Use and Relevance of Web 2.0 Resources for Researchers

Research Team:

Principal investigator: Rob Procter, NCeSS
Co-Investigator: Robin Williams, ISSTI


This project was funded by the Research Information Network.


The aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which Web 2.0 tools represent useful means of communicating, sharing and disseminating research ideas and outputs for researchers across different disciplines, with a view to exploring implications for the future of scholarly communications.

The study is aimed at:

  1. Informing researchers, institutions and funders on the effectiveness of these new resources as means of communicating, sharing and disseminating research ideas and outputs
  2. Advising research institutions and funders about the possible implications of the use of these resources for the recognition and reward of research outputs
  3. Providing librarians, information professionals and publishers with a view about how they might develop their roles in the scholarly communications process in order to complement the evolution of new means of sharing information in research communities.

Research Questions

  • To what extent are Web 2.0 tools are being adopted as a scholarly tool in different institutions and departments across the UK, in different subject fields and disciplines, and at different stages of the scholarly communications process?
  • Which tools are being used, for what scholarly purposes and to what degree?
  • What are the demographic characteristics of researchers who use these tools?
  • What factors influence researchers to adopt and use Web 2.0 tools?
  • Are there specific skills and training needs relevant to the adoption of Web 2.0 resources by researchers?
  • Is there evidence that Web 2.0 tools are changing researchers' behaviour in significant ways?
  • How do perceptions about quality, scholarly merit or permanence of content affect researchers' use of Web 2.0?
  • Is there evidence of impact on perceptions and practices of how research can be peer reviewed?
  • What are the ethical and legal implications of disseminating information via Web 2.0, with regard to ownership of information, etc?
  • What is the relationship between Web 2.0 resources and established search and discovery services?


We are using a composite methodology consisting of three main components: a quantitative survey to acquire the demographic characteristics of the researchers who use Web 2.0 tools and statistics of adoption rates across UK academia, interviews with users and non-users, and case studies of selected Web 2.0 tools with further interviews to investigate adoption issues in more depth within particular user communities.