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The first (and most important) driver of change – the virtual user (consumer) Professor David Nicholas CIBER, UCL Centre for Publishing School of Library,

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Presentation on theme: "The first (and most important) driver of change – the virtual user (consumer) Professor David Nicholas CIBER, UCL Centre for Publishing School of Library,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The first (and most important) driver of change – the virtual user (consumer) Professor David Nicholas CIBER, UCL Centre for Publishing School of Library, Archive and Information Studies University College London

2 Not PowerPoint puff Based on five years of evaluating how the virtual scholar behaves Analysed several million of them using robust methods. We have never had such a wealth of data the conclusions bare serious consideration CIBER have produced more than 100 peer reviewed articles to disseminate the findings

3 Consumerism arrives with a bang in the scholarly sector [Although some slow to wake up to this fact] The essential ingredients 1.Digitisation 2.Disintermediation 3.Massive and ever-increasing choice 4.Easy and unlimited access thanks to wholesale digitisation and search engines

4 Market features (1) Massive and global, in which consumer immensely powerful and unchained: the consumer is King The commodity (scholarly information) is extremely (and surprisingly) popular It is volatile and promiscuous One which encourages a vertical rather than horizontal form of behaviour One in which people view/skim rather than read

5 Market features (2) One in which authority is increasingly difficult to establish and up for grabs Where visibility is everything Where Search engines create a semblance of order (but also stoke the flames)

6 Market changes and impacts Seen nothing yet - still relatively early days and most of what is know is based on e-journals – the early leader But we are now at a tipping point with the arrival of e-books, a somewhat more consumer product, which touches areas of the market yet to be untouched by the digital transition

7 E-books: the accelerator Digitally enfranchises: –university students, –further education students, –humanities scholars, –the general public Liberates textbooks and monographs Together we have enormous combustion in the virtual scholar environment

8 Market weaknesses (1) 1.Insufficiently user responsive - lacks real-time, robust consumer research. Hugely dangerous when the user is determining everything. The future is now, examine it. Need the concept of the e-observatory and there is hope. 2.Stakeholders falling-out. Too busy falling out with each other (Google, libraries/publishers) 3.Still not a genuinely consumer market (like e- shopping). Still too interventionist/command-driven, result of much evangelism, baggage

9 Market weaknesses (2) 4.Lacks confidence (in quarters). Desperate and sometimes misguided attempts to hitch a ride on YouTube, facebook and the like. 5.But generally slow to innovate or learn lessons. a.Look at huge growth in virtual communities and social networking, but has hardly touched scholarly services. (might come via e- books). b.Why such little peer help? c.Why are citations OK in helping people find valuable material, when downloads are not? d.Why not taking a stronger lead on personalisation?

10 S takeholder reports 1: Libraries are between a rock and a hard place All the key stakeholders are being seriously challenged but libraries most exposed and e-books could prove the tipping point 1) Academic taxes are perceived to be high per student; 2) they occupy large amounts of prime space, largely unchanged by the digital transition; 3) they have low visibility; 4) have not done enough in terms of outcomes Librarians (and the information community generally), should consider whether federated search engines, portals institutional repositories and information literacy is really going to create a brave new world? Or would they be better staffing the e-observatories?

11 Stakeholder reports 2 : Publishers in a disintermediated world could be doing better Consumers not interested in distinctions that once made in a physical world, like that between books and journals. But their organisations are often structured along these lines. The (long) honeymoon with libraries has probably ended and its time to re-orientate yourself towards the user, the e-consumer. Understand that the user/consumer will eclipse the author in importance and you will have to shift your resources in response Some of the products still look as though they came out of the Ark Perceptions of what constitutes brand are changing and not sure if this is understood.

12 Stakeholder report 3: Users should be really benefiting from a world full of rich information choices But there is a danger that an actual dumbing down has occurred, with many users exhibiting poor information awareness and skills. How much of that activity we see in bucket loads is actually positive, beneficial and not time-wasting? The download cannot be regarded anymore to be a sign of customer satisfaction

13 End In the scholarly environment the user (supplicant) had died, long live the consumer (the driver)!

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