The research workflow revolution: the impact of Web 2.0 and emerging social networking tools on research workflow

Bill Russell
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd

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Every day the mainstream and education media tell us that our lives are changing due to Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media tools. Is this really true? Where is the evidence? How is social media really affecting the researcher community that librarians and publishers strive to support? The presentation reports on a major international survey, covering 2,000 researchers, which investigated the use of social media in the research workflow. Working with CIBER at UCL, the research process revealed that social media have found serious application at all points of the research lifecycle. Journals, conference proceedings and edited books remain the core dissemination channels for research. The research demonstrates that institutional repositories are also highly valued, with social media now seen as providing important complementary channels for both the dissemination and discovery of research. Revolutionary forces are at work. Academe is growing worldwide, and younger researchers are feeling ‘squeezed out’ of the world of peer evaluation, citations and high impact journals. Social media is growing as a forum to serve younger and frustrated academics. Revealingly, in one lengthy focus group about information use, libraries were not mentioned once. Librarians and publishers must recognise that social media has a major role to play in the workflow of all subjects, especially social sciences and humanities. Publishers and librarians must develop their services accordingly, or risk being left behind.

BILL RUSSELL is Communications Director at Emerald Group Publishing Limited. He joined Emerald in 2000, having held senior sales and marketing positions for the Hallmark greeting card company, and Castrol, a leading motor oil brand. In 13 years with Castrol, Bill’s mix of national and global experience included an overseas posting to Spain and management of their international motorsport programme. Eleven years with Emerald have seen him leading – at various times – all of Emerald’s journal and book sales and marketing activities. He is a Visiting Professor at CIBER (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research) at University College, London. Particular areas of interest are: the impact of economic growth in Asia on publishing and research; digital researcher and student behaviour, including usage patterns; academic research workflow; development of global Higher Education, especially in social sciences; international expansion of Business Schools; and the changing role of the digital librarian. Bill is married with four children and a dog and lives in the Yorkshire Dales in the UK.