Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Study of Open Access Publishing: The SOAP project and results from its survey in eIFL.net partner countries


  Last Jan 13th, 2011 a Symposium was held at the Harnack-House in Berlin, Germany by the European SOAP project to present the final results of the widest survey on Open Access publishing ever carried out to date. Over 40,000 researchers worldwide working in all disciplines were surveyed by SOAP from Mar 2009 to Feb 2011, aiming to study the OA publishing landscape, the beliefs and attitudes of researchers with regard to OA publishing and the drivers and the barriers for the submission of articles to OA journals.

The main conclusions of the result analysis were:

- 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,

- 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,

- Approximately 90% of the over 40,000 published scholars who answered the survey are convinced that OA journals are or would be beneficial for their field,

- 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%).


The raw survey data were also released by the SOAP project to allow the maximal re-use of the collected information through further analysis by libraries, publishers, institutions and funding agencies. EIFL made the first overview of the SOAP survey results, tailored to the situation in 11 EIFL partner countries: Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Thailand and Ukraine. The resulting report, "Results of the SOAP Survey: A Preliminary Overview of the Situation in EIFL Partner Countries", is available online.

Though worth being disseminated here, all this has been published elsewhere before. However, the following paragraph in the EIFL report is particularly relevant for the Faculty of Science/UofK project:

"The SOAP survey also contains responses from 34 other EIFL Partner countries: Albania (34 respondents), Armenia (29 respondents), Azerbaijan (11 respondents), Belarus (35 respondents), Bosnia and Herzegovina (36 respondents), Botswana (9 respondents), Cambodia (4 respondents), Cameroon (17 respondents), Estonia (71 respondents), Ethiopia (47 responses), Georgia (29 respondents), Ghana (35 respondents), Kenya (66 respondents), Kyrgyzstan (2 respondents), Laos (1 respondent), Latvia (42 respondents), Lesotho (2 respondents), Lithuania (69 responses), Macedonia (17 respondents), Malawi (9 responses), Mali (4 respondents), Moldova (7 respondents), Mongolia (1 respondent), Mozambique (12 respondents), Nepal (41 respondents), Senegal (12 respondents), Sudan (31 respondents), Swaziland (1 respondent), Syria (12 respondents), Tajikistan (2 respondents), Tanzania (31 respondents), Uzbekistan (9 respondents), Zambia (14 respondents) and Zimbabwe (21 respondents). But data for the countries with less than 80 answers are aggregated in “Others” and “Others EU” and it is not possible to analyse them for the purpose of our overview".

So 31 Sudanese researchers answered the SOAP survey, but it's not possible for OASCIR either to process their answers due to the aggregation procedure carried out to ensure anonimity of the survey respondents. As it is important to have an overview on attitudes and beliefs of institutional researchers with regard to Open Access, a similar survey to the SOAP one will be carried out at the University of Khartoum by the OASCIR project before the project actually starts. And we will this time ensure the results are able to be processed and a specific report on them is published at this blog.

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