Understanding and supporting search for scholarly knowledge

Marcos Baez Daniil Mirylenka Cristhian Parra

In the last decade, scholarly communication have been greatly transformed by the web, moving research dissemination away from printed papers in journals to digital content that can be easily posted on the Internet. This technical factor along with a larger scientific community makes it really hard to find relevant content for research in the ever growing sea of publications. With the goal of gaining insights on how researchers find relevant knowledge, we have interviewed a small group of researchers and then opened an online survey to a larger group, asking them to explain how they had found references for one of their papers. The results of this study suggest that finding scientific knowledge has a strong social component, with the different researchers’ social networks (e.g., coauthors, people met at conferences) accounting for a important percentage of the source of the references. In this paper we report on this study and compare our results with the evidence found in a dataset of 5 × 106 authors with their publications and references. We take these re- sults and analyze different approaches for incorporating the social component into search and recommendation of scien- tific publications.