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--> Study on the Use of Scientific Literature and Reference Services by Scandinavian Scientists and Engineers Engaged in Research and Development ELIN TÖRNUDD Earlier studies in the field During the past three decades several studies have been carried out to determine the characteristics of the subject literatures used by scientists and the relative importance of different kinds of publications, especially journals in various fields. These earliest studies as well as the great majority of later ones were based on analysis of library records, tabulation of published material covered by abstract journals and bibliographies, or on reference counting, that is tabulating footnotes and other literature references in journals, dissertations, and books. These studies have thrown light on such questions as trends in publication, the relative importance of different special fields, title dispersion, subject scattering, time span or period of usefulness, language distribution of pertinent literature, and the national origin of materials. Several reference counting studies have produced lists of periodicals most frequently cited in the literature to aid libraries in the selection of periodicals in different subjects. Secondary sources such as handbooks, textbooks, abstracts, and indexes very seldom enter the picture in these studies, because they are not normally referred to among literature references, however often they might have been consulted by the author. The validity of the results of the above mentioned studies depends first of all on the sample used for tabulation. Regarding tabulation of material in biblio- ELIN TÖRNUDD Secretary of the Scandinavian Council for Applied Research. This study was made under a contract from Unesco.
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--> graphical tools, the results need not indicate its usefulness. References in journals and books need not cover the most useful material consulted, and the material cited need not actually have been used. E.Brodman (reference 2 below) correlated the relative value placed on specific journals by specialists with the value of these journals as measured through reference counting and came to the conclusion that the latter method is untrustworthy. Not until recently have studies on the use of literature and other means of communication, directed to the working scientist rather than to his products, entered the scene. Four different methods have been used: Questionnaires directed to (a) samples of scientists or (b) patrons of libraries (“current use”). This method is criticised for its subjectiveness and the poor correspondence between the recollections by the respondents and the facts obtained from more direct observation. Interviews. This method has the same weaknesses as the previous one, and, in addition, the answers may be influenced by the personal contact with the investigator. Diary. Two of the most competent studies have been carried out with this method, the latest one by R.R.Shaw, who came to the conclusion that the method may be equally unreliable as the two mentioned above. Full reporting is difficult to obtain even under controlled conditions of study. Case study. Because of its slowness and high cost this very valid method requiring an highly trained investigator has been used to a rather small extent. A variation “hit-and-run” method involves short data-gathering visits with the group under investigation, and is less costly than the case study, since less qualified investigators can be used. One of the weaknesses of these methods is that persons under study are aware of being observed. Large scale programs of operational research studies involving combinations of the above mentioned methods are under way, and it is to be hoped that reliable methods will emerge that will facilitate the production of objective data to build a firm basis for developing the scientific literature and reference services. Excellent surveys of the literature on earlier studies exist, and among these the following deserve to be pointed out: EGAN, M., and HENKLE, H.H. Ways and Means in Which Research Workers, Executives and Others Use Information. In Documentation in Action. Reinhold Publishing Corp., 1956. pp. 137–159 (bibliography of 53 references). SHAW, R.R. Studies on the Use of Literature in Science and Technology. In Pilot Study on the Use of Scientific Literature by Scientists. National Science Foundation, Washington, 1956. (Informative abstracts of studies published before the beginning of 1954.)
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--> STEVENS, R.E. Characteristics of Subject Literatures. ACRL Monographs. Nos. 5–7, pp. 10–21, Jan. 1953. A bibliography of earlier studies is presented below. To facilitate a subject approach the latter part of the bibliography is arranged by the field of science or technology with cross references to the first part covering studies carried out with the direct method. I. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE USE OF SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE AND REFERENCE SERVICES AS REVEALED BY STUDIES DIRECTED TO THE SCIENTISTS 1. BERNAL, J.D. Preliminary Analysis of Pilot Questionnaire on the Use of Scientific Literature. In The Royal Society Scientific Information Conference, 1948. Report. pp. 101–102, 589–637. Purpose. To find out what working scientists read, why they read it and what use they make of the information. Method. Combination of a diary and questionnaire with responses from 208 scientists who represented 8 British research institutes affiliated with the government, universities, and private enterprises. Results. Tabulated by institutional affiliation, field of science, and status. This “classic” among studies proved that it was possible to obtain information on current needs of scientists. The revealed data included the following: 37% of sources of references to the literature were references in articles, abstracts 18%, and personal recommendations 14%. Average number of journals consulted varied from 5 to 10 per week. Mean time reported for reading was 5 hours/week. 65% of the sample kept personal indexes, 76% used reviews and all used abstracts. 47% did not read any foreign language easily. 2. BRODMAN, E. Choosing Physiology Journals. Medical Library Association, Bulletin 32:479–483, 1944. Purpose. To check the basic assumptions of the reference counting method. Method. Physiologists of the faculty of Columbia University were asked to list the periodicals they considered most valuable in order of their usefulness and this list was compared against a list obtained by counting references in an annual review publication and in 3 journals. Results. The rank correlation between the scientists’ list and those obtained through reference counting was low, the corresponding correlation between reference counts from annual reviews and the journals was also low. The reference counting method appeared untrustworthy. 3. BUSH, G.C., GALLIHER, H.P., and MORSE, P.M. Attendance and Use of the Science Library at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. American Documentation 7:87–109, 1956. Purpose. To determine the extent and ways of use of the MIT Science Library. Method. Questionnaire to 50% of the library users of one week. The 2800 filled in questionnaires were handled by operational research methods.
