Stanford Report Online

Stanford Report, October 11, 2000
Mellon Foundation grant to allow Stanford to study e-journal use behavior

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant to Stanford University Libraries for a two-year study of people's behavior with and attitudes toward electronic journals. It will focus on e-journals mounted on the Internet by HighWire Press, the Libraries' online service bureau for scholarly publishers.

"This domain of online scholarly communications is understood mainly intuitively and little researched," said University Librarian Michael A. Keller, who is also publisher of both HighWire Press and the Stanford University Press. "There have been many claims regarding efficacy and efficiency of communication, but there is little data available to support any conclusions. This study should go a long way toward improving our understanding of the new modes of scholarly communication."

While the study will be of particular interest to the 60 scholarly societies associated with HighWire, others will benefit as well, Keller said. "This study will assist scholars, librarians and administrators in higher education and research in making individual and collective choices in how they contribute to scholarly communication," he said.

John Sack, HighWire's associate publisher, added, "While this study will examine the question, 'What does Stanford need to know to make HighWire successful in serving scholarly publishers?' the project will probe more general issues of emerging trends in the use of information by scholars." Much of the findings of the project will be made public.

The project research will involve a series of ethnographic interviews, online surveys, telephone or mail surveys, and data analyses to investigate how e-journals serve scholarly communication -- now and in the near future -- and how changes to e-journals may improve scholarly communication. Stanford will engage the Institute for the Future in developing and conducting interview and survey vehicles. The project also will employ data-mining techniques to uncover behavioral and trend data from the transaction logs maintained by HighWire.

Further information about HighWire Press can be found on the HighWire home page at