How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications
Discovery patterns and practices are changing steadily, as workflows adjust to new services and work around a variety of barriers. The best data about discovery practices are held by content providers, who are able to analyze the variety of sources that researchers use to reach their platforms. But while many content providers analyze their own traffic sources, they tend not to share these data with one another or publicly, making it impossible for them to know whether their patterns are typical or particular. And while libraries may know that the use of one or another discovery service they provide is growing or shrinking, they do not have access to the black box of web and academic search engines like Google and Google Scholar, making their view especially blindered. Given the limited availability of data about actual discovery patterns, all but the most sophisticated are forced to turn to the next best thing, which is survey findings.