Conjoint analysis of researchers’ hidden preferences for bibliometrics, altmetrics, and usage metrics

Authors : Steffen Lemke, Athanasios Mazarakis, Isabella Peters

The amount of annually published scholarly articles is growing steadily, as is the number of indicators through which impact of publications is measured. Little is known about how the increasing variety of available metrics affects researchers’ processes of selecting literature to read.

We conducted ranking experiments embedded into an online survey with 247 participating researchers, most from social sciences. Participants completed series of tasks in which they were asked to rank fictitious publications regarding their expected relevance, based on their scores regarding six prototypical metrics.

Through applying logistic regression, cluster analysis, and manual coding of survey answers, we obtained detailed data on how prominent metrics for research impact influence our participants in decisions about which scientific articles to read.

Survey answers revealed a combination of qualitative and quantitative characteristics that researchers consult when selecting literature, while regression analysis showed that among quantitative metrics, citation counts tend to be of highest concern, followed by Journal Impact Factors.

Our results suggest a comparatively favorable view of many researchers on bibliometrics and widespread skepticism toward altmetrics.

The findings underline the importance of equipping researchers with solid knowledge about specific metrics’ limitations, as they seem to play significant roles in researchers’ everyday relevance assessments.

URL : Conjoint analysis of researchers’ hidden preferences for bibliometrics, altmetrics, and usage metrics


Reading practices in scholarly work: from articles and books to blogs

Authors : Elina Late, Carol Tenopir, Sanna Talja, Lisa Christian

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of reading in scholarly work among academics in Finland. This study analyzes readings from a variety of publication types including books, conference proceedings, research reports, magazines, newspapers, blogs, non-fiction and fiction.

An online survey was developed and distributed in Finland in 2016–2017 (n=528). Participants were asked their finding and use of scholarly information resources of all types.

Scholars read from a variety of publications. Different types of publications are read and used differently. Reading also varies between disciplines, ranks, work responsibilities and type of research performed.

Research limitations/implications

The study was a nationwide study of researchers in Finland; therefore, all findings are within the context of researchers in a single country. All results are self-reported; therefore, the authors assume but cannot be sure that respondents accurately recollect the specifics of their use of scholarly information.

The results of this study are relevant to publishers, research librarians, editors and others who serve consumers of scholarly information resources, design information products and services for those scholars, and seek to better understand the information needs and use of a variety of types of scholarly publications.

This study replicates previous studies in a variety of countries and provides a more up-to-date and single-country contextualized overview of how researchers find and use scholarly information in their work.


Seeking, Reading, and Use of Scholarly Articles: An International Study of Perceptions and Behavior of Researchers

Authors : Carol Tenopir, Lisa Christian, Jordan Kaufman

While journal articles are still considered the most important sources of scholarly reading, libraries may no longer have a monopoly on providing discovery and access. Many other sources of scholarly information are available to readers.

This international study examines how researchers discover, read, and use scholarly literature for their work. Respondents in 2018 report an average of almost 20 article readings a month and there are still significant differences found in the reading and use of scholarly literature by discipline and geographical location, consistent with the earlier studies.

Researchers show they are willing to change or adopt new strategies to discover and obtain articles.

URL : Seeking, Reading, and Use of Scholarly Articles: An International Study of Perceptions and Behavior of Researchers

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The value of scholarly reading in the life…


The value of scholarly reading in the life sciences :

“Surveys of academic staff in six universities in the U.K. provide insights for publishers and universities into scholarly article, book, and other publication reading patterns of academics and differences based on academic discipline of readers. These surveys were part of the 2011 UK Scholarly Reading and the Value of the Library Study funded by JISC Collections and based on Tenopir and King Studies conducted since 1977. Reading patterns of life and environmental scientists differ from other disciplines, in particular social sciences. Scholarly articles, especially those obtained from the library’s e-journal collections, are vital to the work of all academic disciplines. Life and environmental scient-ists come into contact with multiple sources of information every day, including social media, and the biggest limitation scientists describe when it comes to finding and obtaining articles is cost and time. Knowing more about academic reading patterns help publishers and librarians design more effective journal systems and services now and into the future.”