Just as the aim of channel surfing is not to find a program to watch, the goal of literature surfing, is not to find an article to read, but rather to find, assess, and exploit a range of information by scanning portions of many articles. This behavior is common among scientists (9). Longitudinal studies of e-journal use confirm that scientists are indeed “reading” more papers at a faster pace (10) [...] These changes in journal use are far greater in STM disciplines than the averages over all disciplines, suggesting that as work with the literature has moved online, scientists are scanning more and reading less. [...] More recent studies of the research process have emphasized the varied ways in which scientists work with information (13, 14). The literature is scanned not only to position new findings in cognate fields and learn about collaborators’ domains, but also to monitor the progress of peers and competitors. Information is collated to compare measurement and instrumentation details; it is also used to compile personal collections in evolving areas of interest and to extract the facts and evidence needed to build databases. These are all aspects of strategic reading, a robust, well-entrenched behavior that is vastly more efficient in the digital realm and is thus a promising target for digital support.

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A quote saved on Feb. 26, 2013.


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