The influence of journal publisher characteristics on open access policy trends

Examines SHERPA/RoMEO publisher Open Access (OA) policy information for 100 publishers over a thirteen year period (2004-2016) to consider whether their size, type or country (UK or US) affected the development of their OA policy over time. A publisher’s RoMEO colour code, whether they offered a Gold OA option, and the mean number of restrictions as to when, how and where papers may be self-archived, were all mapped. Kruskal Wallis tests were run to assess whether the differences between their 2004 and 2016 positions were statistically significant. Finds that the growth of Green and Gold OA policy approaches has not been evenly distributed amongst publishers with some significant differences amongst publishers of different size, types and country (UK and US). Large commercial publishers are more likely to be allocated a RoMEO colour code, but at the same time place a high volume of restrictions as to where and how authors might self-archive. Small publishers are less likely to have a RoMEO green colour code, but the volume of restrictions they place on self-archiving are minimal. University presses appear not to be engaging with either OA agenda to any considerable degree. UK and US publishers’ OA policies appear to be influenced by the national OA policy environment which, considering the global nature of the scholarly journals market, was more pronounced than might have been anticipated.