Saturday, August 21, 2010

If you build it, will they come? Web 2.0 in research communication

Quite clearly, the advent of web 2.0 does not pass without effects on how researchers communicate. But how do web 2.0 technologies impact scientific communication? To find out the British Research Information Network commissioned a study and published the results in a report.

In deciding if they will make web 2.0 tools and services part of their everyday practice, the key questions for researchers are the benefits they may secure from doing so, and how it fits with their use of established services. Researchers who use web 2.0 tools and services do not see them as comparable to or substitutes for other channels and means of communication, but as having their own distinctive role for specific purposes and at particular stages of research. And frequent use of one kind of tool does not imply frequent use of others as well.


There has been considerable interest in the last two-three years in concepts of open science or open research; and in finding ways to put into effect the proposition that all kinds of information and other resources produced by researchers should flow as public goods into an open infrastructure that supports and facilitates reconfiguration and integration of those resources. Our findings show that very few researchers are as yet operating in this way. About half of respondents to our survey share their work with colleagues, but only a small group of enthusiastic open researchers – 5% of our respondents – publish their outputs and their work in progress openly, using blogs and other tools. Others consider such practices a waste of time, or even that it risks bringing ‘anarchy in science’.

The authors of this study recommend to watch the developments in this field. They do not expect immediate or short term effects on scientific communication. None of the new web 2.0 media do yet replace the traditional scientific communication media. Current users rather see the new media as a broadening of the spectrum of media available.

Procter, R., R. Williams, und J. Stewart (2010), If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0, Research Information Network, London, United Kingdom.

1 comment:

Lutz said...

Thanks for the tip!