Tuesday, October 21, 2008

ALPSP Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey

The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishing (ALPSP) recently published the results of a survey of journal publishers regarding their scholarly publishing practices and any changes in their policies and practice since 2000. The survey was conducted of 400 journal publishers, both commercial and not-for-profit. A response rate of over 65% was achieved including the majority of major journal publishers. The report’s findings clearly indicate that many publishers are responding positively to the advocacy of freer and wider dissemination of scholarship advocated by most libraries, SPARC, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and many other OA proponents. The full report is only free to ALPSP members. Key findings of the survey (from ALPSP’s press release) include:

  • Publishers - especially large publishers and commercial publishers are launching new journals at a higher rate than in 2005.
  • The growth trajectory of online availability has been steady since 2003. There is still some difference between the disciplines, with 96.1% of STM and 86.5% of arts, humanities and social science titles accessible online.
  • Pricing models are just as complex and varied as they were in 2005. Most publishers use a variety of means to establish prices. It is notable that fewer publishers are providing online access free with print and instead are offering online-only subscriptions.
  • Open access advocacy has clearly had an effect on publishers' thinking. The proportion of publishers offering optional open access to authors has grown from 9% in 2005 to 30% in 2008. However, the take-up of the author pays open access option is exceedingly low.
  • Licensing terms have become more generous, as publishers have become more comfortable with the use of digital content, including allowing use in Virtual Learning Environments and repurposing to create learning objects.
  • Publishers' practice on authors' rights is changing. Fewer publishers now require authors to transfer copyright to the publisher and will instead accept a licence to publish.
  • The growth of institutional and subject based repositories has prompted a rethink on authors' rights to post their articles on the web. Large publishers have relaxed prohibitions on posting pre-prints, but have imposed embargoes on the final accepted version.
  • Publishers are at different stages of development in their implementation of Web 2.0 technologies, with 20% enabling collaborative tagging and between 10% and 15% implementing forums, blogs and podcasts for a journal.

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