Interest in open access is on the rise for American higher education faculty aged 22 to 44. At the same time, a journal’s Impact Factor continues to diminish in importance for most faculty, according to results announced recently from Ithaka S+R’s US Faculty Survey 2021, aided by sponsorship from academic publisher Taylor & Francis.
Ithaka S+R conducted its most recent US Faculty Survey in late 2021, yielding results from nearly 8,000 respondents regarding evolving practices in research, teaching, and publishing for academics at primarily four-year universities and colleges across the United States. Of those surveyed, 45% were professors, followed by associate professors, assistant professors, adjunct professors, lecturers, and instructors in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Medical, and Area Studies disciplines.
Seventy percent of faculty aged 22 to 44 said they would like the traditional, subscription-based publication model shifted to an open access model compared with 63 percent of faculty in the 44 to 54 age group and 57 percent of faculty in the 65 and older age group, the survey says. The survey states that most social sciences faculty have this sentiment compared to peers in other academic disciplines.
According to the survey, ’faculty members continue to be interested in an open access publication model and see their library as key in financially supporting open access infrastructure.’ The survey results indicate that half of the faculty members are open to their university library financing open journal platforms. At the same time, one-third of respondents say that research funders should include open access fees in their grants or that the university should directly pay publishers.
Regarding high Impact Factor, 73 percent of faculty rated it as very important in 2021, compared to 79 percent in 2018 and 81 percent in 2015, with primarily scientists and medical faculty influencing the decrease, according to survey results. However, the survey asserts that in all disciplines, there has been a decrease in the importance of a journal’s Impact Factor for faculty ’when deciding where to publish their scholarly research.’
Additional key findings from the US Faculty Survey 2021 conducted by Ithaka S+R include the role of the library and its various functions; research integrity and guarding against research fraud; creation and use of open educational resources (OER); the monograph's status; and the value of scholarly conferences and workshops.Click here to read the original press release.