Sunday, June 15, 2008

Scientists and Web-Based Social Applications: A Survey

Elsevier’s research collaboration platform 2collab recently announced the results of a survey that asked scientists about their professional use of social media. The primary finding is that scientists are indeed using blogs, wikis, and social networking and bookmarking applications in their professional work. The survey had over 1,800 responses. From the 9 June, 2008 news release:

2collab surveyed science, medical and technical information professionals working in academia and government institutions to establish exactly what influence new web applications are having on the way scientific research is conducted. Over 50% of respondents see web-based social applications playing a key role in shaping the future of research. The largest influence will be on critical analysis and evaluation of research data, professional networking and collaboration, dissemination of research output, career development, as well as grant application and funding.

Results show that many researchers believe social applications will have a major influence on the future of research. One respondent, an Environmental Science researcher based in Spain commented, “Social media and electronic journals will be the future of scientific information dissemination. Current scientific journals must not disappear but the business model will change.”

Comments from survey respondents identified several issues that need to be addressed before mass acceptance by the research community is possible – namely the need for specialist tools, higher security, and validation of users. However, these concerns were not seen as insurmountable obstacles, and many anticipated tremendous potential for social media. . . .

The survey report is available upon request by emailing the media contact, Lauren Hillman .

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