Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan have made public data taken from an Author Insights survey questioning over 30,000 of their authors.
The data – compiled last spring - has been made available publicly for the first time this week, to mark Open Access Week, and can be downloaded from Figshare on a creative commons license (CC BY).
Sam Burridge, m.d. of Open Research NPG/Palgrave Macmillan, said: "As far as we know, this is the first time that a publisher has made the detailed results of a survey of this size and scope completely open. It's vital that decision-making in the academic publishing community is evidence-based, which is why we're making this data open access. We believe it will contribute to an increased understanding of the real issues in academic publishing, and we encourage researchers to dig into this data and use it to help inform our community."
Among the findings are that 80% of the authors from China who publish with Nature Publishing Group or Palgrave Macmillan have a budget to fund publication costs under Open Access, as compared to 56% of authors across the rest of the world. Splitting the author base by discipline rather than geography, only 31% of the humanities and social sciences authors had funding available for their publication costs, whereas 66% of science authors had funding.
The survey also found a surprising lack of awareness from many authors as to whether their main funder required them to publish via Open Access, with one in five science authors uncertain of the situation, though the number dropped to one in 10 for h.s.s. authors. Seventeen per cent of Wellcome Trust-funded authors did not know if their funder had OA requirements, despite the well-established mandate of the funding body.
Among those authors who chose to publish via OA, proportionately more scientists (48%) than h.s.s. scholars (42%) chose to do so because "I believe that research should be open access, so freely available to all." H.s.s. authors were more likely than scientists to publish OA simply because they were required to by the journal in question, or because they thought OA would give them speedier publication than the current standard, and they were much more likely to decline to publish through OA on the grounds that "I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of Open Access publications" (54% of h.s.s. authors as opposed to 40% of scientists).
In terms of APC fees paid, the most frequent response from h.s.s. authors (37%) was "Less than $800", whereas the most frequent reply from scientists (45%) was "Between $800 and $1,600".