The SOAP project (Study of Open Access Publishing), presented its final results on January 13th, 2011 in Berlin to an audience of publishers, librarians and funding agencies, including the European Commission.
The project, which runs from March 2009 to February 2011 describes and analyses the open access (OA) publishing landscape and provides facts and evidence allowing libraries, publishers and funding agencies to assess drivers and barriers, risks and opportunities in the transition to OA publishing.
The event showcased the main findings of the project regarding:
- the OA publishing landscape (http://www.slideshare.net/ProjectSoap/soap-symposiumtalki);
- the beliefs and attitudes of researchers in respect of OA publishing (http://www.slideshare.net/ProjectSoap/soap-symposiumtalkii);
- and the drivers and the barriers for the submission of articles to OA journals (http://www.slideshare.net/ProjectSoap/soap-symposiumtalkiii).
The key findings of the project are:
- The number of OA articles published in “full” or “hybrid” OA journals was around 120’000 in 2009, some 8-10% of the estimated yearly global scientific output (see also http://arxiv.org/abs/1010.0506). Journals offering a “hybrid” OA option had a take-up of around 2%.
- OA journals in several disciplines (including Life Sciences, Medicine, and Earth Sciences) are of outstanding quality, and have Impact Factors in the top 1-2% of their disciplines.
- Out of some 40’000 published scholars who answered a large-scale online survey, approximately 90% are convinced that OA journals are or would be beneficial for their field. The main reasons given for this view are: benefit for the scientific community as a whole; financial issues; public good; and benefit to the individual scientist. The vast majority disagrees with the idea that OA journals are either of low quality or undermine the process of peer review.
- A separate survey of scientists who published in OA journals reveals that their drivers for this choice were the free availability of the content to readers and the quality of the journal, as well as the speed of publication and, in some cases, the fact that no fee had to be paid directly by the author.
- The main barriers encountered by 5’000 scientists who would like to publish in OA journals but did not manage to do so are funding (for 39% of them) and the lack of journals of sufficient quality in their field (for 30%)