C&RL Spotlight

Wendi Kaspar


The March issue of College & Research Libraries sees the continuation of the guest editorial series exploring evolving models of peer review. This issue’s editorial is particularly timely given the public discourse and attention being paid to “fake news” in the wake of the recent election season. We are not going to address the varying definitions of fake news that come from different parties or individuals, or to explore the motivation of news outlets, social media venues, or personalities. The recent and overwhelming attention to this issue does, however, underscore the importance that the public places on having information that they trust, based on objective evidence that provides a tempered perspective.

The guest editorials explore this topic within a more academic context, examining research and scholarship derived from data, an area of growing priority in higher education. They also provide a nicely balanced approach, one with a more conceptual and strategic perspective of the validity and evaluation of data and methodology and one that addresses a best practice, setting the standard for peer review of data-driven research. Libraries have an opportunity to engage and help researchers set standards for data-appropriate and effective data collection, analysis and publication: first, through engaging in the education mission of institutions to instill ethical practices concerning data, and information more broadly, to students; and second, by collaborating with researchers to advocate transparency of the editorial review process (while maintaining the objectivity of blind review) and maintaining rigor in scholarly publications.

Morten Wendelbo, a faculty colleague focused on teaching data literacy and research methods, provides a broad discussion of data, ethical considerations, and the methods that go into rigorous research as well as some cautionary tales about how it can be manipulated to make a specific case. Nils Petter Gleditsch, Raghnlid Nordas, and Henrik Urdal from the Peace Research Institute OSLO discuss the standards and process for peer reviewing data-driven research for the Journal of Peace Research (JPR). JPR is the prototype for best practice in reviewing data-driven disciplinary scholarship, including the methodology and the data upon which the results and conclusions are derived.

The articles in the regular March issue also underscore that connection between the rigor of research methods and the importance of library instruction.

