Indian Pediatr 2015;52: 252-253
Knowledge and Attitude of Health Researchers
from India towards ‘Paying to Publish’ and Open Access Journals
Harkanwal Preet Singh
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Dasmesh
Institute of Research and Dental Sciences,
Talwandi Road, Faridkot, Punjab, India.
Knowledge and attitude of 2509 Indian
health researchers towards open access publishing and authors paying to
publish model was evaluated. 55.6% researchers had knowledge about open
access and 76% about Author pay model. 72% of Researchers were not
interested to pay publication charges. Lack of research grants were the
primary reason for inability to pay publication charges.
Keywords: Author fees, Closed journals, Open
access journal, Publication fees.
ne reason for Restricted access to dissemination
of knowledge by scientific journals is that they are largely based on
subscription charges to readers. To resolve this crisis in scientific
communication, Open access publication (OAP) was developed, which
provides lawful, free access to journal content and is funded by means
other than readers’ subscription . OAP articles have been produced by
"Paying to publish" model, which means authors has to pay a so-called
publication fees . Since there is lack of pertinent studies in India,
we conducted a cross-sectional study over a period of three months from
March to May, 2014 to explore knowledge and attitude of health
researchers from India towards OAP and paying to publish model.
A questionnaire (Web Table
I) consisting of
5 questions regarding knowledge and 12 in relation to attitude was
developed. A pilot study on 50 people sel2ected randomly from a single
academic institution was conducted to determine reliability of the
questionnaire. The questionnaire was re-evaluated and improvements made.
Another pilot study on 30 different randomly selected people from
another academic institution was done to estimate the reliability of
questionnaire (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.72). 4036 Health researchers were
selected in this study using convenience sampling. A 76% positive
response rate (3067) was obtained from the sample. 558 (18.2%)
individuals, who did not have any publication in open or closed journals
were excluded from the study. Finally, 2509 respondentquestionnaires
Results showed that only 1395 (55.6%) researchers
have knowledge about open access and 1907 (76%) 3about Author pay model,
which is in agreement to a previous study , though a lower percentage
has been observed in Cuban .
In the present study, large numbers of researchers
(72.28%) are not interested to submit their work to journals that charge
to author, and majority (72.28%) have not ever paid for their
publication. Author charges is the most threatening factor, as this
policy may ultimately end up discouraging publication in these journals.
One way to avoid further charges to unsupported authors is the proposal
to waive publication charges to those residing in less-developed
countries . Present study
revealed that in India only 3% of Indian researchers are willing to pay
more than $500; whereas, in English-speaking countries, 20% are ready to
pay . Present study demonstrated that the relevant terms: eprint
(digital version of a research document that is accessible online),
Self-archiving (depositing a digital document in a publicly accessible
website), and Institutional repositories (online archive for collecting,
preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output
of an institution) were familiar to only smaller number of the Indian
researchers (28%, 22% and 14%, respectively). Nonetheless, little
understanding of these terms has been observed in other countries as
well [2,3]. German Research Society found that only 26% of biomedical
researchers have knowledge of repositories or preprint archives .
A possible reason may be that the Open Access
Movement emerged in developed economics, such as the USA and United
Kingdom, as a result, it is primarily authors in these countries who are
familiarwith these terms . Nevertheless, biomedical journals in India
have not been promoted as open access journals till now as Journal
sections do not show explicit indication that guide authors that they
are open access publications.
Only 37.6% researchers had published their work in
OAJ, which is high as compared to studies conducted by Germany Research
society  (10%), Rowlands,
et al.  (11%) and
Hess, et al.  in Germany (23%). Majority of researchers
(55.2%) in the present study were reluctant to publish their work in OAJ
because they (60.2%) felt that these journals have limited impact and
In terms of impact, open access still lags behind
non-OA journals. Although the median SNIP value (Source Normalized
Impact per Paper) has risen from 0.34 in 1999 to 0.47 in 2011 for OA
journals, but they have still not caught up to Non-OA journals. On the
brighter side, there is some evidence that this gap may be closing. In
four major countries (US, UK, Netherlands, and Germany), considered as
world’s largest academic publishers, there is an overall trend of
increasing impact for both open- and closed- journals, with a huge gain
for open access journals in particular. Journals published in Brazil,
Belgium, India and Japan favor OA, with median SNIP scores higher than
that of closed access journals .
According to the study done by Sahu, et al.
, India is placed in the list of OAJ, well ahead of countries such as
Netherland, China, Germany and Australia. Among low the income
countries, India ranks second to Brazil. Almost 50% of journals from
India are open access. 66% of open access journals do not charge author
fees and whereas 28% have a fee and the rest are conditional (or data on
fees are missing) .
Research and innovation are the foundation for
sustained growth. Current study revealed that majority of Indian health
researchers (80.2%) do not receive any research grant. Lack of funds and
inappropriate facilities for research work, were considered as two prime
reasons for India lacking behind in the scientific world .
Authors, publishers and government agencies must
consider geographical and cultural differences so that new decisions do
not increase already existing inequalities between countries. We
conclude that there is no ethical problem with paying a publisher for
the work it does, as soon as the editors are independent from the money
Various appropriate and timely actions should be
taken to explore knowledge and attitude about the Open Access. The
advantages of open access movement have to be promoted to further
propagate their scientific papers and knowledge, and building
institutional repositories. This would definitely help to change the
passive and conservative attitudes of research scholars.
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