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.
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.
Authors : David Nicholas, Hamid R. Jamali, Anthony Watkinson, Eti Herman, Carol Tenopir, Rachel Volentine, Suzie Allard, Kenneth Levine
An international survey of over 3600 academic researchers examined how trustworthiness is determined when making decisions on scholarly reading, citing, and publishing in the digital age and whether social media and open access publications are having an impact on judgements.
In general, the study found that traditional scholarly methods and criteria remain important across the board. However, there are significant differences between younger (age 30 & under) and older researchers (over 30).
Thus younger researchers: a) expend less effort to obtain information and more likely to compromise on quality in their selections; b) view open access publishing much more positively as it offers them more choices and helps to establish their reputation more quickly; c) compensate for their lack of experience by relying more heavily on trust markers and proxies, such as impact factors; d) use all the outlets available in order to improve the chances of getting their work published and, in this respect, make the most use of the social media with which they are more familiar.
Authors : Anthony Watkinson, David Nicholas, Clare Thornley, Eti Herman, Hamid R. Jamali, Rachel Volentine, Suzie Allard, Kenneth Levine, Carol Tenopir
The paper reports on some of the results of a research project into how changes in digital behaviour and services impacts on concepts of trust and authority held by researchers in the sciences and social sciences in the UK and the USA.
Interviews were used in conjunction with a group of focus groups to establish the form and topic of questions put to a larger international sample in an online questionnaire. The results of these 87 interviews were analysed to determine whether or not attitudes have indeed changed in terms of sources of information used, citation behaviour in choosing references, and in dissemination practices.
It was found that there was marked continuity in attitudes though an increased emphasis on personal judgement over established and new metrics. Journals (or books in some disciplines) were more highly respected than other sources and still the vehicle for formal scholarly communication.
The interviews confirmed that though an open access model did not in most cases lead to mistrust of a journal, a substantial number of researchers were worried about the approaches from what are called predatory OA journals. Established researchers did not on the whole use social media in their professional lives but a question about outreach revealed that it was recognised as effective in reaching a wider audience.
There was a remarkable similarity in practice across research attitudes in all the disciplines covered andin both the countries where interviews were held.