New Publication: Collaborative yet independent: Information practices in the physical sciences

This report was the result of a collaborative effort between the Research Information Network, the Institute of Physics, Institute of Physics Publishing and the Royal Astronomical Society. They would like to thank the study authors at the 1) Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 2) Department of Information Systems, London School of Economics, 3) UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and the Department of Information Studies, University College, London,
4) e-Humanities Group, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences (KNAW) and Maastricht University, and
5) Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), University of Oxford.

The main authors for this report are: Eric T. Meyer, Monica Bulger, Avgousta Kyriakidou-Zacharoudiou, Lucy Power, Peter Williams, Will Venters, Melissa Terras, Sally Wyatt.

Research Information Network (RIN) Report Series, IOP Publishing, 2011

In many ways, the physical sciences are at the forefront of using digital tools and methods to work with information and data. However, the fields and disciplines that make up the physical sciences are by no means uniform, and physical scientists find, use, and disseminate information in a variety of ways. This report examines information practices in the physical sciences across seven cases, and demonstrates the richly varied ways in which physical scientists work, collaborate, and share information and data.

This report details seven case studies in the physical sciences. For each case, qualitative interviews and focus groups were used to understand the domain. Quantitative data gathered from a survey of participants highlights different information strategies employed across the cases, and identifies important software used for research.

Finally, conclusions from across the cases are drawn, and recommendations are made. This report is the third in a series commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN), each looking at information practices in a specific domain (life sciences, humanities, and physical sciences). The aim is to understand how researchers within a range of disciplines find and use information, and in particular how that has changed with the introduction of new technologies.

You can download the full report following this link: