The idea of measuring research impact by means of citation rates was first mooted in 1955 in an article in Science. Not long after, ISI developed the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and no one looked back. But JIF only models one specific behaviour by a relatively small group, offering a limited measure of ‘impact’ as generally understood. It says nothing about how journals reach out to the wider audiences who make up the bulk of their readership.
CIBER was commissioned by UKSG and COUNTER to look at the feasibility of an alternative measure, the Journal Usage Factor, based on download statistics rather than citations. Our report explores the following questions:
How should the usage factor be calculated and presented?
What are the usage characteristics of different document types (original research articles, short communications, editorial material, etc.)
What are the usage decay rates of different document types and versions?
How stable is the usage factor over time: can it be used to generate meaningful league tables of journal use?
What is the relationship, if any, between the usage factor and measures of citation impact?
Could the usage factor be gamed by people or machines; are there digital signatures associated with such attempts to cheat the system?
E-journals: their use, value and impact [final report]
19 January 2011
This report is the second arising from a two-year project funded by the Research Information Network to describe and assess patterns of the use, value and impact of e-journals by researchers in universities and research institutes in the UK. Publishers began to provide online access to articles in scholarly journals just over a decade ago. Numerous studies have shown how much researchers have welcomed enhanced and easy access to unprecedented numbers of journals. But until recently there has been little detailed evidence about how researchers have changed their behaviours in response to this revolution in access, about how they make use of online journals, or about the benefits that flow from that use. This two-year-long study begins to fill that gap.
Links to the full project reports and working papers:
Wikipedia is celebrating its tenth anniversary. What has been its cultural impact, and is it killing the concept of truth? Channel 4 featured an interview with Jimmy Wales and shot some of the background at UCL. This short video includes interviews with UCL students and a talking head appearance by Professor David Nicholas, Director of the CIBER research group.
The Google Generation roadshow reaches Helsinki
18 November 2010
Professor Dave Nicholas visited the National Digital Library day in Helsinki, Finland. In his keynote ‘The Google Generation: challenges and changes for libraries, archives and museums’ he talked about how our information seeking practices have radically changed in the past 20 years. It's not just the kids who do it differently now — we all do.
Research support services in UK universities
16 November 2010
The search for improvements in research performance is a powerful influence on all universities. Success in research is a major component in the various indicators of overall university performance. Hence universities are increasingly interested in how they can improve their competitive position in attracting, supporting and promoting the work of high-quality researchers. In times of financial stringency, however, they are also seeking to ensure that support and other services operate both efficiently and cost-effectively.
This CIBER study for RIN reports on both the provision and the use of information-related support services for researchers in four research-intensive universities in the UK: Leicester, University College London (UCL), Warwick and York.
Are social media impacting on research? First findings from the 2010 Charleston Observatory
11 November 2010
Report: Are social media impacting on research? (.pdf)
Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, have made a huge impact on many people's personal lives, but we know little about whether researchers are using them and, if so, for what purposes and how do they fit into the research life cycle? CIBER is in the process of analysing more than 4,000 responses to a global questionnaire as our contribution to the 2010 Charleston Observatory. The survey was sponsored and designed in association with Emerald Publishing, with additional help-in-kind from Cambridge University Press, Taylor & Francis, Wolters Kluwer, UCL and the Charleston Library Conference. We plan to
publish a substantial report on this site on 17 December. In the meantime, we are making the conference slides avaulable and would welcome any feedback from librarians, publishers and researchers.
Take an active role in the British Library's Growing Knowledge exhibition
30 September 2010
CIBER is evaluating the British Library's Growing Knowledge exhibition, a major initiative designed to demonstrate the vision for future digital research services. We are looking for volunteers to help us take part in a test bed experiment and help the Library to determine which digital research tools and services are most needed to support researchers' needs. The exhibition will consist of a number of features including digital signage, video demonstrations, interactive welcome animations and a prototype ‘Researcher's Desktop’ application.
