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Research Library Impact Framework Initiative and Pilots: Research Productivity and Impact

Research question: (How) does the library help to increase research productivity and impact?

Project Teams

Project Descriptions

Pilot Project: UC Berkeley

This project focused on Open Access (OA) publishing, which enhances researcher productivity and impact by increasing dissemination of, and access to, research. The study looked at the relationship between faculty’s attitudes toward OA and their OA publishing practices, including the roles of funding availability and discipline. To do this, University of California Berkeley (Berkeley) faculty’s answers to questions related to OA from the 2018 Ithaka Faculty Survey were compared to the faculty’s scholarly output in the Scopus database. The study focused on Gold OA articles, which accounted for 18% of the publications. Overall, the study found a positive correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s support for OA (no cost to read). In contrast, the correlation between publishing Gold OA and the faculty’s concern about publishing cost was weak. Publishing costs concerned faculty in all subject areas, whether or not their articles reported research funding. Thus, Berkeley Library’s efforts to pursue transformative publishing agreements and prioritize funding for a program subsidizing publishing fees seem like effective strategies to increase OA.


Pilot Project: University of Illinois at Chicago

The primary goals of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library’s research project were to examine library impact on faculty productivity and to explore how publication patterns of faculty at a public research university changed over time. To address these questions, the project used various usage statistics: collection size (measured by journal holdings), collection use (measured by number of references in the publications), publications (number of publications by faculty), publication impact (measured by number of citations), number of co-authors, grant funding, page counts, and faculty demographic information. Publication data for faculty at a large urban public research university were obtained from Scopus. Analyses of the data revealed several variables that affect journal publication patterns including number of references used in publications, number of authors, grant funding.


Pilot Project: University of Pittsburgh and University of Washington

The University of Pittsburgh and University of Washington teams explored the role of a library in supporting research productivity at their respective institutions. The University of Pittsburgh team focused on the discovery stage of the research process, with a specific focus on early-career researchers in the hard sciences. The University of Washington team focused on faculty and postdoctoral researchers in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and health sciences fields and their need for understanding and communicating the impact of their work. While focusing on their individual projects, the two teams agreed to work together to test one of the goals of the IMLS grant: building collaborative library research partnerships. The teams agreed to focus on similar user groups and adopt the same methods for data collection. As a result of the collaboration, each of their reports include the guides for semi-structured interviews and other resources.

University of Pittsburgh Presentation:

University of Washington Presentation:

Practice Brief: University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba Libraries (UML) underwent significant changes in how it provided support to University researchers across 15 Faculties (84+ departments). Part of this change involved the creation of the Research Services and Digital Strategies (RSDS) unit to prioritize and coordinate support and services in 11 key areas. The libraries also engaged in four internal-evaluative processes including; the development of key performance indicators (KPIs) and balanced scorecards, drafting a Strategic Framework document for the RSDS unit, an institutional reorganization within our Academic Engagement units, as well as contributing to the development of a university-wide research data management strategy. This practice brief provides the output of these four evaluative processes as they relate to library-delivered research support. This brief also provides a lesson-learned section to highlight the pros and cons of engaging in four rigorous evaluative initiatives within a one-year period.


University of Manitoba slides 

Practice Brief: Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt’s practice brief is based on a pilot survey conducted in the Spring of 2018. The results of the pilot survey were presented at a regional medical library association meeting in October of 2018. The primary goal of the instrument is to document the various projects our stakeholders are involved in as well as the library’s role in those projects. The ARL practice brief will further explore and evaluate the survey instrument’s criteria in its current context and its potential utility in other research libraries. Upon completion of the project, the survey’s content and purpose will enable any library to document and disseminate their value (or impact) to its users, library administration, and university administration. It should also strengthen the library’s perception as a partner in their respective academic, research, and clinical enterprises.


Practice Brief: University of Waterloo

As academic institutions increasingly ask questions about research impact, libraries have the potential to be a valued and knowledgeable partner. The University of Waterloo provides a possible method for how other research libraries can support the growing area of bibliometrics. This practice brief explores: service background, partners, service providers and users, how bibliometric data are used, data sources, key lessons learned (including gaps), and recommended resources.


University of Waterloo slides