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Publication and Dissemination Behaviour of Researchers


Loughborough University Department of Information Science, LISU and the Centre for Research in Library and Information Management (CERLIM) at Manchester Metropolitan University were commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN) to undertake a study on the publication, dissemination and citation behaviour of research active staff in UK Higher Education. The study ran from December 2008 to July 2009, and the results informed the development of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
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The broad aim of the study was to investigate:

  • The motivations, incentives and constraints that lead researchers in the UK in different subjects and disciplines to publish and disseminate their work in different ways
  • How and why researchers cite other researchers’ work
  • In particular, how researchers’ decisions on publication and citation are influenced (or not) by considerations arising from research assessment

The study sought to establish an independent and authoritative base of evidence as to how research assessment influences researchers’ behaviour in these areas. These issues are of particular importance in the context of the proposed move to a new Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Methods included:

  • An extensive review of existing academic and ‘grey’ literature, bibliometric analysis
  • A survey of researchers
  • A series of country-wide focus groups with research-active academics representing a cross section of institutions and disciplines

The results will help to inform those participating in the development of the REF about its potential impact on researchers’ behaviour and on the development and take-up of new modes of scholarly communications and of research information services. The study will also form the baseline for future studies to be carried out at appropriate intervals.

A range of subjects and disciplines were covered, including sciences, social sciences and humanities, with some special consideration given to subjects that were identified in consultations as posing particular challenges to the design of the REF.

Progress reports





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