Melissa Bowles-Terry

 

An update on the work of the Value of Academic Libraries committee was presented at a Sunday afternoon forum at ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Melissa Bowles-Terry, incoming chair and vice-chair of the committee, shared information regarding the committee’s work and led a discussion about the Assessment in Action program. Highlights from the presentation included:

1. A Task Force on Standards for Proficiencies for Assessment Librarians and Coordinators has been formed with the charge:

To develop a list of proficiencies required of assessment librarians and other librarians who contribute to assessment programs at their institutions, focusing on broad areas of proficiency rather than a comprehensive list of skills; consider similar documents such as ACRL’s “Standards for Proficiencies for Instruction Librarians and Coordinators” and RUSA’s “Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians;” outline an approach to assist individuals and organizations in selecting the proficiencies most appropriate for their environment; and follow the standards development requirements in the ACRL Guide to Policies and Procedures.

2. We are preparing a poster campaign with posters that can be customized by any institution. Posters provide examples of the research that demonstrates library value, citing studies from the literature in higher education.

3. The first cohort of Assessment in Action participants presented posters at ALA Annual, and this fall ACRL will release their project descriptions as well as a paper synthesizing results of the first year of the program. The second cohort has begun its work, and those interested in participating in the third year of Assessment in Action should look for applications available in January 2015.

Thanks to those who attended the session, and especially to those who shared their experiences with Assessment in Action. If you missed the session, please see the slides below!

ACRL VAL Update, 2014 Annual, LasVegas

 

 

This post comes to us from Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member and library director at DeSales University in Pennsylvania. 

Altmetrics, going beyond citation counts to measure scholarly impact via blog posts, twitter and other forms of social media, is becoming a hot topic in library literature as well as more general scholarly communication. Academic libraries can demonstrate their value by examining faculty productivity, and altmetrics gives us another way to see productivity and impact. I recently listened to a wonderful seminar on the topic presented by Linda Galloway, Syracuse University, for the National Library of Medicine, Mid-Atlantic Region, in which she shared multiple ways she assists faculty members and other researchers to get started with altmetrics and to use these new measures to understand the immediate impact of their work.  In the post below, I asked Linda to share practical tips for beginning a similar innovative outreach service in your library.

Altmetrics and Library Outreach

Altmetrics, or alternative citation metrics, can help inform scholarship by providing near real-time analyses of scholarly output. In addition, altmetric values are popping up everywhere  – from PLOS ONE articles to Elsevier journals.  Librarians can help faculty and researchers by contextualizing altmetrics within the landscape of traditional citation metrics and recommending how to get started.

Traditional citation metrics quantify scholarly output by measuring a researcher’s number of publications, citations to those publications, and the relative influence of the publications.  Typically, a faculty member also considers their h-index as an important metric – an h-index of 7 means that an author has published at least 7 papers that have been cited 7 times.  While traditional citation metrics are the gold standard, there are limitations.  They do not capture a publication’s impact or influence in emerging forms of scholarly communication, are often behind pay walls, measure influence narrowly, and take a long time to accumulate. 

Altmetrics are not citation metrics, but can complement and enhance a researcher’s scholarly presence.  Beyond citation counts, altmetrics measure diverse impacts from articles, blog posts, slide shows, datasets and other forms of scholarly communication.  Altmetrics quantify a different type of reader engagement with scholarly literature – more personal and meaningful. If a reader takes the time to save an article to their personal library and then tweet or blog about it, it may indicate that the article is more compelling than the one that was simply downloaded to a reference manager.  And what about post-publication peer review – the comments that are now permitted in some online scholarly publications?  These types of personal, thoughtful interactions with scholarly literature are both timely and valuable.

Altmetrics can measure scholarly engagement by collecting data on:

Accurate attribution of research products is the most important step in both citation metrics and altmetrics. Content creators can help with this by registering for and using an ORCID or another unique scholarly identifier. ORCID can help with attribution by “automating linkages to research objects such as publications, grants, and patents.”  Authors should endeavor to keep one or two online platforms (institutional profile, Google Scholar profile, etc.) consistently up-to date with their latest articles and other discrete research outputs. Remembering to use unique identifiers in academic communications (such as DOI’s) will also help to gather accurate data.

 There are several platforms that help capture and visualize altmetrics:

Non-profit:

  • ImpactStory – designed for the individual researcher, tools to visualize impact of research products. Helps “researchers to tell data-driven stories about their impacts”.

Commercial:

  • Altmetric.com –owned by Macmillan Publishers (also owns the Nature Publishing Group). “Provides article level metrics for researchers and publishers”.
  • Mendeley.com – Reference manager, .pdf organizer & social networking tool for researchers/authors. Collects & displays altmetrics. Recently purchased by Elsevier.
  • Plum Analytics – startup co-founded by former Summon developers; recently acquired by EBSCO. Collects article-level data for use by different constituencies to compare individuals, departments, universities

At the recent 2014 STELLA unconference, most participants reported little faculty awareness of altmetrics.  Five years from now, the interest in altmetrics will certainly be much greater and understanding and collecting this data now will prove beneficial.  Librarians, who recognize the inherent value in recording scholarly communication, are well positioned to promote accurate and thorough attribution of research products by helping to quantify their impact.

