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MLA Meeting Poster and Paper Awards

The Research Section of the Medical Library Association encourages MLA members to engage in research activities by sponsoring annual research awards that recognize paper and poster presenters at the MLA Annual Meeting whose work demonstrates high-quality research. The evaluation of the research work is performed by judges based on published criteria. A $100 cash award is presented for 1st Place for both papers and posters. A $50 cash award is presented for 2nd Place for both papers and posters. If funds and quality of submissions warrant, additional awards may be made. A separate $100 cash award may be given for the highest quality research poster or paper presented by a hospital librarian at the annual meeting.

See the list of past award winners

Submission of Research Abstracts and Published Criteria

To be eligible for consideration for a Research Award, poster and paper presenters must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • Abstract is submitted online for presentation at the MLA Annual Meeting using the online abstract submission system. The highest priority for judging will be given to abstracts for which the Research box was checked at time of the online submission.
  • Abstract is received by the submission deadline.
  • Abstract was submitted in a blinded, structured abstract format.
  • Abstract clearly and succinctly describes the type of research method used.
  • Abstract is selected for presentation at MLA Annual Meeting.
  • Final abstract is updated in the online system to unblind all sections of the abstract and add “results” and “conclusions.” 

Judging Process

Paper and poster presenters are evaluated by a team of judges that consist of members of the Research Awards Committee and other MLA members who have volunteered to serve as research judges. The Research Awards Committee and team of judges meets at the beginning of the MLA Annual Meeting to discuss the judging process and receive assignments. All MLA members are encouraged to volunteer to serve as research judges when a call for volunteers is sent out by the Research Awards Committee Chair.

The Research Section’s Research Awards Committee identifies MLA members to serve as peer reviewers to judge research papers and posters presented at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting. These MLA members form the Research Papers Judging Team and the Research Posters Judging Team.  No one with a research poster abstract being presented at the meeting will judge posters at that same meeting; members of the Poster Judging Team may present a non-research poster or any type of paper. Likewise, no one with a research paper abstract being presented at the meeting will judge papers at that same meeting; members of the Paper Judging Team may present a poster.

All papers and posters presenting research and meeting the eligibility criteria will be judged.  The top research paper and poster presenters will receive recognition and a cash award for their work exemplifying valid research relevant to health sciences information, libraries, or librarianship. 

Guidance for Judges of Papers and Posters

Following the posting of selected contributed paper and poster abstracts on the MLA annual meeting website, the chair and/or co-chairs of the Research Awards Committee divide the research-oriented abstracts and notify the team of judges that these abstracts are available for online evaluation. Judges electronically access and review their assigned abstracts prior to the annual MLA meeting so they are better prepared to evaluate these research presentation(s) during the contributed paper program sessions. Judges are instructed to review their assigned papers and/or posters according to the Guidance for Judges documentation. (Evaluation forms are accessible only to Research Section members.)

Following the Annual Meeting, the completed forms with scores from all the research award judges are submitted to the Research Awards Committee Chair and/or Co-Chairs who tabulate the scores and contact the winning authors. The Research Award results are reported to the Research Section Executive Committee within two weeks after the Annual MLA Meeting, published in the MLA News and Hypothesis: The Journal of the Research Section of MLA, and announced at the annual MLA awards ceremony. 


For more information or questions about the Research Awards submission and selection process, contact the current Research Awards Committee Chair.