Why We Read Wikipedia

Authors : Philipp Singer, Florian Lemmerich, Robert West, Leila Zia, Ellery Wulczyn, Markus Strohmaier, Jure Leskovec

Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the Web, with millions of users relying on it to satisfy a broad range of information needs every day. Although it is crucial to understand what exactly these needs are in order to be able to meet them, little is currently known about why users visit Wikipedia.

The goal of this paper is to fill this gap by combining a survey of Wikipedia readers with a log-based analysis of user activity.

Based on an initial series of user surveys, we build a taxonomy of Wikipedia use cases along several dimensions, capturing users’ motivations to visit Wikipedia, the depth of knowledge they are seeking, and their knowledge of the topic of interest prior to visiting Wikipedia.

Then, we quantify the prevalence of these use cases via a large-scale user survey conducted on live Wikipedia with almost 30,000 responses.

Our analyses highlight the variety of factors driving users to Wikipedia, such as current events, media coverage of a topic, personal curiosity, work or school assignments, or boredom.

Finally, we match survey responses to the respondents’ digital traces in Wikipedia’s server logs, enabling the discovery of behavioral patterns associated with specific use cases.

For instance, we observe long and fast-paced page sequences across topics for users who are bored or exploring randomly, whereas those using Wikipedia for work or school spend more time on individual articles focused on topics such as science.

Our findings advance our understanding of reader motivations and behavior on Wikipedia and can have implications for developers aiming to improve Wikipedia’s user experience, editors striving to cater to their readers’ needs, third-party services (such as search engines) providing access to Wikipedia content, and researchers aiming to build tools such as recommendation engines.

URL : Why We Read Wikipedia

Alternative location : https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.05379

An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

Authors : Barbara McDonald, Ian Gibson, Elizabeth Yates, Carol Stephenson


This exploratory study was intended to shed light on Canadian academics’ participation in, knowledge of and attitudes towards Open Access (OA) journal publishing. The primary aim of the study was to inform the authors’ schools’ educational and outreach efforts to faculty regarding OA publishing.

The survey was conducted at two Canadian comprehensive universities: Brock University (St. Catharines, Ontario) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, Ontario) in 2014.


A web-based survey was distributed to faculty at each university. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics. Limitations: Despite the excellent response rates, the results are not generalizable beyond these two institutions.


The Brock response rate was 38%; the Laurier response rate was 23% from full-time faculty and five percent from part-time faculty. Brock and Laurier faculty members share common characteristics in both their publishing practices and attitudes towards OA.

Science/health science researchers were the most positive about OA journal publishing; arts and humanities and social sciences respondents were more mixed in their perceptions; business participants were the least positive. Their concerns focused on OA journal quality and associated costs.


While most survey respondents agreed that publicly available research is generally a good thing, this study has clearly identified obstacles that prevent faculty’s positive attitudes towards OA from translating into open publishing practices.

URL : An Exploration of Faculty Experiences With Open Access Journal Publishing at Two Canadian Comprehensive Universities

Alternative location : https://journal.lib.uoguelph.ca/index.php/perj/article/view/3703

Academic Libraries and Copyright: Do Librarians Really Have the Required Knowledge?

Authors: Juan-Carlos Fernández-Molina, João Batista E. Moraes, José Augusto C. Guimarães

A solid professional performance on the part of academic librarians at present calls for adequate knowledge about copyright law, not only for the development of their own tasks without infringing the law, but also to guide and provide pertinent advice for library users (faculty and students).

This paper presents the results of an online survey of Brazilian academic librarians, the objective being to determine the level of knowledge about basic questions on copyright related to their professional activities.

The case of Brazil is especially relevant, as it is one of the few countries still not including library exceptions and limitations in its copyright law. Our results make manifest important gaps in knowledge about copyright, underlining the need for a training program to remedy the situation.

Moreover, because training is needed for current as well as future professionals, it should be implemented in both the professional and the educational sector.

URL : http://crl.acrl.org/content/78/2/241.abstract

Scholarly journal publishing in transition – from restricted to open access

Authors : Bo-Christer Björk

While the business models used in most segments of the media industry have been profoundly changed by the Internet surprisingly little has changed in the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals. Electronic delivery has become the norm, but the same publishers as before are still dominating the market, selling content to subscribers.

