Vol. 13 No. 3, September 2008




This issue has been a little delayed, mainly because of my absence at the 2008 ISIC conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, the proceedings of which will be published in our next issue - assuming we can get through all the work involved. So, my apologies for the delay, but I hope the wait will be worth it.

The reader survey

Most readers of Information Research will be aware that I carried out a user survey recently and that the results are now available - there's been a link on the previous issue contents list for a while and it is repeated on the current contents list.

The survey was limited to ten questions, as I was using a free survey from QuestionPro. I'd be happy to use QuestionPro again, on a paid for basis, but, lacking income from the journal, this is hardly possible. I guess, however, that I might run a different survey on the same basis.

The results are rather interesting: the vast majority of respondents had been using Information Research for three years or more (72.23%), with 28.20% having been readers for more than five years. This suggests that a certain 'brand loyalty' has built up with the journal.

It surprised me, however (although it should not have done so), that the commonest way of coming across the journal was in carrying out a literature search (23.11%), with direct reference from a colleague in second place (16.44%) and seeing it mentioned in a discussion list in third place (14.22%).

Understandably, the commonest response when readers were asked what they did when they looked at an issue was that they read only occasional papers of interest to them (39.12%), and the main purpose in using the journal is to help with research (31.07%).

78.68% of readers find the journal easy to navigate, and I'm puzzled by the three respondents who found it 'very difficult'! The indexes and the search page are 'occasionally' used almost equally by readers, with the Google site search being least used. The latter surprises me - I use it quite often, myself.

Out of a list of topics offered in the question, 'information behaviour' is selected as the topic of greatest interest, with 13.57% of respondents choosing that topic. Given that the proceedings of ISIC (Information Seeking in Context) Conference now appear in the journal, this is probably not surprising, but 'information management', 'information systems', 'Internet research' and 'digital libraries' are also topics of interest.

Responses were received from 69 countries. Those with ten or more responses were:

United States of America 89 20.84%
United Kingdom of GB and Northern Ireland 73 17.10%
Australia 37 8.67%
Canada 16 3.75%
Brazil 15 3.51%
Spain 12 2.81%
Finland 10 2.34%

An open question asked which paper had been of most interest or use to the respondent: 209 replies gave no response to this question, while 13 suggested more than one paper or said that there were too many to list (which is rather gratifying :-), 51 'couldn't remember' and 74 gave a kind of 'generic' response, saying 'Papers by X' or 'Papers on [a subject]'. I haven't finished organizing the data on specific papers yet, but, as one might expect, some of those cited were in very recent issues, which presumably means that people were citing the last thing of interest that they had seen. Keep an eye on the Weblog for more information - if you are interested.

In this issue

One of the unforeseen consequences of shifting the publication data is that September is a rather difficult date for authors, since they are at the point of final preparation of a paper when they go on holiday. As a result, I've over-run the deadline - but it is still September!

First, Information Research is not generally known as an information retrieval journal, but we occasionally get papers on the subject. One such is Ari Pirkola's, Extracting variant forms of chemical names for information retrieval, a somewhat esoteric paper, but one that will be of interest to the chemo-informatics community. The problem of variant names in chemistry is quite a significant one, since the same compound can have a considerable number of variant names. Ari has developed a tool to allow these variants to be identified and used in queries.

Secondly, Lu Wei and Mingxin Zhang discuss The impacts of Internet knowledge on college students' intention to continue to use the Internet, concluding that:

...college's students' real world Internet experience positively predicts their Internet knowledge, which in turn influences their cognitive and affective perceptions such as self-efficacy, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness and perceived enjoyment and finally these cognitive and affective perceptions affect their intention for continuous Internet use.

The third paper, by Isto Huvila on Information work analysis: an approach to research on information interactions and information behaviour in context marries information behaviour research with Checkland's 'soft systems analysis' and work analysis traditions to produce an in-depth analysis of 'academic work'.

The Internet is making a big impact in China, where there are thousands of Internet cafes, which are the main focus of Web use for millions. Bo Xie explores The mutual shaping of online and offline social relationships, showing that for a particular group of older Internet users, there is mutual re-inforcement in meeting both online and off-line.

The Netherlands' experience of Students' use of Web literacy skills and strategies: searching, reading and evaluating Web information is investigated by Els Kuiper, Monique Volman and Jan Terwel. The study was of a fairly young group, aged 11 to 12, and reveals that pupils of this age may have an exaggerated idea of their own Web competency, which is not borne out by the experimental work.

Carlos Olmeda-Gómez and his colleagues, from the SCImago research group in Spain, look at research collaboration between government, universities and business through co-authorship networks. Using visualization software, they identify the main actors in such collaboration as well as clusters of activity.

Finally, Annikki Roos and colleagues explore the information environment of researchers in molecular medicine, finding that information tasks occupy a great deal of time in supporting research tasks. They suggest that if time could be saved in the performance of information tasks, more time would be available for the research.

Book reviews

As usual we have a number of reviews. At the time of writing this Editorial, not all are yet online, so if you are one of the 18% of readers for whom the reviews are useful reading, please return to the contents page from time to time, where you will find more books listed.

Thank you!

My thanks to all the usual suspects for copy-editing, link-checking, translations, etc., as well as a continuing thanks to my Associate Editors for their work in managing papers through the review and editing process.

Professor Tom Wilson, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
September, 2008
How to cite this editorial
Wilson, T.D. (2008)  "Editorial."  Information Research, 13(3), editorial E133   [Available at: http://informationr.net/ir/13-3/editor133.html]




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