Digital Information Consumers
Keynote lecture by Professor David Nicholas to launch the 2010-11 session, 30 September 2010
The CIBER group has been researching information seeking behaviour in the digital environment for more than a decade. This lecture draws on research in the fields of newspapers, health information, and scholarly publishing to paint a consistent picture of the `digital information consumer'. The portrait he paints is not a flattering one, but many of use will recognise this behaviour instantly, and perhaps with a shudder!
Social media: are they impacting on your research?
17 September 2010
CIBER today launches a new study into social media with a global survey of researchers. Web 2.0 tools have made a huge impact on many people's personal lives and in this study we aim to find out the extent to which these and other collaborative tools have impacted on our scholarly lives, especially our research.
Access to Scholarly Content: Gaps and Barriers
CIBER has won a new contract for a study funded by the RIN, JISC and the Publishing Research Consortium. The aim of the project is to investigate and quantify the extent to which members of different communities in the UK can gain ready access to formally-published scholarly literature, in particular journal articles and conference proceedings; and to identify priorities in filling gaps and overcoming barriers to access, and actions that might be taken to that end. This is envisaged as a practical project, designed to identify some of the ‘quick wins’ actions which could provide better access to information resources for members of various communities in the UK.
Usage Measurements for Digital Content
5 May 2010
Springer has just published an interesting White Paper on usage measurement in the digital environment, with many references to CIBER's Virtual Scholar research.
The evolving Generation Y Workforce: implications for Fujitsu IT and service provision
A CIBER Google Generation study, 26 March 2010
CIBER is leading a project set up by UCL's Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management and Fujitsu, a leading provider of IT systems, services and products, to examine the potential implications for IT firms of the increasing influence of Generation Y in the workforce. Generation Y are those young people "who have always known information technology and come to expect it in every aspect of their lives".
The project will examine the extent to which, if at all, Fujitsu needs to move to a service offering that meets the expectations and aspirations of Generation Y. The research will involve surveys of Generation Y and, for comparative purposes, older ICT users, and exploratory interviews with Fujitsu's existing clients to elicit how they see their operations being affected as GY come into their workforce.
The project is set to begin on April 1st and run until the middle of June. It is being led jointly by Prof David Nicholas (CIBER) and Professor Peter Morris (Bartlett School Of Construction & Project Management), and will involve Peter Williams and Ian Rowlands (CIBER) and Andrew Edkins (Bartlett) in a unique inter-departmental collaboration.
Demonstrating library value and impact
26 March 2010
CIBER has been commissioned by Research Libraries UK to help develop a set of evidence-based advocacy materials for library policy makers in higher education. The research will review and analyse the available material, mainly statistical, that relates to the contribution that libraries make to the student experience, and especially satisfaction. The study is led by Dr Ian Rowlands and will report in August 2010.
Challenges for academic libraries in difficult economic times
18 March 2010
RIN today publishes a guide for senior institutional managers and policymakers on the challenges facing academic libraries in difficult financial times. The work is based on a series of focus group discussions with senior library managers conducted by CIBER with Dr Michael Jubb from RIN earlier this year. The guide is a short edited version of CIBER's analysis: forthcoming articles in Learned Publishing and the Journal of Academic Librarianship will provide a more detailed account of CIBER's findings from the 2009 Charleston Observatory.
16 March 2010
Digital Lives was an AHRC-funded project in which CIBER collaborated with the British Library to break new ground. How can we curate our digital memories in a fast changing world? What are the issues for curators and other professionals? Read and contribute to our draft report.
CIBER wins contract to evaluate the British Library's Digital Research Exhibition
15 March 2010
The British Library is holding a Digital Research Exhibition from September 2010 to May 2011 and CIBER has won the contact to evaluate its audience impact. The aims are to assess, over the course of the exhibition, the degree to which the digital research settings and capabilities (tools, applications and techniques) exhibited are useful for particular audience segments; to identify features that render these settings and capabilities most useful, and scenarios in which they could enhance researchers' current experiences; to identify gaps in the exhibition; to engage the audience in the debate on the role of libraries, and the British Library in particular, in supporting digital research; to engage the audience in the development of new service propositions; and to contribute to knowledge and understanding amongst research libraries, specifically, and research-centric institutions more broadly of the capabilities of digitally-enhanced scholarship.