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--> Results. The users were found to fall into 2 groups: (1) undergraduates who used the library primarily as a study hall staying on an average for 50 min. per visit and (2) graduates who came to use the library materials and stayed about 100 min. per visit. Chemists were observed to use serial literature more than 3 times as much as books while mathematicians used books more frequently. A mathematical model employing probability theory to measure rate and kind of use of library material together with length of stay of the patrons was an outcome of the survey. 4. CURTIS, G.A. A Statistical Survey of the Services of the John Crerar Library. M.A. Thesis, University of Chicago, 1951. Purpose. To study the extent and way of use of the JCL. Method. Call slips for materials in the stacks were elaborated with inquiries regarding the intended type of use (school work, private research, company research, etc.) for the publication requested and all patrons were registered. A random sample of the call slips were analysed. Results. Tabulated by institutional affiliation and use made of the publication, address of the customer, etc. Detailed library statistics emerged. 5. DENNIS, W., and GIRDEN, E. Do Psychologists Read? American Psychologist 8:197–199, 1953. Purpose. To study the reader audience of different features in Psychological Bulletin. Method. Questionnaire to the members of the APA with a 50% response. Results. The reader audience of different features varied from 9% to 58%. 6. GLASS, B. Survey of Biological Abstracting. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1954. Purpose. (1) To study the effectiveness of Biological Abstracts and (2) to determine the consensus about it. Method. For (2) questionnaires to 6995 biologists with responses from 1854. To eliminate the possible bias of the low response rate local samples were interviewed. Results. Tabulated by the samples: US General, US local samples, US librarians, total US, foreign. The questionnaire results that breadth of coverage was considered satisfactory while the slowness in abstracting was unsatisfactory did not agree with the results of the objective part (1) of the study and appear to indicate that promptness is considered more important than exhaustiveness. 7. GRAY, D.E. Physics Abstracting. American Journal of Physics 18:417–424, 1950. Purpose. To study (1) for what purposes United States physicists use abstracts of physics literature, (2) what they think of the abstracting services available to them, and (3) what they want in the way of abstracts. Method. A total of 2128 physicists and 300 librarians were queried. A total of 1477 questionnaires from physicists and 202 from librarians were completed. The data were analyzed as follows: (1) by the entire group, (2) in four age groups, (3) in 19 subject subdivisions, and (4) by type of organization of employment. Results. The seven most used abstracting publications among the physicists were: Physics Abstracts (93%), Chemical Abstracts (40%), Nuclear Science Abstracts (28%), Electrical Engineering Abstracts (18%), Mathematical Reviews (10%), Applied Mechanics Reviews (7%), and Engineering Index (7%).
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--> 46% of the group used abstracts “principally as a guide”; 6% as substitutes for original articles; 48% half as a guide and half as a substitute. 22% used abstracts principally for keeping up with literature; 30% used them principally for retrospective searches; and the remaining 48% used them for both purposes. In rating Physics Abstracts, 96% of the respondents were satisfied with the quality of its abstracts. 86% of the respondents preferred abstracts to mere titles and references. There was a fairly low ceiling on the additional costs that the respondents were willing to pay for an improved abstracting service. (Abstract condensed from Shaw.) 8. HERNER, S. Information Gathering Habits of Workers in Pure and Applied Science. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 46:228–236, 1954. Purpose. To determine the sources of research information and reference services that are most useful. Method. 606 scientists and engineers engaged in research at the various divisions of the Johns Hopkins University were interviewed with the aid of a detailed questionnaire. Results. Tabulated by nature of research: pure or applied and in some cases by subject field of respondent. The degree of dependence upon scientific literatures as opposed to verbal sources varied and was greater by pure scientists, median 75%, than by applied ones, 50%. The same relation existed between scientists affiliated with academic institutions and non-teaching institutions. The most frequently used direct sources of information were advanced textbooks and monographs, research journals, handbooks, mathematical and physical tables, and research reports. The amount of information derived from domestic journals was 75%. Of the indirect sources of information personal recommendation, references in books and papers, regular perusing of the literature, indexes and abstracts, and bibliographies were considered most useful, and were listed in that order. The average number of journals subscribed to was 2. The reference services furnished by the library were used more than twice as much by applied as by pure scientists. The order of the different services was: accession and selected reading lists, guidance by library staff, bibliographies made on request and translations. 219 scientists were asked whether the literature in its present form is meeting their requirements; 129 were satisfied, 49 had no opinion, and 41 were dissatisfied. 8a. HERNER, S. Library Services. Chemical and Engineering News 32:4980, 1954. Purpose. To determine needs for library service by the technical staff of Atlantic Research Corp. working on jet and rocket fuels. Method. Interview with research workers. Results. Distribution of accessions lists and a library bulletin as well as literature searches were in heaviest demand. 9. HERTZ, D.B., and RUBENSTEIN, A.H. Team Research. Eastern Technical Publications, New York 1953, 103 pp. (out of print). Method. The specific areas covered in the study were: (1) the extent of use of the research team, its size, and membership, in various types of research; (2) the organizational relationship and patterns of specific research groups; and (3) communication problems arising from team research activities.
