Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

OA increases researcher productivity

Beverly Brown, Cynthia Found, and Merle McConnell, Federal Science eLibrary Pilot: Seamless, equitable desktop access for Canadian government researchers, The Electronic Library, 25, 1 (2007) pp. 8-17.  Only this abstract is free online for non-subscribers:

Purpose This paper seeks to describe a pilot project for the Federal Science eLibrary to measure the impacts on Government of Canada researchers when provided with seamless, equitable access to an expanded core of electronic journals in science, technology and medicine (STM). The Federal Science eLibrary is an initiative supported by the Strategic Alliance of Federal Science and Technology Libraries to provide improved access to information at the desktop for the 22,000 Canadian federal scientists, policy analysts and decision makers. The pilot project was designed to evaluate the benefits of increased access to e-journals at the pilot sites and test network performance in connecting to a central digital repository.

Design/methodology/approach A total of 500 users in three Canadian government sites with limited access to electronic resources were provided with full text access to a digital repository of over 3,000 e-journals over a 12-week period. Questionnaires, teleconferences, usage statistics and e-mail correspondence were used to gather and measure researchers' response and show impacts on their ability to do their work.

Findings Pilot groups reported significantly reduced time finding and verifying information. Time saved was redirected into critical activities such as research, laboratory activities, manuscript preparation, peer review activities and professional reading. Participants found that increased desktop access had a very positive impact on their ability to do their work.

Originality/value This study shows the benefits of expanded access to electronic journals for federal government scientists through a Federal Science eLibrary initiative.

Comment.  This study directly confirms the claim of OA proponents that OA accelerates research and increases the productivity of researchers --in case anyone actually doubted it.