Information, the elderly and heath outcomes: case study in preventing falls
12 March 2010
CIBER has been invited to work on a project funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust (a charitable medical organisation) in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians, which seeks to develop a programme of home-based exercises delivered as part of routine care for frail elderly people by NHS therapists. It is hoped that this programme will help stabilise the frailty syndrome and reduce the need for acute hospital admission. A second part of the study will test its effectiveness in a randomised control trial.
The role of CIBER in this study is three-fold:
Deliver a systematic review of the literature on frailty, falls and recovery
Run focus groups to elicit the information and health needs of frail elderly people from their own perspective and that of the health professionals
Develop an exercise training manual containing exercises suitable for people who are predominantly chair-fast or have very restricted mobility. This will be an iterative process, trailing versions in various formats and layouts.
The CIBER work strand will be conducted under the leadership of Professor Dave Nicholas and the researchers working on the project will be health information experts, Pete Williams and Anne Welsh. Responsible for the main study are Dr Andrew Clegg (UCL) and Professor John Young from the Academic Unit of Elderly Care and Rehabilitation, Bradford Institute of Health Research.
How do researchers use online journals?
Interesting coverage of two CIBER projects on a Nature network blog, 8 March 2010
CIBER launches Google Generation II study
1 March 2010
Following the enormous interest in our Google Generation report for the British Library and JISC, CIBER announces today the exciting second phase of our research.
What kind of web animal are you?
20 February 2010
CIBER, in association with BBC Lab UK and Stanford University, has developed a unique online experiment to gain a better understanding of how the UK general population behaves online. The experiment is being rolled out on the back of BBC2's Virtual Revolution programme and is the first large-scale web behaviour experiment of its kind.
A land without Google?
25 February 2010
Nature has surveyed Chinese scientists, asking them to imagine a world without access to Google. David Nicholas gives his views.
Students' brains ‘rewired’ by the internet (?)
11 February 2010
An article in today's Daily Telegraph, in part based on CIBER's research for BBC2's Virtual Revolution series, sets some interesting hares running. Are the age-related differences we observe in people's information-seeking on the web set for life, or will younger web users become more like older users as they become socialised in work or higher educational settings? Is there really something fundamentally different about the Google Generation who have grown up with mobiles, games stations and the internet? We won't be able to tell unless there is some serious investment in long-term research, but the early signals should give us all pause for reflection.
Democratic, but dangerous too: how the web changed our world
A preview in The Observer (24 January) of BBC2's new flagship series, The Virtual Revolution, celebrating 40 years of the internet. CIBER is working with the BBC on an online experiment to accompany the series which will begins on Saturday 30 January at 8.30 pm.
Scholarly digital use and information seeking behaviour in business and economics
CIBER was commissioned by JISC to prepare a major evidence-based synthesis of what we know about the digital information-seeking behaviour of students and academics in business and economics. The report draws on a huge range of data from CIBER's ongoing Virtual Scholar research programme.
BBC2 Virtual Revolution rushes
An unedited taster of the forthcoming Virtual Revolution series on BBC 2
CIBER will be rolling out the first ever nationwide online experiment into the online behaviour of members of the general public. Are you a squirrel or a hedgehog? Watch this space and find out...
Empower, Inform, Enrich - the future of public libraries?
CIBER contributes to the DCMS consultation on the modernisation of public libraries
The idea for this survey was first hatched at the 2008 Charleston Library Conference, when the concept of the Charleston Observatory was first put forward. The Observatory is a research adjunct for the Conference and the medium by which some of the great ideas generated there can be turned into robust larger scale research projects.
