Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Information Resources in High-Energy Physics

This is an interesting article -- Information Resources in High-Energy Physics: Surveying the Present Landscape and Charting the Future Course by Anne Gentil-Beccot, Salvatore Mele, Annette Holtkamp, Heath B. O'Connell, Travis C. Brooks Abstract: Access to previous results is of paramount importance in the scientific process. Recent progress in information management focuses on building e-infrastructures for the optimization of the research workflow, through both policy-driven and user-pulled dynamics. For decades, High-Energy Physics (HEP) has pioneered innovative solutions in the field of information management and dissemination. In light of a transforming information environment, it is important to assess the current usage of information resources by researchers and HEP provides a unique test-bed for this assessment. A survey of about 10% of practitioners in the field reveals usage trends and information needs. Community-based services, such as the pioneering arXiv and SPIRES systems, largely answer the need of the scientists, with a limited but increasing fraction of younger users relying on Google. Commercial services offered by publishers or database vendors are essentially unused in the field. The survey offers an insight into the most important features that users require to optimize their research workflow. These results inform the future evolution of information management in HEP and, as these researchers are traditionally "early adopters" of innovation in scholarly communication, can inspire developments of disciplinary repositories serving other communities.
The PDF of the preprint is here.

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