The recent focus on research output and quality within the Australian higher education sector has had an impact on librarians who work in university libraries. There are two areas that have seen some new roles emerge which librarians are well-suited to.
The first is the use of bibliometrics by academic staff who are seeking promotion. Whereas previously a librarian may have been asked to check an academic’s list of publications to ensure that it was complete, the same request now is most likely to also ask for h-index and journal impact factor information. As a result, libraries have had to come up with a range of guides and services to assist academic staff who are looking for this information. Indeed, the position of a “tenure librarian” has been suggested as a way that academic libraries can ensure that they are seen as an integral part of academic life.
The other new area where librarians are finding they have a role to play is in research data management. The Australian government has set up the Australian National Data Service to help make better use of Australian research output. Several university libraries have completed an ANDS-funded project to harvest research data produced by their academics, and add it to Research Data Australia. With universities focussing more on research data management, there will be more and more opportunities for libraries to be involved. We can use our skills in describing resources to help academic staff get their research output recognised and discovered.