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--> The first phase was a questionnaire survey of the number and kinds of research personnel employed in industrial laboratories. A questionnaire was sent to 3500 industrial research laboratories. 1436 usable responses were received. The responding firms employed a total of 44,639 professional researchers and 21,816 non-professional assistants. The second phase dealt with the personnel makeup of research teams, and with the extent of “multidisciplinary” group research. The third phase consisted of field investigations of nine selected research and development groups in five organizations, and of interviews with research administrators and research workers in some 40 laboratories. The questions asked had to do with (a) the media and channels of information available to the group and (b) the use that is made of these media or channels by the research team or group. The procedures used were: a stratified random sample was asked to fill out a sheet at intervals over a 5-week period telling exactly what he had been doing during the preceding 15 minutes, whether he had communicated with anyone, and whether he had obtained any useful information during this period. a questionnaire which requested information on the communication media each person used for different purposes, the people he contacted most frequently, the number of times he engaged in certain activities over various periods of time, and his best sources of information; personal interviews with a cross-section of the research groups to obtain personal evaluations of available vehicles of communication. Results. The average number of communicative acts performed by the subjects was two per hour. In 60% of these communicative acts the subject reported a transfer of information. Communication was greatest on Wednesdays, and lower at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week. The proportion of information-bearing communications was highest on Tuesday and Wednesday. The greatest amount of communication took place during the period just before lunch and during the last hour of the day. The highest period for information-transfer was from 10:00 to 3:00. The project reported was conducted by a staff of 8 full-time members and 17 part-time members over a 2-year period. Two kinds of action are described as basic in the administration of a research or development group. These are design and control. The basic design-control factors are: physical facilities, equipment, communication media, and personal policies and incentives. In addition to a mechanism of communication, there must exist (1) the need or occasion for information transfer, (2) a social or psychological rapport among the communicators, and (3) a commonly understood language which permits the ready transmission of intelligence. As for ways in which information can be transferred, the authors suggest the following: face-to-face communication (conversation and conferences), the most used mechanism in the laboratories studied; written communication, the least used means of communication: communication through published material, least used by organizations in product or process development work and most used among organizations doing fundamental research in physical sciences; telephone or other mechanical means of
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--> communication, an important medium, often neglected by research administrators; professional and society meetings; advanced academic work; visits to outside research organizations. Operational examinations by the research administrator of all the foregoing means of conveying information are recommended. Propinquity is described as a factor which improves the use of published material. On the question (on the questionnaire) as to how industrial research personnel obtain information about how to do their jobs, the first choice of the largest number of individuals was by contacting persons of higher rank. Handbooks and other reference materials kept at their desk were second; contacting persons on the same level, third. Few of the respondents consulted persons of lower rank. A majority considered the library an important source of this type of information, but none considered it first in importance. Measurements of communication levels based on the probability of an individual’s giving or receiving information during 29 sample periods revealed the following: the probability among managerial groups was .095; among electromechanical group members, .080; and among design group members, .075. The average probability of an individual either giving or receiving information was .083. Average communication rates (the average number of contacts in 36 random 15-minute periods) were measured. Based on kinds of people, the rates were as follows: supervisors, .85; professionals .68; assistants, .63. By kinds of jobs, among those on long-term projects the rate was .71, and among those involved in many short-term projects the rate was .68. In working groups of 2 to 4 persons the rate was .35; in groups of 6 to 8 persons the rate was .91; in groups of 9 to 11 the rate was .63. (Abstract condensed from Shaw.) 10. JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY, WELCH MEDICAL LIBRARY. Analysis of Interviews in Indexing of Medical Literature. Baltimore, 1950. 52pp. (out of print). Purpose. To study the relative amount of use made of various bibliographical tools, the information gathering habits, opinions on the state of medical indexing services and needs for bibliographic services. Method. Interviews of 88 medical scientists and 40 medical librarians. Results. The interviewees seldom used bibliographical tools, and there seemed to be a need for training in the use of available tools. The most useful abstract and index journals were: Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus, Chemical Abstracts, Surgeon-General’s Index-Catalogue and Current List of Medical Literature. There was no clear preference of indexes over abstracts or vice versa. 11. KENT, A. The Dollars and Cents Value of Company Libraries. Paper delivered before the Executive Conference on Organizing Information. Chicago, Feb. 1, 1957. Purpose. To study the correlation between company’s earning records and library services as well as use of literature. Method. Questionnaire to 100 companies in the metals field. 45 responses. Results. In 80% of the 25 top-earning companies, scientific and technical employees spent 6–15% of their working time with literature and 80% of the companies that stated that a great proportion of their scientific people were dissatisfied with the library and its services were in the top 50% in earning rank.
