Developing research analytics support services in research libraries

The following post is part of a series  related to the provision of bibliometrics and research impact services at OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions.

Libraries and their parent institutions are keen for quality analytics about their research activities and impact. Similarly, researchers increasingly require knowledge of the responsible use of research metrics to facilitate their research and career management activities. As result, we’ve been observing the establishing of bibliometrics and research impact (BRI) services (also commonly called “research analytics”) in libraries, and we’ve previously hosted webinars where institutions like the University of Waterloo and Syracuse University have shared details about their programmatic efforts.

Last month we heard from three more institutions about how they are taking the first steps to develop BRI services, with presentations by:

  • William Mischo, Interim Head, Grainger Engineering Library Information Center, Berthold Family Professor Emeritus in Information Access & Discovery, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Matthew R. Marsteller, Associate Dean for Faculty, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries 
  • Mei Ling Lo, Science Research Librarian, Rutgers University – New Brunswick Libraries 

A video recording of this presentation is now available. In this blog, I’m providing some highlights from the event, but it’s really no substitute for watching this highly informative recording yourself. Slides and links to other resources are also available.

Works in Progress Webinar: Developing research impact services–Perspectives from three OCLC Research Library Partnership institutions

BRI services to support colleges, departments, & institutional leaders

At the University of Illinois and Carnegie Mellon, library personnel are working with academic departments and colleges to provide analytics and visualizations of research impact, using tools like SciVal, the Scopus and Web of Science APIs, as well as the local campus RIM system (Pure and Elements, respectively). Both institutions are taking a team-based approach with existing staff members (similar to what Syracuse shared earlier this year), as they seek to build knowledge, develop skills, and demonstrate the need for these activities; the addition of dedicated staff is expected at some point in the future.

Bill Mischo provided an overview of the tools and services used at Illinois, to provide data and visualizations to support grant requests, promotion and tenure preparation, program evaluation, and more. There are a lot of resources available at Illinois for supporting research analysis, including the local RIM system, Illinois Experts (using Elsevier’s Pure). In one slide, pictured here, Bill demonstrated how Illinois Experts provides insights on which journals (including OA journals) Illinois researchers publish most heavily in.

List of OA journals where UIUC researchers have the most publications, 2014-2019

Matt Marsteller described similar activities at Carnegie Mellon, to provide research metrics support to campus using a complex array of platforms, tools, and data sources. CMU uses the Symplectic Elements RIM system to aggregate content from an array of internal and external sources, to serve as central data store for further analysis, as he demonstrated in this slide.

CMU uses Symplectic Elements as its campus RIM system

Services to support researchers

Mei Ling Lo’s presentation focused on how the Rutgers–New Brunswick Library has developed a workshop series that addresses the synergies between library resources and research analysis. She provided great examples of how these workshops can support researchers with an array of needs, such as literature discovery, identification of experts and potential collaborators, and a richer understanding of the value of a publication, beyond the citation count. Some of the workshops in their series include titles like:

Rutgers-New Brunswick workshop offerings on research analytics topics

She also made a compelling argument for BRI competencies to be included within the information literacy framework.

Libraries provide significant value to researchers and campus

All three speakers remarked on the significant skills and value the library can offer in this space–both to researchers as well as to a broad array of campus stakeholders. A persistent challenge is increase awareness with these audiences, which report finding value when they know these resources exist–and use them.

Join us in July for a discussion on BRI service development

As part of our ongoing efforts to convene RLP members around bibliometrics and research impact, we invite RLP affiliates to mark their calendars for an informal follow-up discussion with Mei Ling, Bill, and Matt on Thursday, July 28 at 11 am EDT. We encourage you to attend both to learn and share about your own institutional efforts (even if those are still nascent). Watch our listservs or check our main RLP web page soon for upcoming registration information.