Thursday, June 28, 2012

Researchers of Tomorrow Lack Digital Skills

In the UK, JISC has just released a large study of the research behaviour of doctoral students born between 1982 and 1994. This is the supposedly digitally fluent "net generation". The digital natives who live and breath digital technology. Not so according to this study. Here the key findings:
  • "This generation of doctoral students operate in an environment where their research behaviour does not use the full potential of innovative technology.
  • Doctoral students are insufficiently trained or informed to be able to fully embrace the latest opportunities in the digital information environment.
  • Doctoral students are increasingly reliant on secondary research resources (eg journal articles, books), moving away from primary materials (eg primary archival material and large datasets).
  • Access to relevant resources is a major constraint for doctoral students’ progress. 
  • Open access and copyright appear to be a source of confusion for Generation Y doctoral students, rather than encouraging innovation and collaborative research. Authentication access and licence limitations to subscription-based resources, such as e-journals, are particularly problematic. "
The three year study was jointly commissioned by the British Library and JISC and began in 2009. It involved 17,000 doctoral students from 70 universities at various stages in the project.

Read the full report.