece of all current global OA policies—the CC-BY license allowing users to “Copy and paste large chunks of text from other research papers or otherwise reuse these works”—is very unimportant. Other surveys have consistently identified the CC-BY license as being less popular with researchers than licensing options like CC-BY-NC-ND that protect their work from misuse and commercial exploitation (except in venues like arXiv, SciELO and PLOS which apply the CC-BY license by default). In other words, while CC-BY helps promote access to research publications (not data, which is covered by CC-0), most researchers don’t need to reuse these publications in the way envisioned by CC-BY promoters, as will become more apparent later in this analysis.
Table 4a: Percent of researchers who say this overall research priority (not just communication) is either most often or always important
|Effectively communicate my findings to fellow researchers||82%|
|Advance in my field||81%|
|Get funding for my research work||80%|
|Get proper credit and recognition for my work||79%|
|Publish in a journal||78%|
|Find the right research papers to read||76%|
|Make an impact on society||76%|
|Freely and rapidly share my research work with other researchers around the world||74%|
|Publish in a prestigious journal||71%|
|Read research papers for free||70%|
|Figure out what to read—there’s so much information out there||70%|
|Effectively communicate my findings to the general public||69%|
|Effectively communicate my findings to policymakers||67%|
|IMMEDIATELY (without waiting for embargo periods) read what other researchers have published in a subscription journal||55%|
|See the data generated by other researchers||55%|
|Make my data available in a format that others can see and use||50%|
|Reuse the data generated by other researchers||48%|
|“Register” my discovery (publish quickly so the world will recognize I was the first to discover something)||45%|
|Protect my research from getting “scooped” before I can publish it||45%|
|Copy and paste large chunks of text from other research papers or otherwise reuse these works (beyond what is already permitted by copyright under Fair Use and Fair Dealing)||14%|
Source: OSI Research Communication Survey, question 5
In week 3 of the Global Researcher Congress, question 1, researchers were asked this same general question but in an open-ended format—to explain what they needed (not necessarily communication-related) to improve their research. These responses were led by desires like improving teamwork, improving access to information, reducing the amount of administrative work, and improving the stability of funding.
Table 5: What researchers need to improve their research work
|better communication and work across pharma|
|A more collaborative environment would be beneficial to the research enterprise aiming at advancing knowledge and solving urging societal problems. Therefore, open data, open code, open research facilities, and sharing all sorts of relevant information would be beneficial.|
|Less administrative work|
|More time and freedom to research what I want to research|
|I would like to have a better scientific publishing system, moving away from traditional journals and organizing scholarly communication as a genuine exchange of ideas between researchers and the societal stakeholders they serve.|
|To improve my research, at this point in time, I believe that it would mainly be necessary: free access to databases, articles and books; less bureaucratic workload of the university — which could be done by its own employees, if there were a satisfactory number; better remuneration in scholarship|
|To improve my research I would need to be part of an interdisciplinary and international research team able to work together in different fronts to think about urgent needs that might be result in policy change. For doing so, we would need funding and less pressure to produce hasty papers, conferences, books… for the sake of quantitative metrics|
|Not be dependent from external funding for everything.|
|More time (less time spent on administrative and other tasks)|
|I think ways to get timely feedback on my research process, that can help me to offer better outcomes timely (publishing data, sharing protocols, opening software or publishing on journals that value transparency)|
|The perfect search environment for me should look like this:|
– open data and open access to publications;
– enough time for research (half the working day), achieved by reducing the time spent on academic and scientific management;
– public funding for research and research infrastructure, made available through standardized competition through blind peer-reviewed processes;
– scholarships for students of the research team;
– evaluation of research results measured by “social impact” and not by the metric based on the number of citations of articles.
|The number one resource I would need to improve my research is more time to focus on it! I don’t mean this to sound as a complaint, and I love my job, but as a full-time academic administrator (associate dean), i have to carve out time in my schedule each week for research. Often this means that Saturday and Sunday are the only days I have significant amounts of time to focus on research and writing. A more ideal research environment would be one in which I have scheduled times throughout the week that are dedicated exclusively to research and writing.|
|Apart from unlimited funding, nothing really comes to mind.|
|One of the hardest aspects of my research is to be able to find, hire, and guide very good and brilliant researchers as team members. The best researchers aim to be completely independent and they usually prefer to take e.g. their postdocs or positions in the most prestigious institutions in the world. Another aspect that feels suboptimal is the fact that e.g. in my institution, but also in many I know of, there is the tendency to hire one faculty/staff member per subsector of the field, i.e. to avoid “duplicates” within the same department of people addressing very similar science questions. Instead, I think that multiple faculty members and research groups working coherently in similar scientific directions would make them more effective and would make the institution scientifically more powerful and identifiable.|
|Less bureaucracy, alternative metrics of performance, direct financing|
Source: OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 3, question 1
Diving deeper into these answers, question 2 from week 3 of the Global Researcher Congress asked researchers to rank concerns about their research. Were these concerns never important, rarely important, sometimes important, or always important? Here again, communication ranked high, along with concerns about funding, institutional support, staffing, research design, and making an impact. In this broader context, though, certain OA-related concerns ranked far down the “always important” list (at least relative to other choices), and were instead only sometimes important. For example, reusability ranked ninth overall among always important concerns (28%) but first among concerns that were sometimes important (44%) and third overall (72%) among concerns that were either always or sometimes important. A similar pattern is seen for recognition (up 36 percentage points from 48% always to 84% sometimes plus always), publishing in the right journals (up 32 percentage points from 32% to 64%), collaborating with other researchers (56% to 88%), and competition (4% to 36%). One might conclude from this that there are different tiers of research concerns, with many concerns being important but only a handful being always important.
