Focus Group with Chemistry researchers of CNR (Italy)

The Focus Group methodology is applied to the Italian focus group with 8 chemistry researchers of CNR (levels R1 and R2 ).

The topic is how scientists/researchers in STEM field perceive and experience scientific and technical information during their work activities.

In Topic 1 about the perception of scientific and technical information, researchers 1) use scientific literature to stay updated periodically on the state of the art in one’s field 2) develop new projects that fill a known gap 3) use literature as inspiration to set up new experiments 4) use literature in the publication to compare with other experiments carried out 5) use scientific literature to acquire new knowledge at an early stage 6) use of the scientific literature to contextualize, define and understand the laboratory tests that are taking place 7) use of the scientific literature in the final phase of the work to understand how to finalize the publication and what other tests to possibly request from other groups 8) use scientific literature to identify other people/groups to ask for the subsequent phases of the work.

In Topic 2 about the experience of issues in using information, researchers declare a) difficulty in identifying scientific data on some specific applied research topics, due to the absence of structural data collections or systematic databases or open data archives b) difficulty in finding data in patents due to the difficulty of understanding this type of documents. c) difficulty in finding the necessary information since scientific articles report only the data in a graph, sometimes with unclear analysis, and there is no possibility to see the raw data as an attachment to the article analysis d) problem of the transferability of knowledge to others e) the need for periodic group meetings to compare data and information and lack of periodic practices at a dense frequency (for example weekly).

In topic 3 about learning of information competences, researchers declare the difficulty in managing and organizing documents. They need to systematically transfer information and be able to organize it, so they would like to learn how to inform a possible investor/company about the opportunity to apply a particular research, but also how to disseminate the results of a research to the society in general. In general, they ask for a more organized training on effective information transfer systems.