Exploring the Research Practices of Academics in the UK
UK Survey of Academics 2015 Published
Today, Ithaka S+R is releasing the UK Survey of Academics, with our partners Jisc and RLUK. Fielded in autumn 2015, this is the second cycle of this project and therefore the first opportunity to examine trends over time. It uses a large-scale sample of academics from across the UK higher education sector. In addition, nearly a dozen individual institutions partnered with us to provide targeted help to ensure that our survey reached their academics.
Given that the survey is run in parallel with the US Faculty Survey, there are important comparative opportunities. One of those that I want to highlight is some evidence of the impact of recent funder mandates within the UK. We found evidence suggesting that funder priorities related to data preservation, open access for journal articles, and outreach to non-academic audiences, were all having an impact:
- We saw a substantial increase in the share of respondents that preserves their research data in a repository and a corresponding decrease in the share that preserves data themselves
- There has been an increase in the share of respondents that received assistance making their research outputs freely available online.
- UK respondents more frequently share findings freely available online, in pre-print or e-print digital archives, and/or online under a Creative Commons or Open Source license as compared with their US peers.
- A growing share of respondents seems to be adding non-academic audiences to those they seek to reach with their research.
Does your college or university library, learned society, university press, or another service provider assist you with any of the following aspects of the publication process? Percentage of respondents who answered “yes.” (Figure 38)
We did not see the same level of change for these items in the US, suggesting the likelihood of a UK specific cause.
Across both the US and UK surveys, we have seen an increased interest since the 2012 cycle in the role of the library in supporting the development of undergraduate student research skills. We are not observing a trend towards a format transition for monographs in either the US or UK: academics report a preference for print over digital formats for most of their use cases.
I am thrilled that we are able to continue the coverage of the UK higher education sector in this project and gratefully acknowledge the partnership of Jisc and RLUK, and in particular Louisa Dale and David Prosser, who made this project possible.