Physical Sciences Case studies: information use and discovery

Added by Ellen Collins on 26 January 2012

The RIN, the Institute of Physics (IOP), Institute of Physics Publishing (IOPP) and the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) have recently published a set of case studies which provide a detailed analysis of how researchers in the physical sciences discover, use, create and manage their information resources.

This project focused on the behaviours and needs of researchers working in a number of subject and disciplinary areas in the physical sciences. It follows the previous rounds of case studies in the life sciences and the humanities.

The report finds that information practices in the physical sciences are highly discipline-specific. New technologies are only adopted if they make life noticeably better: researchers will not change from their habitual behaviours if they cannot see any advantage in doing so. There is a particularly noticeable difference between the complex approaches to computation in many disciplines, and the simple approaches to information management.

The report suggests that librarians, publishers, learned societies, research funders and other stakeholders within the scholarly communications system must recognise the differences between disciplines, and understand why researchers engage with tools and technologies, in order to supply them with the services and skills that they need.

You can download copies of the full report and the executive summary using the links below. For hard copies of the report, please email contact@rin.ac.uk.


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