One of the journals published by SAGE – Journal of Information Science – recently published an article on researchers’ use of journals. Here is the abstract from: Researchers’ e-journal use and information seeking behaviour by a team from University College London.
This paper presents the results of the second phase of a Research Information Network study, which sought to establish the impact of e-journals on the scholarly behaviour of researchers in the UK. The first phase of the project was a deep log analysis of the usage and information seeking behaviour of researchers in connection with the ScienceDirect and Oxford Journals databases. This paper reports on the second phase, which sought to explain and provide context for the deep log data by taking the questions raised by the quantitative study to the research community via interview, questionnaire and observation. Nine major research institutions took part, six subjects were covered and the behaviour of about 1400 people was analyzed. Findings show that academic journals have become central to all disciplines and that the e-form is the prime means of access. Most importantly the study demonstrates that computer usage logs provide an accurate picture of online behaviour. High levels of gateway service use point to the re-intermediating of the broken chain between publisher and reader.
The paper concludes that journals are the life blood of research and that the primary mode of access is the e-journal. The researchers compared data from web logs with qualitative interviews with users and confirmed that most researchers are “power browsing” and that journal access is increasingly important to students.