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--> 12. KITTEL, D.A. Case Study in Bibliographic Methods. M.A. Thesis. University of Chicago, 1953. Purpose. To analyze the relative effectiveness of bibliographic devices in social science research. Method. Case study as member of research team. Results. Suggestions by those familiar with the literature proved most fruitful. 13. MORRISON, R.A. Use of Current Sources of Information. I L Research 2:6–8 (2), 1956. Purpose. To find out what information sources were used to keep abreast of advances in the industrial and labor relations field. Method. Questionnaire to 300 firms. Results. Commercial services, periodicals, reports, conferences, and membership in trade associations were used but not exploited adequately. 14. Reading Patterns of Engineers in Industry. EPA Technical Information 1:21–23 (13/ 14), 1955. Purpose. To study the amount of reading by engineers. Method. Interview of 200 engineers employed by industries in the Cleveland area. Results. The average time devoted to reading was 4.5 hours per week with a higher average among subordinates than chiefs. 15. RUBENSTEIN, A.H. Research Communications. Industrial Laboratories 3:49–53 (10), 1952. Preliminary report on investigation. See ref. 9 above. 16. SCATES, D.E., and YEOMANS, A.V. Activities of Employed Scientists and Engineers for Keeping Currently Informed in Their Fields of Work. American Council of Education, Washington, D.C., 1950. 35 pp. Purpose. To find out what working scientists do to keep abreast of developments in their fields. Method. A total of 1,661 persons were studied. Of this number, 1,087 were in the New York and Philadelphia Naval Shipyards, 46 were in the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C., and 528 were in industrial firms in metropolitan Philadelphia. Questionnaires were used in the two Naval Shipyards and in the industrial firms. Since the questionnaires used in the several organizations studied were not the same, the data obtained in each case are not entirely comparable. They are given separately in most instances, and generalizations are made in only a few cases. Results. Of seven possible self-educational activities (excluding the use of literature, libraries, etc.), the scientists of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard used the following most frequently: (1) attendance at professional society meetings; (2) attendance at lectures; and (3) attendance at technical conferences. The general participation in self-educational activities was very low. The scientists of the Bureau of Ordnance showed a very small amount of self-educational activity. The questions put to them included those having to do with the use of professional literature. These questions revealed a relatively small use of the literature. However, 35 different journals were read by one or more persons in the group.
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--> In answer to six questions put to them on a questionnaire, 75% of the scientists and engineers of the New York Naval Shipyard stated that they did a significant amount of professional reading at work and after working hours; 30% attended professional meetings five or more times a year; 27% took occasional courses; 11% wrote technical articles whose preparation required considerable study; and 12% had no time for educational activities of any kind. The amount of activity among the industrial scientists was greater than among those of the New York Naval Shipyard. Those persons who answered a question on the extent of their reading of periodicals stated that they read an average of seven and a half articles a month. The average number of books read a month was five. Attendance at professional society meetings and use of other devices for professional contacts were generally low. With the same approximate scoring method for professional contacts and professional reading, the average score for the former was 1.3 while the average score for professional reading was 3.4. The average number of papers published by the special group was 0.1 a year. The number of contributions was considerably greater among the industrial scientists than among the government scientists. Among the industrial scientists, there was an increase with age in the amount of professional reading done outside of work. There was an increase in activity as the educational activity increased. There was also an increase with a rise in civil service grade. Among the various subject fields, the chemists were the most active in self-education, the physicists were second, the electrical engineers were third, the chemical engineers fourth, and the mechanical engineers fifth. (Abstract condensed from Shaw.) 17. SHAW, R.R. Pilot Study on the Use of Scientific Literature by Scientists. National Science Foundation, Washington, 1956. 103 pp. Purpose. To study the professional reading of the research staff at the Forest Products Research Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin. Method. Diary supplemented by a questionnaire kept during two test periods, the first for two months and the second for one month and check of the results through library records, etc. Results. The average time spent on reading was about 2 hours a week according to the diary information and about 4–5 hours a week according to the estimate of the respondents. Periodicals accounted for 75% of the items read and reports for 14%. 84% of the material was less than a year old. Only 2.5% of the items were in foreign languages. Only about 43% of the reading acts was recorded, and the diary method used did not prove trustworthy, at least not when administered for long test periods. 18. THE SOCIAL SURVEY. Technical Information in Industry. An International Study of the Dissemination of Technical and Scientific Information to Small and Medium Sized Industry, Carried out for the European Productivity Agency. Mimeographed report, 1957. Purpose. To survey the methods used by the industries to obtain technical information and thus assist the European information services in planning their pro-
