To manage the transition to the open access (OA) model of scholarly publishing, we need to understand better what enables, encourages and inhibits the adoption of OA publishing among scientists, and to appreciate individual differences within disciplines. The study adopts a psychological perspective to elucidate motivations, capabilities and opportunities for OA publishing among bioscientists in the UK. To identify differences within the discipline, bioscientists with starkly different past practices for disclosing research data and technologies were interviewed. The sampled bioscientists face similar obstacles and enablers in their physical environment, but that their motivations and experience of their social environments differ. One group is strongly motivated by their moral convictions and beliefs in benefits of OA and feels peer pressure related to OA. The other group expresses fewer pro-OA beliefs, holds beliefs demotivating OA publishing, but feels pressure from research funders to adopt it. The former group makes more frequent use of OA publishing, which suggests that only those with strong motivations will work to overcome the social and physical obstacles. The individual differences within the discipline suggest that bioscientists are unlikely to respond to OA policies in the same way and, thus, the appropriateness of one-size-fits-all OA policies is questioned.
A service showing the copyright and open access self-archiving policies of academic journals.
See the debate on academic publishing in Prometheus, 2010, 28, 1.