In a time of unprecedented challenges and increased requirements for transparency and accountability, it is imperative that health sciences libraries demonstrate their value, impact, and benefits to their leadership, communities, and the broader public.
In May, the MLA Board established a task force to support the research engagement of health sciences librarians and increase the impact of research outcomes. Using research-based evidence to demonstrate that health sciences libraries matter is hugely important, since it may ultimately lead to greater support for libraries and librarians.
MLA's last research strategy was published in 2007.
The Research Imperative Task Force has identified ten objectives that will move us forward in this arena. We are in the process of laying out steps and deadlines, and lining up people for each task.
- Liaise with MLA Competencies Task Force to help update research competencies.
- Define a curriculum that equips health sciences librarians with skills in evaluating, designing, conducting, applying, and communicating health information research.
- Strengthen the research mentorship program.
- Make recommendations for a research training institute for health sciences librarians.
- Update MLA’s grant application process to support research collaborations.
- Promote evidence-based practice and health information research to key constituents and the public.
- Provide educational resources and tools to facilitate research engagement.
- Provide lists of studies that show the value, impact, and benefits of health sciences libraries.
- Position MLA as the leader and central resource for research- and statistical-related information about health sciences libraries and librarians.
- Develop strategies to recognize organizations that facilitate health information research.
These ten tasks are very ambitious, but bold actions are absolutely critical in shaping the future we want. Many members are already very involved in helping attain these objectives. The task force would love to hear from you about your ideas for enhancing research productivity, relevance, and communication throughout this project—please comment below. We will continue to keep you apprised of our work in the coming months.