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Published: Kem. Ind. 73 (1-2) (2024) 45–56
Paper reference number: KUI-23/2023
Paper type: Original scientific paper / From our Libraries
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Openness, but at What Cost – Attitudes and Practices of Croatian Authors

B. Macan, L. Škorić and J. Petrak


Open access (OA) publishing has become the dominant form of scientific communication. According to an earlier research, the share of OA in the total number of internationally visible papers by Croatian authors is 74 %. This study investigates the attitudes and publication practices of Croatian authors towards OA through a survey conducted among members of the mailing list in early 2023. The survey aimed to determine their support for OA publishing, recognition of its positive and negative aspects, motives for choosing OA publishing, funding sources, and preferences for certain OA publishers. A total of 1,041 participants responded to the survey, with 763 fully completing the questionnaire. The majority of respondents (over 60 %) were active in the fields of sciences, social sciences, and engineering. Analysis of their publication output during the 2021–2022 period revealed that 43.6 % of respondents did not publish a single article in a Croatian journal, with the highest proportion (71 %) observed in the sciences. In contrast, 9.7 % did not publish in foreign journals, with 32 % of these respondents coming from the humanities. Among those who published in foreign journals, approximately 50 % published at least one paper in subscription journals, and the same proportion published in fully open access journals with article processing charge (APC) payments. One-fifth of the authors published their papers for free in fully open access journals, either through invitation or by utilizing coupons for free publication. Coupons were the most commonly used source for APC payments. The majority of respondents (75 %) expressed support for OA publishing and acknowledged its advantages in scientific research and the educational process. Over 80 % of respondents agreed that OA facilitates faster and more efficient dissemination of new knowledge, and increases readership, and enhances the visibility of research papers. However, when selecting a journal for publication, respondents were primarily motivated by the journal’s reputation and impact rather than its open access status. Nearly one-third of the surveyed authors believed that OA increases the commercialization of scientific publishing and that the rising number of publications diminishes the quality of peer review. Attitudes towards publishing in fully open access journals operating exclusively with the APC financing model varied among respondents. Those with a positive attitude were motivated by the speed of peer review and publication process, while those with a negative attitude believed that publishers of APC-charging OA journals prioritize profit over the quality of published articles. Additionally, some respondents mentioned that they could not afford to pay APC, or chose not to pay due to their opposition to any obstacles hindering the publication of scientific results. The survey results indicate that Croatian authors, even when lacking sufficient means, are more inclined to pay publication costs rather than ensuring open access through archiving their papers in public digital repositories.

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open access publishing, attitude to OA journals, publication practices, article processing charges, online survey, Croatia