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Scholarly communication in the age of Google: Exploring academics’ use patterns of e-journals at the University of the Punjab

Alia Arshad (Department of Information Management, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)
Kanwal Ameen (Department of Information Management, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 February 2017

1503

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate the use patterns of scholarly e-journals by academics for teaching, research and keeping themselves up-to-date. The study also looks at differences in the use patterns across 12 disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was conducted to explore academics’ use patterns of scholarly e-journals in 12 disciplines. The University of the Punjab was used for the sample population. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to all regular and contractual academics of Lahore campuses of the University. After follow up, 457 questionnaires were received with a response rate of 54 per cent. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric statistics were used to analyse data.

Findings

The results showed that the academics made more frequent use of e-journals, online reference sources and discussion with colleagues for scholarly activities. E-journals were used predominantly for research-related activities rather than for teaching and instruction. Academics obtained e-journal articles primarily from open access sources, i.e. general search engines and Google Scholar as compared to subscribed and other sources of e-journal articles. Disciplinary differences were also found in academics’ use patterns of e-journals. However, academics showed just satisfactory skills regarding use of advanced searching techniques and evaluation of the quality of e-journals.

Practical implications

Findings will be helpful for information professionals to review their policies and practices in relation to e-journal services for academic community. The needs for e-literacy skills to use e-journals will also be identified and findings will be significant for information professionals in arranging information literacy instruction programmes for targeted disciplines.

Originality/value

Most of e-journals use studies focused on specific disciplines – Sciences, Life Sciences, Engineering and Technology and Social Sciences. This research study is valuable that investigated use patterns of e-journals across 12 different disciplines at the University of the Punjab.

Keywords

Citation

Arshad, A. and Ameen, K. (2017), "Scholarly communication in the age of Google: Exploring academics’ use patterns of e-journals at the University of the Punjab", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 167-184. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-09-2015-0171

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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