A Pilot to Initiate Research Data Management Services Within Academic Libraries Helps Librarians to Learn About, Engage With, and Enhance Skills Within Their Research Communities
A Review of:
Read, K. B, Koos, J., Miller, R. S., Miller, C. F., Phillips, G. A., Scheinfeld, L., & Surkis, A. (2019). A model for initiating research data management services at academic libraries. Journal of the Medical Library Association, 107(3), 432–441. https://doi.org/10.5195/jmla.2019.545
Objectives – To initiate or expand research data management (RDM) services within the participating libraries serving health sciences populations.
Design – Case report.
Setting – Six institutions consisting of three academic health sciences and three university libraries within the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Middle Atlantic Region in the United States of America.
Subjects – Between two and eight librarians participated from each institution, for a total of twenty-six librarian participants.
Methods – Pre-pilot phone interviews were conducted and included open-ended questions about RDM services, the library’s motivation for participating, and their degree of institutional commitment. To deepen their understanding of RDM, the participants were required to complete eight educational modules that included text, videos, and quizzes. The participating institutions received data interview questions to connect with their research community to be better informed about their attitudes, language, and practices. The participants also received a Teaching Toolkit, complete with slides, a script, and an attendee evaluation form. The participants were provided with a data series, consisting of branded classes for teaching over a designated period with instructors from within and outside of the library. Collaboration with library partners was encouraged as was the use of a focused marketing plan. In fact, a major component of the pilot was the expert support, provided through biweekly meetings that included marketing tips and presentations on such topics as clinical research data management and data visualization. Finally, post-pilot program interviews were conducted, and the open-ended questions covered the pilot program as a whole and its individual components.
Main Results – Of the six participating institutions, five institutions rated the RDM educational modules very positively. Conducting data interviews was valuable for all six institutions because it allowed the librarians to meet with researchers, build relationships, and use what they learned to develop RDM services for the future. The Teaching Toolkit was rated positively by the six institutions, especially for its adaptability, the time saved over developing the content from scratch, and its usability. Finally, the two institutions that held the data series courses stated that the series succeeded in further marketing the RDM services developed by the library.
Conclusion – The pilot project met its objectives: the librarians at the participating institutions completed the educational modules, administered the data interviews, and taught an RDM foundations class based on the Teaching Toolkit. In addition, a data series was hosted at two institutions. The components of the pilot project had the intended results at each institution, and the classes were reviewed favorably. Based on the pilot participants’ positive outcomes, the authors are certain that the freely available program materials would achieve success elsewhere.
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