University of Tennessee

To study assessments by academic researchers of the trustworthiness of diverse scholarly information sources and channels

  • Amount $273,130
  • City Knoxville, TN
  • Investigator Carol Tenopir
  • Year 2012
  • Program Digital Technology
  • Sub-program Scholarly Communication

We know from server log analysis that a substantial and growing percentage of the readers of any online academic article arrive not because they are browsing a given journal or author, but through the results of a search query using a search engine like Google or Bing or Proquest. We know little, however, about how researchers decide which items in search results are worth reading or citing or about how these changing information discovery and consumption patterns influence the choice of where one publishes one's work. This grant supports work by David Nicholas and Carol Tenopir of the University of Tennessee to better understand the behavior of academics as both producers and consumers of scholarly literature, in particular the role that judgments of trust and quality play in choices of publication channel, citation, and time investment in reading new material. Nicholas and Tenopir have built a unique corpus of web usage data from a number of major publishers' online platforms, which they will mine for insights into user behavior. Patterns of behavior in that usage data will inform the design of a series of focus groups and a broad survey to investigate reading and dissemination channel choices, and a series of "critical incident reports" will drill deeply into the underlying motivations for citation by asking select authors to walk through the discovery of and rationale for each citation in their most recent paper's bibliography.

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