E-journals: their use, value and impact - final report

Added by Catherine Gray on 18 January 2011

This two-part report takes in-depth look at how researchers in the UK use electronic journals, the value they bring to universities and research institutions and the contribution they make to research productivity, quality and outcomes.

Journal publishers began to provide online access to full-text scholarly articles in the late 1990s, triggering a revolution in the scholarly communications process. A very high proportion of journal articles are now available online 96 per cent of journal titles in science, technology and medicine, and 86 per cent of titles in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

It’s clear that e-journals have given researchers an unprecedented level and convenience of access to knowledge in scholarly articles, but what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information? Do they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits for universities and research institutions?

Our Phase One report examines how researchers interact with journal websites and whether enhanced access to journal articles has led to greater productivity, research quality and other outcomes. It finds that researchers are savvy when it comes to using e-journals, finding the information they need quickly and efficiently, and that higher spending on e-journals is linked to better research outcomes.

Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten universities and research institutions, our report starts to build a clear picture of how e-journals are shaping the information landscape a picture that we’ll add to as our research in this area continues.

The aim in the Phase Two report was to test and examine the reasons underlying the behaviours which were identified in Phase One.

The new Phase Two report, along with all previous Phase One papers, is available to download below.

Hard copies of the report are available via email: contact@rin.ac.uk

Follow-up activities

The RIN held an event on 1 July 2009 in London to discuss the report and to spark the debate on the issues raised and to inform Phase Two of the study, which has now been completed by CIBER.


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