Favouring Responsible Publishing: Creating a Database of Researchers and Surveying Their Knowledge, Attitudes and Opinions towards Open Access Publishing and a New Field-Specific Journal

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Jeremy Y. Ng https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0031-5873
Halton Quach
Jeremy P. Steen https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6697-9069
Ming Zheng
Tushar Dhawan
Julian Vincent T. Dychiao
Aisha Hashmani
Bismah Jameel
Kirrthana Jegathesan
Abigal Leah Kogan
Xiao Wen (Vivian) Li
Natasha Reyes
Jill Shah
Fredrick D. Ashbury
Kieran Cooley https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7960-6504
Pierre S. Haddad https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8782-5165


journalology, JNHPR, natural health product, natural product, NHP, open access, predatory publishing, protocol, publication science


Introduction: There may be value to understanding the interests and needs of a journal’s audience, particularly regarding open access publishing (OAP) and behaviours associated with predatory publishing while establishing a new field-specific journal. As a new journal facing potential challenges in the publishing space, the Journal of Natural Health Product Research (JNHPR) undertook a stakeholder and community feedback initiative on publishing research in the field of natural health products (NHPs). To our knowledge, this is the first study where academic representatives of the journal used this method to examine the knowledge, attitudes, and opinions of its potential audience.

Methods: A database of international researchers in the NHP field was built using publicly available online data. Most NHP researchers were identified by a keyword-based, systematic search, with a small percentage discovered through snowball sampling. A survey was distributed to all identified researchers to collect their knowledge, attitudes, and opinions about OAP and the JNHPR.

Results: The survey was completed by 167 NHP researchers and demonstrated a wide range of attitudes and opinions about OAP. Most respondents were familiar with OAP and preferred the OAP model over a subscription-based journal. Additionally, responses indicated that OAP is a polarizing and controversial subject. Positives included the wider circulation and potential for shorter publication times, while negatives included the potential for less rigorous peer-review standards and generally higher costs. Regardless of perceptions on OAP, impact factor, reputation, scope, and indexing were the most valued factors when choosing a journal for submission.

Discussion: According to the survey results, the JNHPR excels in some areas while also needing to improve in others. The journal succeeds in two areas: its broad scope, which attracts NHP researchers from a variety of disciplines, and its rapid publishing time. Indexing and further reduced publication fees for low-income nations were mentioned as areas in need of improvement.

Conclusions: This approach may be useful to researchers who wish to launch their own journal in the future to gain a better understanding of their potential audience’s knowledge, attitudes, and opinions, allowing for better engagement and service.

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