måndag 5 december 2011

Bibliometrics and the Changing Role of the University Libraries

For the first time, NDL hosts an original publication of a full scale research article, together with Lund University Publications. Enjoy.

UPDATE: As this article has been officially published by the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, the link is now directed to the proper DOI.

How implementation of Bibliometric practice affects the Role of Academic Libraries


Dr. Fredrik Åström, Lund University, Sweden
Prof. Joacim Hansson, Linnaeus University, Sweden

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the background and potential consequences of bibliometrics being incorporated as a part of librarianship tasks and competencies.

Approach: The discussion is based on previous literature as well as a questionnaire sent out to Swedish libraries with organized bibliometric activities.

Findings: Incorporating bibliometrics into academic librarianship is part of a redefinition and widening of the professional role. This is motivated by ambitions to provide more complete services in the scholarly communication process, as well as to increase the visibility and status of libraries, not the least in relation to central university management. Underlying reasons are professional competencies such as metadata and bibliographic database management; and bibliometrics being strong within library and information science.

Implications: Incorporating bibliometrics is a widening of the professional profile of librarianship, and may well increase the visibility of the libraries in relation to their wider academic environment, not the least in times when bibliometrics is getting increasingly important in terms of research evaluation. The new role should, however, also be considered from the viewpoint of potential changes in how libraries are perceived when incorporating a monitoring function through bibliometric analyses of research performance to the previous service oriented functions.

Originality/value of the paper: Bibliometrics as a complementary path for librarianship has been discussed previously; however, not in terms how the role may be changed and how libraries are perceived. There are limitations to be considered: the questionnaire is limited to Swedish libraries; and no efforts are made into investigating how this change is viewed upon by scholars and university management.

Keywords: Profession; Role of libraries/librarianship; Academic libraries; Bibliometrics; Research evaluation

The full paper is here

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