The Scholarly Communications Needs of Faculty: An Evidence-Based Foundation for the Development of Library Services
Objectives – This exploratory research seeks to broadly understand the publishing behaviours and attitudes of faculty, across all disciplines, at the University of Saskatchewan in response to the growing significance of open access publishing and archiving. The objective for seeking this understanding is to discover the current and emerging needs of researchers in order to determine if scholarly communications services are in demand here and, if so, to provide an evidence-based foundation for the potential future development of such a program of services at the University Library, University of Saskatchewan.
Methods – All faculty members at the University of Saskatchewan were sent personalized email invitations to participate in a short online survey during the month of November 2012. The survey was composed of four parts: Current Research and Publishing Activities/Behaviours; Open Access Behaviours, Awareness, and Attitudes; Needs Assessment; and Demographics. Descriptive and inferential statistics were calculated.
Results – The survey elicited 291 complete responses – a 21.9% response rate. Results suggest that faculty already have a high level of support for the open access movement, and considerable awareness of it. However, there remains a lack of knowledge regarding their rights as authors, a low familiarity with tools available to support them in their scholarly communications activities, and substantial resistance to paying the article processing charges of some open access journals. Survey respondents also provided a considerable number of comments – perhaps an indication of their engagement with these issues and desire for a forum in which to discuss them. It is reasonable to speculate that those who chose not to respond to this survey likely have less interest in, and support of, open access. Hence, the scholarly communications needs of this larger group of non-respondents are conceivably even greater.
Conclusion – Faculty at the University of Saskatchewan are in considerable need of scholarly communications services. Areas of most need include: advice and guidance on authors’ rights issues such as retention of copyright; more education and support with resources such as subject repositories; and additional assistance with article processing charges. The University Library could play a valuable role in increasing the research productivity and impact of faculty by aiding them in these areas.
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