F, G, 4, 5
In the section on Scholarly Communication in the Atlas, Lankes charges that librarians must participate in the scholarly pursuits driving academia rather than standing by and cataloging the results. He argues that librarians must take control of their role rather than wait for professors to approach them for help, input, and so on. Right now librarians are waiting to be invited to the table instead of pulling up a chair and inserting themselves into the conversation. The idea that librarians must redefine their role has come up again and again in the Atlas. Academic librarians can do so by becoming an essential part of scholarly communication at their university. As Lankes points out, it will benefit the librarian in multiple ways. It will not only integrate them into communities they previously had not been a part of, but it will also help librarians keep a better, more complete record of knowledge creation at the university. Hahn (2008) argues that this change is already happening, and librarians must be more aggressive in defining their new role. The Atlas discusses several areas where there is potential for librarian involvement in scholarly communication.
One way that librarians can get involved in scholarly communication is to take an active role in the process and documentation of funded research. By facilitating documentation of a project from start to finish, librarians can provide a valuable service to the research team while they build a collection of in-house research and findings. This prospect is especially appealing because the funding for these services could be written into the research proposal. It is a way for the librarian to become part of the conversation without requiring the library to take on a financial risk.
What can librarians do to break into the conversation? Courtois and Turtle (2008) discuss the success of faculty focus groups at Kansas State University. The focus groups at Kansas State were part of a scholarly communication program that was focused on issues surrounding journal publishing and included faculty from a variety of disciplines. These groups helped the librarians understand the needs of the faculty. In addition, areas where the faculty were confused and those library services they were unaware of were highlighted. Focus groups on scholarly research could be an effective way for librarians to enter the conversation.
Support of professors going through the tenure process is another area where librarians can easily enter the scholarly conversation. As Lankes points out, professors are more motivated and in need of help at this point in their career than at any other time. If librarians reach out to these professors, and if faculty support librarian involvement in the process, a myriad of benefits could follow. By performing a citation analysis for the professor, libraries can validate the results. Hopefully, professors who are successful in their bid for tenure will remember the librarian who helped them along the way and become advocates for library service. So many of the examples we have seen in our discussion of the Atlas suggest that face-to-face interaction is one of the keys to getting members to use library services. Let’s get professors hooked at the start of their career so they will continue to use, and facilitate the use of, library services.
1. Is there also a responsibility on the part of the professor to reach out to librarians and acknowledge the importance of the services they provide?
2. Do the professors need to reassess their perception of the status of librarians in order to take full advantage of what librarians have to offer them?
3. How can librarians insert themselves into scholarly communication when an increasing amount of research is done virtually?
4. Is this another argument for the embedded librarian?
Courtois, M., & Turtle, E. (2008). Using faculty focus groups to launch a scholarly communication program. OCLC Systems and Services, 24(3), 160–166.
Hahn, K. (2008). Talk about talking about new models of scholarly communication. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 11(1).
Vassallo, P. (1999). The knowledge continuum: Organizing for research and scholarly communication. Internet Research, 9(3), 232–242.