The information-seeking behavior of clinical staff in a large health care organization.
BACKGROUND Both in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and in the European Union (EU2004), ample availability of up to date medical scientific literature is important for progress in medical science and for the education of the next generation of healthcare workers. The aim of this research is to assess if the use of online medical literature among academic teaching (AT) physicians is at the same level in the CIS as in the EU2004. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS In the capital cities of the CIS and the EU2004 member states, AT physicians holding an academic position at least equivalent to an associate professor and performing the three classical tasks in academic medicine (teaching, research and patient care) were interviewed about their use of and familiarity with the Internet and 9 online literature services, including journals and bibliographical databases such as PubMed (Medline), The Cochrane Library and Web of Science. Library staff members were interviewed about the availability of these online literature services at their libraries. About 750 physicians and 40 library staff members were invited for participation. Eventually 124 AT physicians and 22 library staff members participated. Internet was everywhere available, but used daily by more AT physicians in the EU2004 (71% versus 48% in the CIS, P = .005). AT physicians in the EU2004 accessed a higher percentage of all articles online (74% versus 43% in the CIS, P<.001). PubMed (P<.001), The Cochrane Library (P<.001) and Web of Science (P<.003) were used more frequently in the EU2004. In the EU2004 more AT physicians were familiar with Open Access journals (89% versus 51% in the CIS, P<.001). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE AT physicians in the CIS use online medical literature less than in the EU2004. It is recommended that the awareness of freely available online literature services such as Open Access journals is enhanced among AT physicians and library staff members, especially in the CIS.