Connecting Researchers with Information—and Money

Good research takes more than just inspiration, information, and perspiration—it also takes capitalization (aka money). Finding sources of funding has long been one of the most challenging steps in the research process, because researchers often don’t have time to look for money and may not even know where to look.

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At the University of Michigan, a survey revealed the extent of the challenge. “Between juggling administrative and teaching responsibilities, attending meetings, and working in the lab and the clinic, [university researchers] could not find time to seek research funding,” write Merle Rosenzweig and Judith Smith, informationists at the university’s Taubman Health Sciences Library, in an article in the July-August 2016 issue of Information Outlook. “Also, they felt overwhelmed with e-mails and information about funding that, in many instances, did not meet their specific research needs.”

In response to the survey findings, Rosenzweig and Smith teamed with other librarians and with communications and marketing specialists in the Medical School’s Office of Research to create an online guide that provides information about finding funding sources, writing grant applications, and collaborating with other researchers. The guide also links to a form that allows users to request a personal meeting with a librarian.

In its first nine months, the guide garnered more than 11,500 views; during the same time frame, researchers requested approximately 140 consultations with librarians. The success of the guide prompted Rosenzweig and Smith and two of their colleagues to write a paper about the project, which was presented at the SLA 2016 Annual Conference in Philadelphia. The paper forms the basis of the article in Information Outlook.

“By developing the guide and establishing the consultation service, the library has increased its role in the research enterprise across the entire campus,” they write. “Those seeking information about research funding at the university now have a one-stop resource to help them. If someone needs information tailored to his or her specific research interests, a campus-wide system has been established to handle and address these requests.”

Read the article to learn more about the project and the paper.

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