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The Leiden Manifesto under review: what libraries can learn from it

Sarah K. Coombs (Saxion University of Applied Sciences – Saxion Bibliotheek, Enschede, The Netherlands)
Isabella Peters (ZBW Leibniz Information Center for Economics, Kiel, Germany)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical discussion of the Leiden Manifesto for libraries already engaged in bibliometric practices. It offers practical recommendations based on the work of the European Association for Research Libraries (LIBER) Working Group on Metrics. This work is in the beginning phase and summarizes literature on the topic, as well as the experiences of the members of the Working Group. The discussion reflects today's growing popularity of (quantitative) research assessment which is seen in enthusiasts introducing new metrics (i.e. altmetrics) and by critics demanding responsible metrics that increase objectivity and equity in evaluations.


This paper is the result of the Working Group on Metrics of the European Association for Research Libraries (LIBER) that critically discussed the practicality of the Leiden Manifesto for libraries.


Full compliance with the Manifesto is time-consuming, expensive and requires a significant increase in bibliometric expertise with respect to both staffing and skill level. Despite these apparent disadvantages, it is recommended that all libraries embrace the Manifesto’s principles. To increase practicality, it is advised that libraries collaborate with researchers, management and other libraries at home and around the world to jointly design and provide services that can be reused within the library community.


Libraries have increasingly been confronted with questions about research assessment, responsible metrics and the role of digital products in evaluations and funding decisions. Although a wide range of recommendations and initiatives are available (e.g. DORA San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment), many recommendations are not straightforward enough to be implemented from a library perspective. This paper provides assistance for libraries to implement these principles by acknowledging the heterogeneous backgrounds the libraries may stem from.



The authors would like to thank Helen Coombs for editing the text and the LIBER Working Group on Metrics whose expertise has led to the recommendations outlined in this article: Kasper Abcouwer, Isidro F. Aguillo, Nathalie Cornée, Ellen Fest, Juan Gorraiz, Stefanie Haustein, Kim Holmberg, Najko Jahn, Peter Kraker, Ania López, Marc Martinez, Alenka Princic, Susan Reilly and Birgit Schmidt.


Coombs, S.K. and Peters, I. (2017), "The Leiden Manifesto under review: what libraries can learn from it", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 324-338.



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