Open Science in Poland 2014. A Diagnosis

Transition to Open Access in Poland has been happening for some time. Over 20 scientific institutions have repositories, some of them implemented OA policies, near 950 journals are available freely on the internet. But the transition results solely from bottom-up initiatives. The report “Open Science in Poland 2014. A Diagnosis” analyses the strengths and limitations of such a model.
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The aim of the report is to present a comprehensive overview of the current state of openness in Polish science. The authors present the institutional context of Open Science in Poland and  analyse its selected legal aspects, as well as describe the current e-infrastructure of Open Access. They also summarize the results of desk research and of surveys of Polish scientific journals and Polish scientists conducted for the purpose of the report.

OA in the opinion of scientists
According to the results of the survey, 88.6% of 3119  scientists who took part in the survey  believe that OA will increase the efficiency of circulation of scientific information. They also agree that OA will increase the number of citations – this claim is supported by 79.1% of the respondents. 65% believe that OA improves the visibility of Polish science abroad, while 77.6% agree that it facilitates scientific cooperation. The respondents also acknowledge its social role – almost 81.6% agree that with OA citizens will be able to use scientific knowledge more easily.

Making works OA
The notion of OA is not new among the respondents , but most well-grounded knowledge of the OA idea has been identified among researchers representing  exact sciences. The survey participants usually define OA as free of charge access to content via the Internet and only very few answers made references to the terms “gratis” or “libre” OA, and the terms “green” and “gold” were familiar only to several percent. While the consciousness of OA models is limited, the popularity of openness understood as OA practices is growing. Most scientists participating in the survey were familiar with the practice of making their research outputs available in OA.  20.1% have made a work (article, book) openly accessible, 27.4% do it sometimes, 11.7% do it regularly, however 40,9 don’t do it.

Open Access infrastructure
According to the report almost half (49%) of the approximately 2000 Polish scientific journals provide Open Access to their content, including current issues and without an embargo period. The study described in the report has identified 947 Polish Open Access journals  while DOAJ listed in the period under analysis only 164 titles. An analysis of the legal aspects of publishing indicated a diverse scope of rights granted by publishers to recipients. Almost all Polish OA journals represent gratis OA. Seventy one  journals are accessible under Creative Commons licences, but only 1.35% use free licences and represent libre OA.
The report presents also the e-infrastructure for open science available in Poland. In April 2014, the authors identified 23 scientific repositories in Poland, while the academic system includes 137 public and 307 non-public higher education institutions, 69 units belonging to the Polish Academy of Sciences, and many others. These results show that although the e-infrastructure of OA is developing, it is still at an early stage.
Most of the repositories functioning in Poland are institutional repositories. They have been established and are maintained mainly  by public higher education institutions.

The future of Open Access
As presented in the report, the specific OA model in Poland is mainly based on grass-root initiatives implemented by publishers of scientific journals, researchers themselves, institutions providing IT solutions, and several institutions managing repositories.  The study also shows the increasing popularity of OA practices in the Polish scientific community. While Poland still lacks institutional OA strategies and policies, both on the governmental and institutional level, the number of OA publications is growing dynamically. This creates a good foundation for the further implementation of open models, but what remains a challenge is the implementation of technical, financial, legal and organizational solutions that would allow to exploit the full potential of open publications. The report concludes that a serious problem – both in the context of international scholarly communication and of the European Commission’s policy – is that Poland lacks institutional OA strategies and policies, because many examples show that without such strategies and policies, efficient implementation of OA is not possible.
The report, edited by Jakub Szprot, was prepared by the Open Science Platform team: Andrzej Leśniak, Michael Morys-Twarowski, Krzysztof Siewicz, Michał Starczewski, Lidia Stępińska-Ustasiak, and Jakub Szprot. The Open Science Platform (OSP) is an initiative of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling at the University of Warsaw, established to support Open Access. Activities of the OSP are addressed to researchers, publishers and scientific institutions and include the creation and implementation of OA tools and solutions, OA education, and services such as an orphan repository, the web service “Open the Book” (a digital collection of OA books) and the Library of Science (a platform offering access to almost 500 scientific journals in OA). OSP also investigates and analyses trends in scholarly communication. The results of these analyses are described in the reports: “Analysis of Economic Issues Related to Open Access to Scientific Publications” published in 2014 and “Open Science in Poland 2014. A Diagnosis”.

The report is available on the Open Science Platform website under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 PL licence.

*post by  Lidia Stępińska-Ustasiak*

Gwen Franck

Open Access Programme Coordinator at EIFL - Electronic Information for Libraries / Open Access Project Officer at LIBER - Association of European Research Libraries

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