Trust and Authority in Scholarly Communications in the…

Trust and Authority in Scholarly Communications in the Light of the Digital Transition: setting the scene for a major study :

« The paper provides the results of the first phase of the research project Trust and Authority in Scholarly Communications in the Light of the Digital Transition. It provides for an examination of the behaviours and attitudes of academic researchers as producers and consumers of scholarly information resources in the digital era in respect to how they determine authority and trustworthiness in the sources they use, cite, and publish in. The first phase of the study utilized focus groups to formulate research questions for the project as a whole. It provided the direction for the literature review, interviews, and questionnaires studies that would follow. Fourteen focus groups were held in the UK and US in order to obtain this information. A total of 66 science and social science researchers participated. The main findings were: (a) researchers play down difficulties of establishing trustworthiness, not because there are none, but because they have well-developed methods of establishing trust; (b) citation-derived metrics are becoming more important in regard to where researchers publish; (c) social media are ancillary to research, but are used for promotion of research and idea generation; (d) researchers are suspicious and confused about open access, but less so if produced by a traditional publisher; (e) there was a uniformity of perceptions/behaviour of researchers irrespective of differences in subject, country, and age; (f) although some early career researchers behave the same as their more senior colleagues this is because of a fear of the system: they actually think differently. »