Scholarly Communication Librarians’ Relationship with Research Impact Indicators: An Analysis of a National Survey of Academic Librarians in the United States

Authors: Rachel Ann Miles, Stacy Konkiel, Sarah Sutton


Academic librarians, especially in the field of scholarly communication, are often expected to understand and engage with research impact indicators. However, much of the current literature speculates about how academic librarians are using and implementing research impact indicators in their practice.


This study analyzed the results from a 2015 survey administered to over 13,000 academic librarians at Carnegie-classified R1 institutions in the United States. The survey concentrated on academic librarians’ familiarity with and usage of research impact indicators.


This study uncovered findings related to academic librarians’ various levels of familiarity with research impact indicators and how they implement and use research impact indicators in their professional development and in their library job duties.


In general, academic librarians with regular scholarly communication support duties tend to have higher levels of familiarity of research impact indicators. In general, academic librarians are most familiar with the citation counts and usage statistics and least familiar with altmetrics.

During consultations with faculty, the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and citation counts are more likely to be addressed than the author h-index, altmetrics, qualitative measures, and expert peer reviews.

The survey results also hint towards a growing interest in altmetrics among academic librarians for their professional advancement.


Academic librarians are continually challenged to keep pace with the changing landscape of research impact metrics and research assessment models. By keeping pace and implementing research impact indicators in their own practices, academic librarians can provide a crucial service to the wider academic community.

URL : Scholarly Communication Librarians’ Relationship with Research Impact Indicators: An Analysis of a National Survey of Academic Librarians in the United States


Global Scholarly Collaboration: from Traditional Citation Practice to Direct Communication

Authors : Sergey Parinov, Victoria Antonova

The development of recent research information systems allows a transformation of citations in the full text of research papers into interactive elements. Such interactivity in some cases works as an instrument of direct scholarly communications between citing and cited authors.

We discuss this challenge for research e-infrastructure development including opportunities for improvements in research cooperation and in collaboration mechanisms for the global research community.


Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access

Author : Kevin L. Smith

The word ‘predatory’ has become an obstacle to a serious discussion of publishing practices. Its use has been both overinclusive, encompassing practices that, while undesirable, are not malicious, and underinclusive, missing many exploitative practices outside the open access sphere.

The article examines different business models for scholarly publishing and considers the potential for abuse with each model. After looking at the problems of both blacklists and so-called ‘whitelists’, the author suggests that the best path forward would be to create tools to capture the real experience of individual authors as they navigate the publishing process with different publishers.

URL : Examining publishing practices: moving beyond the idea of predatory open access


Big data is not about size: when data transform scholarship

Authors : Jean-Christophe Plantin, Carl Lagoze, Paul N. Edwards, Christian Sandvig

“Big data” discussions typically focus on scale, i.e. the problems and potentials inherent in very large collections. Here, we argue that the most important consequences of “big data” for scholarship stem not from the increasing size of datasets, but instead from a loss of control over the sources of data.

The breakdown of the “control zone” due to the uncertain provenance of data has implications for data integrity, and can be disruptive to scholarship in multiple ways. A retrospective look at the introduction of larger datasets in weather forecasting and epidemiology shows that more data can at times be counter-productive, or destabilize already existing methods.

Based on these examples, we look at two implications of “big data” for scholarship: when the presence of large datasets transforms the traditional disciplinary structure of sciences, as well as the infrastructure for scholarly communication.


Metrics for openness

Authors : David M. Nichols, Michael B. Twidale

The characterization of scholarly communication is dominated by citation-based measures. In this paper we propose several metrics to describe different facets of open access and open research.

We discuss measures to represent the public availability of articles along with their archival location, licenses, access costs, and supporting information. Calculations illustrating these new metrics are presented using the authors’ publications.

We argue that explicit measurement of openness is necessary for a holistic description of research outputs.