In September of 2021 our friends from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture, attended the TODO National Open Data Conference (NODC2021) as representatives of the ResBios project. The aim of NODC2021 is to bring together decision-makers, public servants, businesses, researchers, and citizens from across Croatia who are interested in the promotion and dissemination of open science projects across the Republic of Croatia.
As a part of last year’s conference the team at University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture presented their findings from a study they conducted at their Faculty to determine how the frequency of academic and scientific papers being written by the academic staff within the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture had changed over the past decade, and to determine if open access publications and resources were being utilised by other university staff and students. This analysis was conducted using data collected from the Web of science platform (with filters for Open Access publications), as well as by conducting focus group interviews, and issuing questionnaires to students, researchers and librarians. These surveys questioned the respondents’ knowledge and previous experience of using and submitting articles to Open Access journals. The results of these surveys showed that of those questions, 43.5% of the respondents had never heard of Open Access, 26.1% of the participants knew of Open Access but have never published a journal using this platform, and 30.4% had experience of publishing in Open Access journals.
Although from these results, it does seem to show that although the majority of those questioned from the University of Zagreb had little to no experience or knowledge of Open Access journaling, it must be taken into account that roughly 70% of those interviewed were master or early PhD students without publishing experience. On the other hand, the analysis of the data collected from the Web of science platform showed that the number of articles being published in Open Access journals by academics at the University of Zagreb Faculty of Agriculture has drastically increased over the past decade, as demonstrated in figure 1.
Figure 1. Number of Open Access publications affiliated to Faculty of Agriculture in the period 2010-2021 (WOS, accessed in September 2021)
This marked increase has been linked to a policy that is in place at the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture since 2016. where faculty provides some financial compensation towards the submission of articles to Open Access journals.
Following on from the findings of this investigation, and feedback from fellow associates present at NODC2021, Resbios associates at the University submitted a new proposal that would allow for the opportunity for every PhD student to have their first article that they put forward to an high impact Open Access publication, the costs will be covered by the Faculty, and as of the 18th of January, this proposal has been approved by the Faculty governance board. Therefore moving forward, due to the efforts of our fantastic partners, we can expect even more Open Access papers to come from the University of Zagreb, and with that great recognition and knowledge of this form of publication model.
Responsibility in research & innovation. Challenges for the biosciences and future policies