The announcement is dated January 6, 2010, but the report itself is dated July 2010. In any case it’s new to me, so I thought I would run through some interesting points. Here’s the citation (as much as I can tell):
Proctor,R., Williams,R. & Stewart, J. (2010). If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0. London: Research Information Network. Retrieved July 6, 2010 from http://www.rin.ac.uk/system/files/attachments/web_2.0_screen.pdf
It often seems like people are very negative about the adoption of web 2.0 stuff in science; that is, when they’re not hyping it way out of proportion. This report seems carefully written and overall quite positive. They did surveys (n=1308), interviews (n=56, stratified sample), and case studies of selected web 2.0 tools (n=5) – so lots of data.
Some background definitions. They include formal and informal scholarly communication as part of scholarly communication and they also add in coordination-type communication as well as popularizations. In other words, anything a “scholar” might communicate. They also define web 2.0 more broadly. It’s not just the technologies that enable the sharing of user-generated content, but the practices surrounding the use of these technologies.
About an eighth of their sample were frequent users of at least one of the technologies (13%). Almost half were occasional users (45%). It wasn’t the youngest who were most likely – probably, as many people have mentioned – because more junior researchers have to play by the rules to graduate, get a job, and then get tenure. For blogging, a combined 16% write a blog occasionally or frequently and 23% comment on blogs either occasionally or frequently. With the fact that the arts and humanities had fewer frequent users, they were more likely to maintain blogs.
The researchers asked about encouragement and of course the institutional part is high, but the impact of library & information services as well as conference organizers is notable.
One frustrating thing about this report is in the section on dissemination choices for scholarly content. Why oh why are “online subscription journals” different from “print-based subscription journals”? What’s the difference? Why are “open-access, online-only journals” listed separately? ergh.
As far as reasons why not, some were too busy, some were worried about how they would be valued.
There’s a small piece on open science, but not too much.
As for information seeking – blogs really aren’t the first place people go, but they’re not last. That’s open notebooks (to be fair, if there are so few, then they really can’t answer all that many questions, even if they are wonderful).
The participants found these tools useful for filtering, meeting new people, the speed of communication.
The proliferation of resources make it difficult for newbies to get started. There needs to be more support and encouragement locally as well as technical support. Attribution and credit need to be worked out. All this without disturbing the traditional ecosystem.
All in all a useful report and worth a read.