Researchers of Tomorrow – Report from JISC and the British Library

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The research behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students 

Researchers of Tomorrow is the UK’s largest study to date on the research behaviour of Generation Y doctoral students (born between 1982 and 1994). JISC and the British Library jointly commissioned the three year study in 2009, which involved 17,000 doctoral students from 70 universities at various stages in the project. 

The research findings reveal: 

 – 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. Authentication access and licence limitations to subscription-based resources, such as e-journals, are particularly problematic.

 – Open access and copyright appear to be a source of confusion for Generation Y doctoral students, rather than encouraging innovation and collaborative research.

 – 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.

 – These findings raise important questions about research development, training and support within research led organisations and the openness and sharing of research