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--> grams of action. The study was carried out in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Norway, the UK, and USA. Method. Interviewing the owner, manager or the chief technical officer of altogether 2197 establishments 93% of which had 10–500 employees. Results. Tabulated by country and by size of the establishments: more or less than 100 employees as well as by country and branch of industry (textiles, metals, electrical and food industries). The overall picture that emerged showed that scientific and technical data seldom are used or needed. Only a few establishments had a planned system for obtaining technical information. Aus. Belg. Ger. Italy Norway UK USA The % of establishments subscribing to less than 6 journals 79 62 44 84 36 43 35 The % routing the journals 86 71 78 35 56 74 82 The % of establishments where bulletins or abstracts were prepared regularly or occasionally 8 10 12 2 19 30 34 The % of establishments having 100 or more books 9 5 18 6 25 18 25 Applicable information had been found in the journals by two-thirds of the establishments. Low level of organization=filling 0–2 of the following criteria: (1) having technical advisers, (2) taking more than 5 journals, (3) journals routed according to content and not all journals to all, (4) subscription paid for employees’ journals, (5) abstracts prepared, (6) more than 25 books owned, (7) last book added in 1955/1956: Aus. Belg. Ger. Italy Norway UK USA % of establishments with low level organization 56 54 35 79 36 45 34 % of establishments taking foreign language journals 27 78 29 42 82 13 12 The most frequently used method for solving major problems was personal advice in all countries save Belgium and the USA where special research headed the list. About 50% of the respondents stated that published literature was used for the purpose (in Austria and Belgium 23 and 39% and in Germany 66%). The outside sources of assistance most frequently used were suppliers, consultants, and organizations for fee-paying members such as trade associations. The main sources of information used by the technical advisers were considered by the respondents to be literature, “inside” know-how and suppliers. For currently keeping abreast of advances, trade papers, technical and scientific journals, and suppliers formed the most important sources in all countries. 70–90% of the establishments had not consulted a library in the last year. In USA, UK, and Norway the libraries consulted were most frequently public reference libraries; elsewhere they were trade association or university libraries. Recommendations. To follow up the study by investigating the role of suppliers and the reasons why they are successful in imparting technical information and to stimulate the use of existing technical information services on the management level.
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--> 19. A Survey of Research Potential and Training in the Mathematical Sciences. Final Report of the Committee on the Survey. University of Chicago, 1957. 163+78 pp. Purpose. To study by what means the mathematical strength of the USA can be increased and under specific items a.o. how the problem of support of mathematical publications may be solved. Method. (1) Chairmen of departments of mathematics of 61 academic institutions were interviewed. (2) All American and Canadian Ph.D’s in mathematics were asked to fill in a detailed questionnaire of 15 pages. Of 2710 mathematicians 68.5% (1851) answered. Results. (1) Quality of departmental libraries was as a rule considered very good. The book budget varied from $100 to $4000 a year, and the number of current periodical subscriptions from 20 to 310. (2) Tabulation by productivity of the mathematician as revealed by his publishing record: top 15% averaged 1.1–2.3 publications a year (depending on the time elapsed since the Ph.D. degree received), next 35%, 0.3–1 publications a year, next 17%, at least 2 papers during whole career, and the bottom 33%, 1 paper or less during the whole career. About mathematical publications the present refereeing system was considered satisfactory. Research articles, expository papers, and reviews were regularly or occasionally read to about the same extent, while the use of abstracts was about 20% less frequent. One-seventh of the respondents read Russian, but 395 scientists had suffered through inaccessibility of Russian literature and 332 through the inability to read Russian. Only 67 respondents had suffered because of inability to read another foreign language. 299 respondents stated that long delays in publication of the work of others had hampered their research. 615 respondents voted for regrouping journals so that each would specialize but the Committee of the Survey did not consider the action desirable. Evident need of establishing expository journals was revealed. 20. THORNE, R.G. A Survey of the Reading Habits of the Scientific and Technical Staff at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. Farnborough, 1954. 8 pp. (mimeographed report). Purpose. To find out how much time was spent by the staff in reading, writing reports, etc., and what type of literature was read. Method. Diary with supplementing questionnaire was distributed to 300 persons and 91 replies were received with diaries recorded for a period of one week. Results. Time spent on reading averaged 5.1 hours/week, that on searching and processing literature 2 hours, and that on writing papers 5 hours. Of the items read—average 15.2 per person per week—only 12% were considered of little or no value. 21. TÖRNUDD, E. Professional Reading Habits of Scientists Engaged in Research as Revealed by an Analysis of 130 Questionnaires. M.S. Thesis, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, 1953. Purpose. To study the information gathering habits of researchers at the Mellon Institute.
