Exploring the willingness of scholars to accept open access: A grounded theory approach

Ji Hong Park, Jian Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This article aims to explore what factors increase or decrease scholars' willingness to publish and use articles in open-access journals and discusses how these factors are related to one another. Research-oriented publications on the topic of open-access journals have been few, and there is widespread concern about whether scholars will adopt this new form of scholarly communication. The growing number of open-access journals leads scholars to encounter decision-making situations in which they must choose one journal among multiple alternatives, including open access and non-open access. We conducted open-ended and semi-structured in-depth interviews with eight faculty members and six doctoral students at Syracuse University. Based on the interview transcripts, willingness factors and their relationships were identified and refined using the iterative steps of grounded theory approach proposed by Strauss and Corbin in the 1998 edition of their Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. The findings show seven factors (perceived journal reputation, perceived topical relevance, perceived availability, perceived career benefit, perceived cost, perceived content quality, and perceived ease of use) and eight relationships. There were six positive and two negative relationships. The factors and relationships were then compared to the relevant literature to increase internal validity and generalizability of the study. Both theoretical and practical implications of the research are discussed. Theoretically, this study broadens the scope of relevance criteria studies, first identifies the relationship between two important scholarly communication activities, conceptually contributes to the concept of open access, and applies literature comparison methodology in a pure qualitative study to increase internal validity and generalizability. Practically, the findings of this study may be helpful for promoting open-access publishing by encouraging facilitators and discouraging hinderers. The research may also provide an ongoing working framework for evaluating open-access journal systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-84
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Scholarly Publishing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Media Technology


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