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Web 2.0: will they come?

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Once again, the RIN (Research Information Network, London) publishes a fundamental report on real usage of Web 2.0 by the Research community in U.K.

This report seeks to improve our currently limited understanding of whether, and if so how, UK researchers are making use of various web 2.0 tools in the course of their work, the factors that encourage or inhibit adoption, and researchers’ attitudes towards web 2.0 and other forms of communication.

Key findings:


The study indicates that a majority of researchers are making at least occasional use of one or more web 2.0 tools or services for purposes related to their research:

  • for communicating their work
  • for developing and sustaining networks and collaborations
  • or for finding out about what others are doing.

But frequent or intensive use is rare, and some researchers regard blogs, wikis and other novel forms of communication as a waste of time or even dangerous.

Regarding blog, wikis, and file-sharing services, the study found that current levels of take-up are relatively low, with 13% of respondents using such tools frequently (once a week or more), 45% using them occasionally, and 39% using them not at all.

It also found that – contrary to the perception that use of web 2.0 is of special interest to a younger, Facebook, generation – the differences between various demographic groups are relatively small,…

web 2.0 tools are for the most part not considered to be particularly important. This is unlikely to change until significant numbers of researchers see clear benefits from the use of web 2.0.

Scholarly Communication:

Researchers who use web 2.0 tools and services do not see them as comparable to or substitutes for other channels and means of communication. When deciding when, where and how to publish their work, researchers place the highest value on well-established channels of communication including scholarly journals, conference proceedings and monographs.

Open science (blogs, data sharing, etc.) : very few researchers are as yet operating in this way.

Social networking: 13% of respondents use SN services at least once a week for purposes related to their work.


Web 2.0 services are currently being used as supplements to established channels, rather than a replacement for them.

While a small number of researchers are making frequent and innovative use of web 2.0 tools, the majority use them only sporadically, or not at all. There is relatively little hostility to new mechanisms…


Procter, Rob. If you build it, will they come? How researchers perceive and use web 2.0. White paper, July 2010, 64 p.…


Written by hbasset

July 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Researchers, Web 2.0

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