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Medical Technology SA (MTSA) is the official journal of the Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists of South Africa (SMLTSA).

The SMLTSAs 'open access policy' provides immediate open access to our journals' content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Medical Technology SA is a fully accredited Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), scientific, peer reviewed journal.

All journal articles can also be found below on this website or at

Visit our Authors Guidelines to find out more, or submit an article online to Medical Technology SA and benefit from open access, global exposure and online submission.

The reproduction, adaptation or broadcast without permission of any articles or photographs in this publication is forbidden and copyright is expressly reserved to The Society of Medical Laboratory Technologists of South Africa under the Copyright Act of 1978 as amended. The views expressed by contributors to the journal (unless otherwise stated) and the inclusion or exclusion of any medicine or procedure, do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, editorial board or advertisers. While every effort is made to ensure accurate reproduction, the authors, advisers, publishers and their employees or agents shall not be held responsible or in any way liable for errors, omissions or inaccuracies in the publication, whether arising from negligence or otherwise or for any consequences arising therefrom.


Volume 31 | Number 1 | August 2017
ISSN (online): 1011 5528
Editor: Warren Maule

Cover Image: A Segment of opposition in balance. Nicole Woodbury. Porcelain ceramic carving of bone marrow in the shape of undulating waves.

The SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) project ran a large-scale survey of the attitudes of researchers on, the experiences with, open access publishing. Around forty thousand answers were collected across many disciplines from around the world. Overall, there was an overwhelming support for the idea of open access, although funding and (perceived) quality were highlighted, as the main barriers to publishing in open access journals.
In this editorial extracts from this survey have been used to highlight the major issues regarding open access publishing.

Attitudes towards open access publishing
One of the key questions that was asked, is whether respondents considered open access publishing beneficial for their research field? In total some 89% of those published researchers surveyed thought that journals publishing open access articles were beneficial for their field.  However, when analysed by discipline, the number was slightly higher i.e. 90%.

One the many objectives of the survey was to assess the degree of agreement of respondents to a series of ‘myths’ about open access publishing. A series of statements, were presented in random order to respondents, who could choose from a level as those below:
Strongly agree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly disagree

The following statements were presented:
Researchers should retain the rights to their published work and allow it to be used by others – 65% strongly agreed, 15% agreed and 20% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
Open access publishing undermines the system of peer review – 50% of respondents disagreed and 50% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
If authors pay publication fees to make their articles open access, there will be less money available for research – 60% strongly agreed, 20% agreed and 20% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
It is not beneficial for the general public to have access to published scientific and medical articles – 20% strongly agreed and 40% agreed, whilst 40% strongly disagreed with this statement
Open access unfairly penalises research-intensive institutions with large publication output by making them pay high costs for publication – 30% strongly agreed and 20% agreed, whilst 50% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
Publicly-funded research should be made available to be read and used without access barrier – 85% strongly agreed, 5% agreed and 10% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
Open access publishing is more cost-effective than subscription-based publishing and so will benefit public investment in research – 60% strongly agreed, 20% agreed and 20% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement
Articles that are available by open access are likely to be read and cited more often than those not open access – 70% strongly agreed, 20% agreed, 10% neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement

Myths about open access publishing – respondents were asked their level of agreement or disagreement.

Barriers to open access publishing
Amongst respondents in the survey, 29% never published open access articles. Out of those, 42% admit to having severe doubts and specific reasons for not doing so. The major recurrent arguments are as below:
Journal Quality
Next time

Experience with open access publishing
Out the respondents that were surveyed 52% have previously published at least an open access article. This corresponds to an interesting and unique 'survey in the survey’ of the experiences of a set of 22,977 scholars who are familiar with this relatively new form of publishing model.

The SOAP survey is the largest survey of its kind ever to explore issues in open access publishing.
The most relevant findings were that around 90% of researchers who answered the survey are convinced that open access is beneficial for their research field by directly improving the way the scientific community works.

Dallmeier-Tissen S, Darby R, Goerner B, Hyppoalae J et al: Highlights from the SOAP project survey. What Scientists Think about Open Access January 2011

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Editorial Board

Editor-in-chief: Warren Maule
tel: +27 (0)11 559 6265
Assistant editor-in-chief: Prof Glenda Davison
tel: +27 (0)21 959 6034
Editorial Board: Prof Tandi Marsha (CPUT HOD)
Prof Kathy Meehan (Abu Dabi)
Prof Angelo Nicolaides (UNISA)
Prof J I Phillips (NIOH and UJ)


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