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Open Access and Publication Preferences of the Academic Community of the Instituto de Astronomía of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

A survey was conducted to obtain information about the publishing preferences at the two campuses of the IA-UNAM. The survey consisted of thirteen closed-ended questions, followed by response options, and one open-ended question for comments.

Published onApr 27, 2022
Open Access and Publication Preferences of the Academic Community of the Instituto de Astronomía of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
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Abstract

Scientific publishing is one of the culminating steps of most research activity. The prevailing system of scientific publishing consists of a traditional subscription-based publishing model, which in most cases implies high costs in journal subscriptions for the institutions, as well as high costs to authors through publishing processing fees.

Currently, the Instituto de Astronomía of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (IA-UNAM), is subscribed to the core journals of Astronomy and Astrophysics. The subscriptions include electronic and print products, representing the major investment of the total allocated budget for the libraries, both in the Ensenada B.C. and Mexico City campuses.

A survey was conducted to obtain information about the publishing preferences at the two campuses of the IA-UNAM. The survey consisted of thirteen closed-ended questions, followed by response options, and one open-ended question for comments. A quantitative analysis of the recovered data was performed. The results indicated that:

1) Academics are skeptical of choosing to publish in open access (OA) journals. However, the results also indicate that the majority of researchers surveyed had no experience with open-access, which could be related to their lack of knowledge and interest about it.

2) Academics prefer to publish in high-impact journals in order to guarantee a good quality of research at the IA-UNAM.

3) There is a short list of journals preferred by researchers, which reveals the need for dissemination of information about publishing options.

1 Introduction

The IA-UNAM has two academic headquarters one in Mexico City (IA-UNAM CU) and the other in Ensenada, Baja California (IA-UNAM Ens) with a total of 166 academics: 79 researchers, 64 academic technicians, 5 CONACyT recipients, and 18 post-doctoral positions.

The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) subscribes to 11,890 electronic journal titles and has 3,848,571 volumes of periodical journals in printed format in its 134 library branches. It should be noted that a large number of journal titles have been migrated to electronic format and therefore libraries receive very few printed issues, which shows that the trend is to purchase electronic formats.

Between 2004 and 2006, the Dirección General de Bibliotecas of the UNAM carried out the first stage of the Resource Rationalization Program whose objective was to “evaluate the collections of periodical publications by redistributing the budget allocated to the purchase of technical and scientific journals by canceling unnecessarily repeated subscriptions on paper.” [1]. The IA-UNAM Libraries applied Bradford's mathematical model to evaluate their collections, identifying the following core list of journals that are part of the mainstream science journals of astronomy and astrophysics: Astronomical Journal (AJ), Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A), Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL), Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ApJS), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS), Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (PASP).

The IA-UNAM CU Campus subscribes to 30 journals, 23 of them have been migrated to electronic format and only 7 journals are received in a print format. The IA-UNAM Ens Campus subscribes 20 journals, 10 of those journals have been migrated to electronic formats.

The objective of this investigation is to discover the opinion of the academics from IA-UNAM on the publication in traditional journals versus Open Access journals with the purpose of promoting the publication in journals of the area of ​​Astronomy in Open Access and thus contribute to Open Science.

2 Methodology

The survey consisted of 13 questions designed on Google Forms and sent by e-mail to IA-UNAM academics, some of the questions were open and others were designed to find out in which journals they publish their research, if they agreed that they should publish their articles in Open Access every time they receive public funding, if they had published in journals of Open Access and which journals were known to them in this field, as well as whether they considered Open Access journals met the quality standards contemplated in traditional journals.

3 Results

Forty-six responses were received from the academics, representing 27.7% of the sample from the IA-UNAM scientific community, as shown in Fig. 1.

Figure 1.

Analyzing the sources, the ADS is most consulted source they use to search for a locate information for their research followed by ArXiv.org, Google Scholar, library catalogs, Scopus, Web of Science, and SciFinder, as shown in Fig. 2.

Figure 2.

An important piece of information is that the majority of academics consider that their research should be published in peer-reviewed journals as well as in other type of publications as shown in Fig.3.

Figure 3.

As shown on Fig. 4, the majority of respondents agree that any research results that have received public funding should, without exception, be published in Open Access. Although there were respondents in disagreement as well those who had not thought about it.

Figure 4.

The next set of survey questions asked whether they had previously published in open access journals, the names of the journals, and the cost per page or article. Sixty-five percent of the respondents had published in open access journals. However, when reviewing the list of the 16 titles mentioned in their responses, only 12 corresponded to journal titles. A search for each of the titles was performed in the Directory of Open Access Journals [2], in the UlrichsWeb™ Global Serials Directory [3], as well as in each of the journals' web sites with the following results: One title was a traditional publication without the option to publish in open access, three titles were indexed in the mentioned directories and considered Open Access, one more title was open access and the information was retrieved from its web page, five titles were hybrids, i.e. based on the subscription model with the option to publish in open access, and two titles had no article processing charges (APCs), however they were not declared as open access journals on their websites. The list of titles is shown in Table 1.

Table 1.

The last block of questions focused on the opinion of the respondents about the quality of Open Access journals in the area of Astronomy and Astrophysics and which of them believe have established themselves as quality journals, using peer review and impact factor as quality criteria. The list is headed by the Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica, due to the importance of the journal in the Latin American region [4], published by IA-UNAM, indexed in Journal Citation Reports 2019 quartile 2 [5] and Scimago Journal Rank 2019 quartile 1 [6] and in which most of the respondents have published their research articles, Fig. 5.

Figure 5.

4 Conclusions

  • The results indicate that the academics of the IA-UNAM use open access resources to search, locate, and retrieve information for the development of their research, however, they also indicate a lack of knowledge about the journals and the Open Access movement.

  • Although most agree that all research conducted with public funds should be published in Open Access, they prefer to publish their results in high-impact mainstream A&A journals based on the subscription model.

  • The results reveal the need to disseminate information on Open Access journals, noting that within their quality parameters they are peer-reviewed and indexed in the main databases, although they do not have the Impact Factor of the core journals of Astronomy and Astrophysics are emerging journals that are gradually consolidating.

  • It would be advantageous to convince the editors of the Revista Mexicana de Astronomía y Astrofísica to enter into the Directory of Open Access Journals and suggest its promotion as an Open Access journal since it has no charge for processing articles.

  • All research carried out with public funds should be available to everyone without borders or discrimination, thus contributing to Open Sciences, which seeks to open up scientific research for the benefit of society. [7]


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