Open Access Publishing and Scholarly Communication Among Greek Biomedical Scientists

  • Assimina Vlachaki

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Purpose: The purpose of this research is to study in what ways the open access publishing can improve the scholarly communtication among biomedical sciences in Greece over a period of about five years and provide new roles for health librarians to support open access.

Methods: The implementation of Critical Realism as research philosophy allowed the multi-level analysis of the research object; a mixture of research tools were used. Supplementary research methods were adopted to provide more accurate and reliable conclusions. The Literature review contributed to the identification of the open access publishing context and the relations which were forming and re-forming in it. Additionally, similar studies were found and the research gaps were identified as well. Bibliometrics demonstrated the participation of Greek scientists in world research could be evaluated. The research was conducted in five world databases (PUBMED, SCI, BIOMED CENTRAL, DOAJ, GOOGLE) for two different periods (2006-2007 and 2011). Publishers’ agreements provided information about the role of Greek biomedical publishers to the awareness of Greek biomedical scientists on journal related issues such as copyright. Additionally, and journal cost analysis presented publishers’ subscription and open access policies and provided an approach of the costs requested for the access to journals. Web 2.0 offers new scholarly communication channels that seem to be cheaper and effective ones. The participation of Greek biomedical scientists in social networks such as ResearchGate, LinkedIn was analysed to evaluate the trends towards these new information sources. Case study methodology provided the qualitative and quantitative tools to explain the attitudes and awareness of Greek biomedical stakeholders about open access publishing and open access biomedical journals and also helped to the longitudinal study of the changes. A questionnaire survey among biomedical scientists took place in three phases (2007-early in 2010, September 2010 to May 2011). In addition, Greek biomedical publishers were interviewed in January and February 2010 .

Findings: The bibliometric findings indicated an increasing participation of Greek scientists and Greek biomedical journals in world research. Greek biomedical scientists also use social networking as a means of scholarly communication. The questionnaire surveys showed that the physicians are the most active researchers and more familiar with the open access publishing concept. However, across all the phases the majority of Greek biomedical scientists seem to be unaware of aspects of publishing in open access journals, although by the third phase more participants seem to be aware. Greek biomedical publishers seem to approve the deposit in repositories, and the self-archiving process under specific terms, because, the publishers’ agreements analysis demonstrated, the publishers want to be the copyright holders and information about authors’ rights is omitted. Biomedical scientists are confused over copyright. As far as cost analyses are concerned, the journal prices depend on the publisher (commercial or scientific) and the subscriber (the institutional prices are higher than individual ones). The findngs were interpreted according to Roger’s diffusion of innovations theory and Lewin’s force field analysis.

Conclusions: Open access seems to be acceptable in Greece but the stakeholders, including libraries, need to co-operate more. Greek academic biomedical libraries can actively reinforce the driving forces and reduce the restraining forces (around copyright, mainly) (Lewin’s Force Field Analysis) in order to move into the “refreeze stage”. However, institutional repositories do seem to be an innovation that (according to Rogers’ theory) will take time to develop.
Date of Award2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorChristine Urquhart (Supervisor) & Pauline Rafferty (Supervisor)

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