Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey 2012

11 04 2013

The 2012 report from the Ithaka S+R US Faculty Survey, which tracks attitudes and practices of faculty members at American colleges and universities, just came out this week. It’s a little library-centric but touches on many issues related to teaching, research, and scholarly communication. It’s long (70+ pages) but a relatively quick read:

Download Report

If you don’t have time to skim the full report, here are some excerpts that may be of particular interest to TAG:


  • Small but non-trivial shares of respondents use technology in their undergraduate teaching. But while most recognize the availability of resources to help them do so, many respondents do not draw upon resources beyond their own ideas or feel strongly motivated to seek out opportunities to use more technology in their teaching.

Conducting Research

  • Collaboration — The prevalence of collaborative research varies significantly by discipline. Virtually all of the scientists reported that they have collaborated with others at some point in their career, while only two-thirds of humanists had done so.
  • Data Preservation and Reuse — About four out of five respondents indicated that they build up some kind of collections of “scientific, qualitative, quantitative, or primary source research data.” But while scholars across disciplines build up collections of relevant research data—of whatever type may by appropriate for their field and research—in the course of their work, few turn to established solutions for preserving these materials aſter a given project ends (see Figure 37). Four out of five respondents strongly agreed that “I preserve these materials myself, using commercially or freely available soſtware or services.”
  • Digital Research — We asked faculty members if they would like to “more deeply” integrate digital research activities and methodologies into their work. About half strongly agreed that they did, while about 20% strongly disagreed. A relatively greater share of humanists (about a third) strongly disagreed with this statement than did scientists and social scientists (about one in ten)… Among those who indicated they were interested in more deeply integrating digital research activities and methodologies, more than three quarters of respondents indicated that each of the [types of support] listed—more time, more conceptual help in understanding how digital research activities and methodologies can be thoughtfully integrated into their research, or technical support for implementing digital research activities and methodologies—would be very important to them.
  • Digital Humanities — A far smaller share of humanists than of social scientists and scientists indicated that any of these digital methods were very important to their research. Even methods that are believed to be specifically applicable in the digital humanities, such as text mining or GIS mapping, are reported to be utilized by only a minority of humanists.

Disseminating Research

  • Publication — Respondents tend to value established scholarly dissemination methods, prioritizing audiences in their sub-discipline and discipline, and those of lay professionals, more so than undergraduates or the general public. Similarly, they continue to select journals in which to publish based on characteristics such as topical coverage, readership, and impact factor. Finally, respondents tend to value existing publisher services, such as peer review, branding, and copy-editing, while expressing less widespread agreement about the value of newer dissemination support services offered by libraries that are intended to maximize access and impact.
  • Journal Selection/Open Access — The fact that the journal “makes its articles freely available on the internet, so there is no cost to purchase and read” remains among the lowest priorities to scholars in selecting a publication venue; only about a third of respondents indicated this was a very important factor.
  • Faculty Web Pages — A third of respondents indicated that they receive support in the form of having a public web presence [“a public webpage that lists links to my recent scholarly outputs, provides information on my areas of research and teaching, and provides contact ifnormation for me”] managed for them.

State of IT – Notes from September IT Forum

3 10 2012

Last week, CIO and Vice President for Planning Jerry DeSanto presented on the “State of IT” at the semester’s first IT Forum. His talk provided some really interesting insight into how CIOs strategically plan for the future – see his slides (in pptx) for more detail.

Some of the trends that Jerry discussed:

  • Consumerization – consumers bring their interest in technology to the workplace, and increasingly they’re also bringing their own devices (BYOD) to the workplace as well. For CIOs, this means a shift to supporting a wider variety of devices, with less depth of support for any one device/platform.
  • Cloud services – as we use more cloud computing services, we rely less on the computing power of our desktop computers. Thin clients let users access software from the cloud, so you don’t have to be at a specific workstation to use certain software.
  • Security – cloud computing raises a lot of issues in terms of security and data management – e.g., who owns the data? Is it secure? Is it exportable? Terms of service become very important. IR is working on some additional security initiatives, like two-factor authentication (for high risk data users), forced password changes, and guidelines for remote access (under development) – that is, how to safely work with restricted/confidential data from a non-University device.
  • Teaching and Learning – lots of new developments here – MOOCs, learning analytics, software licensing…
  • Network – The redundancy and reliability of the University network have become increasingly important. At the same time, there are increasing demands on the network (video streaming, gaming…). Our network just underwent a huge upgrade – our bandwidth is now 500 Mb, as compared to 50 Mb back in 2008.
  • Big data – corporations are increasingly leveraging data about their consumers to make decisions and to get a competitive edge. We might start seeing some of these techniques used in higher ed.
  • Business continuity – disaster recovery is really important. We have a good on-site data center, but we need an off-site backup as well.
  • Workforce and services – soft skills are becoming as important in IT as technical skills. As more software-as-a-service tools become available, there’s less need for home-grown solutions.

So there are lots of challenges ahead for Jerry and the IR division. Jerry has given TAG some questions he has about campus technology needs – we’ll be talking at our meeting today about how we can get input from the rest of the faculty. (More notes to come.)