Table 6: Percent of researchers who think these research related concerns are sometimes and/or always important (ranked by always important)
|Concern||% who say this is SOMETIMES important||% who say this is ALWAYS important||SOMETIMES + ALWAYS %|
|Staying up-to-date on all the latest research in my field||8%||76%||84%|
|Getting funding (searching for grants, writing grant proposals, etc.)||8%||76%||84%|
|Infrastructure support from my institution (good facilities, etc.)||8%||64%||72%|
|Finding, hiring and keeping good staff||8%||60%||68%|
|Designing good research studies||28%||60%||88%|
|Making an impact in my field||28%||60%||88%|
|Collaborating with other researchers||32%||56%||88%|
|Making an impact on society||8%||52%||60%|
|Getting recognized for my work (at my institution, in my field, etc.)||36%||48%||84%|
|Advancement—-promotion and tenure||24%||44%||68%|
|Publishing in the right journals||32%||32%||64%|
|Making my research usable by others (findable, accessible)||44%||28%||72%|
|Publishing enough—the pressure to “publish or perish”||16%||28%||44%|
|Protecting my research from misuse||12%||16%||28%|
|Protecting my research from theft||16%||8%||24%|
Source: OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 3, question 2
This tier of concerns may be evident in other answers as well. Going back to question 5 from the Researcher Communication Survey (Table 4A), we can see how these concerns are divided. When researchers are simply asked if certain concerns are sometimes or always important, we get the aggregate answers noted. But dividing this data into different levels of importance, it becomes clearer which concerns are most important to researchers all the time. From this breakdown, we can see, for example, that while reading research papers for free is only the tenth highest concern in aggregate—when combining the “always” and “most often” percentages—it is the fifth most important concern in terms of concerns that are always important for researchers (see Table 4B). Similarly, while survey respondents noted that freely and rapidly sharing their data with other researchers was the second highest concern in terms of what is most often important, it ranked thirteenth in terms of what is always important. The takeaway message here is that determining which priorities are the most important for researchers depends on context and on how the question is asked. Simply asking whether something is important isn’t sufficient to assess priorities. On the surface, it appears that effective communication is vital for researchers, but OA policy requirements like rapid sharing and widespread reuse may be focusing on a lower tier of communication priorities for researchers than more urgent (and more general) priorities like effectively communicating findings and finding the right papers to read.
Table 4b: Percent of researchers who say this overall (not just communication) research priority is either most often or always important (ranked by most often+always %)
|% ALWAYS important||MOST OFTEN + ALWAYS %|
|Effectively communicate my findings to fellow researchers||32%||50%||82%|
|Advance in my field||30%||51%||81%|
|Get proper credit and recognition for my work||25%||55%||80%|
|Get funding for my research work||25%||55%||80%|
|Publish in a journal||21%||57%||78%|
|Make an impact on society||34%||43%||77%|
|Find the right research papers to read||17%||59%||76%|
|Freely and rapidly share my research work with other researchers around the world||33%||41%||74%|
|Publish in a prestigious journal||23%||48%||71%|
|Read research papers for free||16%||54%||70%|
|Figure out what to read—there’s so much information out there||23%||47%||70%|
|Effectively communicate my findings to the general public||28%||41%||69%|
|Effectively communicate my findings to policymakers||26%||41%||67%|
|IMMEDIATELY (without waiting for embargo periods) read what other researchers have published in a subscription journal||24%||32%||56%|
|See the data generated by other researchers||29%||25%||54%|
|Make my data available in a format that others can see and use||23%||27%||50%|
|Reuse the data generated by other researchers||30%||18%||48%|
|Protect my research from getting “scooped” before I can publish it||21%||24%||45%|
|“Register” my discovery (publish quickly so the world will recognize I was the first to discover something)||21%||24%||45%|
|Copy and paste large chunks of text from other research papers or otherwise reuse these works (beyond what is already permitted by copyright under Fair Use and Fair Dealing)||7%||6%||13%|
Source: OSI Research Communication Survey, question 5
Finally, from Tables 6 and 4B—two similar survey questions asking about research and research communication priorities but from two different angles (one communication-centric and the other research-centric)—we can construct a rough model of which communication related concerns are most important to most researchers, and how these concerns rank overall in terms of all research priorities. In this model (see Table 7), it’s clear that communication related concerns figure prominently throughout the spectrum of researcher concerns, but more general communication concerns like staying current on the latest research, finding the right papers to read, and reading these papers for free, might be much more important to most researchers than comparatively granular communication concerns like licensing format. This distinction is key because, as noted, all the current major global OA policies focus on (and are built mostly around) these lower tier, more granular communication concerns, not on addressing big picture communication concerns researchers feel are always important.
