If you are planning on attending ALA in Las Vegas, the following sessions may be of interest to those of you following the VAL committee.

Assessment Project Posters will be available for viewing on two days:

  • Friday, June 27, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Bally’s Gold
  • Saturday, June 28, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Bally’s Skyview 6

Presented by the first participants in ACRL’s “Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success” program, made possible by IMLS. Librarian-led teams carried out assessment projects at their colleges and universities examining the impact of the library (instruction, reference, collections, space, and more) on student learning/success. In each session, part of the teams will present posters.  Poster abstracts will be uploaded before ALA and we will provide the URL in this blog when the posters are available. Additionally, teams will be submitting online final project reports, which will be analyzed and synthesized in a report released by ACRL later this summer. The individual reports will be available in a searchable online collection.

Update Session on Value of Academic Libraries Committee work

  • Sunday, June 29, 1:00 – 2:30  Convention Center N255

In this session we will provide updates on actions taken by the Value committee during the past year, including information on the 2nd cohort for the Assessment in Action program, questions from the audience and answers from the committee regarding the AiA program, and an introduction to a publicity campaign we will kick off at ALA.  We will share marketing posters that can be used and branded by academic libraries.  This project is an effort to provide publicity materials so that you can promote how your library adds value on your campus.  Each poster cites a research study that supports statements demonstrating how we contribute to student success.

 

The United States Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education recently announced a new Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) competition First in the World (FITW). The program will provide multi-year grants to institutions of higher education to spur the development of innovations that improve educational outcomes, make college more affordable for students and families, and develop an evidence base of effective practices. The grant announcement explains that innovations can take many forms, such as those that improve teaching and learning by redesigning courses and student supports or by leveraging technological developments.

The FITW competition aims to increase postsecondary access, affordability and completion for underrepresented, underprepared or low-income students at institutions across the country. Applications are due June 30, and FIPSE is holding pre-application webinars May 28 and June 4 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. EDT. See the First in the World website and the official Federal Register Notice for more details.

While ACRL is not eligible to apply, academic librarians could work with their own institutions and consortia to seek FITW funding. With $75 million dollars available, this could be a powerful mechanism for you to implement innovative strategies and effective practices which improve student outcomes. Use FITW as a catalyst to transform student learning, pedagogy, and instructional practices through creative and innovative collaborations on your campus. Leverage this as an opportunity to demonstrate alignment with and impact on institutional outcomes.

Think of ACRL when you develop your proposal. We can serve as a contractor to support your project in the following ways:

You may think of other ways ACRL could support you through our existing programs and services. Or perhaps you would benefit from having ACRL involved in a new way, as a full partner to offer more substantial support. To pursue any of these options as you develop your FITW proposals, be in touch with Kara Malenfant, ACRL’s senior strategist for special initiatives at kmalenfant@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext 2510.

 

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

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