Being acknowledged in research by Eva Thackeray

A while back, at one of the LIHNN Clinical Librarians group meetings, we discussed the question of how we could/should ensure that our contributions to research are acknowledged. By ‘our contributions’ we were mainly thinking of literature searches, and by research we were thinking of published journal articles, conference abstracts, posters, etc. An acknowledgement could be anything ranging from a thank you at the end of an article to co-authorship (if involved in the literature search plus the write-up of a systematic review, for example).

We felt that we weren’t as often acknowledged as we should be, but weren’t sure how to improve this situation. So as a first step, we decided to put the question out on some mailing lists (LIHNN@JISCMAIL.AC.UK and CLIN-LIB@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) to collect some ideas. Many thanks to all those who responded; we received some really helpful replies!

In my library service, my colleagues and I really liked Tom Roper’s suggestion of including a sentence in the search report, and as we are in the process of redesigning our results templates anyway, it’s the perfect time for us to add such a sentence. We’re also in the process of adding a paragraph on acknowledgements to our Trust’s staff guide on ‘The research pathway’. Overall, we now feel much more prepared and are better able to raise the issue with our staff who are conducting research.

Below is the question I posted, a summary of the themes in the replies, followed by the replies themselves. The question I posted was:

“We have been talking about how to secure acknowledgements for our contributions (in form of literature searches etc.) to published papers/projects at the last couple of regional LIHNN Clinical Librarians group meetings. To gather some ideas of how to go about being acknowledged, we would now like to collect a few examples/case studies and some practical tips. So, if you have been acknowledged in published research, please let us know how you secured the acknowledgement!

How did you broach the subject with the researcher?

Did you have a verbal or written agreement?

Any tips?

Things you would do differently next time?”

 

Themes in the replies:

  • The distinction between acknowledgement and co-authorship
  • Ask to be acknowledged
  • Sentence in search report asking for acknowledgment
  • Written agreements
  • Depends on who researchers are writing for, target journal and its rules
  •  Information on webpage
  •  Having good, close contacts with researchers

Below are the anonymised (apart from Tom’s) replies. I have also taken the liberty of shortening some replies.

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I think it would be a good idea to have some kind of written agreement that they have to sign stating that the library will be acknowledged. I think it’s also good to stress that having an acknowledged librarian will make their research more robust.

I also think it depends who they choose to publish with. For example, I have been helping a group of researchers who are writing a systematic review for BEME (Best Evidence Medical and Health Professional Education). In the BEME guidance it says that they should involve a librarian where possible so they have been much more eager to include me as an author as it strengthens their proposal.

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I’ve started simply saying as much to people when they tell me they’re working on an article. Usually along the lines of “I’d appreciate it if you could acknowledge my or the library’s role in this work”.

With systematic reviews I’ve been involved in the Orthopaedics department; they originally approached me, and asked me to attend meetings. I develop the search, but I also write the search part of the methods section, and keep the PRISMA flowchart updated.

We’re considering following the University of Texas method and drawing up a written agreement for systematic reviews. http://libguides.library.tmc.edu/c.php?g=60832&p=2784832

I’ve been involved in at least 6 full systematic reviews in this way, and none have yet been published! But I have been cited as an author on at least two for definite. What’s important to remember is that you must have input into the final manuscript to claim any form of authorship.

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One thing we do is include a sentence in the search report – an example:

Please acknowledge this work in any resulting paper or presentation as: Evidence search: Incidence of SIADH with individual antidepressants. Tom Roper. (23rd September, 2016). BRIGHTON, UK: Brighton and Sussex Library and Knowledge Service

We think this encourages acknowledgement, and I have been acknowledged a number of times.

We don’t have formal agreements, and it’s left to the individual searcher to raise the subject. Being clinical librarians, I and my colleague are probably at an advantage, in that we have a closer relationship with search requesters than members of the searching team who just pick up search requests cold.

