How Scientists Retrieve Publications: An Empirical Study of How the Internet Is Overtaking Paper Media

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Journal of Electronic Publishing, 2000, Vol. 6/2

Title: How Scientists Retrieve Publications: An Empirical Study of How the Internet Is Overtaking Paper Media
Author: Björk, Bo-Christer; Turk, Ziga
Publisher: Michigan University Press
Date: 2000
Language: eng
Abstract: The current mainstream scientific-publication process has so far been only marginally affected by the possibilities offered by the Internet, despite some pioneering attempts with free electronic-only journals and electronic preprint archives. Additional electronic versions of traditional paper journals for which one needs a subscription are not a solution. A clear trend, for young researchers in particular, is to go around subscription barriers (both for paper and electronic material) and rely almost exclusively on what they can find free on the Internet, which often includes working versions posted on the home pages of the authors. A survey of how scientists retrieve publications was conducted in February 2000, aimed at measuring to what extent the opportunities offered by the Internet are already changing the scientific information exchange and how researchers feel about this. This paper presents the results based on 236 replies to an extensive Web-based questionnaire, which was announced to around 3,000 researchers in the domains of construction information technology and construction management. The questions dealt with how researchers find, access, and read different sources; how many and what publications they read; how often and to which conferences they travel; how much they publish, and criteria for where they eventually decide to publish. Some of the questions confronted traditional and electronic publishing, with one final section dedicated to opinions about electronic publishing. According to the survey, researchers already download half of the material that they read digitally from the Web. The most popular method for retrieving an interesting publication is downloading it for free from the author's or publisher's Web site. Researchers are not particularly willing to pay for electronic scientific publications. There is much support for a scenario of electronic journals available freely in their entirety on the Web, where the costs could be covered by, for instance, professional societies or the publishing university.
Subject: Open Access
Scientific Publishing

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