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Six Studies on Changing Research Practices. Summaries and selected quotes.


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This presentation summarizes main large-scale studies being utilized to ground my MRes dissertation on changing research practices in an higher education context.

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Six Studies on Changing Research Practices. Summaries and selected quotes.

  1. 1. SIX STUDIES ON CHANGING RESEARCH PRACTICES Summaries and selected quotes Antonella Esposito May 2011
  2. 2. A starting point <ul><li>New digital technologies ar e “predisposing scholars to an open scholarship of content, knowledge and learning” (Katz, 2010). </li></ul><ul><li>However, th ese new web based technologies “are then a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a radical opening up of scholarly practice” (Pearce, Weller, Scanlon and Kinsley, 2010). </li></ul>
  3. 3. A starting point <ul><li>“ Pr edictions that new online technologies will revolutionize the way scientists and other researchers work have so far failed to come true.  If the landscape is likely to change over time, then a new toolset is needed to spur that change, as the current offerings have been judged as uninteresting or of low value to the academic community” (Crotty, 2010).  </li></ul>
  4. 4. A starting point <ul><li>The above quotes well synthesize the starting point of my Mres dissertation work. It deals with an interview project, aiming to verify whether and in which ways digital tools/environments prompt open, participatory approaches in research practices. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Aim of this presentation <ul><li>This presentation aims to provide a summary of key findings and quotes of six main large scale studies on changing research practices, undertaken in different international contexts. </li></ul><ul><li>The selected findings and issues drawn from these studies shed light on the complex landscape of research practices as a whole and in particular on scholarly activities mediated by ICTs. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Title: Changing research practices in the digital information and communication practices Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Education, Science and Training Methods: statistical and literature reviews, survey, in-depth interviews, workshops. Sample: small group of senior researchers working in a number of fields and institutional settings in Australia.
  7. 7. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Focus on: how research practices are changing in the digital environment, considering activities such as communication and collaboration; information search and access; dissemination and publication. Aims: to gain a systems view of the issue being researched, through an analysis of the multiple factors (i.e. funding opportunities, commercialisation of research outcomes and impact of ICTs) and conflicting forces at work (i.e. the presence of international publishers and open access institutional repositories) which have influenced the current landscape of research practices.
  8. 8. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Emerging modes of knowledge production “ A new mode of knowledge production has emerged in recent years, characterised by ( … ) increasing diversity of the location of research activities; an increasing locus on interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity research; an increasing focus on problems, rather than tecniques; greater emphasys on collaborative work and more diverse and informal modes of communication ” (p. 126).
  9. 9. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Demand “ Th ere is increasing demand for access to a wider range of more diverse sources; access mechanisms that cut across disciplinary silos; and access to and management of non-traditional, non-text digital objects” (p. 126). Barriers “ Ti me pressures, lack of equipment and lack of support are forcing changes to research practices, as researchers look for ways to do more with less. Increased use of information technology has helped, but information resources have been affected by funding cuts and rising content prices” (p. 128).
  10. 10. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Sustainability and quality of peer review process “ Ma ny are now calling for changes which seek to introduce greater care and transparency, including open review (where the reviewers are named), published review (where reviews are published along with papers), payments for reviews and increased recognition of review activities in performance assessment and evaluation”. (p. 131).
  11. 11. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Implications for future practice “ It is essential to take an holistic approach to ‘re-engineering the system’, which treat the creation, production and distribution of scientific and scholarly information, the management of information rights and access, systems of evaluation and the underlying infrastructure as parts of a single information infrastructure and scholarly communication system”. (p. 127)
  12. 12. Houghton, Steele and Henty (2003) Implications for future practice “ Op en access digital repositories, operating in parallel with existing commercial publishing mechanisms, may provide a major opportunity to develop a sustainable information infrastructure for both traditional and emerging modes of knowledge production” (p. 127).
