Last month saw the publication of the 2014 Taylor
& Francis Open Access Survey. Combining responses from just over 7,900
authors who published with Taylor & Francis in 2012 (9% of the total), this
represents the opinions of authors from across the world in roughly the
proportions they have published with Taylor & Francis – although my inner
data geek really wants to get hold of the full dataset to apply some weighting
to the under-represented authors of East and South East Asia.
access (OA) publishing by authors and a clear belief in its benefits compared
with traditional publication, which has increased from the 2013 survey. 70% of
respondents also disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement ‘There are
no fundamental benefits to open access publication’, up 10% from 2013.
widespread positive attitudes to OA publishing, the findings on licensing are
striking. In particular, the preference for more restrictive licenses seems at
odds with the attitudes and values expressed by authors in response to the Section
1 questions on that topic. For example, in Question 5, 71% of authors were
happy for their work to be re-used without prior knowledge or permission for
non-commercial gain provided they receive attribution. This is equivalent to a
CC-BY-NC licence, but only 18% of authors selected this licence as their first
or second choice when answering Question 6 (see graphic below).
preference seems common to nearly all responses. Again in Question 5 authors seem
concerned about commercial reuse of their work without prior knowledge, with
65% disagreeing that it is acceptable. However in Question 6, 47% selected
Copyright Assignment as their first or second preference for licensing making
it the second most popular licence along with Exclusive License to Publish. Having
assigned copyright away, authors would have little control over any commercial
reuse, not least by the publisher they have assigned the copyright to.
this seeming contradiction. Looking down the results for Question 6 there is a
clear drop off towards the bottom of the list for ‘preferred licences’. It
would be interesting to know if these options were always presented in the
survey in the same order that they are presented in the report. If so, we may
be seeing response
order effects (Krosnick and Alwyn 1987), but unfortunately full details of
the methodology are not openly available along with the report.
to a degree of satisficing,
an effect where respondents choose adequate answers rather than optimal answers
because it is easier to pick the first acceptable, or most familiar, option
than fully evaluate all options (Simon 1957, Krosnick 1991). This could be
leading to selection of the more familiar Copyright Assignment and Exclusive
License to Publish over the various Creative Commons licence combinations.
boxes provided to respondents at the start of the survey gave explanations of
different modes of OA publishing, repositories and text- and data-mining but
not the differences between the licences. These aren’t always easy to grasp,
especially when completing a survey at speed – I don’t mind admitting that I
had to check with a colleague on the exact differences between the various licence
options. Perhaps, as Dr David Green, Global Journals Publishing Director said
in the Taylor
& Francis press release, there is still ‘much work left to do in
simplifying our policies and documentation so that our author communities are
in no doubt as to what their OA options are’.