Keep the Change: Clusters of Faculty Opinion on Open Access
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The authors discovered faculty opinions about open access by employing Q methodology, a research method combining qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze subjects' attitudes about a given topic. Q methodology, using three main steps, identifies and isolates opinion types. The first step is the collection of subjective statements, largely from qualitative interviews. The next step, called the Q-sort, involves subjects sorting these statements along a continuum. Finally, Q-sort results are analyzed using a statistical technique called factor analysis. Using specialized software, factor analysis generates clusters of opinions. In this Q study, factor analysis revealed three distinct factors that outlined clusters of faculty opinions about open access. The authors described these factors as “Evangelists,” “Pragmatists,” and “Traditionalists.” Each of these factors represents a group of faculty on Miami University’s Oxford campus who hold specific attitudes and opinions regarding open access. Implications for future library initiatives implementing open access programs, services, and policies are discussed, as are directions for additional research.