Scientists reading fewer papers for first time in 35 years : Nature News & Comment

A survey of the reading habits of US university researchers saw a drop in the traditional, paper-based consumption of information.

A 35-year trend of researchers reading ever more scholarly papers seems to have halted. In 2012, US scientists and social scientists estimated that they read, on average, 22 scholarly articles per month (or 264 per year), fewer than the 27 that they reported in an identical survey last conducted in 2005. It is the first time since the reading-habit questionnaire began in 1977 that manuscript consumption has dropped.

“People have probably hit the limit of the time they have available to read articles,” says information scientist Carol Tenopir, who led the study.

Tenopir, who heads the Center for Information and Communication Studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, speculates that a wealth of other information sources is cutting away from the time scholars have to read articles in detail. The survey defines ‘reading’ as going beyond titles or abstracts to the main body of an article, and so it does not reveal whether researchers are quickly skimming over more articles than they did before.

via Scientists reading fewer papers for first time in 35 years : Nature News & Comment.

This entry was posted in Basic News, Broader Impacts, Future of the University, Open Access, Peer Review, Public Pedagogy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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