Re: Roundtable Press Release (Access to Research Results)

From: Heather Morrison <hgmorris_at_SFU.CA>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2010 12:45:11 -0800

On 17-Jan-10, at 6:42 AM, Sally Morris wrote:

Stevan asserts that researchers who cannot afford access to the
version of articles are perfectly happy with the self-archived author's
final version.

Interestingly, in our survey of learned society members (see Sue Thorn and I found that most of
1368 respondents did not, in fact, use authors' self-archived versions
when they had no access to the published version - 53% never did so, and
only 16% did so whenever possible.

Sally Morris

Comment - looking at the abstract of your article as cited, it appears
that there is considerable confusion among your respondents about what
open access is, and more than half of respondents did not know what
self-archiving was. It doesn't make sense to ask researchers whether
they use self-archived copies of articles when most apparently don't
know what you are talking about.

If you were doing a survey of researchers in physics or economics, the
appropriate questions would likely be: do you use arXiv or RePEC,
respectively? (In the case of RePEC, it may be that the question
should be about the RePEC search services such as IDEAS, rather than
RePEC per se. That way, the respondents would know what you are
talking about. Similarly, with the medical literature, the
appropriate questions would be - do you use PubMed, and if so, do you
like to connect to free fulltext from the index?

For the items in institutional repositories, as Harnad quite correctly
keeps reminding us, the current task is building and filling the
repositories, with setting good open access policies as a key step. A
next step will be raising awareness about the information in the

Following is the abstract from Morris' article, to illustrate my
points above:

The individual members of 35 UK learned societies were surveyed on
their attitudes to open access (OA); 1,368 responses were received.
Most respondents said they knew what OA was, and supported the idea of
OA journals. However, although 60% said that they read OA journals and
25% that they published in them, in both cases around one-third of the
journals named were not OA. While many were in favour of increased
access through OA journals, concerns were expressed about the cost to
authors, possible reduction in quality, and negative impact on
existing journals, publishers, and societies. By contrast, less than
half knew what self-archiving was; 36% thought it was a good idea and
50% were unsure. Just under half said they used repositories of self-
archived articles, but 13% of references were not in fact to self-
archiving repositories. 29% said they self-archived their own
articles, but 10% of references were not to publicly accessible sites
of any kind. The access and convenience of self-archiving repositories
were seen as positive, but there were concerns about quality control,
workload for authors and institutions, chaotic proliferation of
versions, and potential damage to existing journals, publishers, and

Heather Morrison, MLIS
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
Received on Sun Jan 17 2010 - 22:02:34 GMT

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