The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication just published “Scholarly Communication Librarians’ Relationship with Research Impact Indicators: An Analysis of a National Survey of Academic Librarians in the United States“.
This is the final publication related a topic I’ve been working on since 2013 (!), when I first realized that although academic librarians were interested in research metrics, no one had yet studied the reality of how they were using these kinds of indicators in their day-to-day jobs and in support of their own careers.
Along the way, I’ve been privileged to work with Sarah Sutton and Rachel Miles (and for a short period, Michael Levine-Clark) on a series of publications and presentations that include:
- “Is What’s “Trending” What’s Worth Purchasing? Insights from a National Study of Collection Development Librarians” in The Serials Librarian (which we also presented upon at NASIG 2016 in Albuquerque)
- “Awareness of Altmetrics among LIS Scholars and Faculty” in Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (which we compared to librarians at ER&L 2016 in Austin, TX)
- “What’s used to gauge when engaging?: Determining academic librarian roles in research assessment reporting services“, presented at the 2016 Bibliometrics and Research Assessment Symposium in Bethesda, MD.
- “Scholarly Communication Librarians’ Relationship with Research Impact Metrics,” a panel presentation at ‘Finding Meaning in Metrics’ at ALA Annual 2016 in Orlando, FL
- “Use of Altmetrics in US-based academic libraries,” a presentation at the Second Altmetrics Conference in Amsterdam (summarized on the Altmetrics Conference blog by Ian Mulvaney)
- “Myth vs. reality: Altmetrics and librarians,” a presentation at the Altmetrics15 workshop in Amsterdam
We ultimately learned that:
- Your seniority/years of experience has no effect upon how familiar you are likely to be with various research metrics
- Librarians and LIS educators alike are more familiar with traditional research impact metrics like the JIF than they are with altmetrics
- Altmetrics are least likely to be used for collection development, though this is a use case I’ve been promoting for a long time
- The more scholcomm-related duties you have in your job, the more you’ll use metrics of all kinds
- Altmetric is the most popular altmetrics database used by librarians 😎
Sarah and Rachel plan to carry this path of research forward, expanding the scope of the study to include librarians worldwide, and also possibly looking at library promotion and tenure documents’ discussion of metrics. I wish them the very best and want to once again express my gratitude towards them as collaborators: Ladies, I hope to work with you both again in the future!