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--> Several respondents commented on the unnecessarily prolonged secrecy precautions which lead to needless mass duplication of research effort. XVII. CAN YOU RECOMMEND IMPROVEMENTS WHICH MIGHT MAKE THE LITERATURE AND REFERENCE SERVICES MEET YOUR NEEDS MORE ADEQUATELY? (QUESTION 17) Fifty-four suggestions listed in Table 22 for the improvement of literature and reference services were put forward. The great majority of suggestions concerned the periodical literature and were centered around weaknesses which are receiving attention but might require more efficient measures. TABLE 22. Number of respondents presenting concrete suggestions for the improvement of the literature and the library services (Question 17; based on 188 responses) Institution Danish group Finnish group Both, % Academic 10 5 33 Research institutes 8 8 28 Industrial 10 13 27 Total 28 26 29 List of suggestions made for the improvement of the state of affairs Number of times made indicated with figure in parentheses. Journals Grouping and reducing the number of journals (8) with concentration of original work into international research journals rather than small national journals which preferably should specialize in review articles. International cooperation called for. Stricter editorial policy (5) to avoid rehashes. Abstracts of all articles (11) preferably printed on separate pages to facilitate cutting out and pasting on catalog cards. UDC classification of American and English publications as well as others (7). More footnotes. Standard size and running pagination of journals (2). Abstract journals and indexes Grouping and reducing the number of abstract journals (3) through international cooperation. Speeding up abstracting (6), e.g., by collecting of abstracts, immediately after manuscript has been accepted for publication in a journal. Fuller abstracts (1). Need of fuller coverage (4) was expressed for (1) theses, (2) Russian and Japanese literature.
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--> Need for additional abstract journals (3) was expressed in the following fields: fishery, materials of construction. Editions of abstract journal printed on one side of the page (1). Reviews Need for more critical reviews of the literature (4) e.g., industrial management, operations research, and the handbook literature. Need for critical reviews of commercially available instruments and their application (2). Libraries More subject specialists in library staff (6). Improvement of subject catalogs in libraries (3). More liberal lending policy and faster photocopying services (2). Under question concerning difficulties in keeping abreast of new developments inadequate holdings of libraries were pointed out by 34 respondents. Information services Tailor-made abstract services with international coverage supplying abstracts from a specified field (9). “University microfilms” for Europe (1). Development of existing national technical information centers (2). Documentation of initiated research programs (1). Translations of Russian and Japanese publications (3). Instruction in the use of libraries and in subject literatures Courses in the use of libraries and subject literature on the undergraduate level (5). Miscellaneous Selling information-mindedness to the industrial management (1). Publication form for unfinished researches which cannot be published in a normal way. Arrangements facilitating the use of colleagues’ personal indexes. It is notable that one-fifth of the respondents made a plea for the inclusion of abstracts of articles in all periodicals either in the form of index cards or printed in a way facilitating clipping. In addition to abstracts, the classification of articles and monographs by the Universal Decimal Classification was recommended. UDC is the most widely used system in Europe, and the often heard wish that American documentation would follow suit was made by several respondents. To decrease the unnecessarily large number of research journals, suggestions were made to publish original research reports in international periodicals limited to narrow fields, rather than in local journals with limited circulation,
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--> which were considered more suitable, for example, for reviews. This trend is demonstrated by the great number of Ada…Scandinavica series established recently through the cooperation between scientific societies and research councils in northern Europe. These joint efforts have solved many problems in the dissemination of research results. Regarding abstract journals, the speeding up of abstracting and international coordination to decrease the number of parallel services was emphasized by several respondents. Means similar to those developed by ICSU Abstracting Board were recommended for this purpose. Concerning reviews, the need for critical reviews for horizontal subjects to supplement reviews of special fields was mentioned. The concrete suggestions concerning libraries and information services covered the need for more subject specialists to carry out reference services in libraries and the improvement of subject catalogs. The latter requirement is notable as it does not come from librarians, as usually is the case. The need for an abstract service currently supplying the client with cards from a selected narrow subject field was expressed by 9 respondents. It was pointed out that such services should be comprehensive and international in scope and preferably carried out through international cooperation. The idea is far from utopian. On a small scale it has been realized a.o. in Sweden where the Association for Documentation carries out an abstract service along these lines. The coverage of foreign material is selective and far from inclusive, while the Swedish scientific and technical publications are covered as fully as possible. XVIII. HAVE YOU AFTER GRADUATION FELT A NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR SKILL IN THE USE OF LITERATURE? Table 23 shows the responses to the above question which in more than 50% of the cases was affirmative. The difference between the answers by the Danish and those by the Finnish group do not bear any significance. They are namely due to an error in the questionnaire. The Finnish version of the question was erroneously formulated to read: Have you after graduation been compelled to improve your skill…, and this framing naturally decreased the number of affirmative answers. In an American study (21) the percentage of respondents giving an affirmative answer to the same question was definitely lower: 44%. Williams in his study of patrons of the John Crerar Library (26) found that 68.8% of the respondents had had training in the use of libraries and 36.6% had received training in the literature of their field. In Scandinavian countries these matters have