The Observatory provides continuity and build and a place where information experiments can be undertaken It offers a platform upon which evidence can be collected in a robust and validated manner, and where diverse information communities can come together and share their data for the benefit of all.
The aims of this report are:
to examine the changes that libraries are making in the context of the economic downturn: where budgets and resources are being focused and why;
to determine what practical and positive things are being done; and to assist the community as a whole by increasing co-operation and transparency, sharing best (innovative) practice, and identifying priorities.
In line with that spirit of co-operation, the survey questions were chosen by the community itself, by a panel of nearly 200 librarians.
This report is cosponsored by Baker & Taylor's YBP Library Services and digital provider ebrary®. We are also very grateful to the organisers of the Charleston Conference and to the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) for their invaluable help and advice.
CIBER National e-Books Observatory reports now available
CIBER's project overview report ...
... plus the technical reports that underpin that analysis:
Scholarly e-books usage and information seeking behaviour: a deep log analysis of MyiLibrary
This report includes detailed data from the deep log analysis of the MyiLibrary platform that took place from September 2007 to December 2008. The deep log analysis looked at how users discovered, navigated through and used the 26 course text e-books that were made available on the MyiLibrary platform. In addition, the use of 10,000 other e-books on the MyiLibrary platform were analysed for comparison. There is an executive summary for quick reference that highlights findings on subject differences, reading times, searching, user locations, etc.
Headline findings from the user surveys
This report provides an overview of the exit user survey undertaken in January 2009 and compares the key findings with the entrance user survey that took place in January 2008. The surveys explored user's awareness, perceptions and attitudes towards e-books and course text e-books. Together these surveys received over 52,000 responses making them the biggest user survey on e-books ever undertaken in the world.
Key findings from the first user survey
This report provides an overview of the findings from the first user survey undertaken in January 2008. The data gathered provides a benchmark against which the changes in user's attitudes, perceptions and awareness of e-books can be measured. There were over 22,000 responses to this survey.
Analysis of the free text fields from the first user survey
This report provides an analysis of the responses to two open questions in the entrance user survey. The first was ‘In your opinion, what were the biggest advantages that e‐book offered, compared with a printed book?’. This elicited 11,624 responses. The second question was ‘Is there anything that you want to add regarding course texts, print or electronic, or about your university library?’ In total 4809 comments were received to this question.
Assessing the impact of electronic course texts on print sales and library hard copy circulation
This report looks at the impact of free at the point of use course text e-books licensed for the Observatory project on publisher's retail sales and library circulation data. It is an extremely interesting report that uses transparent data.
E-books provide 'safety valve' for librarians
The Charleston Information Observatory
A CIBER survey of the economic downturn and its impact on libraries
The Observatory, established in Spring 2009, is a mechanism by which the exciting ideas and challenges raised at the annual Charleston Conference can be researched further and the results reported back to Conference to provide continuity and build. The Observatory is the research adjunct for the Conference, the medium by which the ideas generated are turned into robust research projects, which provide the evidence base for strategic planning. The Observatory is a place where information experiments can be undertaken, where evidence can be collected in a robust and validated manner, and where diverse communities can come together and share their data to the benefit of all. The Observatory will promote international research collaboration; global problems require global solutions.
The Observatory's first project is a global library survey to understand challenges, trends, changes and best practices in tough economical times. More specifically the study will; a) examine the changes that libraries are making, where budgets and resources are being focused and why; b) determine practical/positive things being done; and assist the community as a whole by increasing co-operation, share best (innovative) practice, and identify priorities. This project is co-sponsored by ebrary and Baker & taylor's YBP Library Services. CIBER will report to Conference in November 2009. The study is being conducted by David Nicholas, Ian Rowlands and Katina Strauch, College of Charleston Library.
