Springer Nature




Springer Nature

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A global publisher

Exploring researcher attitudes to versions of published articles

Market Insights and Business Cases

In scholarly publishing, there are often many different versions of an author’s publication available online. There are papers that have been submitted for peer review, papers that have been peer reviewed and accepted by a publisher, and final, edited versions that have been made available by the publisher.

We were asked by a Springer Nature, a leading global publisher, to provide insights into researcher behaviour and reading habits when it comes to open access articles. We compared and contrasted the perceptions of two different types of articles – author accepted manuscripts (which have been peer reviewed and accepted by the publisher) and version of record articles (the final published versions).

The availability of different article versions is linked to ongoing debates around open access to scholarly publications. Depending on the specific version, the articles can be stored on personal websites, shared by social networks or only made available online on the publishers’ own journal website.

Our research provided the publisher with insights into usage of these peer-reviewed articles, the value provided by each version to readers and recent trends in usage. We were able to examine issues such as differences in publication across generations, geography and disciplines.

Our findings also underpinned a follow-on study by Springer Nature with ResearchGate, a leading academic social network, exploring researcher attitudes to the version of record, available here.

The project was carried out in March and April 2020.

Research Consulting’s expertise is complemented by being approachable and easy to work with. They generally will suggest improvements to a project but without risk of over-complication. And vitally, their reporting is always oriented towards applicability.Dan Penny, Director, Market Intelligence at Springer Nature