January 18, 2022

Open Access: NPG and Palgrave Macmillan Release Findings From Survey of 22,000 Authors

From Nature Publishing Group:

A survey of 22,000 academic researchers by Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Palgrave Macmillan has found that a decreasing number of authors are concerned about perceptions of the quality of open access publications.

The Author Insights Survey 2015 was originally carried out for internal research purposes in April 2015 among academics who have written papers for NPG and Palgrave Macmillan, as well as other publishers.

In 2014, 40% of scientists who had not published open access in the last three years said “I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications.” But this year, only 27% said they were concerned. In the humanities, business and social sciences (HSS), the drop was more marked; from 54% in 2014 to 41% in 2015. Nonetheless, concerns about perceptions of the quality of OA publications is still the leading factor in authors choosing not to publish OA.

NPG and Palgrave Macmillan are making the anonymised data from their annual survey available for the second year running under a CC BY license, in order to achieve greater understanding between authors, funders and publishers.

The survey reveals authors’ views on a diverse range of topics, including open access, how they determine the reputation of a journal, the value they place on publisher activities and services, and funder mandates. All data is available to view and download on figshare, along with summaries pulling out the highlights.


Key findings from the survey include:

• The four most important factors for author when choosing where to publish were:

  • Reputation of the journal
  • Relevance of journal content
  • Quality of peer review
  • The journal’s Impact Factor (although authors in the HSS disciplines placed more importance on journal readership than Impact Factor.)

• Factors that contributed most to a journal’s reputation were:

  • The journal’s Impact Factor
  • Seen as the place to publish the best research
  • The consistency of quality
  • Quality of peer review

• When asked about their understanding of their main funders’ open access policy, 30.7% of authors accurately matched the policy.

• Another 30% partially matched their funders’ policy, and 40% did not match their funders’ policy.

• Of those who did not match their funders’ policy, 41% thought their funder had no open access requirement when it did, while another 41% thought their funder had an open access requirement but it did not.

• Chinese authors are much more likely to receive support to publish their research via open access (OA) than their global colleagues and an increasing proportion are choosing to do so exclusively. 92% of Chinese researchers who took part had sufficient funds to publish their research in OA journals, substantially higher than the global average 68% of researchers from the rest of the world.

• 20% of Chinese authors report having published exclusively in OA journals in the last 3 years.

Resources (via figshare)

Direct to Full Text Report: Author Insights Survey 2015 (12 pages; PDF)

Direct to Survey Instrument (.Docx)

Direct to Raw Data; (.Txt)

See Also: Nature Publishing Group Publicly Releases Findings From Author Insights Survey (October 2014)
Results from 2014 survey.


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.