Table 7: Estimating the tiers of all researcher concerns from tables 4B and 6
|Concern||Table 4B ALWAYS important||Table 6 ALWAYS important||Average of 4B and 6||Communi-|
|Tier 1 concerns (66%+ of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)|
|Stay up-to-date on all the latest research in my field||76%||76%||x|
|Get funding for my research work||55%||76%||66%|
|Tier 2 concerns (33-65% of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)|
|Infrastructure support from my institution (good facilities, etc.)||64%||64%|
|Find, hire and keep good staff||60%||60%|
|Design good research studies||60%||60%|
|Make an impact in my field||60%||60%|
|Find the right research papers to read||59%||59%||x|
|Publish in a journal||57%||57%||x|
|Collaborate with other researchers||56%||56%|
|Read research papers for free||54%||54%||x|
|Get proper credit and recognition for my work||55%||48%||52%||x|
|Effectively communicate my findings to fellow researchers||50%||50%||x|
|Publish in a prestigious journal||48%||48%||x|
|Advance in my field||51%||44%||48%|
|Make an impact on society||43%||52%||48%|
|Figure out what to read—there’s so much information out there||47%||47%||x|
|Freely and rapidly share my research work with other researchers around the world||41%||41%||x|
|Effectively communicate my findings to the general public||41%||41%||x|
|Effectively communicate my findings to policymakers||41%||41%||x|
|Tier 3 concerns (0-32% of researchers say this is ALWAYS important)|
|IMMEDIATELY (without waiting for embargo periods) read what other researchers have published in a subscription journal||32%||32%||x|
|Publish in the right journals||32%||32%||x|
|Publish enough—the pressure to “publish or perish”||28%||28%||x|
|Make my data available in a format that others can see and use||27%||28%||28%||x|
|See the data generated by other researchers||25%||25%||x|
|Protect my research from getting “scooped” before I can publish it||24%||24%||x|
|“Register” my discovery (publish quickly so the world will recognize I was the first to discover something)||24%||24%||x|
|Reuse the data generated by other researchers||18%||18%||x|
|Protect my research from misuse||16%||16%||x|
|Protect my research from theft||8%||8%||x|
|Copy and paste large chunks of text from other research papers or otherwise reuse these works (beyond what is already permitted by copyright under Fair Use and Fair Dealing)||6%||6%||x|
Source: OSI Research Communication Survey, question 5 and OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 3, question 2
CC-BY AND DEFINING OPEN
The questions we asked in these surveys also allowed us to zero in on one particular component of OA policy: licensing format. This component is important to understand better because CC-BY licensing is a key requirement of all global OA policies. Why? Because most policymakers believe “open” requires CC-BY since this is how open is defined in the 2002 BOAI statement, and because this is how influential groups in the open advocacy community also define open. OSI has long recognized, though, that in practice, open has different meanings in different communities. Therefore, we have adopted a spectrum approach to the meaning of open. On this spectrum, open can be defined in a variety of ways with attributes related to an information artifact’s discoverability, accessibility, reusability, transparency, and sustainability (DARTS). From the Global Research Congress Survey, week 2 questions 8 and 9, we learn that most researchers may feel the same way. To many, the common denominators of openness are the D, A, T and S components: the information artifact is free to read, easy to find, complete, accurate and reliable. Other requirements stipulated by Plan S and other major global policies don’t matter to the majority of researchers, such as publisher profit margins, journal type, and particularly the R (reusability) component, with only 27% seeing CC-BY licensing as a necessary condition of openness.
Our survey reveals there may also be confusion around why CC-BY is needed. From question 5 of week 2 of the Global Researcher Congress, we learned that researchers want open code and open data, as well as free classroom use. However, CC-BY isn’t needed to allow these types of use and reuse. Data is regulated by CC-0, while work held under other types of copyright can be reused in classroom settings (it doesn’t need to be CC-BY licensed to share).
In week 2, question 6, researchers described what these publishing licenses need to look like from their perspectives. The common themes seem to be free classroom use, no commercial exploitation, and no misrepresentation of their research work. These non-commercial and no-derivatives conditions (NC and ND) are why the CC-BY-NC-ND license is the most popular, but CC-BY is what’s required by Plan S and other global policies. CC-BY-NC-ND is an exception to OA policy, not the rule, but in this case the exception is preferred over the rule.
Table 9: what do you need from a copyright license?
|Free sharing for all non-profit settings, no sharing for commercial purposes, no derivatives. CC-BY-NC-ND is perfect for me.|
|Do not want to lose control over the work, particularly to have it published in part which can be significantly misleading.|
|Must of all free classroom use|
|Of course I do not want to lose control over my data but to share with others|
|Fair Use in the classroom (explicitly stated) would be ideal. I just don’t want anyone to make $ off of my open access article.|
|As soon as I publish my work I might lose control over it. People can use, misrepresent, copy, modify, etc. I would not be happy if parts of my work were misused to have a negative impact in society. Or that a modified version of my work is attributed to me. Ideally, there would be not “my” work, as collaborative research grows and we – as single persons – cannot think alone.|
|Copyright is only the right to publish, not the right to the ideas and research itself, so am OK with copyright in a subscription journal if it helps preserve my work (with OA version in a repository to enable access)|
|Other than plagiarism I am okay with all free uses.|
|Want: free classroom use; Not want: misrepresenting my work|
|Researchers always own their own copy of their final manuscript, even if the copyright is held by the journal. This allows free sharing in sites like Researchgate. I want readers to be able to find the citation to the published version, even if they read it on a preprint or extra-print site.|
|When I have a choice, I always choose to have the Publisher hold the copyright. My intention is always to make it easier for my publications to be widely and freely disseminated in my field of activity. But I’m always afraid of plagiarism.|
|From my experience in industry, an industry colleague cannot grant copyright license – it must come from legal on our behalf.|
|I want: free sharing between researchers, and free classroom use. I would like to maintain the property of my work|
|I want my work to be published under a CC-BY license. I don’t see any need for transferring copyright to a publisher, so I want to keep the copyright myself.|
|I’ve never thought about it, but I usually leave the publisher with the copyrights. I wouldn’t mind if my work was used for academic purposes, in the classroom for example. But not for commercial purposes|
|I want to be able to reuse and share my research completely free.|
|Want free sharing between researchers, or free classroom use. NOT want to be forgotten in the references.|
|Want free sharing between colleagues and students|
|I want free sharing between researchers and free classroom use. I have no idea what “losing control over one’s work” means, maybe apart from getting a share of the benefits if the work is used commercially.|
|I would be afraid of someone misusing my work and causing prejudice to my reputations.|
|I like a lot CC-BY, but I don’t know how to get the copyright from many journals.|
|Not be given the credit for the work|
|I haven’t really ever got to grips with this and it hasn’t had any impact on my outputs/work apart from trying to tick the correct boxes on submission.|
|What I want: free sharing among researchers BUT with crystal clear acknowledgments credits, and references to any piece of text, plot, figure, snapshot of movie these other researchers use from third parties. This is the case for seminars as well as teaching material, even if the content is slightly modified or annotated.|
|I wouldn’t want that someone else used my work for profit or steal my credit or involvement on it|
Source: OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 2, question 6
Another specific concern we looked at is how quickly information can be accessed. Most researchers want to access new research information reasonably quickly, but we learned from the week 2 survey, question 7, that there may be some conflation occurring between how long it takes to publish articles, how long it takes new articles to be made publicly available after publishing (embargoes), and how long it takes to get reading materials through sharing channels like interlibrary loans. While there does seem to be a desire to see publishing times reduced, and to read research papers as quickly as possible after publication (although not necessarily immediately), a number of respondents were also simply concerned about how long it took to gain access to these publications through their library or other available channels. The common denominator here is speed, but these concerns may be pointing at different bottlenecks in the process.
