Magazine article Information Today

Ingenta Institute to Report Research Study Results

Magazine article Information Today

Ingenta Institute to Report Research Study Results

Article excerpt

The ingenta Institute recently convened a meeting in London to present the findings from its yearlong, in-depth research project endorsed by the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI). The ingenta Institute was established in 1999 as an independent not-for-profit research foundation to sponsor original research about issues affecting the scholarly information process. It is funded by, but wholly independent of, ingenta, Inc. The institute's 2000-2001 research project explored the relationship between journal subscriptions and document delivery, as well as the impact of online delivery on article distribution. Two previous studies investigated issues relating to online database searching and to distance and lifelong learning.

The meeting was held at the Royal Society in London on September 25. A U.S. meeting was to be held at the MIT Faculty Club in Boston on October 4, but it was cancelled as a result of the recent tragedy in New York and Washington, DC. The forum is entitled "Reality versus assumption: User behaviour in sourcing scholarly information." The project results were presented by the coordinators of each component of the project, and then the findings will be analyzed by leaders in publishing and academia.

The 2000-2001 research project examined some of the issues surrounding the use of scholarly information resources. What impact does online content delivery and site licensing have on how scholarly researchers acquire information? And in return, how does this affect journal subscription and article distribution?

The study has three main components, each coordinated by independent information industry experts. The first part is a study that updates and expands a 1996 Canadian Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) study examining the relationship between journal subscription and document delivery with data provided by the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC) and CISTI. This library-focused part was coordinated by Mark Bide, a U.K. consultant. The study compared document delivery vs. subscriptions for 28 journals from 15 scientific, technical, and medical (STM) publishers.

The second component comprised a behavioral study of end-users of full-text articles to assess the effect of the availability of articles in electronic format on the use of journals. Over 250 academic/research individuals in the U.K. answered a lengthy questionnaire, and some were then contacted by phone and some kept a 2-week diary of activities. The study was coordinated by David Worlock of Electronic Publishing Services.

A preliminary report on the user-focused study indicated that requesting individual articles through document delivery was substantial and growing. Nine out of 10 respondents claim they do their own research to identify the required articles; four out of five have the ability to order documents and a significant number use credit cards to buy articles. The library study also indicated that, of the requests for documents, 15 percent were from users in libraries that subscribed to the journals.

Yet, according to the preliminary report, the printed journal itself is not yet dead: 84 percent of the sample read from one to five journal articles a week; 25 percent read more than last year. …

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