Project StORe: Biosciences report
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This report was written as part of the first phase of the national higher education research project StORe (Source-to-Output Repositories). The project included a large scale analysis of repository user behaviour, with an extensive survey of the research community in seven academic disciplines. Data was acquired through a detailed on-line questionnaire and a series of individual interviews. The observations from the biosciences research community, as one of the seven survey constituencies, are presented in this report. Most of the biosciences researchers who took part in the survey seem to be generally in favour of an improved linkage between source and output repositories. Overall, they create data as a combination of different types and formats, to which they assign the metadata themselves, during the stage of file sharing. Many researchers seem to have some reservations about sharing their research data with the potential risk of premature broadcast as the main reason given for this attitude. If and when biosciences researchers share their research data, they do so on individual request and through the exchange of portable media or as e-mail attachments. However, a large group of researchers share their data freely and have no access control mechanisms in place. Surprisingly, only about half of the biosciences researchers stated that they submit their data to a source repository. Those who do submit do so mainly on an occasional basis. The main important source repository for the biosciences was stated to be GenBank and PubMed was named as the main important output repository. A significant proportion of researchers use an unspecific browsing strategy to keep up with new developments in their field. Many biosciences researchers prefer to develop their own, selfsufficient information research strategies, using a range of different access routes to various repositories. In questionnaire and interviews, researchers also made various suggestions for the improvement of repository functionality and information research, ranging from more options for searching to improved help functionality. Personal communication was also mentioned as an important information access route, especially when searching across different disciplines.