New OCLC Research Project: Institutional Stakeholders in Research Support

The project aims to better understand the operations, goals, and pain points of university stakeholders in research support services to inform communications and partnership.

In research universities today, there is a growing need to provide an array of research support services such as research data management, research information management, open access repositories and monitoring, and much more.

Previously siloed campus units—many that never before collaborated—must increasingly work together to address complex institutional challenges and to support enterprise-wide services. Operating in this enterprise ecosystem is challenging, in great part because most stakeholders know little about the operations of other units, making it difficult to effectively engage, identify points of common interest, and collaborate to support research services.

To help fill this gap, OCLC Research is beginning an effort to better understand the operations, goals, and pain points of university stakeholders in research support services to inform communications and partnership. During the next several months we will collect and synthesize information about the experiences of campus units that play a role in institutional research support. These units include: 

  • institutional research office, with subunits like proposal development, pre- and post-award management, tech transfer/commercialization, and ethics and compliance
  • library
  • institutional research
  • campus communications, advancement, and corporate relations
  • campus technologies/IT
  • academic affairs (provost/regent, deans, department heads)
  • graduate school
  • postdoctoral affairs
  • undergraduate research

To undertake this project, we will engage with members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership to help us:

  • identify interview informants
  • provide feedback on work in progress through discussions with the research support interest group
  • identify case studies that exemplify successful (and sometimes not-so-successful) campus partnerships
  • offer webinars for RLP members that highlight cross-institutional partnerships and stakeholders’ interests.

The first webinar on this theme, Partnering Across Campus to Enhance Institutional Reputation, will be presented by Annette Day and John Novak from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. We will accumulate outputs on a project web page and will conclude our project by synthesizing our findings into an OCLC Research Report to benefit the entire research community.

This need for this project was informed by previous OCLC Research investigations, where we have documented how the library is one of many institutional stakeholders working collaboratively to provide research support services for campus.

For instance, in Research Information Management: Defining RIM and the Library’s Role, we articulated how the library is one of many campus stakeholders engaged in implementing and supporting RIM activities. And through our joint publication with euroCRIS in 2018, Practices and Patterns in Research Information Management: Findings from a Global Survey, we shared survey results that demonstrated the array of institutional stakeholders involved in research information management activities. We found that in aggregate, the research office was reported as having responsibility for the greatest number of activities within the RIM enterprise, followed by the library, IT, university academic leadership, and other campus units. We also found some regional distinctions in stakeholder involvement.

Provisioning research data management support services similarly engages multiple campus stakeholders. In the Realities of Research Data Management report series, we found that cross-unit responsibility for research data management services is common. Although the service bundle may be housed and administered within a single unit like the library, the services provided are the result of partnership across multiple campus units requiring extensive cross-campus consultation and collaboration. This frequently results in branding of the RDM service bundle at the university level, rather than at the level of a single campus unit.

Stay tuned for project updates on the Hanging Together blog, and contact Rebecca Bryant (bryantr@oclc.org) with your own intra-campus collaboration stories—whether the good, bad, or ugly.

For More Information

For more information about this work, please contact OCLC Research.

Email OCLC Research

Learn more about the Institutional Stakeholders in Research Support project.