Change ahead: How do smaller publishers perceive open access?

(15 January 2019) Reporting results from a comprehensive survey of publishers in the German-speaking world, Christian Kaier and Karin Lackner explore the attitudes of smaller publishers towards open access, finding both rising levels of interest, but also ongoing uncertainty and resistance over making a transition to open access publishing.

While libraries and funding bodies in German-speaking countries have been negotiating Open Access Agreements with large publishers for years through initiatives such as Project DEAL, small and medium-sized publishers are rarely involved. This focus on major publishers tends to promote market concentration at the expense of smaller publishers whose views are often neglected, a subject recently discussed at the COASP 2018 conference. In the meantime, initiatives such as the Heidelberg Appeal, or publikationsfreiheit.de, seem to suggest that many of these hundreds of smaller publishers are opposed to the idea of Open Access.

Seeking to more clearly gauge these attitudes, in May and June 2018 the Open Access Office at Graz University Library undertook a comprehensive survey across the German-speaking countries to specifically address publisher attitudes and practices regarding Open Access. Requests were sent to 82 “traditional” scholarly publishers (according to the typology of publishers of Ferwerda et al.) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and 33 complete responses were received. The goal was not only to find out more about those publishers’ opinions and experiences, but also to foster exchange between publishers, libraries and other stakeholders in scholarly communication.

LSE Impact Blog has the full story.