Librarians Have the Skills to Advocate for Reproducibility

Eglantine Ronfard
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It’s estimated that only around 20% of published research can be reproduced by other research labs. Does that mean 80% of research is wrong? No, thankfully. What it means is that scientists are spending more of their time and resources trying to replicate research, which translates to as much as $28 billion each year in experimental trial-and-error findings.

Librarians have the skills and are positioned within their institutions to help guide your researchers. A growing number of academic and medical librarians are already stepping forward to provide assistance in reproducibility; here are five tips to help newcomers interested in taking up the fight.

TIP #4: Rely on Your Skills

The skills that make you an amazing librarian also make you the perfect leader for research reproducibility initiatives. Collaboration, communication, creativity and organization, and (above all) a willingness to be supportive all make you the perfect team player in the scientific discovery landscape.

The changing role of academic librarians provides many opportunities for librarians to take on new leadership roles. Vicky Steeves, for example, is the first ever Research Data Management and Reproducibility Librarian and pushes boundaries of librarianship daily to affect change in science. So be confident about the leadership role you take on and don’t hesitate to adapt and evolve your programs in response to feedback from your peers and users.

Effective marketing and communication is paramount and librarians must do better to market their services and skills. Whether your users are undergraduates or highly specialized career researchers, it’s safe to assume that they’re busy. Look for opportunities to plan hosted events or ways in which you can highlight the reproducibility crisis. Find out what will get your researchers’ attention. Work with your institution and your library’s budget to develop incentives. Whether this comes in the form of course credits, a research grant, or even free food and refreshments at a planned event, your initiative will see more participation with clear incentives in place. Check out these 5 Tips to Engage and Educate Your Science Students for more examples on how to engage with your users. 

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