COVID has changed every part of our lives. Publishers,university personnel, and students are no exception. Helen Fallon, Deputy University Librarian at Maynooth University in Ireland, Heather St. Pierre and Elaine Devine from Taylor & Francis (T&F) explored research on the use of information in three steps:
- Search. Remote access to library collections is very important. Was 2020 the year of Google Scholar and social media? When users are asked where they start when they are finding research, sources mentioned included specialist bibliographic databases, academic search engines, academic and general search engines, publishers’ websites, library web pages, and discovery engines.
- Read: Article usage in 2020 increased significantly over 2019. COVID usage was around 6% of total usage. It was interesting to note that articles from past years that might have been niche articles suddenly became important.
- Publish: Submissions of articles for publication increased dramatically during the COVID shutdown, not only for those about COVID but generally.
The view from libraries: Helen Fallon described Maynooth University which has become the National Library of Ireland Maynooth. Most students left the campus when the lockdown started. Online library services continued. A Clip & Collect service, in which staff found materials and delivered them electronically to requesters was popular.The university provided laptops to students who needed them. Research librarians dealt with increases in the use of online resources. Some of the changes in operations were improvements and will be retained. Access to information has been democratized. Some staff have found virtual meetings easier to attend than in-person meetings. Helen is Associate Editor of the New Review of Academic Librarianship and has observed that COVID has accelerated submissions, which is generally true for all publishers.
Heather St. Pierre noted that product managers have had to function as users, which has required examination of how content is accessed and how relationships with their partners can be extended.