  • Marci D. Brandenburg, Sigrid Anderson Cordell, Justin Joque, Mark P. MacEachern, and Jean Song. “Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Librarian Involvement in Grant Projects.” Abstract: Librarians are excellent research collaborators, although librarian participation is not usually considered, thereby making access to research funds difficult. The University of Michigan Library became involved in the university’s novel funding program, MCubed, which supported innovative interdisciplinary research on campus, primarily by funding student assistants to work on research projects. This article discusses three different MCubed projects that all benefited from librarian involvement. These projects spanned across many areas from translational research to systematic reviews to digital humanities. Librarian roles ranged from mentoring and project management to literature searching.
  • Gayle Schaub, Cara Cadena, Patricia Bravender, and Christopher Kierkus. “The Language of Information Literacy: Do Students Understand?” Abstract: To effectively access and use the resources of the academic library and to become information-literate, students must understand the language of information literacy. This study analyzes undergraduate students’ understanding of 14 commonly used information-literacy terms. It was found that some of the terms least understood by students are those most frequently found in faculty-created research assignments and syllabi and that are used by librarians during library instruction. It is recommended that librarians work with faculty to make them aware of students’ lack of understanding of information literacy terms and that librarians also reinforce their meaning during library instruction and in one-on-one consultations.
  • Carrie Forbes, Gina Schlesselman-Tarango, and Peggy Keeran. “Expanding Support for Graduate Students: Library Workshops on Research Funding Opportunities.” Abstract: This case study describes the development, implementation, and assessment of a series of grants research workshops for graduate students, which were implemented to fill a gap in graduate student support. We assessed the workshops through a series of focus groups, and findings show overall satisfaction with the grants tools and workshop. However, participants noted areas of improvement around outreach and promotion and general communication with graduate students. Additional themes emerged related to graduate student socialization and research behaviors, which suggests that librarians have an important role to serve in these areas.
  • Shailoo Bedi and Christine Walde. “Transforming Roles: Canadian Academic Librarians Embedded in Faculty Research Projects.” Abstract: Academic librarians have always played an important role in providing research services and research-skills development to faculty in higher education. But that role is evolving to include the academic librarian as a unique and necessary research partner, practitioner, and participant in collaborative, grant-funded research projects. This article describes how a selected sample of Canadian academic librarians became embedded in faculty research projects and describes their experiences of participating in research teams. Conducted as a series of semistructured interviews, this qualitative study illustrates the emerging opportunities and challenges of the librarian-researcher role and how it is transforming the Canadian university library.
  • Amanda B. Click, Claire Walker Wiley, and Meggan Houlihan. “The Internationalization of the Academic Library: A Systematic Review of 25 Years of Literature on International Students.” Abstract: This study is a systematic review of the library and information science (LIS) literature related to international students and academic libraries. A systematic review involves the methodical collection and analysis of a body of literature and is growing in popularity in the LIS field. Three well-known LIS databases were systematically searched for articles related to the topic, and manual bibliography searches were conducted to find additional publications. Journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers were included or excluded based on established criteria. Findings show that articles published about international students and academic libraries have increased steadily between 1990 and 2014. The majority of authors are affiliated with universities and institutions in the United States, although an increase in represented countries is apparent. Fewer than half of the articles can be considered original research, and surveys are the most popular method for data collection. The LIS field—and international students—would benefit from further exploration of this topic, particularly from original research with practical implications.
  • Crystal Boyce. “Measuring Perceptual (In)Congruence between Information Service Providers and Users.” Abstract: Library quality is no longer evaluated solely on the value of its collections, as user perceptions of service quality play an increasingly important role in defining overall library value. This paper presents a retooling of the LibQUAL+ survey instrument, blending the gap measurement model with perceptual congruence model studies from information systems management research. The new survey instrument redefines service desk assessment by taking into consideration the perspectives of both service users and of service providers, to help service providers gain a more robust sense of service quality.
  • Michael C. Goates, Gregory M. Nelson, and Megan Frost. “Search Strategy Development in a Flipped Library Classroom: A Student-Focused Assessment.” Abstract: Librarians at Brigham Young University compared search statement development between traditional lecture and flipped instruction sessions. Students in lecture sessions scored significantly higher on developing search statements than those in flipped sessions. However, student evaluations show a strong preference for pedagogies that incorporate elements from both lecture and flipped methodologies. Reasons for lower flipped-session scores may include a lack of student accountability, strong preference for a live demonstration, and disconnections between online tutorial content and in-class collaborative activities. Librarians using a flipped classroom should consider ways to help students make meaningful connections between online tutorials and in-class activities.

CFP: Evolving Models of Peer Review (Monograph collection to be published by ACRL in 2018)

With emerging environments in scholarly communication and initiatives, such as open access impacting research activity and venues, the process of peer review plays a critical role in assessing value and quality. However, it is necessary for models of peer review to align with new scholarly efforts and formats, maintaining the validation by experts but demonstrating the flexibility needed for emerging research.

We invite submissions of papers examining best practices and innovative models in peer review for inclusion in a monograph collection. While studies within the field of librarianship are preferred, compelling and original cases outside of the discipline will be considered (i.e., Journal of Peace Research’s process for peer review of data). Submissions should focus on specific cases, applications of models, or best practices. Note the scope of the guest editorials: similarly innovative venues, formats, or subjects of review are encouraged.

Deadlines (extended)

  • March 30, 2017—Submission of proposed paper topic, 300-to-400 words.
  • August 30, 2017—Submission of final papers. Please use the Instructions for Authors from College & Research Libraries.

Inquiries and submissions may be made to Wendi Arant Kaspar at E-mail: with the subject line: Peer Review Collection.

Recent C&RL Preprints

The following manuscripts have recently been accepted for future publication in College & Research Libraries and are freely available on the journal website.

Heidi Julien, Melissa Gross, and Don Latham. “Survey of Information Literacy Instructional Practices in U.S. Academic Libraries.”

Li Zhang. “Analyzing Citation and Research Collaboration Characteristics of Faculty in Aerospace, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering.”

Elizabeth Price. “Should We Yak Back? Information Seeking among Yik Yak Users on a University Campus.”

Trenia Napier, Jill Parrott, Erin Presley, and Leslie Valley. “A Collaborative, Trilateral Approach to Bridging the Information Literacy Gap in Student Writing.”

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