Use of online knowledge resources by prominent South African researchers

Reinhold Treptow, Megan James


The growth in online knowledge resources has transformed information securing practices and effects have been especially pronounced for scientific journals. It has therefore become increasingly necessary to understand researchers information search and securing preferences. Leading South African researchers were indentified and invited to participate in a web- based survey to this end. Results indicate that electronic resources are favoured for journal articles, but not for books, and researchers commonly employ chaining and browsing behaviour to locate relevant journal articles. Full-text journals are favoured by researchers to undertake searches. These are favoured over other bibliographic databases and other federated searches (Google, Google Scholar and MetaLib). Analyses of the coverage of top rated journals by the two top rated full- text databases EBSCOhost and ScienceDirect reveals significantly lower coverage when compared with the coverage of top journals by the citation databases Scopus and Web of Science. Researchers should therefore make greater use of these resources to effectively locate relevant material.


Online knowledge resources; electronic journals; information seeking; South Africa

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