UK researchers' behaviour and the drive for open knowledge


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Presentation by the RIN's Liaison and Partnerships Officer at the Open Knowledge Foundation Conference 2010 on 24 April.

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  • -personal background The RIN aims to enhance and broaden understanding of how researchers in the UK create and use information resources and services of all kinds and try and bridge the gap between researchers and policy makers at all levels
  • Increasing support for the principles of open knowledge Academia we are seeing an expansion of open access publishing and data sharing initiatives Research funders and institutions developing policies, mandates, and infrastructure Expansion of web 2.0 resources for the research community Unclear as to the extend to which researchers are engaging with the principles Overview of some work we have done over the past couple of years looking at researchers publication practises (both formal and informal), and their use of web 2.0 resources and data sharing habits.
  • This is some work that we have done which shows that actually not everyone is using these tool Early adopters/frequent users tend to be between 35-44 years and generally more established in their career early career researchers are more concerned about being ‘scoped’ by placing material in the public domain even when working in environments which support open practises. However, younger researchers - in particular PhD students have a higher usage of social-networking sites as compared to more established researchers Because older more established researchers already have established networks Or younger researchers use them more in their private life and find it easier to see how these sites could benefit their professional life
  • The extent to which standards are required for interoperability and the availability of these standards – do they exist already or do they need to be established?
  • Mixing open and ‘closed’ forms of working Distinct patterns of adoption
  • Our own work has highlighted that many researchers do not have the necessary skills to use or feel confidant to use advance searching options – as a result they may miss key information sources and have a large number of pages to scroll through Also in a world where many of our information related sources are no longer just trusted peer –reviewed literature, researchers are being asked to make judgment on quality in a way they have never had to before How do you determine the quality of a blog or a wiki? Or info on twitter? Would you trust it as research material? Would it depend why you were using it…
  • UK researchers' behaviour and the drive for open knowledge

    1. 1. UK researchers’ behaviours and the drive for open knowledge Branwen Hide April 24 th , 2010 Open Knowledge Conference 2010
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Use of Web 2.0 information sharing tools by UK researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Data sharing/Open research practises of UK researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Factors that influence researcher behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions and recommendations </li></ul>
    3. 3. Use of Web 2.0 information sharing tools* by UK researchers (RIN 2010) Use and relevance of web 2.0 for researchers <ul><li>*posting or commenting on Blogs, creating/contributing to wikis, posting slides, text, images or video, commenting on or rating online journal articles </li></ul>31% 22% 20% 28% PhD Student 15% 15% 18% 16% Research Fellow 12% 9% 13% 11% Lecturer 11% 18% 15% 14% Senior Lecturer 5% 9% 6% 7% Reader 19% 21% 20% 18% Professor Position 40% 44% 14% 100% All respondents Non-adopters Occasional Users Frequent Users All survey respondents  
    4. 4. Data sharing/Open research practises of UK researchers <ul><li>Many researchers are very reluctant to share their data openly </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But they do share with trusted individuals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Over the past few years researchers have becoming slightly more open in their practises </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>With older, more established researchers being more likely to be an open scientist </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Differences between disciplines and at different stages of the research life cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness and efficiency gains: share within projects rather that publicly </li></ul><ul><li>Open working can increase the visibility of the researcher group </li></ul><ul><li>Different level of knowledge is required to understand secondary data </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to keep data closed than to figure out what to release, when and how </li></ul>
    5. 5. Factors that influence researcher behaviour <ul><li>Research assessment </li></ul><ul><li>The extent to which researchers engage in collaborations </li></ul><ul><li>Encouragement and support provided by the local research environment </li></ul><ul><li>Size and cohesion of research environment </li></ul><ul><li>Need for standards and documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of gathering data vs. </li></ul><ul><li>analysis of existing data </li></ul>
    6. 6. Conclusions <ul><li>There is increasing momentum and support for open knowledge principles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocates and skeptics are both working within the constraints of their research environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth in open access publishing and data sharing initiatives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Growing acceptance of publications describing datasets and resources </li></ul><ul><li>But researchers do have concerns about IP, copyright, inappropriate use of data, ethical implications, misinterpretation of data, quality assurance (if publishing everything) </li></ul><ul><li>Need for recognition and reward </li></ul>
    7. 7. Recommendations <ul><li>Need for recognition of specialists directly involved in supporting open science/data sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Need for infrastructure as well as skills and resources, to support and develop open science practices </li></ul><ul><li>Research funders need to develop and coordinate policy on data sharing and open working </li></ul><ul><li>Need to establish the means to be able to measure scientific value of open datasets and research materials </li></ul><ul><li>Need for tools and guidelines to help researchers asses the openness of their research processes and help identify the opportunities that exist to open them further </li></ul><ul><li>Need to establish mechanism to provide recognition and reward for engaging with principles of open knowledge principles </li></ul>
    8. 8. Reference <ul><li>To share or not to share: research data outputs </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating knowledge: how and why researchers publish and disseminate their findings </li></ul><ul><li>Use and relevance of web 2.0 for researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Open science case studies </li></ul><ul><li>All available at </li></ul>
    9. 9. Branwen Hide Liaison and Partnership Officer Research Information Network [email_address]