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Trends in Use of Electronic Journals in Higher Education in the UK - Views of Academic Staff and Students (10 Jun 2003)
Many of the earlier electronic journal trials and evaluations are limited in the validity and generalizability of their conclusions by low response rates from academic staff and students, coupled with the fact that only a few sites at most were studied. The Edinburgh study also found it difficult to trace the staff who were reluctant users of electronic journals. Similarly, JUSTEIS cannot claim to provide a fully representative picture of undergraduate students, although a cross-sectional approach was applied, and few other studies have attempted to use the same methods at a wide range of institutions within the same time period. The studies discussed in this article also suggest that disciplinary differences continue to exist, but that the type and nature of periodical publication needs to be considered as well.

The findings confirm that the working environment of staff, researchers, and students will provide clues for the reasons why electronic journals will be used or not, and which particular periodical publications will prove popular. The differences in the working environments mean that design of access mechanisms, whether through library Web pages, lecturers' Web sites, or VLEs, needs to take into account the different target audience needs and levels of experience. Specialized training by library staff for students also needs to take those differences into consideration.
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