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Award for Best Biennial JMLA Research Paper

Nature of the Award

The award shall consist of a $100 cash award sponsored by MLA’s Research Section. The award will be given every other year, in even numbered years, as funds in the Research Section treasury permit. 

See the list of past winners.

Purpose of the Award

The purpose of the award is to recognize the best high-quality peer-reviewed research paper by an MLA member author published in the two previous years in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA). (This award has no relationship with the Eliot Prize granted annually by MLA.) 


  1. Articles must be full-length research papers published in JMLA to qualify for consideration.
  2. All papers published in the two previous volumes (years) of JMLA preceding the MLA annual meeting on even years, will be reviewed for eligibility for the award.
    • JMLA uses the HHS definition of “research”.  HHS regulations define research at 45 CFR 46.102(d) as follows: Research means a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. Activities which meet this definition constitute research for purposes of this policy, whether or not they are conducted or supported under a program which is considered research for other purposes. For example, some demonstration and service programs may include research activities.
  3. At least one the authors must be an MLA member at the time of the award judging. Members of the Awards Committee can confirm membership by checking the online directory.
  4. Criteria similar to the Research Section best paper presentation scoring will be used to evaluate the best paper. Presenter will be replaced with “author.” 


No nomination procedure is used for this award.  All eligible papers are considered. 

Jury Committee

  1. A three person committee will identify papers and score them using the judging criteria rubric. If there is a tie in numerical score, the award will go the paper scored higher by 2 of the 3 judges.
  2. The three person committee will consist of the MLA Research Section Awards Committee Co-chairs and, if needed, an additional Research Section member identified by the committee. (If there is only one Chair for the MLA Research Section Awards, then two additional Research Section members need to be identified by the chair).
  3. If a committee member is an author of an eligible paper, he or she will be replaced as a judge by an additional Research Section member identified by the remaining committee members. 

Judging and Presentation of the Award (Timeline)

  • The identification of eligible articles will occur in early February of even years. All full-length research papers in the previous two years (volumes) of JMLA will be eligible.
  • The Awards Committee will have MLA check MLA membership for each first author of qualifying papers by the end of February.
  • Judging of the papers should occur in March and April.
  • The award winner will be notified at the same time that the Research Section notifies winners of the MLA Annual Meeting Best Papers and Posters Research Award (usually end of May or early June)