  13. 13. Maron and Smith (2008) Title: Current models of digital scholarly communication Association of Research Libraries (US) and Ithakha Methods: field study, documents analysis and in-depth interviews Sample: 301 librarians interviewed 358 faculty in Canada and US institutions, as project leaders of digital scholarship's projects. 206 digital resources were selected and examined. 11 in-depth interviews were undertaken with a representative selection of digital projects' coordinators.
  14. 14. Maron and Smith (2008) Focus on : an organized scan of new models of scholarly works in a range of disciplines; identification of emerging genres and related quality control practices. Aims : “support librarians, scholars and researchers, campus and association leaders, along with other constituencies navigating shifting patterns of scholarly communication”.
  15. 15. Maron and Smith (2008) Eight principal types of scholarly resources: E-journals Reviews Pre-prints and working papers Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and annotated content Data Blogs Discussion forums Professional and scholarly hubs The surveyed resources are indexed in a publicly accessible database: http://www. arl . org/sc/models/models-pubs/search-form . shtml
  16. 16. Maron and Smith (2008) Acknowledgment of new types of scholarly work “ (...) we may acknowledge that scholarly work will change and yet behave as if anything that doesn't look like a traditional work of scholarship is not a scholarly work; thus the immutability of traditional publishing models become axiomatic. Different becomes less by definition” (p. 5).
  17. 17. Maron and Smith (2008) <ul><li>Key findings (pp. 33-34) </li></ul><ul><li>Many digital publications address narrow, niche audiences. Old traditions of establishing scholarly legitimacy through credentialing, peer review and citation metrics are still paramount, es. for book and e-journals. </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity is still a key issue to build scholarly reputation of a digital resource. </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing credibility through quality control is of critical importance for emerging digital resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia content and Web 2.0 functionality tend to blur boundaries among typologies of scholarly work (e.g. Video articles, peer-reviewed reader commentary). </li></ul><ul><li>- All projects – mainly in open access formats – are in search for sustainability and economic models . </li></ul>
  18. 18. Maron and Smith (2008) Roles for librarians Guide faculty and students to retrieve and use digital resources for research; promote high quality projects and “ bu ild the audience for these resources”; sparking discussions about long-term preservation of new digital works.
  19. 19. Harley et al. (2010) Title: Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley Methods: in-depth interviews , focus groups, case studies Sample: 160 in-depth interviews and 9 focus groups were conducted in 45 different prestigious US research institutions and in seven academic fields: archaeology, astrophysics, biology, economics, history, music and political science.
  20. 20. Harley et al. (2010) Focus on: “ac ademic values embodied in disciplinary cultures, as well as the interests of individual players ” as key factors to be investigated when new patterns of behaviours in communication of scholarship have to be envisioned including practices enabled by the Web 2.0 tools and the use of cyberinfrastructures. Aims: map scholars’ attitudes and needs in a representative selection of academic disciplines; identify emerging models of communication and publication to fulfill scholars’ needs; depicte future scenarios and gaining insights on how institutions could support these new scenarios.
  21. 21. Harley et al. (2010) Key findings Researchers identified five key areas to which institutions should pay attention: - the development of a more nuanced promotion and tenure practices; - a reexamination of locus, meaning and practice of peer review; - the provision of new competitive publishing platforms; - the definition of new models of publication which take into account new forms of scholarly products and media; - the need of support to manage and preserve new research methods and products.
  22. 22. Harley et al. (2010) Peer review criticism The overload factor is seen as a major cause of decline of peer review, which anyway remain the best available system, lacking real alternatives. New dissemination models Experiments in new forms of scholarship are occurring in every fields, but within a relatively conservative rewarding system, in a lack of easy-to-use tools and institutional support and expertise.
  23. 23. Harley et al. (2010) Cultures of sharing If some groups of scholars such as phisicists, political scientists, economists have the lowest threshold for sharing scholarship prior to formal publication, these same groups do not share work-in-progress, but only works that reached a good level of quality. This is due to highly competitive atmosphere in these fields, the need for a very rapid means of dissemination of results, the pressure to receive credit for work, the commercial potential of some research.
