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[InetBib] New issue of Information Research
- Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 22:56:13 +0100
- From: Tom Wilson <wilsontd@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: [InetBib] New issue of Information Research
The new issue of the journal is now available at the usual place.
Here's the Editorial:
This issue is a little early in being 'put to bed' because other
commitments intervene. However, that doesn't really affect the
content, which has been in preparation for some time and, indeed, some
of the papers have been on the site for a month or so before
publication. The search engines find them there and the papers get a
few more 'hits' before the world at large knows about them.
The numbers of papers coming forward continues to grow, although some
(a relatively small proportion) are so far outside the field of
interest that one wonders why on earth anyone would think the journal
was appropriate for their output. Such papers do not get any further
than the Editor's screen and that is also the case with papers that
are evidently not sufficiently well prepared to bother the referees
with. However, I think that it is gradually sinking into people's
consciousness that the journal operates according to the same
standards for the selection of papers as other leading journals: we
have the same high standards of reviewing and, indeed, often have the
same reviewers as the other leading journals. This can be quite useful
when, for example, a reviewer tells us that he has previously reviewed
a paper for another journal and that it was rejected.
To an extent we can identify, also, papers that have been prepared for
a different journal and then rejected. Absurd as it may seem, authors
do not bother to re-organize their paper to fit the Instructions for
Authors of Information Research. The don't provide a structured
abstract, the sections and sub-sections are numbered and the
references do not follow the APA 5th edition standard. Sometimes these
are rejected following their being read by myself and/or another
editor, sometimes the author is advised to think again, re-organize
the paper and re-submit. Some do resubmit, others realise that the
game is up and we never hear from them again.
In this issue
Once again, we have a variety of contributions, with authors from
Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and the USA. One of
the contributions is the multi-authored debate first published on the
Weblog, with authors from Australia, Canada, Finland and the UK.
The subjects of the papers are as diverse as the geographical
distribution of the authors: Pirkola explores the effectiveness of
search engines in identifying new Websites in different countries,
noting that Google and Live Search are biased towards sites in the
USA, while the pan-European engine Virgilio does a better job on
European sites than either of the US search engines. Not surprising,
perhaps, but it does seem that Google and Live Search really ought to
be doing a better job with European sites by now. Perhaps their
managers will read this and think about what to do.
I must admit that much of what is written on bibliometrics bores me to
tears, it seems that much work in this area is done simply because it
can be done, rather than with the aim of casting any light on any
information problem of concern. I'm happy to say that Bo Jarneving's
use of bibliometrics to explore the research productivity of the
Western Gotland region of Sweden is rather more interesting, it
reveals the complexity of research relationships and collaboration in
the regional and shows that global collaboration (i.e., between
Swedish and foreign institutions) is the most common form, with
collaboration between Swedish institutions taking second place.
One of the interesting things that has happened since we begain to
accept papers in Portuguese and Spanish is that more authors with
these native languages are actually submitting papers in English. The
paper by José Manuel Morales-del-Castillo and his colleagues is a case
in point. The subject here is the development of an automatic
'selective dissemination of information' or 'recommender' system for
the field of digital libraries. The system uses a thesaurus, user
profiles and RSS feeds to deliver information on resources to those
interested in digital libraries and, at this stage of development, is
said to be 'reasonably effective in terms of precision and recall'.
The difficult part for automatic systems, of course, is getting beyond
the 'reasonably effective' level, so we await further reports on the
development of D-Fussion with interest.
Another paper with a Spanish interest (and collaboration with Cuba) is
in Spanish and deals with the historical and epistemological
development of paradigms in information science. Basing their research
on a review of the literature, the authors conclude that there have
been three major paradigms in the field: the physical, the cognitive
and the social—ways of defining the nature of information and
information science. The authors suggest that the literature reveals
the collapse of the cognitive paradigm in recent years and the
emergence of the social (and, we might add, behavioural).
