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Interesting Key Findings found in the “Social Media and Research Workflow” Report

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Social Media and Researcg Workflow

The latest Charleston Observatory report on Social Media and Research Workflow published by the University College London (UCL) and Emerald contains interesting results such as the following key findings:

Key Findings

Researchers sent a clear message to librarians. At the top of their wish list, and by a big margin, is a desire to be able to search across the full text of all locally-held licensed e-content using a simple interface like Google. This is seen as a much greater potential benefit than libraries moving into the social media space by offering users, for example, an opportunity to socially tag the library catalogue.

Researchers are using social media tools to support every phase of the research lifecycle: from identifying research opportunities to disseminating findings at the end. They may not be the same tools, and they are certainly not the same researchers, but social media are most definitely making an impact on scholarly workflow.

Social media have found serious application at all points of the research lifecycle. The three most popular social media tools in a research setting are those for collaborative authoring, conferencing, and scheduling meetings.

The most popular tools used in a professional research context tend to be mainstream anchor technologies or ‘household brands’, like Skype, Google Docs, Twitter and YouTube. Researchers seem to be largely appropriating generic tools rather than using specialist or custom-built solutions and both publishers and librarians need to adapt to this reality. Is this a sign, perhaps, that there may be a gap in the market for simple bespoke tools?

The key driver for the take up of social media is pressure exerted by peers outside of the researcher’s own institution. Social media are helping to fulfill the demand for cheap, instant communication between researchers fuelled by the growth of collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

Users express almost identical preferences when they look for scholarly information. By far their most favoured route is to search the open web, followed by searching licensed e-content through their libraries, followed by asking a colleague. The only difference we could detect in this survey between users and non-users is that the former are more likely to put out a general call for information on a list serv or social network.

Regarding research dissemination, the traditional channels (especially journals, conference proceedings and edited books) are greatly and equally favoured … over informal channels such as blogs. Researchers continue to back dissemination routes that they know and trust. It is clear that social media users see informal tools as a complement to the existing system of scholarly publishing, not as a replacement. As a result, personal dissemination is on a steep upward curve, with implications for publishers especially.

Researchers, especially senior researchers, want above all for publishers to make content readable on all platforms. This, together with more progress in linking articles to their underlying data. They want the basics to work well, not more `bells and whistles’.

“This report is an exploratory data analysis of the preferences, perceptions and self-reported behaviour of nearly two thousand (1,923) researchers who are currently using social media tools to support their research activities. In the analysis the report uses a contrast group of 491 researchers who have yet to use social media in this way to get a little closer to understanding the factors that shape demand and take up.”

This is a large sample by any standards. The survey was distributed online through six very different channels and reached all disciplines across a very wide geographic range (with responses from 215 countries).

The report was sponsored by Emerald, ebrary and Baker & Taylor and prepared by CIBER. The questionnaire was developed by the UCL in close association with Emerald Group Publishing Ltd and was piloted using Survey Monkey Professional. Emerald, Cambridge University Press, the Charleston Library Conference, Taylor & Francis, University College London and Wolters Kluwer provided generous access to their mailing lists.

Source, quotations and all IPR and copyright attributions and credits belongs to the report owners. The report is freely available at

Written by Santiago Chumbe

March 2nd, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Why is JournalTOCs attracting so many academic librarians?

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We have been planning to report on the journals that were most preferred by JournalTOCs users. We thought that one way to produce this report would be counting the number of times a journal was found in the MyTOCs folders of our subscribed users. We decided to post the results today, perhaps to commemorate that one year ago today, on September 23, 2010, JournalTOCs announced the first version of its API.

We were surprised by the results. The top places were dominated by journals from the library and information sciences field. Before posting the results we did a quick check. Either a big chunk of our users were librarians or something was not right in our database. We quickly contacted 60 of our most active subscribed users and yes, most of them are librarians or are working in that area. So, it seems that academic librarians are the users that have more interest in keeping track of new issues published in specific journals. We wonder why?

Librarians can obviously see the benefits of keeping current with scholarly literature by using JournalTOCs. However, they have not so far been able to get this message across to many of their own library users. Another reason might be because JournalTOCs has received little funding, and so it has been impossible to launch a viable promotional campaign to reach researchers and academics directly.