  24. 24. Harley et al. (2010) Mechanisms for sharing Traditional means for sharing such as conferences, seminars and listserves keep on being considered of paramount importance in academic communities. Instead, “Bl ogs, RSS feeds, wikis, Twitter, etc., were not cited as common ways in which scholars broadcast and receive information ” . “ ( … ) blogs were simply off the radar as a source of scholarship and are generally viewed as a waste of time because they are not peer reviewed ” (p. 14).
  25. 25. Harley et al. (2010) Data sharing In some subject areas such as sciences, economics and political sciences, journals are increasingly requiring that data sets be published by authors. However, concerns about ownership and privacy, lack of personal time to prepare data for publication, lack of directions on how to do it, general lack of institutional support are commons hindrances in the spread of data sharing.
  26. 26. Harley et al. (2010) Scholarship 2.0 and competition “ (...) it is premature to assume that Web 2.0 platforms geared toward early public exposure of ideas or data, or open peer review, are going to spread among scholars at the most competitive institutions ” . (p. 15) Demographic differences There is no evidence of a particular tech-savvy approach adopted by doctoral students/young researchers who “a d opt the behaviors and norms of their mentors to advance their careers (p. 15)
  27. 27. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Title: Faculty survey 2009: Key strategic insights for libraries, publishers, and societies Methods: a survey conducted through a mailed questionnaire. Sample: 3.025 complete responses (out of 38.184 mailed questionnaires) from US faculty working in Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences and other subject areas. Focus on: learn more on how new technologies are impacting faculty attitudes and behaviours. Aims: longitudinal tracking of change in faculty attitudes and practices
  28. 28. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Publishing &quot;In our survey, roughly one-third of faculty members strongly agree that tenure and promotion practices 'unnecessarily constrain' their publishing choices.... This belief is stronger among social scientists and humanists than among scientists&quot; (p. 32) “ ( … ) a broad circulation among a faculty’s members own peers is the ultimate motivating factor in determining where to publish ” (p. 25).
  29. 29. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Digital formats “ Other type of scholarly materials have not yet experienced the same type of transition, and careful attention must be paid to the different roles that digitized and born-digital versions of other materials have the potential to play” (p. 24). If there is wide acceptance of the cancellation of local print subscriptions, a few faculty are comfortable with the idea that the journals they rely on switch on electronic-only publishing model.
  30. 30. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Scholarly communication There is very limited evidence of the impact among faculty of the celebrated new channels of communication. “ Tr aditional channels – often made more efficient by the transition to digital but otherwise largely unchanged – remain the most important ways in which faculty communicate both formally and informally ” (p. 25).
  31. 31. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Scholarly communication “ Su bstantive change to the scholarly communication system is thus unlikely to be driven by faculty attitudes alone; cultural and process changes at the highest level of the university will be needed to realign incentives and insitute broad reform ” (p.26). “ ( … ) peer networks remain among the most important factors for faculty in learning about and being encouraged to try new electronic research resources ” (p. 31). “ Tr aditional models of scholarly communications are transitioning to the digital realm, but for scholarly communications to be transformed will require new models” (p. 33).
  32. 32. Schonfeld and Housewright (2010) Pace of change “ Al though scientists and, to a lesser degree, social scientists generally express greater interest in and use of digital technologies, it is clear that their potentially transformative impact is not limited to any discrete group of scholars ” (p. 34).
  33. 33. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Title: If we build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0 Methods: online survey, in-depth interviews, case studies Sample: 1.200 faculty participants in survey, 56 interviewees Focus on : whether and how researchers are making use of various Web 2.0 tools in research process, factors that drive or inhibit their adoption, researchers’ attitudes towards Web 2.0. Aim: improve current understanding of the actual realisation of the celebrated potentialities of Web 2.0 tools for scholarly researchers.