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--> received very little attention, and there is every reason to believe that formal instruction in literature and library know-how is needed. It is interesting to note the six suggestions made for the inclusion of courses in subject literatures and the use of libraries in the curricula of universities and institutes of technology and even at the highschool level. These were made in connection with suggestions for general improvements of the literature and library services. TABLE 23. The proportion of respondents having felt a need for improving their skilla in the use of literature after graduation (Question 18; based on 176 responses) Institution Affirmative answer, % Negative answer, % Total Danish Academic 44 66 27 Research institutes 71 29 28 Industrial 67 33 33 Total Danish 61 39 88 Finnish Academic 58 42 19 Research institutes 55 45 22 Industrial 36 64 47 Total Finnish 45 55 88 Both groups 53 47 176 a No correlation was found between the need for improving skill and the school of graduation. Summary and conclusions The 72 studies summarized above furnish valuable information on the manner in which scientific literature and library services are used. Several recent studies have remained unpublished and deficiencies in the documentation of documentation research have rendered it difficult to trace relevant investigations. This fact is the more deplorable as the results obtained so far are fragmentary and the coverage of the studies far from adequate, not to mention the fact that the methodology for obtaining truly objective data still remains to be developed. To summarize some of the findings made in recent investigations it should first of all be pointed out that in spite of the great diversity of information gathering behavior from scientist to scientist, there is a similar pattern to be found when scientists are studied in groups. This pattern has been proved to be influenced a.o. by the following factors:
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--> 1. The accessibility of information and the extent to which information services are available and utilized. Improving library facilities and services should therefore result in a twofold improvement: in addition to receiving better service the scientist himself would certainly find more efficient ways of utilizing information. A comparative study of scientists working in similar institutions with similar working conditions and staffs, and in similar subject fields but with different library facilities suggests itself for the measurement of the role played by services. Optimum service conditions applicable in setting up efficient services might be found by means of such comparisons. 2. The kind of work. It has been found that research workers, teachers in academic institutions, and information specialists are the heaviest users of literature as well as the most diligent producers. The majority in this group rely on literature to a greater extent than on all other sources of information taken together. The number of persons in this group has recently been studied in most countries in view of the need to decrease the shortage of highly qualified scientists and engineers. That each member of this important group of scientific workers spends on an average from 2 to 10 man-hours a week on the literature means in terms of salaries and the manpower shortage a great investment rendering even minor improvements significant if they result in cutting down the time spent on literature or decreasing the unnecessary duplication of research. Scientists employed by industry for other duties than research and development have been found to resort to the literature to a very small extent. Whether this fact is due to inadequate services and publications or to other factors requires clarification. That available services are insufficiently utilized by most scientists regardless of their activities constitutes a grave problem requiring special attention. The aggressive dissemination of information by various services may prove to be excessive and too inefficient a method of work. Services rendered on request are likely to offer a better pay-off of the investment of time and money, provided requests are received. 3. The working environment. The few studies which have attempted to throw light on the influence of institutional affiliation have concerned research workers and revealed that the greatest difference is probably to be found between scientists working in academic institutions on the one hand and those employed by industrial, government, and other research establishments, on the other. Whether the preference for performing all literature work personally, common in the first-mentioned group, is due to the environment or to the lack of adequate service facilities cannot be determined from the available data. That the latter group seems to be encountering greater difficulties should be taken into consideration. 4. The educational background. A direct correlation has been found between the educational record and the extent to which literature is resorted to. This finding suggests the desirability of arranging courses in subject literatures and in the use of libraries for scientists with lower degrees. The fact that research workers and engineers have been found to lack skill in
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--> the use of different sources of information calls for the inclusion of such training in curricula of universities and institutes of technology in all countries. A recommendation to this effect from a suitable body should be considered. 5. The field of science. Comparative studies have revealed that workers in the more exact sciences tend to depend on the literature to a still greater degree than, e.g., biologists and medical workers. It has also been found that the life of usefulness of publications varies from field to field. The finding that researchers in applied sciences would depend on the literature to a smaller degree than pure scientists disagrees with the results of the present Scandinavian study in which the scientists with only few exceptions used reference services. The excessive secrecy precautions concerning results of applied research do cause unnecessary duplication of research. The finding that, e.g., American psychologists limit their information gathering mainly to material in their mother tongue while chemists and physicists use foreign publications more frequently seems to mirror the coverage of the respective abstract services as much as actual differences between the subject fields. In short, the differences between requirements by workers in different subject fields may have been overemphasized. 