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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS013125)

Informal-formal Communication Informal-formal Communication in Studies on Dysplasia of the Uterine Cervix
No.13, p.125-142
Issue date

The present surveys concerning informal communication among researchers on dysplasia of the uterine cervix in the U.S.A. were carried out on request by a medical researcher, not by means of usual methods such as questionnaires, interviews, but by means of analyses of co-authorships of researchers, relationships of authors of articles and authors of literature cited in the articles, and inter-relationships of authors to each other and to institutions in which they had their past careers.

First, items on dysplasia of the uterine cervix are looked up in the Index medicus, and then co-authorships are expressed by sociograms. If articles by noted researchers such as the editors of a core journal, Acta cytologica, special members of the IAC, are cited, relationships of the original authors and these noted researchers are presented in charts. By exploring the original authors' careers, relationships of the authors and the editors of Acta cytologica and/or the IAC special members who have belonged to the same institutions in the same period are determined. Data concerning various relationships are assembled, analysed and discussed.

The conclusions drawn from the analyses of data are different from those obtained by methods of questionnaires and interviews. More than a half of researchers work in collaboration with others in the same institution, but communication by co-work does not reach all members. The distance has not a strong effect on their communication. Although the relationship between the original author and the author of literature cited is not so strong as that of co-authorship, a high frequency of citation of the same author's articles means that the original author gives much attention to the author of articles frequently cited. It is found from the survey of the researchers past careers that a considerably high percentage of the noted researchers such as the editors of Acta cytologica, the IAC special members, have belonged to the same institution in the same period with more than one of the authors explored.

The present surveys do not provide a clear-cut of informal communication among researchers as do the methods of questionnaires and/or interviews, but they at least provide background information about the matter.