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Academics too conservative to change publishing habits

Researchers are slow to embrace novel models of academic publishing despite radical technological change, a conference at the Royal Society has heard.

The most important method of communication between scientists who are not collaborating is the journal article, said Steven Hall, managing director of Institute of Physics Publishing, drawing on conclusions from a study that is not yet published. “Researchers in the physical sciences still see the journal article as the key means for the formal communication of their research,” he told delegates at the Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication conference on 6 May.

Hall said his company had worked with the Research Information Network consultancy to run a survey of more than 6,000 researchers in all disciplines in the physical sciences at every stage in their career to determine their publishing behaviour. The study is due to be published later this month. The finding that the journal article remains the primary method of scientific communication comes despite shifts towards pre-print servers, individual datasets and the challenges to the traditional journal from the open-access movement.

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