Association Director, Libraries, Scholarly Communication, and Museum
As data-intensive research has become the norm in an expanding number of academic fields, universities have adapted by offering a wider range of data support services. Previous research by Ithaka S+R has demonstrated that university libraries have been especially active in this space and are now the largest single provider of data support services on many campuses. Anecdotes suggest that these services are not used to their fullest extent by researchers, even as researchers struggle to collect, manage, and interpret large quantities of data. With all signs suggesting that the turn toward big data and data science will accelerate, libraries and other university units will need to continue investing in data support services. Doing this well requires understanding researchers’ perceptions of existing support service offerings and their current and future needs. Building off this spring’s CNI Executive Roundtable discussion of the role of libraries in data support services, this project briefing will share findings and insights from a recent Ithaka S+R study drawing on interviews with over two hundred researchers from dozens of disciplinary backgrounds about their big data practices, with an emphasis on exploring what library leaders can learn about how to align data support with researchers’ priorities.