Letter from the President June 2014

Marshall DozierPresident Marshal Dozier find the themes chosen for this JEAHIL issue particularly interesting.

As librarians, many of us are seeing calls for development in knowledge and skills to better support research data management in students and researchers (see e.g this recent event hosted by OCLC Libraries and Research: Supporting Change/Changing Support) partly in response to calls by funding bodies to make data available and linked to related publications (see e.g, the UK’s Medical Research Council on data sharing).

But how many of us really understand the nature of the data handled by our research colleagues, the requirements for its management, and the appropriateness of the various storage options available (assuming they are available)?

One of our professional strengths is a deep understanding of metadata and cataloguing, which are of value in supporting researchers in making their data more likely to be re-usable.

Many of us also participate in systematic review teams. But, Marshall thinks that in order to truly support researchers, we should better understand the nature of research, and in order to
understand the nature of research, it is necessary to undertake it, even in small ways.

Marshall´s sense, though, is that many of us do not really engage with research-like activities – but is it true?

Maybe we should take a reflective and analytic approach to the data that we gather in relation to our everyday activities, and which we use to inform decisions – since that is also a form of research. I suggest it in case it could feel more like familiar territory and also more immediately relevant to daily activities for a greater proportion of colleagues.

She’d like to know what you think! Please comment!

In the area of supporting the communication of research she thinks there are significant and crucial roles that libraries
already play, and which we can expand:

  • Helping researchers find the right publisher in (whether by assessing quality of editorial engagement, impact, audience, open access policies)
  • Helping researchers retain copyright in their publications
  • Helping manage open access funds, and advising on open access publication options
  • Hosting institutional repositories for publications and datasets
  • Hosting systems such as the Open Journal System

About Petra

Library director at the Medical Library, Danderyd University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
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