Open access to survey of 30,000 authors by Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) and Palgrave Macmillan are making data from their Author Insights survey publicly available for the first time as part of Open Access Week. The survey, which contains views from 30,466 researchers, is the biggest publisher survey of authors’ views to be made open access.  

NPG and Palgrave Macmillan are making this anonymised data available in order to achieve greater understanding between authors, funders and publishers, particularly with regard to open access.

The survey reveals authors’ views on a diverse range of topics, including how authors make publishing decisions, funding availability and reasons for choosing open access as a publishing route.  It is available to view and download via a CC BY license on figshare, along with a short summary pulling out the highlights.

Sam Burridge, Managing Director Open Research NPG/Palgrave Macmillan said: “To celebrate Open Access Week, we’re releasing our internal dataset via figshare for anyone to view, download and analyse. 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.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 1 in 5 (20%) science authors and 1 in 10 (12%) HSS authors do not know if their main funder requires them to publish open access
  • A significant number of authors are unaware of the requirements of even the largest OA funders with long-established mandates.
  • For example, 17% of Wellcome Trust and 25% of NIH-funded authors do not know if their funders have OA requirements
  • 40% of science authors and 54% of HSS authors who have not published open access say that ‘I am concerned about perceptions of the quality of OA publications’

The Author Insights survey was originally carried out for internal research purposes in Spring 2014 among academics who have written papers for NPG, Palgrave Macmillan and Frontiers, as well as other publishers. It contains responses from 24,773 science authors and 5,693 authors in the humanities and social sciences (HSS).