Researchers concerned about mixed messages

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Researchers are concerned by what they perceive as mixed messages about how they should communicate their research findings. A new report published by the Research Information Network and JISC in the UK highlights the need for more consistent and effective guidance from funders and higher educational institutions.

According to the report, if funders and institutions want to encourage researchers to disseminate their work through a variety of channels as well as in high-status journals, they must give stronger and more positive messages about how those channels will be valued when it comes to assessing researchers’ performance.

Many researchers see a damaging tension between their desire to communicate via channels which enable them to reach and influence their intended audiences – often beyond academia – as rapidly as possible, and the pressures to publish in high-status journals.

The report also identified significant variations between researchers in different disciplines in the dissemination channels they use and in their patterns of collaboration. There are also differences in how they acknowledge the contributions that members of a team have made and in how they cite the work of others.