Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


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Acknowledgments: Survey development and analysis by Brian Cody and Danielle Padula. Survey graphs and design by Dana Stemo.

The State of Journal Production and Access report is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


“The State of Journal Production and Access” survey ran between March and June 2020 and received 63 responses from individuals working with academic organizations that publish one or more peer-reviewed journals independently (i.e., not outsourced to a separate publisher). The survey encompassed questions in two areas: 1. journal production, including article formatting, layout, and metadata tagging practices and priorities; and 2. journal access, including publishers’ current access and funding models as well as respondents’ perceptions of the viability of alternate options. Among the main findings on the topic of journal production were: • Less than half of publishers surveyed reported that they produce full-text XML files • Most publishers surveyed did not include funder names or funder IDs in article metadata • Publishers rated decreasing production time as their most important journal production priority over the next 3 years In the area of journal access, survey highlights included: • The majority of publishers reported that they currently utilize fully-OA journal models • Publishers reported that they are prioritizing transitioning journals to OA • The majority of publishers surveyed reported that they believe institutional subsidies/grants are the most viable options for funding fully-OA journals The survey representation was wide-reaching, with responses from members of scholarly publishing organizations across 28 countries working in various roles, ranging from senior leaders to journal editors to technical staff. The majority of survey responses were from individuals working with scholarly society publishers (41%) or university presses (30%).

Overall, "The State of Journal Production and Access" survey results show that the publishers represented are prioritizing digital article production best practices, such as formatting articles in both PDF and HTML and including rich elements in article-level metadata. Additionally, the survey results show that the majority of publishers surveyed are prioritizing OA journal publishing now and in the future and focusing on expanding their use of fully-OA publishing models. There are still many questions that remain in the areas of both production and access, such as: • How do publishers plan to alter their current production processes to reach the aim of decreasing production time? • Are publishers surveyed planning to add additional PIDs or other rich elements to their article-level metadata? • Will publishers surveyed be able to generate sustainable fully-OA journal funding from institutional subsidies/grants (the top-rated potential funding model)? In the ever-changing publishing landscape, there is also the overarching question of how publishers' current production and access priorities reported in this survey may change in the future. For example, will publishers continue to prioritize fully-OA journal publishing models? Such questions could be addressed by repeating this survey or a variant of it. In reviewing the final survey report output, Scholastica also recognizes that there is room for improvement both in terms of the survey question design and respondent pool, which we’ve taken into account for potential future iterations. In subsequent surveys, we would aim to address areas of possible question overlap as well as some ambiguities in question design. Additionally, we would aim to have a broader representation of publishers to enable more fine-grain analysis, such as variations in responses by publisher size. The first iteration of this report has been a learning experience for our team, and we hope that these initial outcomes will be of value to the scholarly publishing community.

If you're interested in exploring other potential patterns and norms revealed by "The State of Journal Production and Access" survey, you can access the full raw data set. The data set is anonymized, and geographic information has also been removed to further prevent the possibility of respondent identification. Full data set DOI: