The author/respondent relationship with grey literature : a study in unperformed informal communication

Conference object English OPEN
Artus, Helmut M. (IZ) ; GreyNet, Grey Literature Network Service (1994)
  • Publisher: Amsterdam : GreyNet, 1994
  • Subject: 05B - Information science, librarianship | Respondent | Communication

The author/respondant relationship with grey literature: a study in unperformed informal communication Grey literature is generally supposed to be a medium for informal scientific communication. I shall present the results of an empirical survey of the Information Centre for the Social Sciences (Bonn, F.R.G.) with 1,600 Social Scienctists showing a rather strange and contradictory situation: Although there are strong efforts towards the dissemination of grey literature, there is only very little feed back by the receivers of the papers no matter whether they are personally known to the author or not. The strangest result, however, is that the authors hardly make any use of this feed back, of critical remarks or suggestions, although they make strong efforts towards reworking their papers for subsequent formal publications. They change each and everything - text, data/tables, appendices etc. -, but communication does not seem to have any remarkable influence. So, what is the production and dissemination of GL for? What are the reasons and expectations of authors disseminating their papers (and ignoring the rare responses)? And, what are the normative orientations of the receivers responding or - usually - not responding to the literature? Are there perhaps orientations completely different from those that are suggested by our theories? A convincing answer, I presume, cannot been given as long as we conceptualize the whole connexion as a system only dedicated to one cognitve goal, i.e. informal communication. Instead, we have to admit that there is a complex, multi-functional system consisting of cognitive as well as of social functions, tasks, normative orientations etc. Includes: Conference preprint, Pratt student commentary XA International
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