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Information Behaviour of Life Science Researchers – Informing Funders and Service Providers

Presenter 1
Stuart Macdonald
EDINA National Data Centre, University of Edinburgh

This paper will discuss the findings of the RIN-funded Case Studies in Life Sciences project, undertaken by a team of social scientists and information specialists from the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation (ISSTI) and from Information Services and the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) at the University of Edinburgh. The aim of the project was to improve understanding of information use in the life sciences, and to provide a broader and deeper base of evidence to inform discussions about how information policy and practice can most effectively be supported and improved. Case studies were conducted across laboratories and research groups from 7 sub-disciplines of the life sciences and deployed a range of methodologies and tools including short-term ethnographic techniques and semi-structured instruments. Our key conclusion indicates that policies and strategies of research funders and information service providers must be informed by an understanding of the constraints and practices of different research communities. Only thus will they be effective in optimising use and exchange of information, and in ensuring that they are scientifically productive and cost-effective The full report ‘Patterns of information use and exchange: case studies of researchers in the life sciences’ is available at:

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