The following are the top 50 journals drawn from the 5,265 journals that are being tracked by our MyTOCs subscribed users, as today:

No. Journal Title Publisher myTOCs< ?b>
1 Library Hi Tech Emerald 57
2 The Electronic Library Emerald 52
3 Library & Information Science Research Elsevier 44
4 D-Lib Magazine Corporation for National Research Initiatives 39
5 Library Hi Tech News Emerald 38
6 The Library Quarterly University of Chicago Press, The 36
7 Journal of Information Science Sage Publications 34
8 Library Management Emerald 32
9 Library Collections, Acquisitions, and Technical S… Elsevier 30
10 Library Review Emerald 29
11 The International Information & Library Review Elsevier 29
12 Nature Nature Publishing Group 27
13 New Library World Emerald 26
14 International Journal on Digital Libraries Springer-Verlag 25
15 Journal of Library Administration Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 25
16 The Information Society: An International Journal Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 25
17 College & Undergraduate Libraries Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 24
18 Journal of Information Literacy Loughborough University Library 24
19 Program: Electronic Library and Information System… Emerald 23
20 The Library Oxford University Press (OUP) 21
21 The Journal of Academic Librarianship Elsevier 20
22 Journal of Librarianship and Information Science Sage Publications 18
23 The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances Emerald 18
24 Communications in Information Literacy Communications in Information Literacy 18
25 Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 16
26 Cataloging & Classification Quarterly Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 16
27 Information Visualization Palgrave MacMillan 16
28 Journal of Library & Information Services in Dista… Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 16
29 Library History Maney Publishing 16
30 Science American Association for the Advancement of Scienc… 15
31 Advanced Technology for Learning ACTA Press 14
32 Huntington Library Quarterly University of California Press 14
33 ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 14
34 Journal of Library Metadata Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 14
35 International Journal of Knowledge and Web Intelli… Inderscience Publishers 14
36 Journal of Digital Information Texas AM University Libraries 14
37 International Library Review Elsevier 13
38 Online Information Review Emerald 13
39 Library & Archival Security Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 12
40 European Journal of Chemistry European Journal of Chemistry 12
41 Archives and Museum Informatics Springer-Verlag 11
42 European Journal of Information Systems Palgrave MacMillan 11
43 International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Springer-Verlag 10
44 Journal of Interlibrary Loan Document Delivery & E… Informa UK (Taylor & Francis) 10
45 Journal of the American Society for Information Sc… John Wiley & Sons 10
46 Oxford Journal of Archaeology John Wiley & Sons 10
47 VINE Emerald 10
48 Mobile Information Systems IOS Press 10
49 South African Journal of Libraries and Information… Sabinet Online Ltd 10
50 The Indexer Society of Indexers 10

Written by Santiago Chumbe

September 23rd, 2010 at 6:02 pm

WattJournals User Survey Results

with 3 comments

Between 1st and 11th June 2010, the JournalTOCs Project team conducted an online user survey for students and academic staff from the Heriot-Watt University. The purpose of the survey was to help to determine the usefulness of the new service WattJournals and to receive feedback from users to correct or improve WattJournals. As expected there were few responses to the survey due that in this period of the year almost no student is on campus and staff and students are busy preparing for exams. We would like to express our gratitude to all who participated in the survey, the results of which are summarised below. Any further comments and suggestions are welcome at

Q1 Please Enter your position and school.


Q2 Do you think this service which searches the latest articles from journals that Heriot-Watt University subscribes to, and therefore guarantees you access to the full text, would be useful?
Do you think this service is useful

It offers significant internet search efficiencies.

It could be useful, but it is going to take a while to work out what words to enter into the search so that the stuff I want will not be swamped.

It’s useful. However, this should not be a slippery slope to phasing out WoS or Science Direct.

This could be very useful as it saves having to search across different databases etc and guarantees that the full text is available.

Definately. I’ve found it useful already.

It’s very useful to be able to search only articles to which I can gain access, so that I don’t have to scour through pages of articles which I can’t read.

