This issue is a little early in being 'put to bed' because other commitments intervene. However, that doesn't really affect the content, which has been in preparation for some time and, indeed, some of the papers have been on the site for a month or so before publication. The search engines find them there and the papers get a few more 'hits' before the world at large knows about them.
The numbers of papers coming forward continues to grow, although some (a relatively small proportion) are so far outside the field of interest that one wonders why on earth anyone would think the journal was appropriate for their output. Such papers do not get any further than the Editor's screen and that is also the case with papers that are evidently not sufficiently well prepared to bother the referees with. However, I think that it is gradually sinking into people's consciousness that the journal operates according to the same standards for the selection of papers as other leading journals: we have the same high standards of reviewing and, indeed, often have the same reviewers as the other leading journals. This can be quite useful when, for example, a reviewer tells us that he has previously reviewed a paper for another journal and that it was rejected.
To an extent we can identify, also, papers that have been prepared for a different journal and then rejected. Absurd as it may seem, authors do not bother to re-organize their paper to fit the Instructions for Authors of Information Research. The don't provide a structured abstract, the sections and sub-sections are numbered and the references do not follow the APA 5th edition standard. Sometimes these are rejected following their being read by myself and/or another editor, sometimes the author is advised to think again, re-organize the paper and re-submit. Some do resubmit, others realise that the game is up and we never hear from them again.
In this issue
Once again, we have a variety of contributions, with authors from Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and the USA. One of the contributions is the multi-authored debate first published on the Weblog, with authors from Australia, Canada, Finland and the UK.
The subjects of the papers are as diverse as the geographical distribution of the authors: Pirkola explores the effectiveness of search engines in identifying new Websites in different countries, noting that Google and Live Search are biased towards sites in the USA, while the pan-European engine Virgilio does a better job on European sites than either of the US search engines. Not surprising, perhaps, but it does seem that Google and Live Search really ought to be doing a better job with European sites by now. Perhaps their managers will read this and think about what to do.
I must admit that much of what is written on bibliometrics bores me to tears, it seems that much work in this area is done simply because it can be done, rather than with the aim of casting any light on any information problem of concern. I'm happy to say that Bo Jarneving's use of bibliometrics to explore the research productivity of the Western Gotland region of Sweden is rather more interesting, it reveals the complexity of research relationships and collaboration in the regional and shows that global collaboration (i.e., between Swedish and foreign institutions) is the most common form, with collaboration between Swedish institutions taking second place.
One of the interesting things that has happened since we begain to accept papers in Portuguese and Spanish is that more authors with these native languages are actually submitting papers in English. The paper by Josť Manuel Morales-del-Castillo and his colleagues is a case in point. The subject here is the development of an automatic 'selective dissemination of information' or 'recommender' system for the field of digital libraries. The system uses a thesaurus, user profiles and RSS feeds to deliver information on resources to those interested in digital libraries and, at this stage of development, is said to be 'reasonably effective in terms of precision and recall'. The difficult part for automatic systems, of course, is getting beyond the 'reasonably effective' level, so we await further reports on the development of D-Fussion with interest.
Another paper with a Spanish interest (and collaboration with Cuba) is in Spanish and deals with the historical and epistemological development of paradigms in information science. Basing their research on a review of the literature, the authors conclude that there have been three major paradigms in the field: the physical, the cognitive and the social—ways of defining the nature of information and information science. The authors suggest that the literature reveals the collapse of the cognitive paradigm in recent years and the emergence of the social (and, we might add, behavioural).
The role of memory institutions (archives, libraries and museums) in European projects is the subject of Zinaida Manžuch's paper. Based on her Ph.D. dissertation, the paper reveals that archives are the least visible of the memory institutions in these projects and that the projects are concerned with resources almost to the exclusion of the social and communicative role of the institutions in society. This strikes me as an important point to make and one that the various agencies of the European Union might take into account in future funding.
Stephen Paling is our sole contributor from the USA in this issue and he is concerned with identifying the emergence of a new area of research, which he designates Literature and Art Informatics. To map this emergent field he employs a statistical technique called multiple correspondence analysis, which is used to present data graphically, in the hope of revealing relationships that may be difficult to spot in data tables. In this paper, the author's aim is mainly to demonstrate the method, but he also derives conclusions on the relationships between authors and the application of information technology in their work.
Jette Hyldeg&oring;rd of the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen deals with the relationship between personality traits and group-based information behaviour. The author chooses (unlike some previous researchers) to use the full form of the NEO Personality Inventory Revised, the most widely used of the instruments based on the five-factor model of human personality. Perhaps the most interesting finding (although not altogether surprising) is that the associations between personality and group behaviour are rather complex. I say, not altogether surprising because, of course, group dynamics and interpersonal relationships will intervene in group situations and, for example, someone who is uncertain about his or her abilities in searching may have their confidence boosted by the way in which other members of the group support and reward his/her behaviour. Clearly, there is more interesting work to be done in this area.
The final paper, properly speaking, employs bibliometrics and social network analysis to explore the structure of Catalan literature. The authors, Jordi Ardanuy, Cristóbal Urbano and Lluís Quintana, use these techniques to identify key figures in what we might call the 'regulation' of scholarly research; that is, supervisors and doctoral committee members overseeing the doctoral research process.
We also have a 'non-paper' in this issue: I decided that it might be useful to present here the debate that took place between Reijo Savolainen and myself (with contributions from others) on the relationship between 'behaviour' and 'practice' as terms employed in information behaviour research. I am reprinting it here because it may achieve wider readership and I think that debates of this kind are too rare in our field.
We have the usual set of book reviews in this issue covering a wide range of topics. Two of them deal with collections of reviews, the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology and Information science in transition, edited by Alan Gilchrist, which was originally published as an issue of the Journal of Information Science. The remainder deal with topics as diverse as iWork, Apple's answer to Microsoft Office and the role of book publishing in the modern world. Something, in other words, for everyone.
There has been news, once again, of more financial problems in libraries and their impact upon journal subscriptions. For example, in California the state universities are facing significant budget cuts and the University of California Libraries have already advised publishers that they are scrutinizing all subscriptions. The University of Amsterdam has shut down its open access publishing fund, which paid publishers in return for open access to publications from staff members - a response to the economic climate, it is said. No doubt this will be the first of a number of such economies.
One of these days, but I'm not holding my breath, those directing the affairs of our universities will come to a realisation that spending money to subsidise the publication of OA journals makes much more sense than bolstering the profits of the commercial publishers. The problem of course, is that each Vice Chancellor, Rector or university President is concerned only with his or her little fiefdom and the amount of money involved at present, in terms of total national spend, is too small in public accounts terms to attract the interest of politicians. So, the antiquated process bumbles along, with self-archiving as a kind of sticking plaster on the system.
We need a campaign for true open access journals like Information Research: no author charges, no subscriptions, just free access to publish and free access to read, achieving maximum social benefit.
We have one conference announcement on the contents page in this issue. ISIC: the information behaviour conference (as it is now called) - an essential meeting for all concerned with this area of research. There's a link to the Call for Papers, which other editors may care to note and advertise. We also have a Website for the whole series of conferences, which is still under development.
My thanks, as usual, to the Associate Editors, copy-editors and referees for helping to bring this collection to your screen.
Professor Tom Wilson, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief