Research Libraries UK, working in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), have commissioned Evidence Base to undertake a major scoping study to explore the role of academic and research libraries as active participants and leaders in the production of scholarly research. This includes colleagues working within other collection-holding institutions, such as archives and museums, closely associated with or integral to an academic or research library.

Running from January-June 2021, the project is exploring  the role of academic and research libraries, and associated collection-holding institutions, as places of scholarship and experimentation, for a wide variety of disciplines, and the role, and potential, of library, archive, and museum staff in envisaging, initiating, and leading high-quality scholarly research. The project is examining the expertise held within libraries, and associated collection-holding institutions, to lead and partner in multi-disciplinary research projects, and the opportunities and barriers of them doing so. The latter includes an examination of issues such as the terms of funding, institutional policies, perceptions of the library, and working cultures. 

This research will make recommendations to the AHRC and the wider research community in terms of enabling library, archive, and museum staff to be active partners in academic and scholarly research, and will identify the potential for collective action between research and academic libraries to enable this.

For further details of the project, its aims, objectives, and key deliverables, please see the original Invitation to Tender issued by RLUK in December 2020.

The project to date

This is a major piece of cross-sector and interdisciplinary research. RLUK and the AHRC would like to thank all of those colleagues who have contributed to this research so far. The project will shortly enter its analysis phase and the project report will be published in June 2021.

The project has included a series of engagement events, including workshops and town hall meetings, alongside sector wide surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Details of these are given below: