Seeking Serendipitous Scholarly Discoveries: SAGE Recommends

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18501292075_59e5db288d_zResearch is a fickle process–at times, carefully planned searches and methodical approaches yield a bounty of relevant information, and other times, it seems there is no information to be found. Many times, when research plateaus, the best thing to revive research is a serendipitous discovery. But how exactly can serendipity be applied to research when it is inherently coincidental? A new two-part white paper from SAGE Publishing discusses the part serendipity plays in academic research, and how to encourage more coincidental discoveries.

In the first paper, “Expecting the Unexpected: Serendipity, Discovery, and Scholarly Research Process,” written by Alan Maloney and Lettie Y. Conrad, findings from a survey of 239 students and faculty suggest that researches prefer to stumble upon interesting, relevant content rather than have materials recommended by peers or by popularity. Statistically, 78% of undergraduates and 91% of faculty are inclined to click on recommendations during their online research, particularly when the recommendations are directly relevant to their research topic.

Lemony Snicket quote

In the second paper, “The Story of SAGE Recommends,” Alan Maloney describes how the research on serendipitous academic research led to the development of SAGE Recommends, a new discovery tool launched in December 2015. SAGE Recommends is designed to explain connections between content and subtly recommend relevant research materials to users. Alan Maloney explained:

SAGE Recommends is the first output of SAGE’s efforts over the last couple of years to develop better content intelligence, and to properly map and understand the disciplines in which we publish. This paper sets out how we have used this new knowledge and area of technical competence to make scholarly and educational materials more discoverable, to encourage new directions in research, and to delight our users.

The findings of this study will be discussed in a free webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, February 16th at 11 AM EST. The discussion will be moderated by InfoDOCKET’s Gary Price. To register, click here.

To read the first paper, “Expecting the Unexpected: Serendipity, Discovery, and Scholarly Research Process,” click here. To read the second paper, “The Story of SAGE Recommends,” click here.

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