Concerns dwindle over quality of open access journals

Fears over quality decline, but many academics still unclear over open access requirements

August 18, 2015

A dwindling number of researchers have concerns about the quality of open access journals, according to a major survey of scholars.

Yet journal reputation remains far more important than whether or not it is open access when academics are deciding where to submit, according to the annual study by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan.

Last year, four in 10 scientists who had not published in open access journals said that they were “concerned about perceptions of the quality”, but this year only 27 per cent said that they had these worries.

Humanities, business and social science academics are more concerned – with 41 per cent still having concerns – but this is still substantially fewer than last year.

A journal’s reputation remains either “important” or “very important” for 97 per cent of the more than 21,000 authors who responded to the survey. By contrast, the option to publish open access was rated as such by just 35 per cent of respondents, marginally down on the year before.

The most important factor determining a journal’s reputation was judged to be its impact factor – an average measure of the number of citations each paper receives.

A quarter of respondents said that they did not know what their research funder’s requirements regarding open access were, according to the Author Insights Survey: Initial Findings, published this month.

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Reader's comments (2)

Anyone interested in this can find the full dataset and a summary of the findings here: Best wishes, Amy Bourke-Waite Senior Communications Manager, Nature Publishing Group
This is all encouraging. It shows the well managed and genuine OA journals are winning supporters and the long tail of useless ones, those on Beall's List, are not turning everybody off. It is still a shame many OA journals charge a lot of money (ours charges nothing, as a service to the academic community). The OA model makes so much sense in terms of reach and impact.