This article asks the question why Open Access (OA) to the output of mainly publicly funded research hasn’t yet become the mainstream business model. OA implies a reversal of revenue logic from readers paying for content to authors paying for dissemination via universal free access.

The current situation is analyzed using Porter’s five forces model. The analysis demonstrates a lack of competitive pressure in this industry, leading to so high profit levels of the leading publishers that they have not yet felt a strong need to change the way they operate.

OA funded by article publishing charges (APCs) might nevertheless start rapidly becoming more common. The driving force currently consists of the public research funders and administrations in Europe, which are pushing for OA by starting dedicated funds for paying the APCs of authors from the respective countries.

This has in turn lead to a situation in which publishers have introduced “big deals” involving the bundling of (a) subscription to all their  journals, (b) APCs for their hybrid journals and (c) in the future also APCs to their full OA journals.

This appears to be a relatively risk free strategy for the publishers in question to retain their dominance of the market and high profit levels also in the future.

URL : http://www.openaccesspublishing.org/Landscape%20Green%20versionacr.pdf

Where and how early career researchers find scholarly information

Authors : David Nicholas, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Jie Xu, Anthony Watkinson, Abdullah Abrizah, Eti Herman, Marzena Świgon

This article presents findings from the first year of the Harbingers research project started in 2015. The project is a 3-year longitudinal study of early career researchers (ECRs) to ascertain their current and changing habits with regard to information searching, use, sharing, and publication.

The study recruited 116 researchers from seven countries (UK, USA, China, France, Malaysia, Poland, and Spain) and performed in-depth interviews by telephone, Skype, or face-to-face to discover behaviours and opinions.

This paper reports on findings regarding discovery and access to scholarly information. Findings confirm the universal popularity of Google/Google Scholar. Library platforms and web-scale discovery services are largely unmentioned and unnoticed by this user community, although many ECRs pass through them unknowingly on the way to authenticated use of their other preferred sources, such as Web of Science.

ECRs are conscious of the benefits of open access in delivering free access to papers. Social media are widely used as a source of discovering scholarly information. ResearchGate is popular and on the rise in all countries surveyed. Smartphones have become a regularly used platform on which to perform quick and occasional searches for scholarly information but are only rarely used for reading full text.

URL : http://ciber-research.eu/download/20170103-Where_and_How_ECRs_Find_Scholarly_Information-LEAP1087.pdf

Early career researchers: Scholarly behaviour and the prospect of change

Authors : David Nicholas, Anthony Watkinson, Cherifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Jie Xu, Abdullah Abrizah, Marzena Świgon, Eti Herman

Early career researchers (ECRs) are of great interest because they are the new (and biggest) wave of researchers. They merit long and detailed investigation, and towards this end, this overarching paper provides a summary of the firstyear findings of a 3-year, longitudinal study of 116 science and social science ECRs who have published nearly 1,200 papers and come from 7 countries and 81 universities.

ECRs were interviewed in their own languages face-to-face, by Skype, or telephone. The study focused on the attitudes and behaviours of ECRs with respect to scholarly communications and the extent to which they are adopting new and disruptive technologies, such as social media, online communities, and Open Science.

The main findings include: publishing in highimpact factor journals is the only reputational game in town; online scholarly communities, and ResearchGate in particular, are gaining ground; social media are beginning to have an impact, especially in the dissemination arena; outreach activities have become more important; libraries are becoming increasingly invisible to ECRs; Open Science is not gaining traction; and more transformational ideas are being expressed, especially in the US and UK.

URL : http://ciber-research.eu/download/20170218-Nicholas_et_al-2017a-Learned_Publishing.pdf

Open Science, Public Engagement and the University

Authors : Pratim Sengupta, Marie-Claire Shanahan

Contemporary debates on « open science » mostly focus on the pub- lic accessibility of the products of scientific and academic work. In contrast, this paper presents arguments for « opening » the ongoing work of science.

That is, this paper is an invitation to rethink the university with an eye toward engaging the public in the dynamic, conceptual and representational work involved in creating scientific knowledge.

To this end, we posit that public computing spaces, a genre of open- ended, public learning environment where visitors interact with open source computing platforms to directly access, modify and create complex and authentic scientific work, can serve as a possible model of « open science » in the university.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.04855