Further reading:

Linda Galloway, Syracuse University Libraries

Biology, Chemistry & Forensics Librarian, STEM Bibliographer

 

Submitted by Debbie Malone, VAL Committee member: This blog post is the third in a series of posts discussing the library value work being done by the ACRL Liaisons to non-library higher education organizations. We welcome Julianne Couture, University of Colorado, Boulder who is our liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

In August 2012 I was appointed as the ACRL Liaison to the American Anthropological Association (AAA), a professional organization for scholars and practitioners of anthropology. The association has approximately 12,000 members and attracts about 5,000 attendees to its annual meeting. AAA aims to advance anthropology and to further the professional interests of anthropologists. Its Statement of Purpose and the AAA Long-Range Plan provide an overview of the association and more information on its goals and objectives.

To determine my outreach strategy, I sought to understand the issues facing the organization and connect them with relevant parts of the ACRL Plan for Excellence. Looking through official AAA communication methods as well as exploring twitter, listservs, and blogs, I discovered that one major issue dealt with the future of the AAA publishing program and open access. Additionally, my work on ACRL Anthropology & Sociology Section’s Instruction and Information Literacy Committee prompted me to explore issues of student learning within the discipline. My objective was that engagement in these areas within a disciplinary association would also enhance the value of academic libraries.

The year prior to my appointment as ACRL Liaison, AAA sought to understand more about the sustainability of its publishing program by commissioning an analysis by a consulting firm and conducting a member survey. The association released the analysis in a report to AAA members which details the association’s current publishing trends and major issues it will face over the next few years. While this report is restricted to AAA members, the overall takeaway is the association faces a time where it must make critical decisions regarding the future of the publishing program and the options are varied and complex. Around the same time, outgoing American Anthropologist editor Tom Boellstroff (University of California, Irvine) penned an editorial calling for AAA to move to a gold open access publishing program after the current contract with Wiley Blackwell expires in 2017.

This provided context for my first year liaison activities and I focused on making connections within the organization and having conversations with other AAA members regarding the issues of open access, scholarly publishing and student learning at the 2012 Annual Meeting. This proved to be a challenging task since the association has 40 sections, 10 interest groups, and 20 association level committees. Many members focus on their sub-disciplines making it difficult to engage in conversations about overarching issues.  I combed through the 700 page program book to select programs, meetings, and sessions related to open access, student learning, and scholarly communication.

My strategy of attending meetings and engaging in conversations related to scholarly communication led to an invitation to join AAA’s Committee on the Future of Print and Electronic Publishing (CFPEP) for a three year term. This committee’s purview includes examining the future of the publishing program and recommending changes and also includes the continued development of AnthroSource. While I am still a relatively new member of the committee, I welcome the opportunity to advocate for open dissemination and participate in influencing publishing policies.

AAA has taken some steps to make anthropological research more open including the launch of Open Anthropology, an online-only journal whose issues offer a selection of articles based on a timely theme. Additionally, AAA partnered with SSRN to create the Anthropology and Archaeology Research Network, a resource for grey literature in the discipline, and instituted a 35 year un-gating policy. To explore the feasibility of an open access publishing program, CFPEP put a call out to the 22 AAA journals for volunteers to pilot open access. Cultural Anthropology was the only journal to express interest and February 2014 marks the journal’s first fully open access issue. For an excellent overview of Cultural Anthropology’s transition to OA check out Savage Minds interview with the managing editor. These recent developments mean there are many opportunities to have formal and informal conversations around scholarly communication, how it is produced, how it is valued and measured, and how it is disseminated. My experience as ACRL Liaison provides me the opportunity to have these conversations at the national level and highlights one role academic librarians can take on at the local campus level.

The area of student learning is one where I’ve faced bigger hurdles. While there is a Committee on Teaching Anthropology under the General Anthropology Division, this is not a very active committee and there have only been a handful of posters and presentations related to teaching anthropology. I continue to explore ways to increase partnership with the association to advance information literacy as part of student learning. Recently, AAA launched the Teaching Materials Exchange as a way for members to share syllabi, assignments, class activities and more. I will continue to look for ways to strengthen partnership in this area.

I welcome feedback and suggestions on strengthening the relationship between ACRL and AAA. I’ve also been working with ANSS to communicate and collaborate with other anthropology librarians about the issues, trends, and general information I gather through my work with AAA.

Juliann Couture, University of Colorado Boulder

juliann.couture@colorado.edu

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