Editor's note

It has been a little while since any of the journal's Regional Editors wrote an Editorial, and I'm very happy that Dr. Crystal Fulton has volunteered to do so on this occasion. As Crystal remarks in the Editorial, no one gets paid for their work on Information Research, and I'm continually amazed that people are willing to do so: there is clearly a strong desire in the profession to see information freely available for all, and our Regional Editors play a very significant role in making that happen.


The recent clashes between publishers and academic institutions raise the issue of open access to academic publications and the rising costs of subscription to these materials. Some notable institutions have chosen to cancel their subscriptions, for instance, Nature, in 2018 and 2019, reported that the University of California, the largest public university system in the United States, cancelled its Elsevier subscription, and institutions in The Netherlands, Germany, France, and Sweden have similarly had disputes over subscriptions and rising prices. As institutions consider their engagement with the traditional subscription service model, it would seem an appropriate time to take stock of the scholarly publishing process which culminates in the collective output of literature intended to advance knowledge.

Information Research has always provided free, open access to scholarly content via the Internet. While free to access, content in this journal is rigorously reviewed through the traditional peer review process. Regional editors work alongside reviewers to ensure articles meet academic and journal requirements for inclusion. Articles are copy-edited and published online where they may be accessed and read by anyone at no charge. Unlike some online journals, there is no charge to authors to publish in Information Research. From start to finish, the journal is the result of dedicated volunteers who share common goals of quality publishing and knowledge development. Is this the model for the future? Certainly, we live in interesting times, and the outcome of the subscription debate may make lasting changes to the current publication approach.

In this issue

This issue begins with research about health information. First, Vanja Ida Erčulj, Aleš Žiberna and Vislava Globevnik Velikonja explore online social support among patients receiving infertility treatment. Then, J. David Johnson takes a network analysis approach to examine collaborative information seeking among health care teams.

Katie Wilson, Cameron Neylon, Lucy Montgomery, and Chun-Kai (Karl) Huang then explore the relationship between academic library access policies and institutional open access publication policies.

Four articles in this issue focus on information retrieval. Shengli Wu, Zhongmin Zhang and Chunlin Xu compare the efficacy of three major Web search engines. Gerd Berget and Frode Eika Sandnes examine how cognitive skills affect search queries. Sophie Rutter, Paul D. Clough and Elaine G. Toms consider children’s search processes and ways in which children can be supported in search tasks. Andrej Miklosik, Nina Evans, Stefan Zak and Julia Lipianska investigate optimisation models for increasing the visibility of organizations' information in search engines.

In addition, this issue contains a supplement of papers from last year's ISIC conference, with a rich array of topics spanning the digital and physical environments, information behaviour in different countries and among various groups of people, and much more. Many thanks go to Marek Deja and colleagues, of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, for organizing the conversion of the papers to html.

Book reviews

We have nine book reviews in this issue! As an avid genealogist, my first read will, of course be Bainbridge’s Family History Digital Libraries, in particular chapters that deal with the promise of virtual libraries as well as working with old family movies. Which book will be your first choice?


As a regional editor, I sometimes find myself explaining what we do to prospective authors. It is often assumed that we are paid — handsomely — and that our sole task is this publication. The truth is that we all donate our time and energy freely. As dedicated participants in the journal’s production, we compete this work alongside our very full-time day jobs and other commitments. Rest assured that while life can bring delays, we do our best to move submitted work through the review and production processes as quickly as we can.

On this note, I would like to thank the reviewers who take their time to read and comment on submissions. They really are unsung heroes who not only evaluate, but also write lengthy commentary to assist authors. The work of our reviewers plays a critical role in ensuring paper and journal quality. In addition, our copy editors make the final journal copy possible, ensuring that content is presented appropriately. Again, these individuals, who have helped make yet another issue of Information Research happen, have generously volunteered their invaluable services. Finally, it is essential acknowledge the long commitment of Professor Tom Wilson, who started this journal in 1995. His vision for this journal continues to have a lasting impact in our field.

Our collective work means that Information Research is published with free access to you. We hope you will enjoy another team production in this issue.

Dr Crystal Fulton
Associate Professor, School of Information and Communication Studies,
University College Dublin
Regional Editor, India and Africa,