We have some champions among clinicians, who are quite fierce with juniors and make them acknowledge, and many who say, without prompting, that they’ll acknowledge; the promise is not always fulfilled, though.

Even when we are acknowledged, and we give them a form of words to use, there’s frequently variation in the way names, job titles, and organisation are reported in the final paper, sometimes in embarrassing ways.

I do get acknowledged as an author from time to time.

The criteria here are the standard ISMJE ones, so I not only do searches, but write the search report, and possibly other sections, and review the whole draft with my fellow authors.

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We have discussed this subject within the medical information specialists-groups in The Netherlands. Quite a number of the group regularly claim co-authorship. Some only claim acknowledgement.

In our medical library we have agreed within our team of information specialists that we always request (‘demand’ is maybe too strong) co-authorship for systematic reviews and other published literature research. We inform the researchers via our webpage. We also discuss this with the researchers at the first appointment. And they usually agree… We believe that we have to be held responsible for the search strategy and therefore also describe the search in the methods-section. To make this responsibility clear we want to be named as co-authors.

Acknowledgement only is sometimes agreed between our team and the researchers if it is not possible to become a co-author or if we feel that the search is not ours (enough) to be held responsible.

The tips here may be: explain your role and your responsibility concerning the publication of a SR, show examples of SRs with the support of information specialists

An article we sometimes refer to in discussions with researchers: Koffel JB. Use of recommended search strategies in systematic reviews and the impact of librarian involvement: a cross-sectional survey of recent authors. PLoS One. 2015 May 4;10(5):e0125931. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0125931. PMID: 25938454; PMCID: PMC4418838. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25938454

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I have taken to asking the person who has requested the literature review, search or support to acknowledge either myself or the library.

On a number of occasions now I have been acknowledged on several Conference posters and papers and in several short papers. On some published papers I have been added as a 3rd author as I wrote up the Search Methodology and did the references and bibliography.

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I have another post at a University, where I often advise students on searches for dissertations and theses.  I don’t know if I have ever been acknowledged in writing.  I have found published papers involving people I remember helping, but have not yet spotted an acknowledgement.

But that might be because I have never asked!   Here, we are looking at written agreements.

At the University, I have done the searches for two research projects.  I was named as an author on one and am named in Prospero as a collaborator for the other.   Some time back I updated the searches for a Cochrane review and am named there in the acknowledgements. I never thought to ask for any of this – all involve academic departments that I have supported for some time and in the case where I was named as an author, I know the lead researcher well.

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This seems like a contentious subject within the healthcare with regards to publication acknowledgements.  I have yet to publish any papers within the healthcare sector, though I have written, co-written and published several scientific and academic papers in the past.

 

Certainly within the scientific and academic community, the author is bound by an unwritten ethical rule to include anyone that has helped to achieve that research/discovery.  Whether it be joint consultation, analysis or more, the assistance is reflected somewhere within the published paper.  The paper must also include any funding and resources which the author used.  One paper that I have published had a list of named contributors longer than my arms, as well as acknowledging EPSRC for funding and other external sources of funding.

This seemed to be quite different within the healthcare sector to me which may or may not be bound by such unwritten rule.  I would certainly suggest speaking directly with the author and request them to acknowledge you/department at the end of the publication/paper.  Unless the librarian did a substantial amount of work e.g. systematic reviews, of which the results were quoted and used within the paper, then you can ask the author to include you as one of the named contributors at the beginning of the paper.

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I would ask about this, if it is not raised by the other members of the team or requester of the search at the start.

If people have asked for help with searches, training and checking search then, mostly, people have acknowledged at the end of the paper.

If it is a literature review where you carried out the searches, collected  and managed the data, and of course any other stages, I think you should be an author & be asked to sign http://publicationethics.org/resources/code-conduct if the journal is a member

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We are going to develop a memorandum of understanding that people with SR projects will have to sign. It will specify acknowledgement is required and authorship if we write the search methodology. I’ve asked outright for authorship in the past when I was getting increasing amounts of potential SRs.

As for the other projects, we should be acknowledged! I haven’t thought about it with these other projects in mind, but we should ask if it involves a conference poster or talk when the search requestor marks Research/Talk on the lit search form we have.

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Eva Thackeray, Assistant Clinical Librarian
 
 
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Motivation and the One Person Library [OPL] by Matt Holland

I remember going for an interview for a job in a commercial law library. Two members of staff, lots of oak paneling and claustrophobia. The best interview question was “what kind of library do you want to work in?” Worried that I would be offered the post I described a large academic library. It did the trick. No job offer. In fact academic libraries is where I ended up.

The great thing for me working in an academic library is their size. They generate lots of momentum. Constant re-organisation, new projects, career progression and a changing cast of co-workers. I fitted in just fine. Spin the wheel of fate forward a few years and it’s all change. I now work in what wikipedia tells me is an OPL (one person library). So it’s all down to me. This is a reflection on motivation. What it takes to keep going when you are the only one around. In particular when finding the motivation for “motivation” is hard work.

One. Distraction and how to combat it
This is doing something easier or more interesting than the thing you know you must do. Sorry, what was I writing about … ? Oh yes, distraction. It’s hard to combat but you can apply the one rule rule. Ask what is the one most important thing you must do whatever the other calls on your time are. For me it’s anything that has a user at the end of it. Enquiries, searches all take priority over everything else. So you just do that first and only do the other things if there is time. Otherwise it’s the next day for … whatever it was.

Two. How to eat an elephant
Well, I was on Facebook and I saw this link to motivation tips from special forces and then I saw this heading … . Turns out it’s an elaborate description of problem solving methodologies. Q. How do you eat an elephant. A. One bite at a time. If you research problem solving methodologies there are many from three to ten stages. The basic principle is to break things down to manageable chunks. Take for example a full LQAF with policy documents, costings, templates, annual reports, action plans, responses to action plans, any number of projects and surveys is months of work. The classic elephant problem.

Three. Imagine happy customers
Colleagues who deal mostly with users asynchronously over a computer network will recognise the problem of wanting a person to respond to you and give feedback. Instead you send off that search and may never hear back from the user. Or just get a cursory thanks. In nearly all cases that does not reflect how they feel, but they are almost certainly under pressure with 100 things to do. They may be on the move. So just imagine the joy they feel when you respond quickly and professionally even when they can’t let you know.

Four. Making lists
I have spotted a few colleagues who use Bullet Journaling. You may have been using something like this for years and just not known it had a name, or a system or some rather expensive stationary items dedicated to it. Anyway making lists is a great way to identify what it is to be done and how to allocate time to do it. You get the satisfaction of crossing things off your list too. I can’t claim to be dedicated Bullet Journaler, but I have learnt a new trick of having three lists Future Log (this year), Monthly Log (this month) and daily log (today). Best bit is to look back and see just how much you actually do. It’s more than you think.

Five. Review and reflect
Thinking about work, not just doing things, is an underrated activity. Step away from the everyday and contemplate work from a distance. Ask yourself where is this going? To be motivated you need the bigger picture, the helicopter view. If you lose that then work becomes mundane. After all what is it all for? Working alone, however, means you do have to be your own strategist. Take some time off to sit and think.

Six. Being Positive
It’s hard to be positive all the time. Starting from a negative might be an instinctive response but generally it makes it harder to generate motivation to do a job that has to be done. This tool for thinking about personal reactions to work/life situations comes from the NHS Leadership Academy Edward Jenner Programme. It describes four levels of the Stages of Personal Development.

Level 1. I am a victim of the situation. Everything is black and white. I take no responsibility. I believe everything is imposed from above/outside.
Level 2. I accept that there are different points of view but I still choose not to take any responsibility.
Level 3. I take some responsibility. Feel empowered to take action to address the situation.
Level 4. I can apply knowledge of the world, wisdom and experience to lead change.

