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

 

Assessment in Action LogoACRL has selected 73 institutional teams to participate in the second year of the program Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success (AiA). The program is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and carried out in partnership with the Association for Institutional Research and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The teams, representing all types of institutions, come from 34 states and 1 Canadian province. For a list of currently confirmed institutions, see the AiA program webpage.

In their applications each institution identified a team, consisting of a librarian and at least two additional team members as determined by the campus (e.g., faculty member, student affairs representative, institutional researchers or academic administrator). They also identified goals for their action learning projects.

“The top applications were distinguished by the team composition, their readiness and the quality of their project goals. We also looked for strong institutional support to help the teams see their projects through to completion.” said Terri Fishel, vice chair of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries Committee and library director at Macalester College. “The application reviewers sought action learning projects with the greatest potential to contribute to the greater library and higher education community.”

The proposed topics for selected institutions include:

  • How does use of the libraries’ online resources correlate with measures of student success such as higher retention rate and higher GPAs?
  • What are the most effective instructional methods for teaching evidence-based practice in health sciences curricula? How are outcomes different with traditional (face-to-face) library instruction and with a flipped classroom learning experience?
  • For non-traditional students in nursing and science classes, how effective are library interventions at meeting information literacy needs? How close is our institution to meeting the goal that all students are information literate upon graduation? What impact can the library claim?
  • Does the library program to support first-year experience (creating book displays on  multidisciplinary approaches identified in the General Studies curriculum and a corresponding assignment) help first-year students develop a basic understanding of our college’s approach to the liberal arts?
  • How much of an impact does the library space have on student learning? What is the nature of that impact and what is the value of different kinds of study space to our students, (individual v. collaborative, noisy v. quiet, and technology rich v. areas free of technology)?
  • Did IL instruction change student behavior during the research phase of each assignment? Did it contribute to student confidence and belief that they can succeed in college? Does increased individual contact with librarians impact their engagement in the research process?
  • Do undergraduate students enrolled in our English as a Second Language academic reading and writing course demonstrate improved academic level information literacy skills necessary for a successful transition to required Composition I after participation in the library’s information literacy program?
  • Given our university’s commitment to MOOC’s, how has the use of asynchronous video lectures impacted student success (with a focus on persistence) and content mastery, looking at asynchronous learning objects?

To ensure project results are disseminated to the broader community, each institutional team will submit a final report and each librarian team leader will prepare and deliver a poster at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference. The AiA program, part of ACRL’s Value of Academic Libraries initiative, employs a blended learning environment and a peer-to-peer network over the course of the 14-month long program, which runs from April 2014-June 2015. The librarians will participate as cohort members in a one-year professional development program that includes team-based activities carried out on their campuses. An important component of the AiA program is establishing a learning community where librarian team leaders have the freedom to connect, risk, and learn together.

“It is an honor to be working with librarian team leaders from such a diverse group of institutions pursuing these intriguing projects,” said Lisa Hinchliffe, co-lead facilitator in the AiA program and professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We are strongly committed to establishing an environment which supports the development of a community of practice and shared learning and look forward to building on the success of the first year of the AiA program with this set of participants.”

Learn more about the AiA program at the 2014 ALA Annual Conference during the session Update on Value of Academic Libraries Initiative on Sunday, June 29, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. and during poster sessions by first year participants on Friday, June 27, 2-4pm, and Saturday, June 28, 8:30-10:30am.

AiA is a three year program, and ACRL will be selecting additional institutions to participate in the 2015-2016 class. Stay tuned for an announcement in January 2015 with more details on how to apply for the next round.

Site Admin

© 2010-2012 Association of College & Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha