Implementing and assessing a service to demonstrate public impact of faculty research in news and policy sources

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: As the need to demonstrate research impact increases, faculty are looking for new ways to show funders, departments, and institutions that their work is making a difference. While traditional metrics such as citation counts can tell one part of this story, these metrics are focused on the academic sphere and often miss the wide-ranging public impact that research can have in areas such as the news or policy documents. Case Presentation: This case report describes how one library piloted and established the Policy & News Media Impact Service, where librarians generate reports for faculty members of the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center that tracks citations of their research in governmental and organizational policies as well as local, national, and international news media. Workflows of, resources used in, and faculty feedback on the service are described. Conclusions: This Policy & News Media Impact Service pilot was successful and resulted in the establishment of a permanent service that is available to all departments in the Academic Health Center. Faculty feedback indicated that the service was valuable in demonstrating the public impact of their research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-587
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Librarians are increasingly offering research impact and evaluation services. A recent survey by Gutzman et al. highlighted the breadth of services offered by North American libraries, ranging from small, informal services offered by a single embedded librarian to robust models involving multiple full-time librarians dedicated to metrics-related work [16]. The results of that survey were supported by a scan of Association of Research Libraries member libraries, which found that 93.9% of member libraries offered at least some support for research impact metrics, most commonly web pages, standalone workshops, workshop series, and individual consultations on research impact metrics [17]. Of those supporting research-impact work, most efforts were supported by individual liaison librarians or scholarly communications librarians.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Medical Library Association. All rights reserved.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports
  • News


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