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Examining Research and Teaching Practices of Canadian Faculty Members

Since 2014, eleven of the twenty-nine Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) member institutions have participated in running the Ithaka S+R Local Faculty Survey on their campuses, providing a rich dataset of over 4,000 responses across the universities. This morning, we published findings on the research and teaching practices of these faculty members.

We have been examining the attitudes and behaviors of academics in the US and the UK every three years since 2000 and 2012 respectively, and the participation of these eleven Canadian institutions has allowed us to more deeply examine practices and preferences within the Canadian higher education sector and across these populations. It also marked the first time we have translated our survey instrument into a language other than English as the CARL institutions requested both French and English versions.

Key findings from this report include:

  • Faculty from CARL member institutions more strongly believe that the primary responsibility of the library should be facilitating their access to scholarly materials, as compared to supporting undergraduate student learning.
  • Faculty from CARL member institutions, similar to those in US institutions, have a clear preference for self-reliance in preserving their research data. Following the conclusion of a project, approximately three-quarters of respondents indicated that they preserve their research data themselves.
  • While faculty from CARL member institutions reported being more dependent on their university libraries than did those from the US and the UK, all three populations most highly value the role of the library in paying for needed resources.
  • CARL faculty members in the sciences and those with fewer years of experience in their field are most interested in integrating digital research activities and methodologies into their work, compared to peers in other disciplines and with greater levels of experience.
  • Similar to findings from the 2015 US Faculty Survey, CARL faculty members in the arts and humanities and social sciences are more inclined to begin their research process with the library’s website or catalog, whereas those in the sciences and medical, veterinary, and health science fields are more likely to turn to specific electronic resources or databases.

We greatly appreciate our partnership with the CARL, and in particular Katherine McColgan, for making this project possible, as well as the participation of the eleven CARL member institutions:

  • University of Alberta
  • University of Guelph
  • McMaster University
  • Université de Montréal
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • University of Ottawa
  • Ryerson University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of New Brunswick
  • University of Windsor
  • York University

We have now worked with three groups of international libraries—in Australia, Hong Kong, and Canada– to implement the local surveys, and look forward to extending the surveys to additional countries.

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