Ithaka S+R | Jisc | RLUK UK Survey of Academics 2012


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The UK Survey of Academics 2012, conducted by Ithaka S+R, Jisc, and Research Libraries UK (RLUK), examines the attitudes and behaviours of academics at higher education institutions across the United Kingdom.

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  • Stratifications – 4 disciplinary groupings Stratifications – RLUK / non RLUK In interpreting results, on a 10-point scale, 8, 9, and 10 are considered “strong”
  • The same respondents think differently in their roles as authors and readersHow can libraries make the smartest investments to secure new roles in an environment of change?And then a key takeaway that run throughout our survey findings: the needs of faculty members vary by discipline and by institutional affiliation
  • As authors, academics aspire to have an audience of PEERS.Academics aspire for their research to reach an academic audience, in their subdiscipline or discipline; there is interest in presumably translational audiences of professionals outside academia; but comparatively little interest in reaching the general public.Academics choose journals in which to publish bearing in mind these audiences and seeking to minimize the costs they incur doing so. They value that the current issues are circulated widely, and read by scholars in their field; they value that the journal covers their area of research; and of course they value impact factor. While roughly two-thirds of respondents value that the journal be free for them to publish in, only about one-third value that the journal be freely availble to readers. Interestingly, the disciplinary variation there is 20% of humanists and 40% of scientists.
  • But now look at some disciplinary differences. Even though in every disciplinary grouping a higher share of respondents prioritized the journal being free to publish in over making its articles freely available online – you can see significant disciplinary differences in the share thinking it to be important that the journal make its articles free available online. Overall, as authors, academics are traditional….But as readers they are not. Here, I will talk principally about access issues, but many of the same general points hold true for resource discovery as well. On the reader / user side, academics are adapting to the new environment much more rapidly.
  • Here is the first of a series of very indicative questions:
  • While the library collections are more or less uniformly important across fields, note the fairly strong disciplinary patterns for two other choices I’ve pulled out for this slide – freely available materials and my own personal collections, which are inverse of one another. Some might suggest that the disciplinary pattern for materials freely available online suggests that many of these are in fact licensed resources that they do not realize are not freely available. In this question, that is certainly possible.
  • This question provides some of the strongest and clearest findings about access in our project.
  • Let me talk a few moments to walk through these selected findings – these are the share using each method often or occasionally. Some 90% in all fields search for a freely available version onlineNote that a smaller share of humanists are likely to give up than are those in other fieldsNote that interlending and document delivery is noticeably less widely used by scientists than by other groups; is that because OA is working better for them or because interlending services are working worse for them?And finally, notice those humanists, and to a lesser extent the social scientists, who are willing to purchase it themselves, continuing to build up their personal collections. What do you see here? The victory of open access serving the needs of scholars when library collections won’t do? A worringly high share giving up and finding something else? Or an interlending system that is not serving scientists well enough? Or maybe all of the above?
  • So, as authors, academics still want traditional services and outputs, but as readers and users, the environment as you have seen is in much greater flux. For so many university libraries, the ultimate question must be, what do changing collecting responsibilities mean for us in understnading the changing role of the university library?
  • Look at the singular importance of the buyer role, for nearly 90% of respondents. How will perceptions of this role shift as the collecting role changes?
  • Now for the same question, notice the disciplinary breakdowns. The buyer role sees a uniformly high response from all disciplinary groupings. But for every other role, a smaller share of scientists values that role than do other disciplinary groupings. Why should this be?
  • Of course, faculty perceptions of the library’s role also differ by institutional type. When we divide the higher education sector by whether respondents are affiliated with an RLUK member university or not, you can see that nonRLUK respondents (the green bar) are more likely to prioritize the library’s role in support of student learning than they are the role in obtaining research materials for the academic. We find these institutional type differences in a number of thematic modules in the survey, not least those deadling with the comparative importance of and innovation in instruction. Different solutions may obtain for different parts of the HE sector on a number of matters.
  • Now, finally, I want to close with two strongly worded statements we offered about the perceived role and value of librarians.We ask for respondents’ level of agreement with each of these statements on a 1-10 scale, and in a moment I will report the share responding an 8, 9, or 10 – the share agreeing very strongly with each statement.
  • I wish to emphasize that only a small minority of respondents agrees strongly with either statement, but I would encourage you to look especially at the scientists, where fully one-third of respondents agrees strongly that the role of librarians is becoming much less important.
  • In my presentation, I have tried to focus on a few key stories, but I have omitted so much of our findings that I strongly commend to you, your staffs, and your university leadership, and your academic colleagues. We covered resource discovery, material types, the print to electronic transition for libraries, academic research topics and practices, much about undergraduate pedagogies, and also the role and value of the learned society.
  • In closing, I wish to return to my three initial stories: * The same respondents think differently in their roles as authors and readers* How can libraries make the smartest investments to secure new roles in an environment of change?*And then a key takeaway that run throughout our survey findings: the needs of faculty members vary by discipline and by institutional affiliation
  • At a rate of approximately 2/3, respondents tend to agree about the value of traditional publisher-provided services such as peer-review, branded signals of quality, and a high-visibility channel. Certain more newly conceived types of publishing support services, such as help with the assessment of the impact of my research, helping me find good channels to maximize its impact, and helping me understand and negotiate publication contacts, are valued by 1/3 or less of respondents. 40% of respondents would welcome help with making a version of their articles freely available, while 50% would like help managing their public web presence, suggesting an interesting role for repositories.
  • Ithaka S+R | Jisc | RLUK UK Survey of Academics 2012

