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Information needs and habits of unaffiliated knowledge workers in the United Kingdom

Brown, DJ; (2016) Information needs and habits of unaffiliated knowledge workers in the United Kingdom. Masters thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to analyse difficulties facing researchers excluded from results of mainstream academic research or corporate R&D, and offer recommendations on how they (unaffiliated knowledge workers or UKWs) can be integrated into future scientific activity. It also investigates the contextual aspect of whether science communication itself (science, technology, engineering and medicine or STEM) has become dysfunctional. This arises from claims that barriers prevent current stakeholders reaching into the professions, SMEs and citizen scientists - all parts of the UKW sector - with formal research publications. However, these barriers are now being breached through the combined effects of technological developments, social adaptation, administrative/legal changes and adoption of radical commercial/business models. This is leading to a migration from a print culture through a hybrid publications system to a fully digital environment where information needs will be met by different processes and procedures. The conclusion is that a paradigm shift is underway. The existing differences between STEM sectors - publishers, librarians, funders, intermediaries - over operational issues is preventing longer-term threats being addressed. The recommendation is that strategic delphic studies be undertaken at national and industry levels to provide alternative visions for STEM publishing, to support a smooth transition to a digital information economy. Included among these studies is the need to incorporate knowledge workers within the research system to produce a broader, healthier and more sustainable market for STEM. There is also a moral issue facing STEM - whether migration to an open, free and democratic system for creating information as a public utility, in line with Internet culture, can be reconciled with the drive to generate revenues and profits to sustain the commercial basis of the publishing industry; whether STEM in future should be liberated and made a ‘free’ utility.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Information needs and habits of unaffiliated knowledge workers in the United Kingdom
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Unaffilated knowledge workers, Dysfunctional STEM journal publishing, Perfect storm, Social and technical change
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522608
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