May 28, 2020

How Research Librarians Impact the Academic Research Process

Researchers and expert scholars frequently get the credit for their work, as they should. They also cite other experts who played a role in the outcome of the end results that become published. But an overlooked necessity in the academic research process is the person in the role of the research librarian. These essential workers have an impact on the entire process, from the burgeoning idea to the final publishing steps, that should not be discounted.
Source: Unsplash

The traditional role of the research librarian throughout history is frequently discounted. As researchers and scholars receive full credit for their hard work, citing other expert sources that guided them to their outcomes, the librarian’s part in the results is forgotten. Although the job a research librarian does is essential to the scholar and has an impact on the process from start to finish, they are rarely credited for their labor.  

Traditionally, academic and research librarians have aided faculty and researchers by purchasing necessary resources, subscribing to relevant journals to have them on hand, sorting through databases, and narrowing down the exact book a researcher wants based on tiny details. But over the past two decades, this job role has shifted exponentially as libraries, staff, and academic researchers adjust to the digital age.

Changing Job Duties with the Changing Times

Technology is changing at a rapid pace, and just as researchers get used to things being one way, they shift entirely. The premise of a scholar is that they focus on one area as their field of study and become experts on that topic. Keeping up with academic regulations, types of technology, and government changes detracts scholars from their thorough focus. It makes sense that they rely on the research librarian to help them navigate mandates and data sources.

As academic research processes have changed, so have the roles of the librarian. Gone are the days where the person in this role spends their hours shelving and card cataloging books, reminding patrons to shhhh.

Today’s research librarian is a scientific marvel in themselves. They keep abreast with the changing technology sources, know the newest types of medium for the most relevant publications, analyze data to understand citation and journal analysis requirements, and use bibliometrics to guide scholars to the most credible and legitimate sources for their particular research. The research librarian is a font of knowledge, disseminating their information on demand or pointing the questioner in the right direction to find the answer.

The Multiple Hats of the Research Librarians

Librarians have an inherent skill of being able to organize information and compile it into a way to make it all readily accessible. The digital era has taken this talent to a new level, and academic librarians are adapting to the changes.

The new hats these faculty members wear and the ever-changing demand for keeping up with knowledge means that academic librarians require a whole new level of respect. Without them, the typical scholar would be hard-pressed to find the time to delve into the level of research needed to understand copyright, find the right and relevant sources, and get their hands on the publications they require.

Research librarians understand that their new roles are a work in progress, constantly evolving with the changes in technology. As such, they actively seek out continuing education and look for ways to offer better solutions for scholars to get the information they need. They complete all of this while still providing in-the-moment answers, regular organization of compilations, ongoing purchases, and dealing with academic minutiae like funding and regulations.

Some of the most common roles of today’s research librarians include wearing hats like:

●      Copyright compliance and updated federal requirements

●      Ongoing subscriptions and organization of peer-reviewed articles, journal subscriptions, and other regularly requested research

●      Navigating the academic world to find unique or uncommon sources as requested by a researcher

●      Aiding research teams with collaboration, citation, and legal matters regarding sharing content

●      Working within a budget to minimize the costs of the library’s needs while maximizing the output

●      Creating systems to automate the academic research process as much as possible and aiding the researchers in learning the tools

All of these job roles are crucial to the seamless flow of the dispensation of knowledge and resources to the researcher. Without a skilled academic librarian to aid in the research process, many of these projects would not be successful.

How Impactio Aids the Researcher, Too

While the research librarian plays an active part in the role of the academic process, the ultimate goal is to have one’s finished product published and available to a wide audience. Once the in-depth work is done, it’s time for the best part - compiling your work into a professional academic article. Impactio is the go-to platform for experts all over the world to do this part. 

With Impactio, you can create professional PDF documents and web pages, follow and analyze your publication’s academic impact through citations, and network with a community of other scholars. The research librarian’s role in the unraveling of your research is crucial to the outcome, and Impactio’s role in getting your work out there is just as important to your publication.

Tags Academic Research Scholars Librarians
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.

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