  34. 34. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Adoption of new technologies “ (…) a majority of researchers are making at least occasional use of one or more web 2.0 tools or services for purposes related to their research (…). But frequent or intensive use is rare, and some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time and even dangerous” (p. 4). “ Re searchers who use web 2.0 tools and services do not see them as comparable to or substitutes for other channels and means of communication. But as having their own distinctive role for specific purposes and at particular stages of research” (p. 5).
  35. 35. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Barriers “ ( … ) few services have achieved yet the critical mass needed to achieve the positive network effect that stimulate pervasive use by particular communities ” (p. 7). Although researchers appear to be very supportive in their attitudes towards web 2.0 tools, they need to perceive clear benefits and to usefully combine these new tools with established technologies. Issues of quality and trust: content not assessed by formal peer review; no standardised way to formally attribute authorship.
  36. 36. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Peer review A significant minority of researchers believe that peer review in current form will become unsustainable in the next five years and will be complemented with citation and usage statistic as well as users ratings and comments. However such measures are not seen as adequate substitute of the peer review process. Open research “ Ab out half of respondents to our survey share their work with colleagues , but only a small group of enthusiastic open researchers – 5% of our respondents – publish their outputs and their work in progress openly, using blogs and other tools. Others consider such practices a waste of time, or even that it risks bringing ‘anarchy in science’” (p. 5).
  37. 37. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Social networking 13% of respondents at least once a week use social networking services: main motives are to widen collaborations, “le arn about research communities beyond their personal networks, or to help them to filter the deluge of information with which they are often faced ” (p. 6). Demographic differences “ ( … ) where there are some statistically significant variations between different demographic groups, high usage is positively associated with older age groups and those in more senior positions, not with their younger or junior colleagues ” .
  38. 38. RIN – Research Information Network (2010) Conclusive comment “ It seems more likely, therefore, that web 2.0 services will continue to evolve as supplements to – not as replacements for – established channels of communication between researchers. The services mos likely to succeed are those where researchers are acively involved in uncovering, exploring and exploiting new capabilities, and adapting them to their own purposes, in accordane with the broader cultures and contexts and contexts in which they undertake their work ” (p. 8).
  39. 39. CIBER (2010) Title: Social media and Research Workflow University of College London Methods: online survey distributed worldwide through six different channels Sample: “no n-probabilistic convenience sample ” of early adopters of social media in universities. About 2.000 researchers from 215 countries responded. A contrast group of 491 researchers who have not used yet social media is utilized to enhance understanding of demand and reasons for take up.
  40. 40. CIBER (2010) Focus on: exploratory data analysis of the preferences, perceptions and self-reported behaviour of researcher who are currently use social media to support their research activities. Aims: investigating how social media are impacting upon researchers workflow; if so, how publishers and librarians should respond; how age and other factors are influential in shaping the demand for social media.
  41. 41. CIBER (2010) Social media tools being used Collaborative authoring, conferencing and scheduling tools are the most popular tools among researchers, while blogging, but above all microblogging and social bookmarking result as less popular. A large majority of respondents (63,4%) uses one ot two typologies of social media. The most common tool pairings are blogging / microblogging and social networking / microblogging.
  42. 42. CIBER (2010) <ul><li>Two groups of users </li></ul><ul><li>One group makes considerable joint use of microblogging, social tagging/bookmarking and blogging. </li></ul><ul><li>The other group prefers using tools for scheduling meetings, organize diaries and share documents. </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers belonging to group 1 are more likely to also engage in social networking and image/video sharing. Tools being used in group 1 are the most unpopular: their users match the ‘innovators’ and early adopters’ types, according to Rogers classification. </li></ul>
  43. 43. CIBER (2010) Adopters per subject areas “ Ac ademics in business, health, biosciences, and arts and humanities are less likely to use social media for research purposes than their peers in other parts of the academy ” (p. 10). Adopters and personal research style Researchers that usually work with peers in other institutions are 1.11 more likely to value social media in research that other academics working with peers across their own institution or department, or on their own research/scholarship.
