PEER Behavioural Research – Baseline report

The PEER Behavioural Research Team from Loughborough University (Department
of Information Science & LISU) has completed its behavioural baseline report,
which is based on an electronic survey of authors (and authors as users) with
more than 3000 European researchers and a series of focus groups covering the
Medical sciences; Social sciences, humanities & arts; Life sciences; and
Physical sciences & mathematics.
The objectives of the Behavioural Research within PEER are to:

–       Track trends and explain patterns of author and user behaviour in the
context of so called Green Open Access.
–       Understand the role repositories play for authors in the context of
journal publishing.
–       Understand the role repositories play for users in context of
accessing journal articles.

The baseline report outlines findings from the first phase of the research
and identifies the key themes to emerge. It also identifies priorities for
further analysis and future work. Some interesting points to emerge from the
first phase of research that may be of interest to a number of stakeholders
in the scholarly communication system include:

–       An individual’s attitude towards open access repositories may change
dependant on whether they are an author or a reader; readers being interested
in the quality of the articles but authors also focused on the reputation of
the repository itself
–       Reaching the target audience is the overwhelming motivation for
scholars to disseminate their research results and this strongly influences
their choice of journal and/or repository
–       Researchers in certain disciplines may lack confidence in making
preprints available, and to some extent this is not only a matter of
confidence in the quality of a text but also due to differences in work
organisation across research cultures (e.g. strong internal peer review of
manuscripts versus reliance on journals for peer review). Other factors are
likely to include career stage and centrality of research to the parent
–       Value-added services, such as download statistics and alert services,
would contribute to the perceived usefulness of repositories and could help
them gain popularity in what is an increasingly competitive information
–       Readers often need to go through a variety of processes to access all
the articles that they require and widespread open access may reduce the need
for this time consuming practice.

The full report is available from