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Research data services from the perspective of academic librarians

Soohyung Joo (School of Information Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)
Gisela M. Schmidt (School of Information Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 8 March 2021

Issue publication date: 11 August 2021




This study aims to investigate the perceptions of academic librarians regarding research data services (RDS) in academic library environments. This study also examines a range of challenges in RDS from the perspectives of academic librarians.


A nationwide online survey was administered to academic librarians engaged in data services at research universities around the USA. The collected survey responses were analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics, hierarchical clustering and multidimensional scaling.


Academic librarians perceived that consultation services would be more valuable to users than technical services in offering RDS. Accordingly, skills associated with consultation services such as instructional skills and data management planning were perceived by participants to be more important. The results revealed that academic libraries would need to seek collaboration opportunities with other units on campus to develop and offer RDS, especially technical services.


This study contributes to the existing body of research on the topic of data services in research universities. The study investigated various types of specific professional competencies and used clustering analysis to identify closely associated groups of service types. In addition, this study comprehensively examined both relevant resources for and barriers to RDS.



The authors would like to acknowledge Christie Peters for reviewing the initial survey items and providing feedback. This work was supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [re-32-16-0410-16].


Joo, S. and Schmidt, G.M. (2021), "Research data services from the perspective of academic librarians", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 37 No. 3, pp. 242-256.



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