US Faculty Survey 2009

Key Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies

Published April 07, 2010

Roger C. Schonfeld, Ross Housewright

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This fourth in a series of surveys conducted over the past decade examined faculty attitudes and behaviors on key issues ranging from the library as information gateway and the need for preservation of scholarly material, to faculty engagement with institutional and disciplinary repositories and thoughts about open access. For the first time, we also looked at the role that scholarly societies play and their value to faculty.


Following an initial introductory letter, survey questionnaire booklets were physically mailed to 35,000 faculty members in September 2009. A total of 3,025 complete responses were received and tabulated, for a response rate of approximately 8.6%. Demographic characteristics, including discipline, are self-reported. In 2006, we deposited the dataset with ICPSR for long-term digital preservation and access, and we intend to did so again with the 2009 dataset. 


Key findings of the Faculty Survey 2009 include:


Basic scholarly information use practices have shifted rapidly in recent years and, as a result, the academic library is increasingly being disintermediated from the discovery process, risking irrelevance in one of its core areas.  


Faculty members’ growing comfort in relying exclusively on digital versions of scholarly materials opens new opportunities for libraries, new business models for publishers, and new challenges for preservation.


Despite several years of sustained efforts by publishers, scholarly societies, libraries, faculty members, and others to reform various aspects of the scholarly communications system, a fundamentally conservative set of faculty attitudes continues to impede systematic change.

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