The Stanford University Libraries has obtained funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a two-year research project investigating behavior with and attitudes towards electronic journals published in Internet editions by HighWire Press, the Libraries' online service bureau for scholarly publishers. This domain of online scholarly communication is poorly understood and poorly researched. Moreover, competition among the for-profit and not-for-profit scholarly journal publishers has generated various claims regarding efficacy and efficiency of communication. Little data is available to support such claims. This study aims to provide data and interpretation of that data. While the study will benefit in particular the more than 60 scholarly societies whose publication in Internet editions are associated with HighWire, others will benefit as well, as we expect this study to assist scholars, librarians, and administrators in higher education and research making individual and collective choices in how they contribute to scholarly communication.
The project will involve a series of ethnographic interviews, online surveys, and data analyses to investigate how electronic journals (e-journals) serve scholarly communication, now and in the proximate future, and how changes to e-journals may improve scholarly communication. Our intent is to identify key issues, distinctions, and discriminators of readers that may serve to inform and frame further study. While this study will examine the question, "What does Stanford need to know to make HighWire successful in serving scholarly publishers?" the project will probe more general issues of emerging trends in the use of information by scholars. Much of the project's findings will, accordingly, be made public, primarily in the form of web publications.
This project, begun in the late fall of 2000, will take two years to complete and publish.