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Managing expectations for Open Access in Greece: perceptions from the publishers and the academic libraries. Christina G. Banou & Petros A. Kostagiolas Department of Archive & Library Science, Ionian University Palaia Anaktora, Corfu 49100, Greece. cbanou@ionio.gr & pkostagiolas@ionio.gr

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Managing expectations for Open Access in Greece: perceptions from the publishers and the academic libraries

Christina G. Banou & Petros A. Kostagiolas

Department of Archive & Library Science, Ionian University

Palaia Anaktora, Corfu 49100, Greece.

cbanou@ionio.gr & pkostagiolas@ionio.gr

11th International Conference on Electronic Publishing,

ELPUB 2007

Openness in Digital Publishing: Awareness, Discovery and Open Access

Vienna, 13 – 15 June 2007


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Open Access in Greece…Setting the Scene

In Greece, there seems to be a growing level of awareness regarding open access among scholars, faculty staff, information professionalsand STM publishers

The academic libraries in Greece may enhance their role within the modern bilingual and hybrid (conventional and digital) scholarly communication setting.

The Greek publishing industry, focusing on the STM publishing, is characterized by a number of specific features, mainly due to the uniqueness of the Greek language.

Openness in Greece may constitute a greater challenge due to the language barriers, which may form two (2) distinct types of scientific publication: the ones written in Greek and the ones that are not.

This work focuses upon some current aspects of open access, which are investigated for the Greek setting…


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The present of the Greek STM publishing industry

  • The Greek publishing market has a rather small audience of about 14 million people, due mainly to the Greek language.

  • The Greek Scientific-Technical-Medical (STM) publishing production represents about the one third (35,1%) of the total annual book production.

  • The publishing houses, that produce scientific texts, can be categorized as follows:

    • STM publishers,

    • general publishers, which include in their catalogues scientific texts,

    • organizations and institutions that publish or order and encourage STM publications.

  • The STM publishers are intended to a specialized and, therefore, rather homogenous reading audience.

  • Main features of the Greek STM publishers:

    • They are owned and run by members of a family.

    • They are competitive to academic presses.

    • The majority of the STM publishers are medium; five of them are large.

    • Out of the 2692 new STM titles published in 2004, only 770 were translations.

  • Most of the new titles published annually are works of Greek scholars.


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Selected research issues for Open Access in Greece…


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The empirical research conducted

The objective of the empirical research conducted was to study the perceptions of the directors of academic libraries, and the perceptions of Greek STM publishers for the five (5) important aspects of open access in Greece.

  • Although the level of awareness of open access has been significantly increased in Greece, as far as we know, this is the first formal investigation that has been conducted in Greece.

  • An intriguing aspect of this research includes the analysis of perceptions from both STM publisher and the directors of academic libraries.

  • An empirical survey followed a pilot study that was conducted in order to check and refine the questioner developed.

  • The participants were organization representatives, selected in terms of the following criteria: a) they have experience and knowledge in managing STM material, b) they are directors of academic libraries, c) they are publishers with an annual book production exceeding 30 tittles.

  • The questionnaire developed…


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Presenting the structure of the final questionnaire

The questionnaire includes both closed and open-ended questions.

For the seventeen (17) closed-ended questions a five-point Lickert scale was employed, ranging from 1=”strongly agree” up to 5=”strongly disagree”. The research questions 13 through 17 were accompanied with open questions

  • Questions 1 to 12: aimed at investigating characteristics

    • of the experts participated in the survey, and

    • the organization they represent.

  • Questions 13 & 14: aimed correspondingly at assessing the degree of agreement of the participants to the statements, “the information provided to the scientific community in Greece is sufficient” & “there is a clear need for the open access development in Greece”

  • Question 15 aimed at “ETDs management from the academic libraries”

  • Question 16 aimed at the “university repository development”

  • Question 17 aimed at “law and regulation of digital and/or printed scientific material”


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Methods of analysis and the profile of the participants

  • The information recorded and the qualitative analysis produce indicative results based on expert’s opinion(a pilot study took place in January 2007).

  • The empirical research was conducted through structured interviews based on a specially designed semi-structured questionnaire, within February and March of 2007.

  • For the purposes of the research twenty two (22) academic libraries and the twenty (20) large and medium Greek STM publishers were conducted.

  • The group of experts agreed to participate in this survey includes directors of ten (10) academic libraries and seven (7) STM publishers (i.e. the 45.5% of the libraries conducted and 35.0% of the STM publishers).

  • It was found that the distance in the scale between 1=”strongly agree” and 2=”agree” was small, as well as that the distance between 4=”disagree” and 5=”strongly disagree”. Hence, the initial form of the scale was reduced from five to three [agreement (+), rather (=), disagreement (-)].

  • The percentages were computed for each research question; for the open-ended questions content analysis was employed in order to determine the frequency of statements of interest.


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Results of the closed ended questions


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Results of the open ended questions

  • The participants frequently commented on the following:

    • improvements have been achieved in Greece in terms of quality and quantity of the scientific information services over the last 6 to 8 years.

    • digitisation reduces management cost (although significant investments ought to be made for the management of openness) and open access gradually reduces the need for costly agreements with international publishers.

    • open access development may support improvements in the Greek scholar production in Greek and other European languages, through better information provision and “free of subscription charges” high quality scientific communication.

    • apprehension and support within a centrally regulated legal and investment framework for open access in Greece is required, while Greek scholars should support openness within the university communities.

  • The participants representing academic libraries in the survey stated that open access may be used as a vehicle for further improvements.

  • The library directors stated that education and empowerment of the library staff may be a key factor for making openness a reality and that the aspects of open access studied here may support co-operative initiatives within the academic community.

  • The publishers which participated in this survey, surprisingly -although sceptical- support open access development in Greece for the Greek scholar work. They state that with proper regulation (e.g. regulation of the time of scholar material provision) common grounds for co-operation can be found with the academia for open access development.


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Discussion … perceptions of the academic directors

  • The directors of the academic libraries pointed out that an important factor for open access is the education and the empowerment of the library staff.

  • Academic libraries in Greece are developing ETD’s and/or repositories:

    • In the University of Macedonia in Thessalonica a repository has been developed and a mandate is introduced for regulating thesis and dissertations standards for digital submission. Similar efforts are undergoing in the University of Athens, for example at the Faculty of Law, where an ETDs management initiative is under development for the postgraduate courses of Civil Law.

    • Similarly, in other Greek universities (e.g. University of Piraeus, Ionian University etc.) such initiatives are under consideration.

  • A number of Greek universities have an academic press (e.g. University of Crete, University of Macedonia, Ionian University etc.), that it is closely related to the academic community and the library.

  • The academic libraries’ directors think that a number of economical, political, legal and technical aspects ought to be addressed as soon as possible of Open Access in Greece.


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Discussion … perceptions of the publishers

  • The STM publishers in Greece are engaged in printed scientific books and conference proceedings, and they collaborate with scholars and universities.

  • The Greek publishers participated in the survey, have a synergetic strategy, as they do not feel to be “threatened” by the Open Access movement, which is mainly digital and the context is not written in Greek.

  • As for the Greek scholar work, the publishers think that, through Open Access, they can effectively promote their printed titles.


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It seems that we are in a crossroad for “Openness in Greece”… the academia supports, as it was expected, open access culture and investments in the universities. A very interesting question that further arises is“…whether Openness is a “threat” for publishers in small publishing markets, such as the Greek STM market?”Publishers in Greece although sceptical seem not to be negative, if the roles are clearly defined and their investments in Greek printed titles secured. The authors would like to express their gratitude to all those participated in either the pilot study or the survey presented in this workThank you


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