Medical faculty's use of print and electronic journals: changes over time and in comparison with scientists

J Med Libr Assoc. 2004 Apr;92(2):233-41.


Objectives: The objectives are to determine how medical faculty members use scholarly journals, whether print or electronic journals are read more, whether there is a pattern among types of users, and what similarities and differences there are between the use of journals by medical faculty and faculty in other disciplines.

Methods: Medical faculty of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) multi-campus system were surveyed, and their responses estimated using critical incident technique to characterize the different aspects of their use of print and electronic journals.

Results: Medical faculty read a great deal, especially compared to scientists. The most frequently reported principal purpose of reading is to support their primary research (30% of reading). The majority of reading comes from recently published articles, mostly from personal subscriptions. Medical faculty continue to rely on print journals (approximately 70% of readings) versus electronic journals. Age of faculty does not appear to influence the choice of print or electronic format. Medical faculty read more articles than others on average and need information digested and verified in a way to save them time. Convenience and currency are highly valued attributes.

Conclusions: It can be asserted that librarians and publishers must find ways to provide the attributes of convenience and currency and match the portability of personal subscriptions in an electronic journal format for medical faculty.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Journalism, Medical / standards*
  • Librarians*
  • Libraries, Medical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Library Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Periodicals as Topic / standards*
  • Professional Competence
  • Professional Role
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennessee
  • Time Factors
  • United States