The e-Journals Revolution: How the Use of Scholarly Journals is Shaping Research
A Research Information Network podcast
The Research Information Network organised a one day event day at the Royal College of Medicine on 1 July 2009 at which the initial findings of CIBER's study into the use of e-journals were shared with members of the research community. The podcast is just under 28 minutes.
03:37 Professor David Nicholas of CIBER Group talks about the methodology and objectives of the RIN study on e-journals, and explains some of the key findings so far.
09:18 Chris Banks of the Library and Historic Collections of the University of Aberdeen shares data on the use of e-journals at her university.
12:45 Richard Gedye Research Director at Oxford University Press, responds to the early findings from a publisher's perspective.
18:34 Dr Emily Lyons of Imperial College London discusses the impact of e-journals on researchers at all levels.
22:46 Professor Ian Rowlands of CIBER Group explains what Phase II of the RIN study will involve and how today's discussions will influence its direction.
The Provision and Use of Research Support Services
A study funded by the Research Information Network and OCLC Research
CIBER has won a contract for a study on research support services. Universities are developing a range of information-based services to meet and support the needs of their researchers, including institutional repositories, expert and grant award databases, bibliometric analysis capabilities, and the like. This study sets out to map the range and extent of these services in a sample of UK and US universities. The aim is to identify areas of good practice and to provide librarians and information professionals, research support staff, university administrators and research funders with a clear and detailed set of conclusions and recommendations about how they might develop their services to meet the needs of researchers.
Journal Publishing Ethics
Two recent CIBER projects
Peter Williams has recently completed a study with COPE, The Committee on Publication Ethics, examining how and why and how journals retract articles in order to enable COPE to develop guidelines for authors. The study explored editors' experiences of the retraction process and the nature of retraction statements. The study was mentioned in the Times Higher Education of 2 September 2009.
Ian Rowlands has also been working with COPE and Wiley-Blackwell on an international survey of journal editors and their attitudes towards and experience of ethical issues. The resulting paper has been accepted by the BMJ's Journal of Medical Ethics and will be published in the October issue.
The UK's Share of World Research Output
A CIBER report for the Research Information Network
Bibliometrics have come to play an increasing role in assessing the performance of researchers in the UK, as indeed in other parts of the world. But the complexities of both the data sources and the methods of analysis used are little understood by many of those who wish to make use of the results.
Even the relatively simple matter of measuring the UK's share of the global production of scientific publications is much more complex than appears at first sight, with traps for the unwary and huge differences in the published figures. Our new report The UK's share of world research outputs: an investigation of different data sources and time trends highlights important issues both for those who produce bibliometric analyses of research performance, and for those who commission and make use of such work.
The figures given in different published reports for the UK's percentage share in world science vary by as much as 40%: figures between 6.5% and 9.1% have been reported for the year of 2002 for example, and there is not even agreement if the UK's share is rising or falling from year to year. With such major differences, it is difficult for policy-makers and others concerned with the health of the UK research base to get a clear picture of how well it is performing.
The RIN report explains how these difference arise, and reflects on the implications for the measurement of UK scientific performance. It highlights that producers and publishers of bibliometric data must make much more transparent the choices they have made as to data sources and methodology, and the implications of those choices. Policy-makers and others interested in the health of the UK research base must also take greater care to interrogate the figures that they use and to present them accurately. Otherwise the risk is that policy and related decisions will be made on the basis of false assessments.
Copycats? Digital Consumers in the Online Age
A CIBER report for the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy
Copycats? Digital Consumers in the On-line Age, was commissioned by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP) and examines online consumer behaviour in the UK and its potential impact on business and government policy. It is the first piece of research to look at evidence from across the copyright industries and across all age ranges. The report states that new generation broadband access at 50 Mbs per second (mbs) can deliver 200 mp3 files in five minutes; a DVD in three minutes and the complete digitised works of Charles Dickens in less than ten minutes.
David Lammy, Minister of State for Intellectual Property said, ‘We know that the copyright industries in the UK are suffering huge losses due to illegal downloading. The report helps put the scale of the problem into context and highlights the gaps in the evidence which need to be filled. It is important that we understand how on-line consumer behaviour impacts on the UK economy and the future sustainability of our copyright industries. Illegal downloading is not an issue confined by national boundaries. I am sure other EU States and their copyright industries will find this report of use in the development of policy.’
Dame Lynne Brindley, SABIP Board member, said, ‘CIBER's work is a huge step forward in understanding on-line consumer attitudes across the generations. This new evidence can develop a clear research strategy to support policy development in this fast moving area.’
A CIBER report for the Research Information Network
E-journals: their use, value and impact' takes an in-depth look at how researchers in the UK use electronic journals, the value they bring to universities and research institutions and the contribution they make to research productivity, quality and outcomes.
Journal publishers began to provide online access to full-text scholarly articles in the late 1990s, triggering a revolution in the scholarly communications process. A very high proportion of journal articles are now available online — 96 per cent of journal titles in science, technology and medicine, and 86 per cent of titles in the arts, humanities and social sciences.
It's clear that e-journals have given researchers an unprecedented level and convenience of access to knowledge in scholarly articles, but what effect have they had on the ways in which researchers seek information? Do they provide good value for money to higher education libraries and what are the wider benefits for universities and research institutions?
Our report examines how researchers interact with journal websites and whether enhanced access to journal articles has led to greater productivity, research quality and other outcomes. It finds that researchers are savvy when it comes to using e-journals, finding the information they need quickly and efficiently, and that higher spending on e-journals is linked to better research outcomes. Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten universities and research institutions, our report starts to build a clear picture of how e-journals are shaping the information landscape — a picture that we'll add to as our research in this area continues.
Black and Minority Ethnic staff representation in libraries
A policy report for CILIP
This study raises a number of important issues which provide ample reasons why LIS may not be the most attractive career for a Black and Minority Ethnic person. Several questions emerge from the findings,
such as whether there are different problems or issues specific to LIS workers from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds. If so, the question is raised of how these individual differences might be addressed. A second question is the extent to which the same problems highlighted in this study apply to other areas of the United Kingdom. Much still needs to be done to address the issues raised in this report, both in terms of research and possible practical action.
Dispelling the Myths about E-books with Empirical Evidence
A CIBER report for JISC Collections
There is a demand from academic libraries for taught course texts to be made available online but publishers are not currently meeting this demand. This is due to the uncertainty about potential revenue loss that publishers may experience from a drop in student sales. In response to this demand and uncertainty in the market place JISC has funded the JISC national e-books observatory project. This project aims to understand how e-books are being used on a national scale. It will provide an evidence base to answer these questions; Will making textbooks available online cause a decline in print sales? Will students use e-textbooks? What are the best models for licensing? What should be the basis for pricing? Is it worth spending the library budget on them?
This briefing paper, released at the 2009 JISC Conference in Edinburgh dispels some of the myths surrounding e-books. It reports the key findings of a deep log analysis of the e-book platform as well as those from a huge nationwide survey of students and faculty with more than 50,000 responses.
Digital Consumers: Reshaping the Information Profession
Edited by David Nicholas and Ian Rowlands, Facet Publishing, 2008
The information professions - librarianship, archives, publishing and, to some extent, journalism - have been rocked by the digital transition that has led to disintermediation, easy access and massive information choice. Professional skills are increasingly being performed without the necessary context, rationale and understanding. Information now forms a consumer commodity with many diverse information producers engaged in the market. It is generally the lack of recognition of this fact amongst the information professions that explains the difficulties they find themselves in.
There is a need for a new belief system that will help information professionals survive and engage in a ubiquitous information environment, where they are no longer the dominant players, nor, indeed, the suppliers of first choice. The purpose of this thought-provoking book is to provide that overarching vision.
Buy the book: it is an important review of the state of the art in these early years of the 21st century and worth its price. INFORMATION RESEARCH
A key feature of the studies collected in this book is the impressive research undertaken by the authors...The chapter on the Google generation is perhaps the best of all. Again very well researched, it debunks several myths about this far from homogenous group of young people, their information seeking skills and the analysis of their use of both Google and libraries...This is an interesting and thought-provoking read ONLINE INFORMATION REVIEW
Facet Publishing (the publishing arm of CILIP as the Library Association is now called) must be congratulated on a growing list of books relevant to publishers Most members will find it of interestPUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION
It is time for a different way of looking at things - a new philosophy, where disintermediation rules and Consumer is King. Ignore it at your peril. Professional meltdown is nigh...the book requires us to question what we think we know about our users, hold it up, turn it round and look at it from completely different angles...Voicing the mantra of every good Evolutionist - adapt or die! This is a very thought-provoking book relevant to librarians, publishers, journalists and archivists alike. INTERNET RESOURCES NEWSLETTER
Digital information use at the House of Commons
Funded by the UK Parliament (February to May 2009).
The objectives are: (a) To determine how users are navigating to information; (b) To evaluate the use of the pre-prepared written briefings known as Research Papers, Standard Notes and Debate Packs, by name, subject and date/time; (c) To obtain data on the use of subscription external subscription databases; (d) To evaluate and analyse use according to whether users are Information Services staff or customers, MPs, or their researchers; and (e) To evaluate referrer link data. The study is yet to report and is likely to be extended in scope and duration.
E-journals: use, impact and outcomes
Funded by the Research Information Network (April 2009 to January 2010)
The first phase created a robust and substantial evidence base on the actual use and information-seeking behaviour of UK researchers in respect to e-journals, relating these data to research performance indicators, library investment and other institutional factors. The very act of compiling the evidence base has raised further questions to be answered in a second, survey and qualitative stage. The aims and research questions of the project are, via questionnaire and interview:
To test and challenge the log findings and establish their robustness.
To establish a deeper understanding of what lies behind the patterns of use and information-seeking behaviour portrayed by the logs.
To obtain explanations for the diversity in information-seeking behaviour and usage that has been discovered, especially in regard to research status, institutional size, and discipline.
To determine how online searching and use relates to overall information seeking, use, reading and citing behaviour, and to overall scholarly and research workflows.
Derive estimates (on the basis of interviews and surveys) as to the levels of usage by researchers on the one hand and students on the other.
Build a longitudinal data set so that trends in journal investment, use, research outcomes can be seen. A longitudinal approach will also allow publication lags to be taken into consideration and further test the validity of the phase I CIBER models.
EuropeanaConnect: putting Europe's cultural heritage online
Funded by the European Commission (June 2009 to December 2010)
The project will provide real-time monitoring and evaluation of the use (and users) of the different services developed as part of Europeana. This will be undertaken through the use of an advanced, bespoke methodology - deep log analysis, which is specifically designed for making sense of ALL information seeking behaviour in a virtual space, something which then enables service providers to point to the positive outcomes and impacts of using their service. Specific areas of investigation are:
Analyse the transaction logs of the Europeana Prototype, launched in November 2008 to: (a) see how people have used it; (b) demonstrate the potential data yield (deep log analysis can provide data on 29 separate characteristics of information behaviour in the virtual space).
On the basis of the above, specify logging requirements for Europeana and establish a system by which we can maximise the capture of user and use data so that the service will always remain close to user needs and developments, and respond directly and immediately to them.
Investigate the best means of regularly reporting on the usage logs for Europeana and establish deep log analysis as a routine method of reporting on Europeana usage, users and outcomes.
Feeding results of log analysis back into the improvement and further development of Europeana, including personalization services (MyEuropeana).
Create a set of recommendations for personalisation development.
EUROCANCERCOMS: Cancer information flows in Europe
Funded by the European Commission (June 2009 to December 2010)
The aim is to establish a European-wide benchmark study of cancer digital information consumers. This will profile their: demographic characteristics; information seeking behaviour; patterns of usage and topics sought; attitudes and perceptions; barriers/obstacles, levels of satisfaction and health outcomes. It will provide the essential context for the broader study by describing and visualizing a strategic component of the virtual cancer communication space. The study will establish whether: poor communication can be blamed for poor health outcomes and whether a ‘EuroGoogle-cancer’ or ‘one stop shop’ for all cancer patients and their families and carers might offer a viable way forward.
Evaluating the use and impact of electronic course texts on a national scale
Funded by JISC (April to July 2009)
The National e-Books Observatory (NeBO) project continues to generate very large quantities of data that represent a significant investment by JISC and CIBER. Even with the current analysis being undertaken by CIBER, further research using this data as a platform is extremely advantageous and the key objective of the research is to put the Deep Log, survey and other analyses in a broader (teaching and learning) context by: a) analysing users' comments and gaining a better understanding of the demographic factors that shape the demand for electronic course texts; b) evaluating the extent of the changes that have taken place in attitudes and behaviour among students and faculty over the course of the Observatory experiment; c) maximising community engagement with our research by relating all this to the debate around appropriate business models.
Understanding the information-seeking behaviour of business and economics students
Funded by JISC (April to September 2009)
The basic aim of the CIBER input to this study is to inform and provide context for an observational study of information-seeking behaviour by business and management students. The study will, in part, employ the huge evidence base built up CIBER during the National e-Books Observatory project.
Publishing and the Ecology of European Research (PEER)
Funded by the European Commission (May 2009 to August 2011)
PEER is a pioneering collaboration between publishers, repositories and the research community, in which at least 16,000 peer-reviewed manuscripts or 'e-prints' destined to become accepted journal articles will be made available for archiving every year for three years. The aim is to understand the impacts that large-scale deposit of Stage II manuscripts have on usage patterns (using deep log techniques). What is the source and nature of usage of deposited manuscripts? What do the usage patterns reveal that is of strategic relevance to the research community, publishers and repositories?
Virtual Scholar programme (2004–)
The Virtual Scholar programme tidily brings together CIBER's expertise in digital libraries and deep log analysis on the one hand, with scholarly communication and bibliometrics on the other, to explore the changing world of academic information supply and use. Considerable changes are taking place in academic publishing, notably in respect of journals and monographs. The Virtual Scholar aims to provide objective evidence from both user and supply perspectives, and thus support a balanced discussion of some strategic issues facing the academic community. It provides the publishing industry with much of its strategic research in areas such as the digital transition, new business models, social and policy angles (e.g. academic freedom), open access, repositories, the development of robust methodologies and metrics, creative writing, book history, impact of literary prizes, and changes in book retailing.
Research opportunities are enormous because, despite its size and importance to the economy, the UK publishing industry seriously under-invests in research and ideas. Few publishing houses have an in-house research capability or access to an independent forum to provide a strategic overview of the issues facing the sector. Evidence that the industry is hungry for robust, objective research comes from the fact that CIBER has been approached by two major publishers and an international trade association to create a series of White Papers to brief the industry on the strategic issues it faces.
Digital Health programme (2002–2005)
The Digital Health Group was formed in 2002, replacing The Internet Studies Research Group, and becoming part of Ciber. Two factors were at play. The first was that the group had begun to look at services and systems beyond the traditional 'Internet' (such as digital TV applications, some of which incorporated elements of the Internet) and the second was increased funding from the Department of Health, NHS and Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, in a project which also examines health information.
The Digital Health Research Group was a multi-disciplinary association of researchers and practitioners, from the related subjects of information science, computer science, health, journalism and electronic publishing who have combined together to study difficult consumer health issues. The broad aims of the group were to examine the take-up of health information delivery through ICTs and to identify the barriers that might constrain the developments of such initiatives. A good deal of the work concerned the collection and analysis of computer transaction logs. These provided a true and insightful record of user behaviour.