Visualized research performance metrics helps the library illustrate the impact of innovative programs and research
by Nandita Mani, PhD
With funding agencies, government bodies, and administrators under increasing pressure to demonstrate accountability and wise use of resources, library staff are responding to this growing need by providing expertise and tools to help faculty, students, and staff show how their scholarly and community efforts are making an impact. Research performance metrics are one set of indicators that can be used to gauge the impact of published research as well as the impact of implemented programs. These indicators range from a combination of journal impact factor joined by article level impact, alternative metrics (or alt-metrics), and network analysis, among others.
The Health Sciences Library (HSL) actively partners with individuals and schools and units at Carolina by sharing expertise in methods and tools to aid research impact measurement. Recently the HSL hired Fei Yu, PhD, to assume the role of Health Information Technology Librarian, and have integrated the expertise from Barrie Hayes, HSL Research Hub Program Coordinator, to form a partnership to help expand this growing area. The HSL librarian expertise helps project partners determine optimal ways to visually showcase data, isolate specific data points for further clarification or decision making, and illustrate the collaborative nature of work that occurs.
An example of a collaboration in which HSL has participated is with Dr. Adam Friedman, Institute Fellow in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Institute of Innovation. Along with Dr. Friedman, the team advised on the selection and use of the most appropriate tools to illustrate various aspects of impact related to the Young Innovators Program (YIP). YIP is a novel initiative for high school students where they have an opportunity to participate in research projects in labs across the school, along with other activities, immersing them in the possibilities of working in pharmaceutical sciences.
As faculty and students’ needs evolve and emerge, HSL staff are ready to apply their expertise to projects and initiatives to help build a story to illustrate impact. Collaborations with librarians on visualizing impact metrics is just one example of innovative partnerships being developed by the Health Sciences Library. Other examples include collaborating with the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS) to engage in a process of identifying and implementing the most appropriate bibliometrics for program evaluation purposes.