It is wonderful, especially for Postgraduate students who need to research lots of articles. (more convenient)

Q3 Please rate each feature of the Watt Journals service.
Search current issues of journals Heriot-Watt subscribes to:
Current Issue
Search past issues of journals Heriot-Watt subscribes to:
Past issues
Full Text Link:
Full Text Link
Direct link to article (by clicking on article titles):
Direct Link
Save searches:
Save Searches
Export citations to EndNote/EndNote Web:
Export Citations
Help Page:

Q3 Are there any features you would like to see added to WattJournals?

List of journals searched available.

An all issue search option and an advanced search function; returns are too large otherwise

How do we access journals not covered by HW’s subscription?

Q4 Are there any features you would like to see removed from WattJournals?

Q5 Do you have any other comments about the features of WattJournals?

I appreciate the hard-work that’s gone into this. Keep it up.

The Help feature needs to be more clearly displayed (maybe at the top of the page?) as it wasn’t until I was completing this questionnaire that I realised there was a help feature and then that answered some of my queries. It would also be a ‘nice to have’ to have more options than just current / prior for searches – maybe previous year, previous 5 years etc

Q6 This question is about the user interface. Please indicate your level of agreement with the following statements about the WattJournals service.
The service is easy to use:
easy to use
I like the design of the WattJournals home page:
Help is easy to find:
find help
The presentation of results is clear:
The service is user friendly:
user friendly
Q7 Do you have any other comments about the user interface of WattJournals?
Q8 How important is it that the following pieces of information about each article is shown in WattJournals?
Page Numbers:
Q9 Were there any articles that you were not able to access the full text of?

* One respondent answered yes to this question and although the full text wasn’t accessible through the full text link, access was available through the direct link.

Q10 If you have any more comments about the WattJournals service please enter them here.

Current issue search is OK, but when I return the search will presumably include some articles I have already seen (because it is still the current issue). Therefore the search should be by date, e.g. published in last week, published in last month, published since XXX (date).

If possible, I’d prefer the search to include ALL Web of Science journals, whether there is a full paper link or not. Then I don’t have to repeat the search in two databases.

It would be great if you can add a function to filter search results by article/book review/etc.

Up to now I have managed reasonably well using the Web of Science. This service will be useful if it is better than the Web of Science, e.g. if it is easier to get hold of the abstracts and article texts than it is with Web of Science.

I think this has the potential to be a very useful service and may help divert students away from Google and other general search engines.

The “full text” link does not actually link directly to the full text (contrary to expectations raised by similar search engines such as Google Scholar), and so it is in fact quicker and easier to click on the text title to find a direct link for the full text. It’s a rather misleading button.

It’d be useful rather than having to choose to search current issues or past issues, to be able to search both collections at once.

Should make more convinience for off campus students. couldn’t access to the database off campus most time. (tried the VPN, but it never allowed!)

From the results of the survey we have concluded we need better integration with Heriot-Watt’s OpenURL resolver as the Full Text link did not always take the user to the full text of the article and many users preferred the direct link to the article.

Aside from the survey we have been getting some comments by email requesting access to Journals that Heriot-Watt subscribes to but do not provide RSS Feeds, therefore it might be possible to use APIs of external databases to complement the existing feeds.

Some users did not like having to perform separate searches on current and past issues, it may be preferable to search all articles archived by the JournalTOCs project. The survey has brought to our attention some issues which may need further investigation including access through the VPN and displaying the help page more prominently.

Written by lisa

June 17th, 2010 at 11:21 am

Working towards sustainability: SSI review JournalTOCs

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On the 12th of May I travelled to London to attend the software sustainability workshop offered by the newly funded Software Sustainability Institute (SSI). Neil Chue Hong, Director of the SSI, presented the services and the goals of the institute. After lunch, the participants had the opportunity to discuss their projects with analysts from the SSI and I think that was an important part of the workshop. We discussed JournalTOCs (and BayesianFF) with two experts from the SSI.

