One topic of great interest across academia is the evolution of researcher perceptions of open access publishing and data sharing. In September, this was the focus of the latest in Wiley’s annual surveys of the research community. The 2016 Wiley Open Science Researcher Survey* builds upon our previous surveys on open access and open data to discover trends in research. Despite geographical and subject-level differences among authors, there are underlying commonalities in open science practices. The insights reported by our respondents show a willingness to move forward with open initiatives, but confusion around the best ways to do so.
Publishing open access is on the rise, with nearly two thirds of authors indicating that they have published an article in a hybrid or full gold journal, up 8% from 2013.
Survey respondents perceived an increase in requirements from funders and institutions to make versions of their article publicly available, either through gold or green open access.
The most funder requirements for gold open access were reported in the life sciences (12%), whereas funders in the physical sciences reportedly have the most requirements for green open access (52%). In terms of institutional requirements, again, researchers in life and physical sciences reported having the most overall requirements of either gold or green open access (59% and 62% respectively).
58% of authors from the Asia-Pacific region reported funder requirements for open access, the most across the three regions surveyed. This compared to 44% of respondents from the Americas, and 47% from Europe, Middle East and Africa. There was a larger difference across the regions in reported institutional requirements; 66% of authors in Asia-Pacific reported requirements, compared to just 39% in the Americas.
Archiving of articles has reportedly more than doubled, including deposition in institutional and public repositories, as well as on personal webpages.
44% of researchers report depositing their article in an institutional repository, making these the most common place for archiving work.
‘Institutional requirements’ and ‘dissemination’ are the top reasons why researchers are archiving their articles, with 34% and 29% of respondents citing these factors respectively. The number of authors naming institutional requirements as a reason for archiving has increased markedly, up 24%. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific, institutional requirements are the leading motive for archiving an article, whereas in the Americas, dissemination is a stronger reason. Regardless of subject area, approximately one-third of all respondents archive due to institutional requirements.
69% of our researchers have indicated that they have shared data from their research in some way. This represents a 17% increase from our previous study in 2014, where 52% of researchers indicated that they had shared data.**
The most common ways in which researchers reported sharing their data was either at a conference (48%), as supplementary material in a journal (40%), or informally/on request (33%). Only 41% report sharing data formally via any form of data repositories (institutional, discipline-specific, or general-purpose). Just over 20% of researchers say that they have shared data formally via institutional repositories, which represents an increase of 7% over the past two years. These results demonstrate that researchers continue to be unclear on what ‘sharing’ data means in the sense of providing unlimited, appropriately licensed and permanent access to their data and other artefacts.
Other than being required to, the top reasons why our researchers state they share are to ‘increase the impact and visibility of (their) research’, for ‘public benefit’, and ‘transparency and re-use’. Researchers say that the top reasons for not sharing are ‘intellectual property and confidentiality issues’, and concerns over ‘ethics’ and ‘misuse’ of research. These results are largely in line with previous surveys; the exception being ‘ethical concerns’, which is now the second most common reason authors cite for not sharing data.
As Open Science continues to evolve, understanding the perceptions of our researchers in this time of change is just the first step in the right direction as we continually work towards making research more accessible, collaborative, and transparent. To find out how Wiley supports Open Science, visit our Open Science page.
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*In September 2016, Wiley contacted approximately 55,000 of our authors across many disciplines and received more than 4,600 responses. The survey effort focused on Open Science, broadly aiming to help us understand how researchers approach open access requirements, manage data, and participate in the sharing and archiving of their research. It is important to note that our survey just represents the perceptions of our researchers and provides directional findings for Wiley to explore. Additionally, the results from this survey are being shared on our figshare page, available for download and full re-use here.
** Our 2014 Data survey reported data sharing as those who just share data. In 2016 we have reflected data sharing as those who both produce and share data.