Perceptions of open access publishing: interviews with journal authorsBMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38359.695220.82 (Published 31 March 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:756
Fives more boxes of sample quotes and the interview schedule
Box A: Perceived benefits of open access publishing (sample quotes)Improvements in accessing literature
Absolutely . . . It is a good idea because with the internet there is an increasing opportunity to access information easily. It would be imperative in promoting the efficacy of research worldwide. If there was instant access it would fast track so much information searching. There is a limit to the number of journals you can access both online and in print at the moment . . . and you need the information immediately. To be able to do some would be extraordinarily wonderful (A3)
Results of research should be as widely [disseminated] as possible. Especially if it’s useful, as many as possible should have this knowledge . . . no barriers (E3)
It would give free and equitable access to everyone whether or not they can afford subscriptions. This would have a particular advantage to developing countries so it would improve medicine globally (A9)
More cost efficient
Yes definitely . . . rather than ordering articles you can download instantly which is more efficient. It would also save money at universities as you wouldn’t have to pay for interlibrary loans and in terms of subscriptions too. Often some journals are not used 90% of the time which isn’t efficient (A6)
Box B: Reservations about open access publishing (sample quotes)Vanity publishing
It is only okay if the process is transparent and still academically sound. If it is not transparent and there is a chance of . . . vanity publishing . . . then it loses it. The process needs to be completely transparent . . . dead clean . . . no hint of anything untoward in the publishing process (A8)
Deluge of non-peer reviewed papers
There are potential problems with it . . . There would be a plethora of information on the web with no regulation. I just don’t think the peer review process is even handed. We need to balance the problem of papers being freely available and being severely flawed [that is, if they weren’t peer reviewed]. It is not up to the reader to spot flaws . . . they simply don’t have the time to do this. So there is an advantage of reading journals which you know have been peer reviewed . . . it enables you to read outside of your field and gain relatively rapidly the overall truth and message. So it is a bit like patients reading about diseases and treatments on the web . . . there is no regulation. Papers can be put up on the web which just would not have been accepted elsewhere (U2)
Resources might be directed away from valuable peer review
Well I think it is a good idea in terms of anyone having access to journals . . . but if it means it is more money for journals to do this and it therefore means less money for peer review then this is not so good (A7)
Box C: Willingness to submit to open access journals (sample quotes)Open access doesn’t influence choice of journal
Yes but I wouldn’t search out a journal with such a policy. It wouldn’t encourage me to submit but nor would it discourage me. But saying that I still think it is a good thing (AM10)
Yes . . . it doesn’t make any difference on the usefulness or appropriateness of the journal. When you decide to submit, open access doesn’t make any difference . . . well not to me (A10)
Questionable quality of existing open access journals
One is judged academically on the weight of your papers in the spring balance. People do look at the quality of papers you publish . . . One would need to be persuaded that there was a purpose. At the moment I am not persuaded. If I submitted to an open access journal, I would be judged by people wearing an academic hat and they may turn round and say you haven’t published anything in the last 10 years . . . and I want to avoid that (U2)
If it was a reputable journal. Some that are linked to open access are new and. . . impact number is low. I think it is a good idea if journals began to do open access . . . I think many people would submit to them. It really doesn’t matter . . . the access . . . it is the reputation of the journal that is important (AM8)
Box D: Implications of introducing author charges (sample quotes)
Authors would need support
I think as long as these costs can be fairly borne by research institutions then it is an important new model worth looking at. The alternative model of charging readers has become so complicated and so precarious. It is possible that an author pays system may be more stable. So as long as research funders are willing to pay . . . Author money can’t come from nowhere. A lot of good research is not funded by NIH etc and it is important what happens to this. Imagine a study of poor sick children which didn’t receive funding . . . there would be little chance of getting this published (AM3)
Unacceptable to pay to publish in non-peer reviewed journals
It is difficult . . . to know if the same standards of publishing are being held if you are paying to get published (U4)
Difficult to implement
It would have to apply to all journals otherwise there is the perception that it means the paper is pretty bad and you can’t get it in [published] anywhere else. I have RAE [research assessment exercise] concerns and . . . If we are talking about high quality peer reviewed journals then fine (U7)
Box E: Implications for those who can not afford to pay (sample quotes)
A lot of my research is computer simulations, etc, and there is no funding for this. If funding was raised then fair enough. This is not all just about MRC grants. Junior doctors often do useful and interesting research for which there is no funding . . . so lots of interesting and potentially useful science wouldn’t see the light. We don’t all just do big MRC funded projects. Some of us do research for fun and don’t generate grant money. Who would pay for publishing junior doctors’ research? They can’t afford to (U1)
It then puts the burden on the researcher . . . what about those who don’t get core funding—how will they fund this? It will be interesting to make sponsors pay as they try to cut funding as it is. This will restrict research to main projects . . . I often do lots of hypothesis testing and supplementary analysis such as exploring data to find areas of interest for future research . . . none of this would get published and it needs to be (U7)
I am concerned for the developing countries . . . they often do very good research which is buried. How will they afford it? (AM4)
[Posted as supplied by author] APPENDIX: Interview Schedule
Are you familiar with the term ‘open access publishing?
What do you understand by the term?
[Interviewer defined open access publishing for those who were not familiar with the term]
Are you in support of the open access publishing movement?
Previous submissions to open access journals?
Willingness to submit to open access journals in the future?
Within the context of open access publishing, are you familiar with the ‘author-pays model’?
What do you understand by the term?
[Interviewer defined an author-pays model for those who were not familiar with term]
How do you feel about the idea of author payments becoming the standard publishing model for all journals? i.e. replacing subscription costs?
Do you know of any journals that currently operate an author-pays model?
Previous submissions to a journal operating an author-pays model?
Willingness to submit to a journal operating an author-pays model in the future?
Willingness to submit to BMJ if it operated an author-pays model in the future?
- Job title
- Main institution
- Main area of expertise
- Approximately how long have you been an active researcher?
- Approximately how many papers have you ever published?
- Approximately how many different journals have you published in?
- Who have you received funding from?
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