Apart from looking at the most popular tools for single research activities, we can also look at which tools are used together.
Below is a first attempt at visualizing this for the first 1000 responses to our survey on scholarly communication. For this figure, we looked at the four most popular tools listed for each research activity (including, in this case, tools mentioned by respondents as ‘others’). For each tool combination, the absolute number of people (out of 1000) that uses both tools is visualized.
[click on the figure for an interactive version made with plot.ly]
This figure is merely intended as an exploration of what is possible with our survey data. These preliminary results are expected to be biased due to the distribution channels (Twitter, mailing lists) used in the early weeks of the survey. Also, results plotted as relative, rather than absolute values will be much more informative. This is something we are currently working on.
However, even looking at the patterns in the figure above, some interesting observations can be made:
- For some activities, like sharing protocols and peer review outside that organized by journals, very few people mention using any tools at all;
- Some tools are clearly being used for multiple activities (like ResearchGate for sharing publications and researcher profiling, among other activitiies), which is obviously what the makers of the tool (or the publishers that buy them) are hoping for;
- We can identify some popular tools that are hardly ever used together (like LaTeX and SPSS). While this specific example most likely reflects separate populations of researchers, these kinds of observations are also interesting in view of interoperability of tools.
Of course, we need way more responses to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions and to break down the results for researchers of different disciplines, career stages and countries. We especially hope that institutions/libraries will take the opportunity to distribute the survey and get the data for their institution.
Please help us spread the survey!