Dealing with Data: Science Librarians’ Participation in Data Management at Association of Research Libraries Institutions

Karen Antell, Jody Bales Foote, Jaymie Turner, Brian Shults

Abstract

As long as empirical research has existed, researchers have been doing “data management” in one form or another. However, funding agency mandates for doing formal data management are relatively recent, and academic libraries’ involvement has been concentrated mainly in the last few years. The National Science Foundation implemented a new mandate in January 2011, requiring researchers to include a data management plan with their proposals for funding. This has prompted many academic libraries to work more actively than before in data management, and science librarians in particular are uniquely poised to step into new roles to meet researchers’ data management needs. This study, a survey of science librarians at institutions affiliated with the Association of Research Libraries, investigates science librarians’ awareness of and involvement in institutional repositories, data repositories, and data management support services at their institutions. The study also explores the roles and responsibilities, both new and traditional, that science librarians have assumed related to data management, and the skills that science librarians believe are necessary to meet the demands of data management work. The results reveal themes of both uncertainty and optimism—uncertainty about the roles of librarians, libraries, and other campus entities; uncertainty about the skills that will be required; but also optimism about applying “traditional” librarian skills to this emerging field of academic librarianship.

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Copyright © 2014 Karen Antell, Jody Bales Foote, Jaymie Turner, and Brian Shults, Attribution-NonCommercial (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) CC BY-NC


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