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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

1.6.1 Scholars

The focus of the research dealing with scholars was on their attitudes to electronic scholarly publishing, together with their access to and use of electronic publishing technology. In contrast to some earlier research [Schauder, 1994], this thesis concentrated on scholars in a single discipline - psychology. Psychology is a good test domain because it straddles the border between the social and 'hard' sciences, but does not have highly demanding formatting requirements for its publications. This is in contrast to disciplines like physics and mathematics which rely on precise layout of mathematical equations and figures.

Two groups of scholars were selected, both working in the domain of psychology. The first group consists of the subscribers to an email list of readers of an electronic only e-journal ( Psyche - an Interdisciplinary Journal of Consciousness and Cognition ). The second group was chosen to complement the first and consisted of members of psychological societies in the U.S., U. K. and Australia (the main countries represented in the first group). The first group was surveyed by electronic mail. The second group was surveyed via conventional mail. The two groups were chosen from the same discipline area to provide a comparison between those who could be expected to be comfortable with (and supportive of) the new publishing technologies, and the wider population within their discipline for whom no such assumption was possible

The survey instrument asked the same questions in each case. First were questions about industry category and employment position to gain a sense of the demographic distribution. Next were questions about the respondents access to technology to determine what electronic publishing features they would be able to access. Then it asked how often they used particular electronic publishing fora, both as readers and authors. Lastly it requested their ratings of a number of suggested advantages and disadvantages commonly applied to electronically published scholarly articles.

The intention of this phase of the research was to identify what respondents were doing, what they had access to (in terms of technology) and what they felt about the new scholarly publishing possibilities (see 8: Library Case Studies on page 145). The results are therefore relevant primarily to an analysis of the form and function of scholarly communication artefacts (as used by two different sample populations of scholars), and secondarily to the roles and practices of users as stakeholders.

Last modified: Monday, 18-Sep-2017 03:27:51 AEST

© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * *