New report reveals opportunities for academic libraries and research offices to strengthen support for researchers

The study indicates that libraries and research offices can play a key part in the management of research data, research workflows, access to funding, and impact measurement

(13 June 2019)  Ex Libris®, a ProQuest company, is pleased to announce the publication of a study that examines the challenges that researchers confront at institutions of higher education and the level of support provided by research offices and libraries. The study was commissioned by Ex Libris and conducted by Alterline, an independent research agency. The report presents findings from a survey of 300 researchers and interviews with nine senior members of research offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The key findings of the study include the following:

  • Researchers are satisfied or very satisfied with the level of support provided by their research office and library (81% and 80%, respectively). However, they feel time-deprived and stressed.
  • Many researchers conduct tasks themselves in areas where libraries and research offices can provide valuable expertise and administrative support. The findings indicate that there is room for greater involvement of libraries and research offices in areas such as managing article processing charges (47% of researchers stated that they do it themselves), finding funding opportunities (52% do it themselves), preparing data management plans (54%), ensuring open-access compliance (55%), and monitoring research impact (61%).
  • Researchers consider fund sourcing and the preparation of grant applications the most difficult part of their roles. Only 35% of researchers find it easy to find relevant funding opportunities, and only 32% find it easy to apply for funding grants.
  • Demonstrating research impact is increasingly important, but the best method of meaningfully measuring it is still unclear. Nevertheless, 35% of researchers are always required to demonstrate the impact of their work, and 51% are required to do so some of the time.
  • Researcher profiles are scattered across many channels, led by LinkedIn (65%), the researcher’s university page (54%), and Google Scholar (42%). Because of researchers’ workload, it is the institution that is charged with showcasing researcher profiles as well as keeping these profiles current, a responsibility that is perceived as challenging by administrators.
  • Almost 60% of scholars have to publish research datasets alongside their publications, yet for many this is not easily achieved.

Ex Libris Vice President of Research Information Management Solutions Nadav Doron commented, “The new study sheds light on potential directions that institutions can take to improve support for academic research. Although researchers state that they are pleased with the current level of support, the study shows that they are not fully leveraging library and research office expertise. The use of these services can reduce the administrative burden on researchers and improve the impact of research.”

Zara Lawson, Research Manager at Alterline, said: “We were pleased to see the level of engagement from researchers. The feedback we received supports the growing trend of using technology to maximize efficiency, research integrity, and research impact. However, there is clearly much more to be done to ensure that current resources are used to their full potential and can effectively deliver the information required by both research office members and scholars.”

To read the report, click here.

For the original press release, see here.