Harbingers 2

funded by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Harbingers 2 is a continuation of a world-wide project begun in 2015 — Harbingers was a longitudinal study of 'digital natives', young researchers who had yet to achieve established or tenured positions. Harbingers II takes this work forward in association with University of Tennessee and with funding from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Once again we will be studying the work lives, prospects and scholarly communication behaviour and attitude of today’s novice researchers. However, the new study — Harbingers-2 — will do so with the express purpose of discovering how the pandemic will have impacted on the cohort that constitutes a most vulnerable generation of researchers.

Led by David Nicholas the international research team includes: Anthony Watkinson, Eti Herman, Jie Xu, Abrizah Abdullah, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, and Marzena Świgoń.


Publishing Research Consortium 2015–2018

Are early career researchers the harbingers of change? Will digital natives who embarque on a career in research, carry the new information-seeking behaviour into the workplace with profound change to scholarly communication? Or will they, recognising their position as apprentices and reliant on guidance from mentors, be cautious and less adventurous than established colleagues? There is a complex of factors to consider here, a whole range of demographics and characteristics.

The Publishing Research Consortium has commissioned CIBER to carry out a world-wide, longitudinal study over three years of these 'digital natives' — researchers under 35 who have yet to achieve established or tenured positions.

The key question for all publishers is “on what basis do these researchers go about selecting the journal to which they submit?”. To answer that we will investigate the impact of open access publishing, social media and online networks on the process of reputation building. Does a change in the mechanisms of information seeking and use, citing, sharing, and collaborating presage a revaluation of the social capital of publishing and peer review?

Funded by The Publishing Research Consortium and led by David Nicholas the international research team includes: Anthony Watkinson, Eti Herman, Jie Xu, Abrizah Abdullah, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, and Marzena Świgoń.

Early Career Researchers: the harbingers of Change?

The research, funded by the Publishing Research Consortium conducted during the period October 2015 to May 2018 by a team of researchers from the UK, China, France, Malaysia, Poland and Spain.

Year one: Present practice still geared towards high impact journals, but future trends emerging. —

Year two:

Year three:

Year four:

A final, quantitative stage of the project in 2019 reached a wider pool of ECRs with a multilingual online questionnaire targeted via networks of researchers, academic publishers, and key ECR platforms. Russia was added to the original 7 countries. The survey garnered 1600 responses of which 1051 were from the target countries.

Harbingers: journal articles and conference proceedings


funded by The Sloan Foundation, 2012–2013

Trust and authority in scholarly communications in the light of the digital transition: a 15 month study of research academics in the USA and UK, employing log analysis, focus groups, critical incident interviews, and questionnaires.


Reputation Mechanisms

European Commission 2014

Analysis of emerging reputation mechanisms for scholars is a six-month study for The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) in Seville, one of the European Commission's seven research institutes.

Traditionally, the scientific reputation of researchers is closely linked to successful publication in high-impact journals and the citations of those publications. Online, bibliometric indicators have developed as a mechanism for reputation. With new forms of working amid disruptive technologies do such conventional indicators reflect reputation and impact in the field of science?

The aim of this exploratory study is to outline future directions for research and practices in order to refine Digital Science 2.0 related policies and actions in Europe.


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