The Bucknell Scholarly Communications Practices Survey was administered during a 24 day period from Oct. 12, 2010 to Nov. 5, 2010. All Bucknell faculty members were invited to participate via the Bucknell message center. 115 completed questionnaires were submitted giving the survey a 33% response rate.
Faculty members were from the following academic divisions:
Natural Sciences and Mathematics: 36
Social Sciences: 26
No Response: 7
All faculty ranks were represented, with the following distribution:
Associate Professor: 38.1%
Assistant Professor: 32.7%
Visiting Assistant Professor or other non-tenure track position: 8.0%
Overall, Bucknell faculty members indicated that they think some changes need to be made in the scholarly communications system. When asked, “In general, how would you rate the health of scholarly communications in your discipline?” 64.3% answered either “minor” or “substantial” changes need to be made.
Current Publishing Practices
Survey respondents were asked to report information about their last two journal publications. Of the 183 responses, 21 (11%) were published in open access journals and 115 (63%) were published in non-open access journals (respondents weren’t sure of the journal’s status for 47 articles (26%)). 36 (20%) of these articles were self-archived either in a disciplinary or institutional repository or on a personal website. Previous research suggests that current publisher policies would allow 50-60% of Bucknell-authored articles to be self-archived with no additional negotiation.
47 articles (27%) were published in journals that the library does not subscribe to. Of these, 35 were neither self-archived nor published open access, meaning that Bucknell faculty and students do not have access to 19% of the articles reported in this survey. An increased emphasis on making open access as many Bucknell publications as possible would help alleviate this problem. To this end, 80.2% of faculty members indicated they were at least “somewhat” interested in open access issues and policies, although they also answered that their knowledge level was relatively low. 57.1% of respondents rated themselves as “not very knowledgeable” or “not knowledgeable at all” in open access issues, suggesting that there is a need for additional educational programs.
Choice of Publishing Venue
When choosing a venue in which publish their work, 73.7% of Bucknell faculty members indicated that a journal or book publisher’s reputation was the single most important factor (the second most frequent response was the journal’s impact factor at 9.1% of respondents). When asked how important specific factors were to their choice of publishing venue, faculty members indicated that a journal’s impact factor, the publication venue’s weight in tenure and promotion considerations, and the speed publication were also important to their choice of a publication venue.
Although about half (52.4%) of Bucknell faculty members rated a publication venue’s open access policy as either somewhat or very important in their publishing decisions, a publication’s approach to copyright and self-archiving practices were not viewed as particularly important. The ability to retain the copyright of an article was rated as “not important” by 62.8% or respondents, while the ability to place the published version of a work on a website was rated “not important” 57.1% of the time. Since these practices are critical to open access scholarship, convincing faculty members of the value in retaining their copyrights and self-archiving their publications is therefore another key educational area for encouraging greater participation in open access at Bucknell.
Open Access and Tenure
Bucknell faculty members appear to be unsure how open access publications will be evaluated during tenure review. When asked if they felt in open access journals are acceptable publications in tenure review, 42.9% of respondents answered “don’t know” (44.6% answered “yes,” 8.9% answered “no”). However, when given the definition of an open access journal–an “online-only peer-reviewed publication”—73.2% of respondents answered “yes,” and only 16.1% of respondents answered “don’t know.” These results seem to suggest that concerns about tenure review is not necessarily a barrier to open access publishing by Bucknell faculty members, but rather that there is significant confusion about what “open access publishing” means.
Copyright and Publishing Agreements
Unfortunately, Bucknell faculty members appear to be insufficiently educated about what rights they have retained under their author’s agreements. When asked if their author’s agreements for their last two publications had allowed them to retain any of four example reproduction and distribution rights, in every case a majority of respondents indicated that they didn’t know. This lack of knowledge creates a high potential for faculty members to inadvertently violate their copyright agreements. Faculty members did, however, indicate a strong interest in learning about copyright issues and policies, with 87.8% indicating that they were at least “somewhat” interested in the topic.
For More Information
The full questionnaire for the survey is available here. Please contact Andrew Asher, Bucknell Scholarly Communications Fellow, with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or ex. 7-3378.