E-journals are a huge success

Added by Sarah on 23 April 2009 17:29

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A new report from the RIN reveals that there is a clear correlation between levels of usage of electronic journals (or e-journals) and research outcomes.

News release - 23 April 2009

Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten universities and research institutions, the study is the first of its kind to build a clear, evidence-based, picture of how e-journals are actually being used by academic researchers.

The report takes an in-depth look at how researchers in the UK use e-journals, the value they bring to universities and research institutions and the contribution they make to research productivity, quality and outcomes. It questions what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information, whether they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits for universities and research institutions.

Key findings from the study include:

  • E-journals are a big deal: over a four-month period, users at ten UK research institutions visited nearly 1,400 ScienceDirect journals half a million times.
  • Information seeking is fast and direct: many users look for articles using search engines like Google and GoogleScholar, or gateway sites like PubMed.
  • Researchers seek for and use information in very different ways: users in research-intensive universities show the highest use of e-journals and spend the least amount of time on each visit.
  • E-journals represent good value for money: researchers and students in higher education downloaded 102 million full-text articles n 2006/07, at an average cost of £0.80 per download.
  • Journal use and expenditure correlate with research outcomes: independent of institutional size, the per capita expenditure and use of e-journals is strongly and positively correlated with papers published, numbers of PhD awards and research grants and contracts income.

The RIN and CIBER at University College London are now embarking on a second, qualitative phase of the study to explore these findings further and find out what researchers are doing once they have downloaded their articles. Questions include: does large amount of use equate with satisfaction? Why do users spend so little time online? What are the reasons for going to a gateway site? Why do very few researchers use advanced searching, and why is the use of internal search engines not more favoured? Results are expected to be published in early 2010.

The report and a briefing document are available at www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/communicating-and-disseminating-research/e-journals-their-use-value-and-impact


Sarah Gentleman - Communications Officer - Research Information Network
Tel 020 7412 7241, email contact@rin.ac.uk

Notes to editors

The Research Information Network
The Research Information Network has been established by the higher education funding councils, the research councils, and the national libraries in the UK. We investigate how efficient and effective the information services provided for the UK research community are, how they are changing, and how they might be improved for the future. We help to ensure that researchers in the UK benefit from world-leading information services, so that they can sustain their position as among the most successful and productive researchers in the world. www.rin.ac.uk

Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research
Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) are based at University College London, are an information science and publishing research group. During 2008 they investigated the influential Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future report also know as the ?Google Generation? report for the Joint Information Systems Committee and the British Library. www.ucl.ac.uk/infostudies/research/ciber

© Research Information Network 2005–2009