Scholarly activity - research - creates a need to spread and share information about the results, methods, new processes and products. The findings are shared and evaluated by colleagues and students. There is a need for both informal and formal communication, both locally and on a world-wide scale. As has been pointed out by Kauffer and Carley (1993), there are a number of important factors in academic writing:
by means of a variety of media such as CD-ROM or on the World Wide Web
Scientific communication can be conducted through:
A widespread network of personal contacts is of great importance for gathering information. Research workers are particularly interested in obtaining the most recent information about developments within their own subject fields. Informal verbal communication is valued for the speed of information transfer. Established research workers gradually build up "the invisible college," an informal communication network.
Fig.3. Scholarly communication channels
The term invisible colleges is used to indicate personal informal
communication networks between research workers. This term was coined by
Robert Boyle for a small group of intellectuals in seventeenth century
England, possibly forerunners of "The Royal Society" in London. 
Crane carried out a detailed analysis of the concept of the invisible
college (1972) and suggested that, within each research area, there
is a core of highly active and productive communicators who bring other
members of the group into the communication network (See Fig. 4).
and his co-workers showed that information is often introduced into R &
D organisations by means of a few key persons - gatekeepers
act as catalysts, passing on information both from within the institution,
and from external sources, to potential users.
Fig. 4. Oral channels of communication
If you want to know something, ask someone;The importance of the use of oral channels of communication varies according to the subject field and branch of engineering. An example of an area where oral communication is of great importance is the construction and building business, where people often work with unique objects and need to solve specific problems in a short space of time. The telephone and telefacsimile (for the transmission of diagrams etc.) are invaluable tools.
If you don't know anybody, ask someone who does;
If you don't know anybody at all and you can't solve or abandon your problem;
Then search in the literature!Francis W, Wolek, 1981. 
The advantages of oral channels of communication are that they:
The advantages of the formal printed channels are that:
The most important carrier of printed information is the journal article. The first scientific journals were published during the seventeenth century - Journal des Sçavans, Paris 1665; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 1665; Acta Eruditorum, Leipzig, 1682. During the eighteenth century a few more scientific journals appeared, amongst them such well known titles as Annales de Chimie (et de Physique), 1790; Annalen der Physik, 1799 (Thornton & Tully, 1978), Kronick, 1991, Meadows, 1974.). The growth in scientific and technological journals has increased dramatically in the twentieth century - giving the Information Explosion. (see Fig.2).
The formal pattern of printed communication is relatively slow. The time sequence for the publication of research results in the physical sciences is shown schematically in Figure 5. If the research is such that a patent can be applied for, this will be the first form of printed communication. At about the same time, some form of internal report and/or seminar paper may be published. This may be followed, after an interval of a few months, by a conference paper and/or an external report, possibly to a funding organisation. During this time the manuscript for a journal article is being prepared, checked and revised. This manuscript is sent off to the journal editor about four to six months after the completion of the research. Sometimes an article is accepted directly, but in the case of the refereed journal, it is passed on to one or more referees. These may suggest revision and alteration. The average time between the completion of a research project and a published journal article is about eighteen months. It should be noted that there are some journals which specialise in more rapid publication - examples are Electronics Letters, Physics Letters and Spectroscopy Letters. Knowledge of the time schedule for formal printed communication makes you aware of the value of such sources as patents, reports and conference literature when looking for recent information.
Fig. 5. Schematic representation of the time sequence for the publication
of research results in the physical sciences.
In primary publications, information on a given topic is widely scattered,
for example, in many different journals. Secondary publications are usually
subject-oriented. Information from many primary sources is collected together
and organised in a structured form, for example, under subject headings,
and designed to facilitate information searching. Indexes provide search
entry points, for example, to authors or subjects, and primary publications
can be identified by means of detailed information as to the author, source
of the publication and year of publication. Indexes only
contain titles of the primary publications (e.g. articles) together with
identification details, such as author(s), name of journal, date of publication,
volume, issue number and pagination. An example is Abstracts in New
Technologies Index and Engineering, formerly Current Technology Index
(see Fig. 6.).
|10 ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING
563 - Silicon Semiconductors - Czochralski grown single
Fig. 6. Example of an Index - Abstracts in New Technologies Index and Engineering, formerly Current Technology Index
Abstracts or abstract publications are secondary publications that include a short abstract of the contents of the primary publication in addition to the identification details. An example is Electrical and Electronics Abstracts (see Fig. 7.).
