The library’s role in research impact

Library touch points provide opportunities to support authors and contribute to research impact.

University libraries can play an important role in supporting authors and feeding into the research impact of their institutions, said Alison McNab, Support Librarian at the University of Nottingham, speaking at the UKSG Forum in London.

Nottingham’s research landscape includes five global research themes, a research portfolio worth over £300 million, over 2,300 individual research projects and more than 4,400 postgraduate research students.

In looking at the issue of supporting the university’s research impact, the library team concluded that it was strategicially important for the library to assist researchers with their open access and research data management requirements and idenfitied some specific aims: to entice researchers back into the 'library space' – whether virtual or physical; to improve advocacy between the library and its research community; and to gain an understanding of the research environment and where the library fits into it.

Five touch points in the research lifecycle were identified, each providing an opportunity to develop the library's aim. These were:

  • Developing an idea
  • Applying for funding and grants
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Conducting active research and
  • Disseminating research outputs

Outcomes identified for the library included building research support capacity and capability; enhancing the impact agenda; the co-delivery of research support training from key stakeholders; and ensuring compliance with the requirements and mandates of funders, the institution and research assessments.

Challenges for the future include gaining a greater understanding of what researchers want, determining what the library can offer, and whether the library offer should be one size fits all, or differentiated for individual users. Issues to be considered include resourcing, mapping the library’s activities to University and external networks, and ensuring compliance with funder open access roadmaps.