Communicating knowledge: How and why UK researchers publish and disseminate their findings

Electronic publishing Communications Great Britain

This report was commissioned by the Research Information Network2 (RIN) and JISC to gather and analyse evidence about the motivations, incentives and constraints that lead researchers in the UK in different subjects and disciplines to publish and disseminate their work in different ways, how and why researchers cite other researchers’ work, and in particular, how researchers’ decisions on publication and citation are influenced (or not) by considerations arising from research assessment.

Researchers are driven by a desire to enhance our knowledge and understanding of the world we inhabit, and to communicate their findings to others. But both governments and other funders are increasingly interested in demonstrating the social and economic returns from their investments in research, and in assessing research performance.

The many different criteria for success, and the lack of any consensus on how success should be assessed or measured, however, mean that researchers often find themselves in receipt of confused or conflicting messages. And they are pulled in different directions in deciding which channels of communication they should adopt.

This report is complimented by four supporting papers which provide detailed descriptions of the methods used, a full analysis of the data, and further details of the findings.

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