UPTAKE AND ADOPTION
Aside from possibly focusing on the wrong tier of communication concerns, and forcing the adoption of solutions that are unpopular with researchers (like CC-BY and APCs), what other factors might be impeding the rapid global uptake and adoption of open solutions? The OSI surveys highlighted at least five such factors: a lack of viable publishing options, academic freedom, doubts about the effectiveness of OA policies, quality concerns, and high costs.
With regard to the lack of viable options, from week 1 of the Global Research Congress, question 3, half the researchers surveyed said there were several high quality open journals in their field, and an additional quarter said there were many or at least one such journal. In a universe of tens of thousands of scholarly journals, where researchers seek to publish in the highest quality journals, is this sufficient choice? There is also wide variation by field (which we know from previous research). Is having “several” journals to choose from adequate? In this survey, 17% reported of researchers that no journals in their field fit this description.
Simply having viable publishing options isn’t enough, however. Researchers also want to be free to choose where they publish their work (from week 1, question 5). To the extent that good OA publishing options are available, this decision may become easier, but it is not guaranteed. The journal also needs to be affordable, and affordability is also a leading concern (see tables 11 and 12). Various scholars have described the academic freedom issue as being something of a red herring—that if researchers receive government funding, their work should be accessible to the public. However, this isn’t the case with all government funded work, and not all research is government funded. In addition, this argument supposes that the benefits of openness outweigh the benefits of having researchers share their work in the venues they think are best. Either way, many assumptions are being made in policy proposals and decisions which may need research and evidence to justify.
Responses to question 6 from week 2 elaborated on this question of academic freedom. Some researchers expressed the opinion that it was not an infringement at all to publish where they were told to publish by their funders. Others disagreed and felt that researchers needed to disseminate their work how they saw fit. One researcher summed up their ethical concerns as follows: “Nudging researchers to publish in certain journals (e.g. OA), sometimes associated with ‘threats’ in case of non-conformity (e.g. uncertainty about receiving future funding), certainly reduces academic freedom. For various reasons, publishing in these journals might not be the optimal choice. For example, as long as employment depends on ‘where’ one has published, I cannot recommend to my students to publish in OA journals to fulfill the funding body’s demands, but to choose the outlet with the best reputation. This is even more important at early career stages (after PhD or postdoc) when the true value of one’s publications has not yet become apparent and citations have not accumulated, so the only quality criterion used by evaluation committees is often the reputation of the journal (the quality of the work itself is rarely evaluated, even though committees generally pretend to do so).”
This juxtaposition of wanting more OA options but not enthusiastically embracing OA policies is reflected in the perceived effectiveness of these policies to date. Only 17% report that OA policies have helped their research, while an equal number report these policies have hurt their research. Thirty-nine percent report they “have noticed these changes but they haven’t affected my research,” while 22% report they “haven’t noticed any changes so far” (week 1, question 6). Given an opportunity to elaborate on their answers (week 1 question 7, and week 2 question 3), researchers mentioned a variety of concerns. Perhaps the most salient comments centered around cost and quality—how high APCs have made publishing unaffordable, and how too much published work was of low quality. As one researcher noted, “I think open access is a good concept but the implications simply have not fully worked through.”
In week 2 of the Global Researcher Congress, question 1, participants noted a variety of other concerns they had about OA solutions (there may be other concerns that were not asked about). All of these concerns have been noted by previous researcher surveys.
Other factors that may be limiting the use of OA journals were explored in question 2 from week 2 of the Global Researcher Congress. In this long-form response, researchers explained in more detail why they were leery of OA options (if in fact they were). Some of the reasons listed were the unaffordability of APC costs, and perceptions that subscription journals are still considered to be more rigorous and relevant, have higher impact factors, and be more “traditional” (familiar) and prestigious. These answers align with the answers given to other questions in the OSI surveys and in other surveys.
Without developing a better understanding of the many factors limiting OA uptake, building a new world of open information resources is like throwing darts blindfolded. Building this future depends on first gathering more information, as well as developing better and perhaps more diverse business models. More broadly, this reform effort is important because journals may be the most important source of information for many researchers (from week 1, question 1).
Table12: What are your concerns about OA solutions?
ALWAYS a concern
|Publishing in open access journals has become too expensive for me||65%|
|I need to publish in high impact journals in order to get recognition from my peers and tenure committees. These journals are usually “closed” (subscription-based).||53%|
|If I publish my data before I’ve thoroughly analyzed it, I might get “scooped” (someone else will make a discovery with my data)||53%|
|I worry about someone misrepresenting or misusing my data||47%|
|My institution doesn’t recognize, reward or incentivize data sharing when evaluating researchers for tenure or grants, so why should I bother?||47%|
|I’m confused by all the different requirements—which license to apply, which repository to use, which embargo period to respect, etc.||44%|
|I worry about the ethics of open sharing—about making data open that shouldn’t be open (due to confidentiality agreements, patient privacy, etc.)||41%|
|I worry about someone reusing my writing without permission||41%|
|It takes too much time to comply with open access requirements (data deposits, repository, formatting, etc.)||35%|
Source: OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 2, question 1
The factors discussed thus far in this report are those limiting OA uptake. What factors may be encouraging uptake? The OSI surveys didn’t ask why researchers used OA resources. In hindsight, we should have. We can see from the data that researchers want and need to share their information more effectively, but we didn’t ask in these surveys whether researchers were motivated by the prospect of getting more visibility through OA, or higher citations, or by funder requirements. Other surveys have explored these questions, however (see References section). We did discover that transforming to a more open world for research journals may be important because many researchers have experienced problems accessing information in the current journal environment (from week 1 question 4).
Questions 4 and 5 of week 3 addressed the question of open data and showed that only 40% of researchers were aware of data sharing networks in their fields. However, while data sharing was done by 8 of 10 researchers who said sharing networks were available, these same researchers (in question 6) defined sharing networks as ResearchGate and Figshare, or other common repositories.
The state of data sharing in research has been closely explored in other studies (see, for example, Davies 2019); it’s frequency is not that common and the field (especially curation) is not widely developed outside pockets of real intensity, like cancer research. OA policies often encourage or require open data deposits, but in reality, freely accessible research data without adequate scaffolding—curation, standardization, usage notes, and so on—is mostly useless for researchers (see endnote 4).
Finally, if researchers could design a new research communication system from scratch, what would it look like? This was asked in week 2, question 8, and the ideas were mostly general in nature, with broadly stated goals like free and immediate access, and lower costs.
This same question was also asked in two different ways in week 4. In question 2, researchers were asked whether the following solutions were horrible, not so great, okay, or great. Antipathy toward APCs is clear here, with only 28% seeing this idea as the way forward. Topping the list of ideas—which tracks with the sentiments measured earlier—is to adopt solutions that make sure the world doesn’t further divide into those with means and those without. Improving infrastructure and reforming licensing to prevent commercial reuse were also popular. Some of the ideas championed by some in OSI also ranked highly, like creating a global repository, and increasing efforts to do something with open instead of just pursuing open as a goal unto itself.
Week 4 question 1 asked this same question but in an even more general way, looking for whether researchers agreed or disagreed with how OSI participants have defined the broad philosophical contours of the scholarly communication reform space. Virtually all of the researchers surveyed agree with OSI that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in scholarly communication; 96% agree that successful solutions will require broad collaboration with all stakeholder groups, 92% agree that researchers are a key stakeholder in this conversation (something that simply has not been recognized yet in any meaningful way for any of the global OA policies currently being enacted), 88% agree that publishing is a critical part of the research process, 88% agree that science and society will benefit from open done right, and 88% agree that open exists along a spectrum of outcomes. All of OSI’s recommendations were ratified by this group, but most notably the broad and overarching idea that open is a complex construct that needs to be addressed in a more thoughtful, inclusive, complete, respectful and flexible way by global policymakers than at present.
Table16: researcher agreement with OSI positions
|OSI position||% of researchers who sort of or strongly agree|
|There are no one-size fits-all solutions in scholarly communication.||100%|
|Successful open solutions will require broad collaboration. It is important to hear from and work with all stakeholder groups in our efforts to reform the scholarly communication system.||96%|
|Researchers are a key stakeholder in this conversation. Reforms need to be made in collaboration with researchers so we don’t end up damaging research in the process and/or making access issues worse.||92%|
|Publishing is a critical part of the research process.||88%|
|Science and society will benefit from open done right.||88%|
|“Open” exists along a spectrum of outcomes. There are many different kinds of “open.”||88%|
|The incentives for making more information open are not aligned—i.e., the rewards and benefits aren’t currently commensurate with the effort.||80%|
|Connected issues need to be addressed. There are many parts of the scholarly communication system that need improving, not just making things more “open.”||76%|
|There is much common ground in the research communication reform space, and we should build on this common ground||76%|
|The culture of communication in academia needs to be reformed. There is too much attention paid to things like impact factors and publishing record.||72%|
|Making information more open is just a means to an end. It is not the end goal itself.||72%|
|It might be worth thinking in terms of “open solutions” that are integrated instead of open access plus open data, open code, etc.||68%|
|We need to learn more about the issues here before making global changes.||64%|
Source: OSI2022 Global Researcher Congress, week 4, question 1
The original goal of this work was to hear from thousands of researchers around the world, and to better calibrate OSI’s OA-related policy recommendations based on this feedback. Participation in our surveys fell far short of our goals, however. Therefore, these findings, while interesting and illustrative, aren’t robust enough to draw any statistically significant conclusions about how researchers feel. More research is needed. This said:
- The major global OA policies being implemented at present, such as Plan S, were created with no meaningful input at all from researchers. Therefore, even limited data like this may provide helpful feedback for policymakers. And,
- The findings from these surveys align with findings from larger surveys. Taken together, these data support the observation that current OA policies may not accurately reflect and incorporate researcher needs and perspectives.
Aside from the survey power issue, the two other main methodological problems with these surveys are:
- Self-selection bias. Only researchers who have strong opinions about OA policies may have participated in these surveys. In reality, because recruiting researchers for this survey was so difficult, it may be the case that most researchers don’t have strong opinions about these policies. And,
- Diversity. Researchers are not a monolithic group. We know from previous surveys that researcher needs and perspective vary widely by field, region, institution, and career stage. Therefore, just as one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work for OA policy, it is also the case that one-size-fits-all opinion surveys aren’t sufficiently granular to inform meaningful communication reform solutions. Researchers in physics and astronomy, for example, have long used the arXiv repository to share preprints of their work, over a decade before OA became common. All this talk about OA is largely old hat in these fields. At the same time, many EU scholars embrace Plan S and have adequate budgets to comply with Plan S requirements, whereas in much of Africa, current APC costs are utterly unaffordable. Similarly, most of our journal reforms are STM-oriented but in many fields in the humanities and social sciences, solutions like CC-BY licensing with no embargo are simply non-starters (since these fields use long form manuscripts that take years to write and publish in book form). Therefore, on balance, there may be huge enthusiasm for current OA policies in some fields and regions, and huge opposition to these policies in other fields and regions, as well as indifference in others. A larger and more diverse survey audience would garner more insight, but at the same time we can simply recognize that given this diversity of needs and perspectives, solutions for specific research communities need to be tailored to their circumstances, and our global policies need to be broad and flexible to accommodate a wide range of research needs and practices.
Given all these concerns and caveats, is it still possible to learn anything from these surveys? Possibly. When we look at a larger constellation of researcher surveys (see Box 1 for a summary of key findings from some of these surveys; see the Annex for a list of these and other researcher surveys), including small surveys like OSI’s, we can see a consistent portrait of researcher perspectives and concerns across many fields, institutions and countries—namely, a strong dislike of APCs, and a sense that however flawed, the publishing system we have provides a framework for quality and recognition. Researchers aren’t entirely happy with the current publishing system, and would like to improve it, but at the same time they aren’t entirely happy with the policies and solutions for reforming this system.
Furthermore, researchers are ready to embrace solutions that address their key needs. Most urgently, these needs are to lower the costs of journals for authors and institutions, and at the same time improve research infrastructure, narrow the global access equity gap, make more journal articles (plus accompanying data) free to read and quickly accessible, find the right research papers to read and stay up-to-date on the latest research, ensure free classroom use while limiting misuse and commercial reuse, ensure the continuation of a high quality publishing environment, retain the freedom to decide where to publish, avoid single all-encompassing solutions, ensure proper credit and recognition (especially as it relates to advancement), make more of an impact on society, improve collaboration and communication with colleagues in the same field, and reduce administrative workload and improve funding sustainability.
Overall, this group recognizes that developing successful OA policies will require broad collaboration with researchers as a key participant in this conversation. They also believe science and society will benefit from new policies that are flexible, evidence-based, and involve researcher input. However, these policies cannot be single approaches anchored in a limited acknowledgment of the broad spectrum of global research communication requirements and perspectives, or in the idea that “open” is a single prescribed construct since there are in fact many different kinds of open.
This is a powerful profile that affirms the information OSI has gathered over the last six years.
OSI’s next policy paper (number 6) goes into more detail about the possible implications of this survey data with regard to designing new and more effective OA policies. There are many possible implications, but three overarching themes stand out in particular:
- Give researchers the solutions they want and need. Researchers are looking for ways to lower costs, improve collaboration, improve impact, ensure quality, and generally make their research lives better. These needs are not the focus of our current global OA policies, though. At best, these policies focus primarily on much lower priority concerns like embargoes, reusability, and license types. At worst, these policies have been sold as a magic elixir that will cure all that ails research, but they can’t and won’t. Some researchers will benefit from these policies, others will not; some issues will be addressed, the highest priority issues will not; some regions of the world will be able to adopt these solutions, most will not. As we consider designing new research communication policies, we should keep researcher needs and priorities squarely in mind. Rather than merely creating policies that satisfy the definition of BOAI, researchers and the research world would be better served if we focus on the communication solutions researchers actually want and need (see endnote 5).
Before we can take this more considered approach to OA policy reform, it will first be necessary to better understand exactly what these needs are—and these needs will differ greatly by region, discipline and field. In time, research will greatly benefit from solutions that are centered on meeting these specific objectives and that truly involve researchers in creating the best solutions. This strategy will also help improve the discourse around research communication reform from one where we merely prescribe blanket solutions to challenging issues to one where we search for best practices and fact-based solutions that researchers actually want and need.
- Do something about APCs. The cost of publishing figures prominently in researcher concerns. It may even be accurate to say that cost is the number one concern of researchers. APCs have been touted for years as the best possible solution for publishing, even though many groups (including OSI) have warned that the widespread use of APCs will widen the gap between the haves and have nots in research, and substitute one equity imbalance with another—the inability to pay for access (paywalls) with the inability to publish (playwalls). Indeed, as costs have shifted (in different ways for authors in different fields and institutions, with some authors relying on support from grants, foundations, or libraries to pay for APCs, others less so, and still others not at all), the cost burden for many authors in an APC-based world is now much heavier than it was in the subscription world it is trying to supplant (see endnote 6).
All this said, it’s entirely possible the disruption we’re witnessing today will be completely resolved over the next five to ten years as adjustments take hold: APC waivers for some regions, such as those recently announced by Springer-Nature (Makoni 2023), the increased willingness of funders and governments to cover APC costs as part of grant funding, and the eventual emergence of APC price caps and/or competition. For now, however, the subscription-to-APC transition in scholarly publishing is not being greeted by many (maybe even most) researchers with open arms.
- Respect the fact that research is a profession. Many individuals choose occupations where making an impact is more important than earning a large salary. Research is one such profession. Nevertheless, these occupations are susceptible to the same challenges as all others, including recognition, retention, and promotion. In our 2022 surveys, as well as surveys undertaken by other organizations (see References section), researchers place a limited amount of value on open research. They want to be able to connect effectively with their peers, read the work of others that has been published, publish economically, and have an influence. We can score a victory for open access inasmuch as these research communication goals align with open policies, but the vast majority of researchers (globally and across disciplines) are not mainly motivated primarily by the desire to make their work accessible. This is what we should anticipate.
