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Comment on Peter Suber's BMJ Article

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Tue May 17 09:39:16 EST 2005

Excerpt from Peter Suber's Open Access News, 
concerning Alma Swan's comment in British Medical Journal on Peter Suber's article in
British Medical Journal:

        Alma Swan on self-archiving   

    Peter Suber: "Alma Swan has posted a very useful comment 
    to my May 14 BMJ article on self-archiving. 

    "Her comment gives us a glimpse of her latest findings on author
    attitudes and practices (soon to be published at greater length)."

    Excerpt: 'We know, for example, that 49% of authors have
    undertaken some form of self-archiving behaviour, placing copies
    of their articles on their personal or departmental websites (27%
    of authors have done this), in their institutional repository (20%
    of authors have done this) or in a subject-based repository (12%
    of authors have done this). We know, too, that the number of people
    doing these things has grown in the last year since we carried out a
    previous, similar, survey: for example, the 20% of authors who have
    now deposited a published article in their institutional repository
    compares to only 10% twelve months ago. The proportion of authors now
    who are not aware of the possibility of providing open access through
    self-archiving is 31%....[O]f all the sources of information about
    self-archiving, word-of-mouth from peers was the most common (23%
    of authors found out about the practice that way). This suggests
    that as time goes on the good-news message about increased impact
    and citations for open access articles filtering further through
    the research community will have its own outcome in increased self
    -archiving activity....[Authors who know about self-archiving but
    don't do it] are presently discouraged mainly because they think
    it will take up time or that it will be technically difficult. Data
    from authors who do self-archive show that it takes a few minutes to
    deposit an article in a repository and that once this has been done
    for the first time only 9% of authors subsequently find any degree
    of difficulty with the process at all....[T]here is a positive
    correlation between the number of papers authors publish per year
    and the level of their self-archiving activity. Some authors - very
    productive authors - are extremely determined to get their work out
    there and are seizing this simple and effective opportunity to get
    it noticed.'

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