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Researchers and Online Journals

At Gobbledygook, Martin Fenner shares an interesting talk he heard from Ian Rowlands at University College London who studies how researchers use online journals. Using server logs from 10 UK research institutions, Rowlands and his colleagues looked at the patterns of when life sciences, economics, and history professors accessed Oxford Journals. They found that about one-third users visited the journal site outside business hours and about 40 percent of visits came via a Google search. The researchers also found that life sciences users didn't read abstracts at the site. "This should not come as a surprise, as life sciences users typically read abstracts in specialized databases, particularly PubMed. But maybe Journal publishers should stop displaying papers in an abstract view, saving users and themselves some effort," Fenner says. Fenner also mentions that Rowlands is conducting a Web behavior survey through the BBC that can tell you what kind of Web user you are.

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