Survey of academics 2012

Survey of UK academics reveals reliance on digital technologies and OA.

Research conducted by Ithaka S+R, Jisc and Research Libraries UK (RLUK) explored the attitudes of 3,500 academics to teaching, research and communication.


  • 40% begin the research process at a generic search engine
  • About one third begin at a specific resource/database
  • Just under 15% began with an online library catalogue; the same number begin with a national/international library catalogue or database
  • Only 2% begin with a physical visit to the library (medical/veterinary academics are the least likely to visit the library at this stage)


  • 60% have used a digital scholarly monograph in the last six months
  • However, print is preferred for in-depth reading, in particular by those in the social sciences and humanities


  • 86% rely on their institution’s library collections; 49% report they would like to use articles that are not in their library
  • After the institutional library, materials available free of charge online are the most important source for journal articles

The role of the library

Respondents were asked to reflect on six roles the library performs and rate them by order of importance.  They rated them in the following order of importance:

  1. Buyer – paying for resources needed by academics
  2. Archive – acting as a repository of resources
  3. Undergraduate support – helping develop their research skills
  4. Teaching support – supporting and facilitating academics’ teaching activities
  5. Gateway – acting as a starting point for research
  6. Research support – providing active support to increase productivity of research

See the original Jisc press release which has links to the report.