Promoting Faculty Research Can Be Challenging. Here Is One University’s Answer.

Collecting and managing research outputs, and sharing them with the broader research community, is a challenge with which many universities struggle. Working with Ex Libris, the University of Denver Libraries is moving forward with a solution that promises to simplify this task and make research assets more discoverable, which will ultimately benefit faculty, librarians, and the entire institution.

 

Collecting and managing research outputs, and sharing them with the broader research community, is a challenge with which many universities struggle. Working with Ex Libris, the University of Denver Libraries is moving forward with a solution that promises to simplify this task and make research assets more discoverable, which will ultimately benefit faculty, librarians, and the entire institution.

The University of Denver’s prior experience sheds light on the challenges involved in promoting faculty research both within and outside the institution.

The university has been using an institutional repository to store and disseminate open-access faculty research papers. In addition, it has been using a separate system for building faculty profile pages in order to highlight their full body of work. But these two platforms aren’t connected, which has required faculty to enter their research outputs in two different places. 

Not surprisingly, faculty, have been slow to embrace this cumbersome process, says Dean of Libraries Michael Levine-Clark.

Another problem is that faculty might not clearly understand what rights they maintain over publication deposits or reprints. “We try to work with them on this, and when we work with them, we do get some uptake,” Levine-Clark says. “But even then, there is a need for our faculty to do some work.” 

When faculty do upload their research to these two repositories, they often do so with incomplete metadata. This requires library staff to add or enrich the metadata to make sure these research outputs are discoverable—which is a time-consuming activity.

Levine-Clark wanted a solution that would make it easier to showcase the work of faculty for everyone involved. “We were hoping to connect these systems that don’t talk with each other under a single process so that we can present our faculty outputs to the world more effectively—while simultaneously saving everyone time,” he says.

The university has found such a system in Esploro, a new cloud-based research services solution from Ex Libris that makes it easy to capture, manage, and promote research assets. 

Esploro offers a single, unified system for storing and disseminating many different kinds of faculty outputs. It’s based on open standards, so that it integrates easily with other existing research systems—and it includes automated processes to save time and simplify data capture for librarians and researchers. 

For instance, by leveraging integrated researcher profiles, Esploro can automatically identify research published by faculty in journals, external repositories, and other sources; capture the relevant metadata associated with a source, and create a record within Esploro for that research asset. This saves librarians and researchers from having to manually enter this information for themselves.

What’s more, Esploro broadens the scope of research assets that can be stored in a research repository. The solution’s flexible data model supports a wide variety of asset types, including pre-prints, data sets, creative works, and other materials.

Levine-Clark is looking forward to having a system with automated processes for capturing information. “It’s important for us to present this as less work for our faculty, not more,” he says. “If we can tell them that we’ll automatically populate their faculty profile pages with information generated by Esploro, and all they have to do is review and approve this information, that’s a key way for our library system to provide value for them.”

Besides simplifying workflows, Esploro will improve the university’s ability to evaluate the impact of its research by measuring performance metrics across academic publications as well as traditional and social media. “We are currently tracking the number of articles our faculty publishes and the number of citations their work receives,” Levine-Clark says. “But we would like to have a better picture of the full scholarly and social impact of their work.”

He concludes: “We expect Esploro will give us a much more efficient way to showcase faculty research to colleagues, students, and the media, while also measuring our results in richer ways. This puts the library at the center of things that are a high priority for the university and helps us demonstrate real value to the institution.”

To learn more about Esploro and how it meets the need for a better research asset management system, download the free white paper “The Need for a Next-Generation Research Repository.” 

In addition, Levine-Cark, along with Eddie Neuwirth, senior director of product management for research services at Ex Libris will be discussing his university’s experience during a Library Journal webcast, “Evolving the Institutional Repository to a Next-Gen Research Repository” on January 22.

Learn more or register for the webcast today.


 

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