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.