However, this incentive dichotomy researchers perceive is rarely respected in the world of policymaking. In this environment, researchers are told the quest for knowledge belongs to all humanity and that they should be entirely motivated by participating in this pursuit, disregarding incentives which better align with their career demands and objectives. The essential premise of our present OA policy environment is that open outcomes are the highest priority, more important than quality, reputation, and cost. In the meantime, the majority of academics face the career-driven reality that quality, prestige, and cost are more important than open. The challenge of our future OA policymaking efforts is that we must achieve both goals, collaborating with researchers to develop solutions that align with their career incentives while also meeting the requirements of a more open research environment.
OSI has long maintained that researchers are key stakeholders in the OA policymaking process, or at least that they should be. Over the years, our group has closely tracked survey research in this subject to gain a deeper understanding of researcher viewpoints on open access. Numerous researchers who have participated in OSI’s conferences and online discussions have also provided us with guidance, information, and perspectives. We are grateful for this assistance as well as for the participation of researchers in our OSI2022 surveys. Even though participation in these surveys was lower than anticipated, it is still beneficial for our policy recommendation process, as outlined in OSI Policy Perspective 6 (see Hampson 2023), that the responses from these surveys confirm what we have learned from other surveys and our own internal deliberations.
We cannot say for certain, of course, what all researchers everywhere think about OA policies, but we can say for certain that policymakers must do a better job of engaging with and listening to the global research community. A policymaking strategy that does a better job of listening to researchers and addressing their top priority demands is necessary because there is a great deal of unmet need and misaligned incentives, as well as a great deal of benefit to be gained.
We must also be open to the possibility that our existing global OA policies are misguided, centered around relatively minor issues instead of the demands that are most important to researchers. This does not suggest that all researchers oppose OA policies such as APCs and CC-BY licensing. Rather, just as there are no universal definitions of OA, there are also no universal solutions. Along these same lines, policymakers must also be more aware that some of our universal OA solutions like APCs, designed to work well for some groups of researchers, are having harmful impacts on other groups of researchers.
Finally, our global research communication reform efforts need to respect the fact that research has always been both immensely diversified and globally interconnected. Communication, sharing, and building on the work of others are now and always have been fundamental to the advancement and growth of research. Open access and open science aren’t inventing this dynamic, just trying to improve it.
More survey work is required to better understand the needs of researchers, and based on this improved understanding, initial drafts of more responsive, flexible, evidence-based OA policies should be developed. This challenge is elaborated on in OSI Policy Perspective 6: Considering evidence-based open access policy (Hampson 2023).
FUNDING & CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
This work was supported in 2022 by the Science Communication Institute (SCI), a 501c3 nonprofit public charity which also manages OSI. SCI received no funding support in 2022; OSI received US$1,000 in 2022 from the American Geophysical Union. To-date, between 2015 and end-2022, OSI has received about $US350,000 in funding support from the Sloan Foundation, UNESCO major publishers, and many other organizations, with roughly 25% of funding coming from foundations, 25% from UNESCO, 25% from the publishing industry, and 25% from OSI participants (by way of conference fees). See the OSI website for full details at osiglobal.org. OSI’s work is solution agnostic. We function as an observatory of the open solutions world and are committed to developing a better understanding of this space with an eye toward developing policy solutions that will work for all researchers everywhere.
1. As amended in 2003 by subsequent conferences in Berlin and Bethesda.
2. Of course, libraries and funders serve researchers, so they endeavor to craft policies in the best interest of the individual researchers they serve (as well as students, administrators, and others). However, in any large scale and representative sense, researchers are not now nor have they ever been directly involved in the global OA policymaking process. As a group, they are not driving the conversations about need, or creating OA tools and processes. Researchers are also likely to be working on open solutions on a parallel path separate from official open access policy efforts. For example, they may primarily rely on a wide array of open data tools and processes (such as data sharing networks) which are not typically included in open data policy conversations and are also well outside the realm of library and funder expertise and involvement.
3. See Box 1 on page 20, and also the “other researcher surveys” listings in the References section of this report.
4. The new US government OA policies (the OSTP’s Nelson Memo) seek to address this concern.
5. Consider the CC-BY license, for example. All major global OA policies specify a CC-BY license for publishing because this is what aligns best with the BOAI definition of OA on which these policies are based. There are three problems with this approach. The first is that there are many different needs, motives, and methods for creating open information. As a result, there are many different outcomes for open, all of which have merit. The second problem is popularity. We know from previous researcher surveys that CC-BY is one of the least popular copyright licenses made available to researchers, as mentioned earlier (this said, Pollock 2022 shows that CC-BY accounts for about 55% of all open licenses as counted in Crossref). CC-BY-NC-ND is the most popular, allowing unlimited reuse with attribution but also preventing commercial and derivative use. We know from these surveys that researchers are concerned about commercial and derivative use, so the fact they prefer a CC-BY-NC-ND license is not surprising. The third problem is utility. Is CC-BY even the right tool for the job? Researchers want to be able to cite and excerpt work and use papers for classroom instruction. CC-BY grants these rights, but so do existing Fair Use and Fair Dealing copyright laws (in the US and UK respectively). CC-BY also provides an easy path to free access, but it isn’t the only path (as noted, more restrictive variations of CC-BY also work, as does regular copyright). The unique benefit of CC-BY envisioned by BOAI is a world where researchers can reuse and remix journal articles at will, but do they even need or want this capability? We learned from our surveys that very few researchers are looking for the ability to copy and paste large chunks of text (others may be interested in this ability but not researchers). Indeed, most simply seem interested in the free to read nature of open (apart from open data and code, which are governed by CC-0 and not CC-BY). Added to this, the prospect of having work misused is an outcome no one wants but is very real using CC-BY. Given all this, what compelling reason exists for sticking with CC-BY as the default license type for OA? Coming at this question from a different angle, what features do researchers actually want and need in a copyright license for their work? Such a license should, at minimum (based on what we learned in our surveys) include rights like free classroom use, and the right to immediately share finished products within a peer community. It might also include a prohibition on commercial and derivative reuse without permission from the author. Maybe this new kind of license (let’s call it CC-EDU) should be the new standard? Taking this approach would show respect for researcher concerns and might also open the floodgates to a much broader, faster, and productive transition to open content.
6. To the extent this burden even existed before, since subscription costs were covered by libraries and publishing costs were mainly limited to page and color surcharges. Comparing overall system costs is more difficult. A proxy for this determination might be the profit margin of major publishers, and these margins have not decreased during the shift to APCs, so the system costs have probably not come down overall. Indeed, DeltaThink estimates that the OA market is currently much more financially robust than the subscription market (Pollock 2021).
Hampson, G. 2023. OSI Policy Perspective 5: Summary of OSI2022 Research Communication Surveys. Open Scholarship Initiative (OSI). doi: 10.13021/osi2023.3552
Please see the annex section of the summary report (click the button at the top of this page)
Researcher surveys cited in Box 1:
AAAS. 2022. Exploring the Hidden Impacts of Open Access Financing Mechanisms: AAAS Survey on Scholarly Publication Experiences & Perspectives. American Association for the Advancement of Science. https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/2022-10/OpenAccessSurveyReport_Oct2022_FINAL.pdf
Davies, T, SB Walker, M Rubinstein, and F Perini (eds). 2019. The State of Open Data: Histories and Horizons. African Minds, IDRC. ISBN 9781928331957. Book pdf from https://www.idrc.ca/en/book/ state-open-data-histories-and-horizons. HTML version at https://www.stateofopendata.od4d.net
Editage. 2018. Author Perspectives on Academic Publishing: Global Survey Report 2018
Faniel, I. 2020. What researchers need when deciding to reuse data: Experiences from three disciplines. NIH Workshop, Session 3: Enabling Data Reuse. https://bit.ly/3mendwQ
Graf, Chris. 2019 (Nov 4). “Open Research and Data Sharing: Are We Hearing What Researchers Are Telling Us?” Wiley website. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/network/publishing/research-publishing/open-access/open-research-and-data-sharing-are-we-hearing-what-researchers-are-telling-us
Hrynaszkiewicz, I, J Harney and L Cadwallader. 2021. A Survey of Researchers’ Needs and Priorities for Data Sharing. Data Science Journal, 20(1), 31. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2021-031
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). 2020. Reflections on Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Challenges and a Way Forward. Workshop proceedings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press
Perrier L, E Blondal, H MacDonald, 2020. The views, perspectives, and experiences of academic researchers with data sharing and reuse: A meta-synthesis. PLOS ONE 15(2): e0229182. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0229182
Scaria, AG, and R Shreyashi. 2018. Open Science India Report. OSF Preprints. doi:10.31219/osf.io/aj9gw
Segado-Boj, F, JJ Prieto-Gutierrez, and J Martin-Quevedo. 2022. Attitudes, willingness, and resources to cover article publishing charges: The influence of age, position, income level country, discipline and open access habits. Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. doi: 10.1002/leap.1455
Stuart, D, G Baynes, I Hrynaszkiewicz, K Allin, D Penny, M Lucraft, et al. 2018. Whitepaper: Practical challenges for researchers in data sharing. figshare. Journal contribution. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.5975011.v1
Taylor & Francis. 2019. Taylor & Francis Researcher Survey. https://bit.ly/3koHgrX
Wiley. 2019a. Wiley Open Research Survey. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/network/publishing/research-publishing/open-access/researchers-on-open-access
Wiley. 2019b. Wiley Open Data Survey. https://www.wiley.com/network/researchers/licensing-and-open-access/what-do-researchers-think-about-op
Other researcher surveys:
Digital Science. 2019. The State of Open Data. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.9980783
Funk, C, and M Hefferon. 2018. “As the need for highly trained scientists grows, a look at why people choose these careers” (blog post). Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/24/as-the-need-for-highly-trained-scientists-grows-a-look-at-why-people-choose-these-careers
Graf, C, D Flanagan, L Wylie, et al. 2019. The open data challenge: An analysis of 124,000 data availability statements, and an ironic lesson about data management plans. Authorea. October 31, 2019. doi: 10.22541/au.157253515.58528497
Nature editorial. 2021. “Industry scores higher than academia for job satisfaction” (news item). Nature. doi: 10.1038/d41586-021-03567-3
Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey. June 2014. Oxford
Tenopir, C, E Dalton, L Christian, M Jones, M McCabe, M Smith, and A Fish. 2017. Scenarios among Authors of Academic Scholarship College & Research Libraries, 78(6), 824. doi: 10.5860/crl.78.6.82
WAME Survey for OSI2017 conference—selected results. 2017. World Association of Medical Editors. As used in Barret, K, P Baskin, S Murray, A Packer and M Winker. 2017. OSI Journal Editors Stakeholder Report. OSI2017 conference. doi: 10.13021/G8osi.1.2017.1908
BOAI. 2002. Budapest Open Access Initiative. https://www.budapestopenaccessinitiative.org
Clarivate. 2021. Highly Cited Researchers 2021. https://bit.ly/39Xl99U
Hampson, G, and J Steinhauer. 2023 (April). OSI Policy Perspective 6: Considering evidence-based open access policies. Open Scholarship Initiative. doi: 10.13021/osi2023.3553
Makoni, M and W Sawahel. 2023 (Jan). Open access publishing deal for low-, middle-income countries. University World News. https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=20230118190925833
Pollock, D and A Michael. 2021 (Oct). Open Access Market Sizing Update 2021. DeltaThink. https://deltathink.com/news-views-open-access-market-sizing-update-2021
Pollock, D and A Michael. 2022 (Jan). Breaking Out Open Access License Types. DeltaThink. https://deltathink.com/news-views-breaking-out-open-access-license-types-2