Scholarly communication practices in humanities and social sciences: a study of researchers’ attitudes and awareness of open access

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
On USB only, 2018
Issue Date:
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Academic librarians play a vital role in informing researchers about developments and trends in scholarly communication (Rodriguez, 2015), including the provision of publications support and open access (OA), especially through the university’s institutional repository (IR), often managed by the library. Given mandates from funders for open access dissemination of research outputs (ARC, 2017; NHMRC, 2014), OA practices are becoming increasingly important. Yet, its adoption has been typically slower in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) when compared to fields such as physics or biomedicine (Suber, 2017). This paper presents the results of a project exploring the perceptions and practices of researchers working in HASS towards OA, based on a study conducted at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), specifically focusing on its IR. Despite UTS’ mandated requirements for researchers to deposit their research outputs in the IR, the adoption rate has been low (about 29% overall and lower in HASS). The work outlined in this abstract was supported by the Library and Information Science Research Australia (LISRA), a three year project funded by the Australian Research Council that aims encourage and enable research culture and practice within Australia’s library and information profession. LISRA is being undertaken in partnership with ALIA, NSLA, University of Southern Queensland and Swinburne University. This abstract is one of three abstracts being submitted for consideration as a special LISRA themed session at APLIC 2018. The findings highlight some of the barriers and challenges facing open access in HASS, including perception of open access journals, publication pressures, and also the usability of the university repositories (Luca & Narayan, 2016; Narayan & Luca, 2016). Library staff also identified a lack of awareness about open access among faculty members, and issues relating to how the university communicated with them about OA. The findings of this project are already feeding back into customised workshops within the faculty and beyond, based on disciplinary preferences and trends, thus transforming practice. Our study provides a model for academic libraries in the development of proactive, targeted publications support that responds to researcher needs, which vary between disciplinary cultures. Implications for practice include encouraging a model of embedded librarianship (Luca, 2017) within disciplinary groups in order to understand and customise publications support within disciplines.
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