The workshop was a productive event for JournalTOCs. The main outcome for our project was a follow-up with Dr. Michael (Mike) Jackson from the SSI to undertake an in-depth review of JournalTOCs website from four perspectives:

  • Users who use the site to run searches across the registered journals
  • Developers who wish to call the API from their own applications.
  • Developers who wish to understand how the services work and how they could extend or change them if they had access to the source code e.g. developers joining the JournalTOCs project.
  • Publishers who wish to contribute to JournalTOCs

We received the full review from Mike last Wednesday 26th May. The document covered the above perspectives, uncovered issues with the website and provided recommendations. The review also compares JournalTOCs site to those of its competitors and offers suggestions as to how we could promote JournalTOCs site more effectively. Quickly it became apparent to us that the SSI review was going to be an important tool for the Project. The study done by the SSI has deciphered before our eyes the issues that are affecting the current JournalTOCs website. Some of the issues will be possible to be solved in a relatively short time and be done as part of the JournalTOCs Project. However, a few of those issues would require careful thought and it seems that we will not be able to implement them in the final stages of the project, for example the recommendation that it would be useful if the site could allow users to specify a search just over the journals in their MyTOC.

In conclusion, the SSI review has helped us to identify important issues affecting JournalTOCs such as the difficulties posed to our users by the present website, the API quality service offered to developers, the copyright and licensing implications for publishers, etc. In some way, we had an idea of the existence of those issues, but the SSI study put names to those issues and provided us with a clearer and complete picture of them, plus recommendations to tackle those issues. For example, we knew that there was something wrong with the usability and friendliness of the site but we were unable to find the details by ourselves. SSI’ expertise helped us to realise which parts of the web design was negatively affecting the user experience and consequently the sustainability perspectives of JournalTOCs, including the sustainability of its software itself. Being JournalTOCs concerned mainly with the creation of APIs for web applications, the web site was seen as something secondary by the project. However, the work carried out by the SSI opened our eyes to the importance of the website for our users. It provided us with the external unbiased opinion of a new user that came to our site for the first time trying to search the TOCs or to use the API.

The full SSI study of JournalTOCs will be published as part of the Project deliverables.

journalTOCs API Project Workshop

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On Friday, November 20, the day that heavy rain, flooding and high winds affected roads and railways in the Scottish borders, some members of our user community gathered in Edinburgh to share ideas, expertise, feedback and concerns related with the objectives of the journalTOCs API Project.

level of the River Nith, early on Fri 20th Nov (source BBC)
Level of the River Nith, early on Fri 20th Nov (source BBC)

We are very grateful to our presenters who made the effort to participate in the project Workshop. We also thank you to Anne Dixon and Bryan Vickery. Anne, the Collections Manager Library at the British Geological Survey and the manager of the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA) had to cancel her trip at the last minute due some personal circumstances. Bryan, the Chief Operating Officer at BioMed Central, had to return to London, after his train suffered long delays due the flooding affecting the west cost railway this morning.

Overall, the Workshop was a valuable event for the Project. Each of the presentations was an instructive and productive session for the project members. The discussions that followed were very useful as well.

The workshop counted with the participation of six presenters. Jenny Delasalle, the E-Repositories Manager at the University of Warwick Library and the chair of the United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories (UKoRR), presented the “User Perspective” and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using alerting tools for keeping repositories up-to-date. In the next session, we described the work done with Anne Dixon to test the project First Use Case using data from the British Geological Survey repository. Nick Sheppard, the Repository Development Officer at Leeds Metropolitan University and the responsible for project research of the Bibliosight Project, described the work they have been doing with the Web of Science API to promote full text deposit of author versions in the Leeds Met repository. Phil Barker, the coordinator of the metadata and digital repository work at JISC CETIS, and co-manager of the JISC Repository Research Team, presented an interesting and thought-provoking session on possible models for integrating the API in the workflow of the software used by repositories. Roddy MacLeod, a Senior Subject Librarian at Heriot-Watt University and the manager of TechXtra, presented a new freely available service, techJournalContents, based on searching and filtering by subject, the results generated by the API. Finally, Lisa Rogers, the journalTOCs API Project Research Officer, demonstrated the possible options for embedding the API into PURE, the Research Information System of Atira.

In general, the feedback received from the participants was quite encouraging. We plan to post each presentation on this web site soon, which hopefully will motivate more discussions and contributions from our community of users, repository managers and developers.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

November 20th, 2009 at 7:45 pm