Objectives: To develop an experiential understanding of what services and resources are most valuable to faculty throughout research and publishing processes. To use this understanding in combination with information in the literature to develop and provide services that anticipate researcher needs at each step of the process.
Methods: Facilitating open access publishing, best practices in literature reviews, scholarly research writing, clinical research data management, preservation, and accessibility: all of these are areas that librarians are working to support in many institutions. In this paper, two librarians from two research-1 universities provide a brief review of relevant literature. They follow with lessons learned and best practices identified during experiences as part of graduate student or faculty learning and working groups. These include: participation in a clinical research evaluation course; being a coauthor during writing, submitting, and revising of a scholarly peer-reviewed article, and negotiating copyright terms with an academic publisher; and participating in a faculty writing group for mutual motivation and constructive commentary on in-process writing projects.
Results: In this observational and participative study, the authors found that by taking advantage of opportunities to join groups in their research communities, they expanded their own skill sets while also expanding their contextual understanding of researcher support needs, including faculty, instructors, researchers, and graduate students. Through physical and online participation in learning, training, and working spaces along with their constituent communities, the authors built strong connections and mutual understanding. By being present (online or in-person) when questions occurred, they increased opportunities to provide in-context support for literature review searching techniques; citation management tools; copyright, journal selection, and publishing questions; and data management planning.
Conclusions: Each profession, discipline, and employment has its learning communities, informal or time-specific subgroups that come about as needed or for required trainings. Learning communities are where those in a given discipline or employment explore tasks in a collaborative setting and learn together, developing new skills and mastery through practice with peer and expert feedback. Such communities might take the form of a course on clinical research, an informal writing group, a seminar series, or even a cross-department event-planning group. By joining such groups, librarians can build on common experiences to form stronger relationships with their communities, gaining two critical benefits: (1) opportunities to provide research and information expertise in context and (2) greater recognition as part of the community and of what librarians do and their areas of expertise.