PIM @ academia: How e-mail is used by scholars

Eric Zimmerman, Judit Bar-Ilan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to look at measures of e-mail use and e-mail management among academic faculty in relation to research productivity. The aim is to report only on e-mail use and management. Design/methodology/approach - For this quantitative study, productivity data were gathered from information management systems of Bar-Ilan University in Israel and a survey questionnaire was distributed in order to measure e-mail use. The scholarly community of Bar-Ilan University was surveyed via a web-form - of the 781 survey copies disseminated, 412 (52.8 per cent of the total) were received and the final usable number was 390 (49.9 per cent of the total). Findings - With younger biological and/or professional age, there are correspondingly higher levels of e-mail usage. It is clear that the younger a user is, the higher the perceived skill level and quantitative measures of e-mail use, as well as a higher perception of one's capacity to use e-mail. It would also seem that with older professional age, there is less perceived benefit to using e-mail. With increased levels of perception as to the benefit of e-mail to productivity, there is increased use of e-mail. Originality/value - This paper provides a depth of study (in its range of disciplines covered, in a single location, with a broad population) with a range of e-mail measures not previously seen in this decade. While Israel is small in size, it accounts for 1 per cent of global scientific journal articles, emanating mainly from the universities and its achievements are such that the global community can indeed learn from the behaviour patterns of Israel's scholars, represented by the findings at one of the largest research universities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-42
Number of pages21
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2009


  • Communication technologies
  • Electronic mail
  • Information media
  • Statistical analysis
  • Students


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