    1. 1. Ithaka S+R | Jisc | RLUKUK Survey of Academics 2012Roger C. Schonfeld@rschon | rcs@ithaka.orgMay 20, 2013
    2. 2. The ReportAvailable at:
    3. 3. • Population included faculty members at UK higher educationinstitutions, covering all key fields except agriculture.• In November 2012, a total of 45,809 academics were invitedand then reminded to participate via email from Rachel Bruceand David Prosser• By January 2013, 3,498 responses were received (responserate: 7.9%), overall representative of the population• Because the populations differ, it will be several more weeksbefore we are prepared to offer analysis of how the UKand US findings compareMethodology
    4. 4. • Authors and readers• Changing library roles• Disciplines and universities matterThree intersecting stories
    5. 5. Important consideration: freely available online
    6. 6. “When you think about the journal articles and monographs thatyou routinely use–for research as well as teaching–how importantare each of the following sources?” Percent of respondentsindicating that the following sources are very important.Access Sources
    7. 7. Figure 20
    8. 8. “When you want a monograph or journal article that you do nothave immediate access to through your college or universitylibrary’s physical or digital collections, how often do you use eachof the following methods to seek access to that material–often,occasionally, rarely, or never?” Percent responding that they usethe following methods “often” or “occasionally.”Non-Library Access
    9. 9. Figure 22
    10. 10. How important to you is it that your college or university library provideeach of the functions below?• Gateway: “The library serves as a starting point or “gateway” forlocating information for my research”• Buyer: “The library pays for resources I need, from academicjournals to books to electronic databases”• Repository: “The library serves as a repository of resources; in otherwords, it archives, preserves, and keeps track of resources”• Teaching Facilitator: “The library supports and facilitates myteaching activities”• Research Supporter: “The library provides active support that helpsto increase the productivity of my research”• Undergraduate Information Literacy Teacher: “The library helpsundergraduates develop research, critical analysis, and informationliteracy skills”The Role of the Library
    11. 11. Priorities differ, by institutional type
    12. 12. Perceptions of librarians with content online“Because faculty have easy access to academic contentonline, the role librarians play at this institution is becomingmuch less important.”“Because scholarly material is available electronically,universities should redirect the money spent on librarybuildings and staff to other needs.”
    13. 13. Scientists especially devalue librarians
    14. 14. Discussion
    15. 15. • Authors and readers: how to align their practices?• Changing library roles: what will be our new portfolio?• Disciplines and universities matter:• how can libraries serve scientists?• how to balance research and teaching support needs?Three intersecting stories
    16. 16. Thank YouRoger C. Schonfeld@rschon | rcs@ithaka.orgMay 20, 2013
    17. 17. Traditional publisher-provided servicesPublishing-support servicesOpen access servicesPublishing roles and services