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.
« Key Findings :
••The role of internet search engines in facilitating discovery of scholarly resources has continued to increase. The perceived decline in the role of the library catalog noted in previous cycles of this survey has been arrested and even modestly reversed, driven perhaps to some degree by significant strategic shifts in library discovery tools and services.
•• Respondents are generally satisfied with their ability to access the scholarly literature, not least because freely available materials have come to play a significant role in meeting their needs.
•• While respondents continued to trend overall towards greater acceptance of a print to electronic transition for scholarly journals, they grew modestly less comfortable with replacing print subscriptions with electronic access. Monographs, although widely used in electronic form, present a mixed picture for any possible format transition. While some monograph use cases are quite strong for electronic versions, others – especially long-form reading – are seen to favor print by a decisive share. Even so, a growing share of respondents expects substantial change in library collecting practices for monographs in the next five years.
•• Respondents’ personal interests are the primary factor in selecting research topics, but junior faculty members report that tenure considerations play an important role, as well. Collaboration models vary significantly across scholarly fields. While humanists are less likely than scientists or social scientists
to conduct quantitative analyses, nevertheless some 25% of humanists report gathering their own data for this purpose.
•• Small but non-trivial shares of respondents use technology in their undergraduate teaching. But while most recognize the availability of resources to help them do so, many respondents do not draw upon resources beyond their own ideas or feel strongly motivated to seek out opportunities to use more technology in their teaching.
•• Respondents tend to value established scholarly dissemination methods, prioritizing audiences in their sub-discipline and discipline, and those of lay professionals, more so than undergraduates or the general public. Similarly, they continue to select journals in which to publish based on characteristics such as topical coverage, readership, and impact factor. Finally, respondents tend to value existing publisher services, such as peer review, branding, copy-editing, while expressing less widespread agreement about the value of newer dissemination support services offered by libraries that are intended to maximize access and impact.
•• Respondents perceive less value from many functions of the academic library than they did in the last cycle of this survey. One notable exception is the gateway function, which experienced a modest resurgence in perceived value. A minority of respondents sees the library as primarily responsible for teaching research skills to undergraduates. And, though still a clear minority, the share of respondents who wish to see substantial change to library staff and buildings has increased. There are large differences in perceptions between disciplinary groups: for example, a smaller share of scientists views many
library roles as very important.
•• Conferences remain at the heart of respondents’ perceptions of the role and value of the scholarly societies in which they participate. Conferences are valued for both the formal function of discovering new scholarship and informal role of connecting scholars with peers. »
A Scienceographic Comparison of Physics Papers from the arXiv and viXra Archives :
« arXiv is an e-print repository of papers in physics, computer science, and biology, amongst others. viXra is a newer repository of e-prints on similar topics. Scienceography is the study of the writing of science. In this work we perform a scienceographic comparison of a selection of papers from the physics section of each archive. We provide the first study of the viXra archive and describe key differences on how science is written by these communities. »
Analysis and visualization of the dynamics of research groups in terms of projects and co-authored publications. A case study of library and information science in Argentina :
« Objective: The present study offers a novel methodological contribution to the study of the configuration and dynamics of research groups, through a comparative perspective of the projects funded (inputs) and publication co-authorships (output).
Method: A combination of bibliometric techniques and social network analysis was applied to a case study: the Departmento de Bibliotecología (DHUBI), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina, for the period 2000-2009. The results were interpreted statistically and staff members of the department, were interviewed.
Results: The method makes it possible to distinguish groups, identify their members and reflect group make-up through an analytical strategy that involves the categorization of actors and the interdisciplinary and national or international projection of the networks that they configure. The integration of these two aspects (input and output) at different points in time over the analyzed period leads to inferences about group profiles and the roles of actors.
Conclusions: The methodology presented is conducive to micro-level interpretations in a given area of study, regarding individual researchers or research groups. Because the comparative input-output analysis broadens the base of information and makes it possible to follow up, over time, individual and group trends, it may prove very useful for the management, promotion and evaluation of science. »
This paper assesses the level of awareness and use of web resources by the research scholars of languages and literature in Aligarh Muslim University, India. Further the paper aims to highlight the problems faced by research scholars while accessing web resources, their opinion about the features and usefulness of the e-resources. The study was conducted through a well structured questionnaire administered among the research scholars in the department of English, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Modern Indian Languages and Comparative literature and Culture.
A random sample of 250 respondents collected during the months of June to August 2011 has been taken for analysis. This paper restricts the study exclusively to use of web resources by research scholars of Language and Literature in Aligarh Muslim University. The scope of the study can be extended to other Indian Universities also.
The study reveals that web resources have became an essential part of the research works in AMU. Almost all the services and resources available on Web are utilized by the researchers and Google is the widely used search engine in the University. Many attempts have been made to study the use of e-resources by research scholars in various universities in India, but this is the first of its kind among the researchers of Language and Literature with some suggestions for improvement of web resources and services.
Researchers of Tomorrow: the research behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students :
« In 2009, the British Library and JISC commissioned the three-year Researchers of Tomorrow study, focusing on the information-seeking and research behaviour of doctoral students in ‘Generation Y’, born between 1982 and 1994 and not ‘digital natives’. Over 17,000 doctoral students from more than 70 higher education institutions participated in the three annual surveys, which were complemented by a longitudinal student cohort study. »
Digital repositories have been with us for more than a decade, and despite the considerable media and conference attention they engender, we know very little about their use by academics.
This paper sets out to address this by reporting on how well they are used, what they are used for, what researchers’ think of them, and where they thought they were going. Nearly 1,700 scientific researchers, mostly physical scientists, responded to an international survey of digital repositories, making it the largest survey of its kind.
High deposit rates were found and mandates appear to be working, especially with younger researchers. Repositories have made significant inroads in terms of impact and use despite, in the case of institutional repositories, the very limited resources deployed. S
ubject repositories, like arXiv and PubMed Central, have certainly come of age but institutional repositories probably have not come of age yet although there are drivers in place which, in theory anyway, are moving them towards early adulthood.