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Data and Analytics

Providing Data and Analytics on Research Library Practices, Effectiveness, and Impact

The Research and Analytics program pursues a research agenda for the Association. We collect and analyze data on all aspects of research libraries’ roles in scholarly and scientific production, learning facilitation and learner success, and knowledge access and sustainability. In 2019, ARL members benefited from a data collection and analytics program focused on outcomes and impact in several ways. The program benefits from our close collaboration with the Association of College & Research Libraries, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and our work with the broader assessment community. 

Communicating the impact and relevance of research libraries and archives

The Association initiated the Research Library Impact Framework pilot projects with 17 teams composed of assessment practitioners from member libraries. These projects will help ARL members communicate the impact and relevance of research libraries’ and archives’ activities in ways that resonate with budget holders and stakeholders. The teams are working on answering five research questions: (1) How does the library help to increase research productivity and impact? (2) How do library spaces facilitate innovative research, creative thinking, and problem-solving? (3) How does the library contribute to equitable student outcomes and an inclusive learning environment? (4) How do the library’s special collections specifically support and promote teaching, learning, and research? (5) How do the library’s collections play a role in attracting and retaining top researchers and faculty to the institution?

Open laptop showing charts and data.

To help members communicate the impact of research libraries, ARL publishes several annual reports. The ARL Statistics 2017–2018, ARL Academic Law Library Statistics 2017–2018, and ARL Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics 2017–2018 describe the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of the Association’s member libraries. Additionally, ARL published the ARL Annual Salary Survey 2018–2019, which analyzes salary data for professional staff working in member libraries. In 2019, the Association established the ARL Salary Survey Task Force to review the current survey and recommend improvements to the collection of salary information for the FY 2020–2021 cycle.

Providing leading research library assessment instruments 

ARL completed a market analysis of ClimateQUAL and LibQUAL+ in 2019, resulting in a plan to upgrade both instruments in 2020. ClimateQUAL is a tool for assessing organizational climate and diversity; LibQUAL+ is a tool for evaluating library service quality. The demographic questions on the ClimateQUAL survey will be refreshed. Details about the LibQUAL+ upgrade are pending.

ARL, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), and the American Library Association (ALA) extended their Joint Advisory Task Force through August 31, 2022, to continue efforts to bring the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Academic Libraries component up-to-date and in-line with current library practices. The ACRL/ARL Joint Advisory Task Force will develop recommendations regarding definitional issues and responses to questions raised by the academic library community in the area of shared print and electronic collections. IPEDS accepted the task force’s previous recommendations and implemented them in the 2015, 2016, and 2019 survey cycles.