Better Serving the Needs of Chemists — New Ithaka S+R Report

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February 27, 2013

Talk to chemists today and you get a very clear picture of what's on their minds and what they need to do their work more effectively.


With funding from the Jisc, Ithaka S+R researchers spent the last year interviewing chemists and science librarians across the UK, asking about their thoughts and experiences on everything from how they keep up with developments in their field and sharing and preserving their data, to reviewing the work of the students in their laboratories. A report on the findings, Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Chemists, was released today and is rich in detailed insights and specific, market-tested concepts for new services that could have a big impact.


"It's very clear that while chemists believe they are well served in some areas – for example, gaining access to research literature in their field - they have acutely felt, commonly articulated needs for improvements in other areas of their work," said Roger Schonfeld, Ithaka S+R program director for Scholarly Practices and Libraries. "What's more, these needs could be served in a variety of ways by their home institutions, librarians, and learned societies. We hope this report will provide a jumping off point for these organizations to dive in and work with chemists to design and develop the next wave of solutions they need."


Ithaka S+R and Jisc plan to help this process along by hosting an invitational design workshop for science librarians and library leaders in the UK next month. "We are eager for the great work that's been done here to be taken to the next level and turned into tangible results that can improve the work of our scientists," said Ben Showers, innovation programme manager, Digital Infrastructure at Jisc.


We encourage people to read and share this report within their organizations and to stay in touch as our work continues. This is the second study by Ithaka S+R in one of the most significant efforts undertaken to date to understand the changing landscape of scholarly practices and to identify ways to more effectively serve faculty and their students across disciplines. A first report on historians was released in December 2012, and an additional study is underway in Art History.


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