The role of memory institutions (archives, libraries and museums) in
European projects is the subject of Zinaida Manžuch's paper. Based on
her Ph.D. dissertation, the paper reveals that archives are the least
visible of the memory institutions in these projects and that the
projects are concerned with resources almost to the exclusion of the
social and communicative role of the institutions in society. This
strikes me as an important point to make and one that the various
agencies of the European Union might take into account in future
Stephen Paling is our sole contributor from the USA in this issue and
he is concerned with identifying the emergence of a new area of
research, which he designates Literature and Art Informatics. To map
this emergent field he employs a statistical technique called multiple
correspondence analysis, which is used to present data graphically, in
the hope of revealing relationships that may be difficult to spot in
data tables. In this paper, the author's aim is mainly to demonstrate
the method, but he also derives conclusions on the relationships
between authors and the application of information technology in their
The final paper (properly speaking) is by Jette Hyldeg&oring;rd of the
Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen and
deals with the relationship between personality traits and group-based
information behaviour. The author chooses (unlike some previous
researchers) to use the full form of the NEO Personality Inventory
Revised, the most widely used of the instruments based on the
five-factor model of human personality. Perhaps the most interesting
finding (although not altogether surprising) is that the associations
between personality and group behaviour are rather complex. I say, not
altogether surprising because, of course, group dynamics and
interpersonal relationships will intervene in group situations and,
for example, someone who is uncertain about his or her abilities in
searching may have their confidence boosted by the way in which other
members of the group support and reward his/her behaviour. Clearly,
there is more interesting work to be done in this area.
We also have a 'non-paper' in this issue: I decided that it might be
useful to present here the debate that took place between Reijo
Savolainen and myself (with contributions from others) on the
relationship between 'behaviour' and 'practice' as terms employed in
information behaviour research. I am reprinting it here because it may
achieve wider readership and I think that debates of this kind are too
rare in our field.
We have the usual set of book reviews in this issue covering a wide
range of topics. Two of them deal with collections of reviews, the
Annual Review of Information Science and Technology and Information
science in transition, edited by Alan Gilchrist, which was originally
published as an issue of the Journal of Information Science. The
remainder deal with topics as diverse as iWork, Apple's answer to
Microsoft Office and the role of book publishing in the modern world.
Something, in other words, for everyone.
There has been news, once again, of more financial problems in
libraries and their impact upon journal subscriptions. For example, in
California the state universities are facing significant budget cuts
and the University of California Libraries have already advised
publishers that they are scrutinizing all subscriptions. The
University of Amsterdam has shut down its open access publishing fund,
which paid publishers in return for open access to publications from
staff members - a response to the economic climate, it is said. No
doubt this will be the first of a number of such economies.
One of these days, but I'm not holding my breath, those directing the
affairs of our universities will come to a realisation that spending
money to subsidise the publication of OA journals makes much more
sense than bolstering the profits of the commercial publishers. The
problem of course, is that each Vice Chancellor, Rector or university
President is concerned only with his or her little fiefdom and the
amount of money involved at present, in terms of total national spend,
is too small in public accounts terms to attract the interest of
politicians. So, the antiquated process bumbles along, with
self-archiving as a kind of sticking plaster on the system.
We need a campaign for true open access journals like Information
Research: no author charges, no subscriptions, just free access to
publish and free access to read, achieving maximum social benefit.
We have one conference announcement on the contents page in this
issue. ISIC: the information behaviour conference (as it is now
called) - an essential meeting for all concerned with this area of
research. There's a link to the Call for Papers, which other editors
may care to note and advertise. We also have a Website for the whole
series of conferences, which is still under development.
My thanks, as usual, to the Associate Editors, copy-editors and
referees for helping to bring this collection to your screen.
Professor Tom Wilson, PhD, Ph.D.(h.c.),
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Information Research: an international electronic journal
Listeninformationen unter http://www.inetbib.de.