6. Nationality. In spite of the small number of studies carried out in other countries than the USA and the UK, it can be stated that nationality plays a certain role. Language problems with respect to English, German, and French are of minor importance among research workers and other academically trained persons who are able to read these languages. An author’s own publication that must be translated into a world language does, however, constitute an additional problem. Workers with a lower educational record are handicapped even with English, and require suitable publications in their mother tongue. In small countries the relative importance of literature as opposed to verbal communications is naturally greater than in large countries, as the number of countrymen with the same speciality often is small, and foreign contacts are more difficult to make, especially by junior scientists. A more reserved general behavior pattern might also account for the decrease in importance of verbal communications as a source of information among non-American scientists. There is no doubt that research workers in the USA and the UK enjoy information services seldom used by, although to some extent available to, Scandinavian scientists. Since the way in which small and medium sized industry uses technical and scientific information appears to be similar in the USA, UK, and European countries as revealed by the EPA study, the differences found between research workers from the various countries seem to be due to differences in the education of scientists. Thus the exceptional features found in the Scandinavian group, such as the great amount of time devoted to literature, the large number of periodicals regularly read, the kinds of difficulties encountered in keeping abreast of new developments, and the small extent to which library services were demanded, may stem from the difference in emphasis laid on information gathering in connection with academic studies and the scarcity of information services, rather than on actual national factors.
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--> 7. The age of scientists. It has been found that junior scientists use literature to a smaller extent than their seniors and that there is a curvilinear correlation between publishing activities and age, the most productive age being in the 40’s. If the first-mentioned finding is typical it accentuates the exceptional features of the young Scandinavian group. None of the methods used in studies of the use of information by scientists has proved to be truly reliable, and therefore the results of the operational research program underway in the USA are looked forward to with great expectations. Should these studies reveal better methods for the study of these problems, a coordinated research program carried out in several countries and covering a variety of users of information should be undertaken with the aim of collecting the relevant data needed to form a basis for the development of scientific literature and information services. Meanwhile, local studies carried out by some of the methods directed to the users of information to clarify questions connected with services to smaller groups will be justifiable—in fact there does not seem to be any doubt of the necessity for every information service to carry out a continuing analysis of the requirements of its users, especially of its least industrious users. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This study was made under a contract from the Department of Natural Sciences of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the fullest possible cooperation and help was given by Dr. J.E.Holmstrom. Mrs. Helen L.Brownson, Program Chairman, Area 1 of the International Conference on Scientific Information, has shown kind interest in the work and sincere thanks are due for her invaluable help in collecting material. The authors of similar studies, completed and current ones, have been most helpful in supplying the author with both reports and advice. The author wishes to express her thanks for the cooperation of the Junior Scientists Committee of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and their Finnish colleagues who were queried and who responded, sparing no trouble to bring the response rate up to nearly 100%. Last, but not least, an acknowledgment is due to the Scandinavian Council for Applied Research for their interest in the project.
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--> APPENDIX I. English translation of the circular letter mailed to the scientists in the sample. The use of scientific and technical literature and reference services The rapid growth of the flow of literature has several harmful effects on technical progress: valuable research results often remain unexploited, research and development work is duplicated, and searching for as well as reading the professional literature requires more and more time of the busy research worker. To help to improve the situation attempts have been made to find out how research workers obtain the necessary information and which are the greatest difficulties involved. In the USA several studies have been carried out with the aim of finding an answer to these problems, and Unesco has recently taken the initiative to perform comparative studies in Europe where these problems presumably are different. Unesco has requested me to carry out a query in Scandinavia, and I have dispatched the enclosed questionnaire to a sample of 100 young research workers in Finland. With the kind permission of the Board of the Danish contact group Yngre Forskere I am now mailing the same form to a sample of 100 members of the group. I should very much appreciate it if you would be kind enough to answer as many of the questions as possible and return the filled in questionnaire. The study will be of little value if responses are not received from all. The answers will be considered confidential and the results will be submitted in the form of statistics. Sincerely yours ELIN TÖRNUDD Secretary of the Scandinavian Council for Applied Research Enclosure: questionnaire
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--> APPFNDIX II. English translation of the Questionnaire for research workers on the use of scientific and technical information
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Representative terms from entire chapter: