HomeFocus AreasE-ResearchData Access, Management & SharingNSF Data Sharing PolicyNSF Guide: A New Leadership Role for Libraries

NSF Guide: A New Leadership Role for Libraries

Academic libraries are well poised to help researchers meet the new NSF requirement, which also presents an array of promising opportunities for leadership in this realm:

  • Liaison librarians are familiar with the research data needs of their faculty. Many subject specialists in biology, engineering, geosciences, the social and behavioral sciences, economics, and other areas covered by programs and directorates in the NSF already work closely with faculty and know the challenges of managing and sharing research data.
  • This is next-generation librarianship. The curation of research data is an activity that has gained traction in the wake of library and information science programs offering concentrations in data curation and institutes in digital curation, promising a cohort of librarians qualified to meet the challenges of managing data.
  • Collaboration is reinforced as a significant way of building capacity. Data management planning demands cross-departmental, even cross-campus, communication and collaboration, and for many research libraries such inreach/outreach efforts are well established. For others, the change in the NSF policy opens up new opportunities for collaboration and thus new ways of modeling that process.
  • This is a paradigm shift for libraries and librarians on many levels. The NSF requirement points up new opportunities for libraries, such as the impetus for creating services relevant to the management of research data, and for librarians, such as in the area of collection development (e.g., since data sets will increase in importance, how does this affect collection management and development policies?) and in the acquiring of new skill sets.
  • It’s not about just content anymore. Data management plans resulting from this requirement have great potential to inform how libraries should curate research data in a programmatic, standardized way for continuing access and re-use.

Authors: Patricia Hswe and Ann Holt



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