Easy Research

I have been tortured by the need to find ways radically change some of the ways librarians as researchers handle research, authorship, peer-review, and publication.  As information professional we should be innovating in these areas and yet at least tenure-track librarians are in the same or worse boat as other faculty members in the Titanic of scholarly communication.  Sure there are bright lights, but in general and in practice we aren’t practicing what we preach.  So perhaps we need to pick some low hanging fruit in the library literature.


One “easy” thing to do in the library literature involves surveys.  Boy do librarians love surveys, it is so much a staple of our research that my only MLIS research methods course was basically all about surveys.  So I recently read an article in an old issue of College and Research Libraries on “Librarians’ Attitudes Toward Knowledge Management” published and concerning librarians in Israel (there are over 5,000 there!)  The author suggests replicating the study in other countries and given the methodology is explained in detail and the instrument is published in the paper this should be “easy.”

But should one librarian in each country or state/province or each large institution or subgroup of librarians repeat the study and republish the results in another scholarly journal?  Doesn’t the technology exist to do this in scale?  Don’t librarians love SurveyMonkey?  We need to accept that there are scales of scholarly accomplishment and that something can be worthwhile and still only exist on a blog post or open data set.

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One Response to Easy Research

  1. PATRICIA M HSWE says:

    Yep, I hear you! BTW, have you seen this new open peer-review site: http://www.peerevaluation.org/ . It’s got some highly reputable researchers behind it, including our very own Lee Giles.

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