Perspectives on the 2018 US Faculty Survey in Against the Grain
Every three years when we release findings from our national faculty surveys, we receive a plethora of reactions and responses to the results. There was no exception when we released the 2018 results in conjunction with the ACRL conference in April 2019.
While these high-level quantitative results offer strong evidence toward understanding faculty practices and perspectives, particularly for tracking change over time, many who work in academic libraries, learned societies, and scholarly publishers will rightfully ponder questions like, “Why did faculty members respond this way?” or “What does this mean for my organization?” Our qualitative deep-dives of faculty by discipline or research methodology, local surveys of faculty and students, and advisory work with partner learned societies and publishers assist in contextualizing and taking action on these findings.
To further these aims, Against the Grain has published a special issue featuring a variety of stakeholders in the library and information industry to address the six key findings in the national report of findings. The authors compare these findings with their experiences with faculty on their particular campus or in their professional experiences. As Leah Hinds, Executive Director for the Charleston Conference, articulates in the issue introduction, “Sometimes we may find the survey results of interest, but we don’t always know how to apply or use the findings in our everyday work. This application and interpretation of the results, we think, will be of value to the community.”
In this special issue, you will find reactions to the following key findings from these authors:
- Discovery starting points are shifting towards Google Scholar and other general search engines. Lettie Conrad (Publishing & Product Consultant & Information Science PhD Candidate), Evan Simpson (Northeastern University), and Emily Campbell and Ken Varnum (University of Michigan Library)
- Faculty members increasingly prefer to manage and preserve their data using cloud-based storage services. Ali Krzton (Auburn University) and Kate Barron (San Jose State University)
- While faculty are increasingly interested in an open access publication model, traditional scholarly incentives continue to motivate their decision-making. Dave Ghamandi (University of Virginia)
- There is substantial interest in use of open educational resources for instructional practices, particularly from younger faculty members. Abby Elder (Iowa State), Lily Todorinova and Zara Wilkinson (Rutgers University), and Lauren Slingluff (University of Connecticut)
- Faculty are skeptical about the value of using learning analytics tools. Kyle Jones, Indiana University-Indianapolis (IUPUI)
- The role of the library in archiving materials is increasingly important. Oya Rieger (Ithaka S+R/Cornell)
We are grateful to these individuals for providing their insightful commentary and look forward to hearing from others in the community on how these interpretations map against their own.