The Phase II report of the UK’s RIN study, just published: E-Journals: Their Use, Value and Impact, Final Report

“Based on an analysis of log files from journal websites and data from libraries in ten [UK] universities and research institutions [in 2009]”

From the report…

“It is difficult, often impossible, to distinguish from log records alone between researcher and student use of e-journals. Moreover, there are no figures in the public domain regarding the levels of use of e-journals by students and researchers respectively, and it seems unlikely that any librarians or publishers know this with any confidence.”

However, the research also used other methods…

“No other study has subjected a UK research community to such intense scrutiny: logs, questionnaires, interviews, observation and statistical datasets were used to enrich and triangulate the findings presented in this report.”

Some interesting snippets relating to the humanities…

“Only a small minority (14%, mostly in the humanities) visit the library building to browse or to read hard copy journals.”

“Researchers now expect immediate access to the full text, and they are frustrated when they find that their university does not have the necessary subscription, or that they are asked for a password they do not have, or that they are asked to pay for a download. Over a third of our survey respondents reported such problems […] Historians […] seem to face the most problems with access,”

And relating to student use of ejournals…

“Student use of e-journals is clearly substantial, and this represents a powerful argument for sustained long-term spending on them. E-journals play a major role in supporting learning and teaching, as well as research.”

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