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Developing and Improving Scholarly Communication Services
The Local Faculty Survey at the University of South Florida, Tampa

During a time when the University of South Florida Libraries were exploring new service offerings, the Libraries turned to the Ithaka S+R Local Faculty Survey to better understand the research and teaching needs of its faculty members. Matt Torrence, Associate Librarian and Principal Investigator, reports that “responses to the local survey have helped the Libraries make evidence-based decisions regarding the collections, programs, and services we provide to faculty members, as well as assist in benchmarking faculty perceptions and experiences against those of national peers.”

The local survey results indicated a strong desire from faculty members to have additional support services related to scholarly communications and research dissemination. A sizable share of faculty members were unaware of available library services to help them determine where to publish their work and assess the impact of their work, while only a small share of faculty members indicated that they had a good understanding of their institution’s policy on publishing journal articles in a freely available repository. And, while USF faculty members were more aware of relevant library services than their peers nationally, raising the profile of these services remained an important goal for the Libraries.

Additionally, faculty members expressed a need for additional assistance with matters specifically related to copyright and intellectual property. A substantial share of respondents indicated that it was very useful for them to receive advice about intellectual property issues, support with depositing scholarly research in their institutional or other open access disciplinary repository, and assistance with obtaining permission to use copyrighted works for instructional purposes.

This reinforced the previous hiring of a Scholarly Communications Librarian and a Copyright Librarian to better support these faculty members’ activities. These positions and their related services are also now undergoing increased marketing to graduate students to increase the visibility of consultations available for their research and publishing processes.

Running the local survey also allowed the Libraries to develop deeper relationships with faculty members and other units on campus. Results from the survey were shared widely across the university, which especially strengthened relationships with the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Academic Success Center, and the College of Arts and Sciences. And, because Torrence was able to personally respond to all inquiries from faculty members who were invited to take the survey, the Libraries had a valuable opportunity to demonstrate to these individuals that their input was important and meaningful to the library.

Lastly, after fielding the survey, the Libraries reorganized the way in which assessment activities were coordinated. A central committee was formed to monitor all library assessment activities to ensure that no population is being overly-engaged, provide advice on the IRB submission process when it is needed, and share information on effective ways to conduct related projects.

In light of the volume of varied assessment activities being conducted across different units within the Libraries, the role of this committee is crucial to the continuous improvement of library resources, programs, and services, and contributes to the continued role of the USF Tampa Libraries as an important partner in supporting research, teaching, and student success.

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