The purpose of the empirical study was to examine whether strategies shown to work well in one model of network development for library and information science (LIS) practitioners and researchers could be applied successfully in the development of a new network and contribute to the narrowing of the research–practice gap in LIS.
Overall, 32 members of a new professional network were surveyed by a questionnaire following the completion of a programme of four network events held between 2019 and 2021.
The analysis demonstrates the transferability of the existing model of network development to a new network and that it can be successfully adapted for online delivery of network events and activities.
The criteria deployed for the evaluation of the new network could be used in other similar settings. Funding bodies can also use these findings as demonstration of the value of their investment in network grants.
This contribution on means of growing collaborative networks to narrow the LIS research–practice gap stands out in contrast with prior research that tends to focus the support of research productivity of academic librarians in North American universities for the purposes of career development. Here wider aspects of research engagement are considered of value for LIS practitioners from a range of sectors and institutions, beyond North America, for purposes that are broader than personal advancement.
The empirical research reported in this paper was funded by a Royal Society of Edinburgh Arts and Humanities Research Network Award 2018. The authors thank Dr Khristin Fabian and Dr David Haynes for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper, and the suggestions of two anonymous referees. They are also grateful to the members of the RIVAL network for participating in this empirical study, especially those in Team D who helped with the design and piloting of the two questionnaires.
Hall, H., Ryan, B.M., Salzano, R. and Stephen, K. (2023), "From a network model to a model network: strategies for network development to narrow the LIS research–practice gap", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 79 No. 3, pp. 757-783. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-04-2022-0088
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