The Executive Summary:
The Behavioural research project is one of three independent research projects commissioned and managed by PEER as part of the PEER Observatory. The aim of the Behavioural research project was to address the role of stage-two manuscript repositories in the scholarly and scientific communication system by exploring perceptions, motivations and behaviours of authors and readers. The research was carried out between April 2009 and August 2011 by the Department of Information Science and LISU at Loughborough University, UK.
- Over the period of Phases 1 and 2 of the Behavioural research project the increase in the number of researchers who reported placing a version of their journal article(s) into an Open Access Repository was negligible.
- Researchers who associated Open Access with ‘self-archiving’ were in the minority.
- Open Access is more likely to be associated with ‘self-archiving’ (Green Road) by researchers in the Physical sciences & mathematics and the Social sciences, humanities & arts, than those in the Life sciences and the Medical sciences who are more likely to associate Open Access with Open Access Journals (Gold Road).
- There is anecdotal evidence that some researchers consider making journal articles accessible via Open Access to be beyond their remit.
- Authors tend to be favourable to Open Access and receptive to the benefits of self-archiving in terms of greater readership and wider dissemination of their research, with the caveat that self-archiving does not compromise the pivotal role of the published journal article.
- Readers have concerns about the authority of article content and the extent to which it can be cited when the version they have accessed is not the published final version. These concerns are more prevalent where the purpose of reading is to produce a published journal article, and are perceived as less of an issue for other types of reading purpose.
- Academic researchers have a conservative set of attitudes, perceptions and behaviours towards the scholarly communication system and do not desire fundamental changes in the way research is currently disseminated and published.
- Open Access Repositories are perceived by researchers as complementary to, rather than replacing, current forums for disseminating and publishing research.