Fig. 7. Example of an Abstract Publication - Electrical and Electronics Abstracts
There are today several thousand abstract and index publications, some of which are of an interdisciplinary type, for example, the Engineering Index, New York, PASCAL (formerly Bulletin Analytique, 1940-55, then Bulletin Signalétique, 1956-83), published in Paris, and the Referativny Zhurnal, Moscow. Other abstract publications cover more specific subject fields, for example, Chemical Abstracts, Computer and Control Abstracts, Electrical and Electronic Abstracts, Index Medicus, Metals Abstracts, and Physics Abstracts. These publications form part of comprehensive information retrieval services based on databases from which they are printed. Abstract and index publications and their corresponding databases, either online or in CD-ROM form, are very useful tools in that they save time in the information retrieval process.
Some abstract and index publications cover a certain type of primary publication, instead of a specific subject. Examples of such publications are Dissertation Abstracts, which presents information from doctoral theses from a wide number of countries, and Government Reports Announcements & Index, listing reports from projects supported by the American government.
Yet another type of secondary publication is the research review or review article. Early annual reviews were comprehensive treatises on broad subject areas. One of the earliest examples of such a publication is "Årsberättelser om framstegen i fysik och kemi" by J.J. Berzelius, published 1822 to 1850 by the Royal Science Academy in Stockholm. These publications were translated into both German and French - see Fig. 8. - (Odelberg, 1978).Reviews today cover much narrower subject areas. The typical review is directed towards a well-defined subject area and is written by an expert who critically examines and reviews new information in that area over a given period of time. The review usually contains a fairly extensive list of references to the primary publications which have been examined. This makes the review article a very good starting point for information searching, because it not only contains the results of an expert literature search, plus references to earlier surveys or reviews, but theses are placed in relation to each other and to the general body of information within the subject area.
Fig. 8. French translation of "Årsberättelser
om framstegen i fysik och kemi" by J.J. Berzelius
Research reviews are to be found both in primary journals - as articles - and in special publications - review journals - with titles such as:
Advances in ....Examples of journals containing regular research reviews are the IEEE Proceedings and the Journal of Chromatography.
Annual Review of ....
Progress in ....
Survey of ....
Yearbook of ....
The textbook is a secondary publication which is similar in some ways to the review article, but it is usually far more general in coverage. The information contained in the textbook is considerably removed in time from original research. Statements such as "Recent research shows that..." should therefore be treated with caution!
Information from a number of primary publications is structured, organised and presented in other types of secondary publications, such as encyclopaedias, handbooks and dictionaries. These are usually grouped under the term "reference literature."
A different type of secondary publication is the Citation Index. In every field of scholarship, research workers and practitioners cite references to earlier publications related to the work described in their own papers. Through these references (citations) an author expresses subject relationships between the current article and the cited references. A citation index is based on these relationships. It lists publications that have been cited and identifies the sources of these citations. Starting from a known relevant reference, it is possible to trace subsequent articles which refer to the original document, thus leading to more recent literature than the first known item. Citation indexes are designed to facilitate searching forwards in time from a known relevant paper.
The oldest citation index is Shepard's Citations started in 1873, to list citations to precedents used in legal cases in various US courts. In 1961, the first volume of Science Citation Index (SCI) was published. This was followed by Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) in 1973, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) in 1978. These Citation Indexes are divided into three main parts:
Fig. 9. The structure of the Science Citation Index
The citation index is a powerful tool for information retrieval, in that it is possible to use a cyclic technique, in which the citing document found, together with other papers by the same author (s), may act as new search entry points. Citation indexing, in the words of Garfield, "has the advantage of eliminating the need for intellectual indexing without compromising either the depth of the index or the quality of the terms."
Citation indexes are extremely useful tools for "working forwards" from a highly relevant reference. In using them, it is, however, important to bear in mind the normal pattern of citation. There is a time-lag between the publication of a document and the first reference to it, due to the time taken to assimilate the new information, the time taken to make use of it in further research and the time taken to publish the citing document.
ACOnet Austria BELNET Belgium CARNet Croatia CESNET Czech Republic DENet Denmark FUNET Finland RENATER France DFN Germany ARIADNE Greece HUNGARNET Hungary SURIS Island HEAnet Ireland GARR Italy RESTENA Luxembourg SURFnet Netherlands UNINETT Norway NASK Poland FCCN Portugal SANET Slovak Republic ARNES Slovenia RedIRIS Spain SUNET Sweden SWITCH Switzerland TÜVAKA Turkey JANET United Kingdom
An important issue for the future development of European research networks is that of funding. The CEC has supported many development projects, but cannot, within the limits of its authority, provide all the support necessary for operational services. There are, in addition, many European countries which are not part of the European Community. During the last few years there have been radical changes in central and eastern Europe. One result of this has been a greatly increased demand from the academic communities for network services.
The academic networks are now well developed and offer an obvious potential for electronic publishing and the distribution of scientific and technical information. Consult the Into Info Internet resources section for specific subject oriented resources Many scientific journals are now available in electronic form. Consult your Local Library to see what you can access over the campus network.