We might experience any of these levels over the course of a day depending on the situation and mood. Probably we lurk at Levels 1 & 2 but aim for Level 3. Level 4 is just aspirational. Back to the point. If you feel your are at Level 1. then a quick talking to might be in order or just buy some time to readjust your mindset.

Seven. Doing something you enjoy
Being a good delegator is not a skill you are going to use much in an OPL. Just have to knuckle down and grind through the boring stuff, statistics, Open Athens Administration, LQAF Returns, ILL Records, etc. However, there has to be something you enjoy doing too. A reward. Having something you enjoy is the motivation that gets you through the other stuff.

Eight. Letting something go
Stay around anywhere for a while and you start to accumulate stuff. A radical clearout is sometimes necessary. What do you not need to do? Or how can you do the same with less time and effort. Making space for the things that interest you is an essential OPL skill.

Matt Holland, NWAS LKS supported by HCLU North, January 2017.

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First term may be over for Helen and Lorna, but they’ve decided to do a little assignment of their own.

We present to you, for your pleasure: “Term 1 to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “The Twelve Days of Uni”.

Essays should be more like this!

 

Lyrics: “Term 1 to the tune of O Little Town of Bethlehem”

The first term has gone speedily

And there’s still lots to come.

This brief doggerel’s a summary

Of all that I have done.

I have learnt of ethical conundrums

That often we may face

And information literacy

in online learning space

 

I’ve worked in groups and talked to folks

From different points of view

We’ve presented a virtual piece

And thankfully passed. (Phew!)

We’ve looked at reflective practice

I’ve still a lot to learn

On standing back from what’s been done

Improvements to discern.

 

I’ve learnt things that I bring to work

And discussed peer-to-peer.

I look forward to learning more

in the forthcoming year

I’d like to look at future plans

For different libraries

And how we adapt services

To newer user needs.

 

Lyrics: “The Twelve Days of Uni”

On the first day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On cultural sustainability

 

On the second day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the third day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the fourth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the fifth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the sixth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the seventh day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the eighth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On library volunteers

Self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the ninth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On evidence based practice

Library volunteers

Self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the tenth day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On Boolean logic

Evidence based practice

Library volunteers

Self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the eleventh day of uni

My tutor lectured me

On Danish school libraries

Boolean logic

Evidence based practice

Library volunteers

Self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

 

On the twelfth day of uni

What could my lecture be?

Neil MacInnes speaking

Danish school libraries

Boolean logic

Evidence based practice

Library volunteers

Self directed learning

Staff motivation

Endnote web

Staff stereotypes

Synthesis

PRISMA diagrams

And on cultural sustainability

Lorna Dawson and Helen Kiely

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The LIHNN Christmas Study Day

The 2016 LIHNN Christmas Study Day took place at the Barton Grange Hotel on the 13 December.

Keynote Speakers

Nick Poole, CEO, CILIP – Securing the Future: The library and information profession and where we go from here

Gareth Allen, Woburn Coaching – Exercise your brain

The Director of Health Libraries North Award

This was awarded to Andrea Guest

The LIHNN Quality Improvement Awards

Gold Award: Bringing people together in memories: Victoria Treadway, Linda Taylor and Rebecca Roylance, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Silver Award: Human Library – where reading is a conversation: Paula Elliott, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Bronze Award: Union List expansion: Steve Glover, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The LIHNN Quality Improvement Awards – Three Minutes of Madness

Winner: In the Know – Current Awareness and KM: Katie Nicholas, Health Education England working across the North West

Runners Up:

The Best LIHNNK-Up Article of 2016

Winner: Knitting for Health by Jennifer Perestrelo, Rebecca Roylance and Linda Taylor, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The LIHNN Christmas Quiz 2016

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Merry Christmas from the LIHNN CPD Group

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A Miserable Christmas and a Happy New Year from the LIHNN Quality Group

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Merry Christmas from everyone in the Lancashire and Cumbria Group

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