  44. 44. CIBER (2010) Demographic differences Researchers younger than 35 years are more likely (82.6%) to use social media than the older (75.7%), although this effect is not large and ths puts together researchers using any types of tools. More specifically: microblogging, social tagging and bookmarking are preferred by younger researchers, whilst conferencing, image/video sharing are preferred by over 35.
  45. 45. CIBER (2010) Drivers, perceived benefits, barriers The most important driver is personal initiative and the fact that new technologies are easy to use, and foster efficiency and speed in research. Researchers identify a number of benefits associated to social media: comunicate internationally is the most common, but the ability to cross disciplinary boundaries seems to be a key issue as a predictor in the actual use. “ T h e most important barrier, in terms of actual use, is a lack of clarity over the precise benefits that might accrue to the researcher” (p. 25).
  46. 46. CIBER (2010) Disseminating research There is no difference between users and non-users of social media, regarding the preferred modes of disseminating research: “lo ng-established formats such as the journal, conferente proceedings and edited books are still king” (p. 26). However, social media users are more likely to use the internet as a complementary activity in disseminating research findings.
  47. 47. CIBER (2010) Recommendations to publishers and librarians To publishers : Researchers want to read content across platforms without hindrance and, secondly, they would like to link data to their own journal articles. To librarians : researchers wish to search all licensed e-content using a simple search tool like Google. On the contrary, they seem not to value at all that libraries move into social media space.
  48. 48. REFERENCES CIBER - University of College London (2010), Social media and Research Workflow, Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. Retrieved 25th March 2011 from: http:// www. ucl . ac . uk/infostudies/ research/ciber/social-media-report . pdf Crotty, D. (2010), blog post from “The Scholarly Kitchen”, 15th July 2010. Retrieved the 28th August 2010 from: Katz, R. N. (2010), ‘Scholars, Scholarship, and the Scholarly Enterprise in the Digital Age’, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 2 (March/April 2010): 44-56. Retrieved the 20th July 2010 from: http://www. educause . edu/EDUCAUSE +Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume45/ScholarsScholarshipandtheSchol/202341
  49. 49. REFERENCES Harley, D., Acord, S. K., Earl-Novell, S., Lawrence, S., King, C. Judson (2010), Assessing the Future Landscape of Scholarly Communication: An Exploration of Faculty Values and Needs in Seven Disciplines , Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley. Retrieved 14th May 2011 from: http: //escholarship . org/uc/item/15x7385g Houghton, J. W., Steele, C. and Henty, M. (2003), Changing research practices in the digital information and communication practices , Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 29 th April 2011 from: http: //eprints .vu. edu . au/456/
  50. 50. REFERENCES Maron, N. and Smith K.K. (2008), Current models of digital scholarly communication. Results of an investigation conducted by Ithaka for the Association of Research Libraries, ARL. Retrieved 13th May 2011 from: http:// www. arl . org/bm~doc/current-models-report . pdf Pearce, N., Weller, M., Scanlon, E., & Kinsley, S. (2010), ‘Digital scholarship considered: how new technologies could transform academic work’, In Education , 16 (1) (Online), University of Regina. Retrieved from http://www. ineducation .ca/article/digital-scholarship-considered-how-new-technologies-could-transform-academic-work
  51. 51. REFERENCES RIN (2010), If we build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0, report by the Research Information Network. Retrieved 10th May from: http://www. rin . ac .uk/our-work/communicating-and-disseminating-research/use-and-relevance-web-20-researchers Schonfeld, R. C. & Housewright, R. (2010). Faculty survey 2009: Key strategic insights for libraries, publishers, and societies . New York: Ithaka. Retrieved 10th May, 2011 from: http://www. ithaka . org/ithaka-s-r/research/faculty-surveys-2000-2009/Faculty %20Study%202009. pdf
  52. 52. (to be continued…) Any further large-scale studies to be explored? Mres Dissertation: “Research practices in transition: Investigating the relationship between emerging digital scholarship and open scholarship in higher education settings ” Institute of Education, University of London Open notebook: Research journal: Antonella Esposito: