The UK Library and Information Science (LIS) Research Coalition was established in 2009 as a three-year project by its founding: the British Library, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, JISC, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and the Research Information Network. Its broad mission was to facilitate a co-ordinated and strategic approach to LIS research across the UK by:
• bringing together information about LIS research opportunities and results;
• encouraging dialogue between research funders;
• promoting LIS practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice;
• articulating a strategic approach to LIS research;
• promoting the development of research capacity in LIS.
Through its work the Coalition strengthened links between LIS researchers and LIS practitioners, and between research and practice. By bridging the gap between LIS research and LIS practitioner communities, the Coalition encouraged research-led practice, to enable librarians and information scientists to:
• exploit existing LIS research for improved decision-making in services delivery;
• enhance the value of prior work by capitalising on the significant investment in earlier studies through reuse;
• demonstrate the value and impact of library and information services to individuals, citizens/society and specialist user groups, and thus secure future investment in services delivery;
• derive job satisfaction through intellectual stimulation, enjoyment of learning, career progression, leadership development, and pride in enhanced work practice that engagement in research brings.
The Coalition had a particular interest in supporting practising librarians and information scientists, both in how they can access and exploit available research in their work, and in their own development as practitioner researchers. For researchers and practitioners alike, the Coalition provided a formal structure to improve access to LIS research, and maximise its relevance and impact in the UK. The resources that the Coalition brought together on its web site at http://lisresearch.org
were intended to save researchers and practitioners time in identifying and accessing relevant material to support their engagement with research. These resources are still well-used. The Coalition’s advocacy work sought to persuade services managers of the need to support research initiatives and improve the recognition of research knowledge within the LIS professions.
The Coalition also supported projects that focused on specific goals to support LIS research in the UK, notably to develop a formal UK-wide network of LIS researchers (Developing Research Excellence and Methods – DREaM), and to determine the factors that increase or hinder the impact of research project outcomes on practice (Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study – RiLIES).
In this presentation Hall will discuss how the LIS Research Coalition tackled the challenges of LIS research at a national level between 2009 and 2012 and reflect on the longer term impact of the project.