Building Trust After the Labour Action: A Way Forward for a Nascent Bibliometric Service

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Szwajcer, Andrea
Vokey, Sherri
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Purpose: To provide an instructive case study on the role of academic librarians’ evolving role in the responsible and ethical stewardship of metrics for libraries wishing to provide support services for bibliometric and related performance metrics-based services. Background: Considerations of governance and appropriate use of performance metrics is an ongoing concern among the academic community. In October and November 2016, members of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association, inclusive of faculty librarians, took a three week labour action. Primary among the issues in dispute was the proposed language around the use and application of bibliometrics in faculty evaluations and tenure processes. Although the University of Manitoba faculty and librarians are not alone in the struggle to highlight the deficiencies and dangers of applying performance-based metrics for these purposes, it has been noted that there is a paucity of scholarly discourse on this critical issue. Process: Following the action, the mediated agreement included a recommendation to form a joint committee with a mandate to determine whether the collective agreement could include language restricting the use of performance metrics at an individual level. The faculty association, understanding the importance of the role of libraries in data stewardship and knowledge of bibliometrics, appointed a librarian member to the committee. Summary: The joint committee’s recommendations from the final report will be presented as well as an environmental scan of bibliometric services offered across Canada. These findings will then be contextualized with the service as it currently stands, together with informal feedback from faculty and graduate students who have engaged the service, to discuss how we proceed to further develop such services at the University.
Research Impact, Bibliometrics, Organizational Culture, Libraries, Librarians' Role, Faculty Perceptions, Data Stewardship, Performance Metrics