Support for the Research Process: An Academic Library Manifesto has just been published. This brief call to action document represents the collaborative work of the RLG Research Information Management Roadmap Working Group.
The goal of the document is to set forth a “top 10” list of action items for Academic Libraries to focus on in the face of a rapidly changing scholarly research landscape.
Much of what is currently written about the future of libraries focuses on how to save libraries, or on whether we even still need libraries. In this document, we tried instead to focus on what academic libraries can and should do to ensure that “current and future researchers will have the support they need to navigate and exploit the full potential of evolving digital scholarship.”
One potential follow-up to this document would be for members of the academic library community to take each of the action items and develop examples, use cases, and best practices:
1. Commit to continual study of the ever-changing work patterns and needs of researchers; with particular attention to disciplinary and generational differences in adoption of new modes of research and publication.
2. Design flexible new services around those parts of the research process that cause researchers the most frustration and difficulty.
3. Embed library content, services, and staff within researchers’ regular workflows; integrating with services others provide (whether on campus, at other universities, or by commercial entities) where such integration serves the needs of the researcher.
4. Embrace the role of expert information navigators and redefine reference as research consultation instead of fact-finding.
5. Reassess all library job descriptions and qualifications to ensure that training and hiring encompass the skills, education, and experience needed to support new modes of research.
6. Recognize that discovery of content will happen outside of libraries—but that libraries are uniquely suited to providing the organization and metadata that make content discoverable.
7. Embrace opportunities to focus on unique, core services and resources; while seeking collaborative partnerships to streamline common services and resources.
8. Find ways to demonstrate to senior university administrators, accreditors, and auditors the value of library services and resources to scholarship; while providing services that may seem invisible and seamless to researchers.
9. Engage researchers in the identification of primary research data sets that merit long-term preservation and access.
10. Offer alternative scholarly publishing and dissemination platforms that are integrated with appropriate repositories and preservation services.
As Ricky Erway at hangingtogether says:
You don’t need to nail it to your library’s door, but you might want to think about how many of these things you currently do, how many you could do, and what you could stop doing (or streamline) so that you can better support your institution’s research mission.