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Posts tagged “researchers”

Search Habits of Researchers

Introduction

Prior to the launch of the Odysci Academic Search site, we commissioned a marketing firm to conduct a poll among researchers to find out where, how and what they searched for. This report describes some interesting results we collected.

We believe these results can be useful to the scientific community and help improve academic search engines. Working together with researchers we can tune the search engine to better serve the needs of the researchers in finding  the most relevant information for their work in the least amount of time.  During the development of the Odysci Academic Search Engine we paid close attention to the opinions expressed in this survey. We continue to work with researchers to improve everything on the site, including navigation mechanisms, ranking algorithms, peer collaboration and additional content. If you want to participate in this quest, send us your views, tell us what you need and how you use an academic search engine. You can send your views by posting comments on the blog (blog.odysci.com) or by email to feedback@odysci.com.

First a word on the methodology used. This was an informal poll with no pretense of being statistically relevant. In the span of 3 months in mid 2010, we sent email invitations to about 20,000 researchers (i.e., people who had published at least one paper in conferences and journals in the computer science and eletrical engineering fields). The invitations contained a link to a polling site with the survey. We did not identify the company, we simply stated that the survey was being conducted by a marketing firm on behalf of an academic search site.

We collected 400 responses, i.e., people who clicked on the link and completed the survey. This comes to 2% of respondents, which (as the marketing firm told us) is pretty good! The geographic distribution of the respondents is shown below.

We asked several questions related to how researchers use academic search sites, what they look for, and what they think of the results they get. Most questions were multi-valued and multiple choice (e.g., the respondent could say that he/she uses site-A 80% and site-B 20% of the time). The values plotted in the following sections were, in most cases, the Expected value of the possible choices, that is, the weighted average of all possible values that each choice can take, normalized with respect to the highest value.

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Categories: Academic Search, Search Habits. Tags: , .

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