Press release: New international study demonstrates worldwide readiness for Open Access mandate Stevan Harnad 23 Jun 2005 18:00 UTC

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Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 14:57:03 +0100
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News from the University of Southampton

Ref: 05/117
23 June 2005

New international study demonstrates worldwide readiness for Open Access

A wide-ranging new international study across all disciplines has found that
over 80 per cent of academic researchers the world over would willingly
comply with a mandate to deposit copies of their articles in an
institutional repository.

The findings of the study, carried out by Key Perspectives Ltd, for the
Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK, have been greeted by
Southampton's Professor Stevan Harnad as 'a historic turning point in the
worldwide research community's progress towards 100 per cent Open Access'.

The new results are being reported this week at the International Conference
on Policies and Strategies for Open Access to Scientific Information in
Beijing, China (22-24 June 2005) by Dr Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, along
with new findings from Dr Les Carr, of the School of Electronics and
Computer Science at the University of Southampton, the only UK university
that already has a self-archiving mandate. Southampton is a leader in the
worldwide Open Access movement.

The international, cross-disciplinary study on Open Access had 1296
respondents. The main findings are:

*       The vast majority of authors (81 per cent) would comply willingly
with a mandate from their employer or research funder to deposit copies of
their articles in an institutional or subject-based repository; a further 14
per cent would comply reluctantly, and only 5 per cent would not comply
(highest willingness, US: 88 per cent; UK: 83 per cent; lowest, China: 58
per cent).

*       49 per cent of respondents had already self-archived at least one
article in the previous three years

*       31 per cent of respondents were not yet aware of the possibilities
of self-archiving

*       Use of institutional repositories for self-archiving had doubled
since the first survey (2004) ; the University of Southampton has the
highest rate of self-archiving in the UK

*       Only 20 per cent of authors who self-archived reported any degree of
difficulty in self-archiving, and this dropped to 9 per cent with subsequent
experience. Les Carr's analyses of Southampton web-logs show that it takes
10 minutes for the first paper, and even less for subsequent papers.

*       Self-archiving is done the most by those researchers who publish the
most papers

*       Researchers' primary purpose in publishing is to have an impact on
their fields (i.e., to be read, used, built upon, and cited)

In a separate exercise the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute
of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) were asked about their experiences over the
last 14 years of existence of arXiv (the open e-print archive which has over
300,000 physics papers deposited). Both publishers said that they could not
identify any loss of subscriptions due to arXiv, did not view it as a threat
to their own publishing activities and indeed encouraged it.

'These results are hugely important,' said Stevan Harnad, 'and will be
highly influential. Currently only 15 per cent of articles are being
self-archived worldwide, but we can see from the survey that the
overwhelming majority of academic authors everywhere would willingly
self-archive if they were asked to do so. The results are already confirmed
by the 90% self-archiving rate at Southampton, the first institution to
adopt a self-archiving mandate, and by CERN, the world's biggest institution
to adopt a self-archiving mandate, with likewise over 90% self-archiving:

'Universities and research-funders who have hesitated about requiring this
now have the clear evidence that a self-archiving mandate would not lead to
resistance or resentment. And those who hesitated to mandate out of concern
for publishers should note that the publishers with the most and longest
experience with author self-archiving welcome it.'

On the critical question of whether the optimal route for self-archiving is
the central one (as favoured by the US National Institutes of Health) or the
distributed institutional model (favoured by the UK), Professor Harnad says
that the JISC/Key Perspectives reports provide strong support for the UK
Parliamentary Select Committee, which specifically proposed distributed
institutional self-archiving. This is now likely to form the basis of a
recommendation from Research Councils UK (RCUK), which has been considering
the future of Open Access to UK-funded research output.


Notes for Editors

1. Web links for further information

Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005)
Open access self-archiving: An author study.
Technical Report, External Collaborators, JISC, HEFCE


Key-stroke study of archiving time:
Publisher responses including APS and IOPP:

Beijing meeting

Swan, A. (2005) JISC Open Access Briefing Paper.
Technical Report, JISC, HEFCE.

Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O'Brien, A.,
Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints
and open access journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned
Publishing 18(1):pp. 25-40.

GNU eprints software:
Self-archiving FAQ:
OSI Eprints Handbook:
Institutional Archives Registry:
Institutional Self-Archiving Policy Registry
Journal Self-Archiving Policy Directory
Bibliography of OA Advantage
American Scientist Open Access Forum
UK Science and Technology Committee Policy Recommendation:
Berlin-3/Southampton Policy Recommendation:

2. The University of Southampton is the home of GNU EPrints software, the
most widely used software for building Institutional Repositories, and the
JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) TARDis (Targeting Academic
Research for Deposit and Disclosure) project, which has been investigating
the technical, cultural and academic issues which surround institutional

3. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research
institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and
scholarship. The University has over 20,000 students and over 5000 staff.
Its annual turnover is in the region of £270 million.

For further information

Professor Stevan Harnad (email
Dr Alma Swan (email
Joyce Lewis, Communications Manager, School of Electronics and Computer
Science, University of Southampton (tel.023 8059 5453;