Improving the Value of Transport Researc…

Improving the Value of Transport Research using Advanced Web Tools to Improve Research Dissemination :

“This paper aims to measure the impact of a thematic digital research repository on spreading new knowledge research into the professional transport community using user survey findings for the SORT (Social Research in Transport) Clearinghouse ( website and a review of previous research.

Research dissemination, the circulation of research findings, has been identified as the easiest way to distribute new knowledge and thematic research clearinghouses such as SORT have been seen as a means to „reinvigorate professional values‟ by providing quick access to quality research whilst also maintaining copyright protections to authors and publishers. SORT was developed out of the concern that social research findings in transport were not reaching the wider non-academic professional community. Some 1,777 separate users from 69 countries accessed the site on 3,282 visits in the first 11 months of 2009 for an average visit length of 5 minutes.

The user survey of SORT identified that policy/practitioners and consultants were the primary users of the web site (66%) with academics (27%). Most site users apply the research content accessed from SORT for „conceptual‟ applications (i.e. to keep informed). A very high share of users cite research evidence in their own published work (27% of academics) supporting previous research suggesting that research clearinghouses add much value to authors, journal editors and publishers. „Instrumental‟ use of research (to implement a transport plan, policy or service) represented a minority of uses (20% on average) nevertheless this is considered quite a reasonable outcome from a targeted dissemination approach. Some 40% of policy/practitioners used the research from SORT for „instrumental‟ purposes and this group represents half of the user base suggesting a strong real world application of the
research content in SORT. Support for this conclusion is provided from user ratings of the importance
of SORT to user occupational activities. Overall 56% of all users (65% of professional/practitioners)
considered SORT essential/very essential to their work.

Overall the findings provide some strong support for the view that thematic research clearinghouses might have an important role to play in bridging the gap between quality academic research published in research journals and professional practitioners planning and operating transport systems.”


What are your information needs? Three u…

What are your information needs? Three user studies about research information in the Netherlands, with an emphasis on the NARCIS portal :
“The NARCIS portal ( provides access to science information (information about research, researchers and research institutions) and scientific information [(full‐text) publications and datasets]. The portal is very popular, with 1.2 million users annually. NARCIS is also an important supplier of information to international services such as Google/Google Scholar, and DRIVER.
In 2009 the KNAW conducted a three‐part user survey, with two online surveys and a series of semi‐
structured interviews. The aim was to learn more about the people who use the portal, why they use it and their ideas and wishes for improvements to the portal. Another purpose of the survey was to identify changes that could be made to improve the match between the services provided by NARCIS and the needs of existing and potential users.
The surveys showed that more than half of the users of NARCIS are from universities, research institutions or universities of applied science. Most searches conducted on NARCIS are for dissertations. The existence of a single gateway to different types of information is regarded as very useful. The most frequently mentioned improvement in the service would be to provide access to information from other countries as well. Respondents also mentioned the provision of tools for performing complex analyses of the information available via NARCIS as a worthwhile option for enhancing the service.
The interviews revealed, among other things, the need for the presentation of information in context and that senior officials are often confronted with information overload.
The user survey has led to a series of proposals for modifications or improvements in the service; some of them may be implemented immediately, while others will require consultation at national or international level.”