Journal of Academic Librarianship: Article Forthcoming, a Note on Reviewers, More Work

Yesterday I received an email from the Journal of Academic Librarianship requesting some minor revisions on a paper I submitted a bare few weeks ago (a portion of my dissertation work, rewritten as a scholarly journal article). It took me all of perhaps 40 minutes to respond to the reviewers’ suggestions and make recommended edits, and I resubmitted the manuscript around 3:45pm PST before preparing to teach an information literacy session at 4:30.

This morning I received the following email (excerpted) from the editor:

I am pleased to inform you that your paper “The Relationship Between Academic Library Department Experience and Perceptions of Leadership Skill Development Relevant to the Academic Library Directorship” has been accepted for publication in The Journal of Academic Librarianship.”

Huzzah! This may be the record for fastest ‘revise and resubmit’ ever. I was thrilled–I was afraid the article might be too long, might be too statistical in nature, might simply not be of interest. A lot of folks whose work I admire have appeared in this journal, and I’m proud be among those researchers. In particular, I’m excited because more eyes will see the research this way than via the actual (TL;DR) dissertation, and I’m interested to see whether it will spark some conversation about our ideas about leadership development in the profession. 

The anonymous reviewers who commented on the article were extremely helpful, and since I can’t thank them in person, I’ll do so here. It was more difficult than I expected to excerpt an article from the larger dissertation and still make it flow well for the reader. I pulled two closely related research questions from the original five in the dissertation–the ones dealing specifically with data about leadership skill development and academic library work. A shorter version of the introduction and literature review, the statistical analysis, and then the discussion…and it was still far too long. It took a few weeks to craft a version I was happy with, and even then, it was long. The reviewers helped significantly by recommending I put explanations of statistical tests into footnotes to make things easier for the reader–a really good way to make sure readers who are interested in statistical analysis or replication have the information they need, but also allowing the less statistically-inclined to go straight to the important information about significance. 

Honestly, having lived with the manuscript for this long, it was very helpful to have multiple sets of eyes on it. Other recommendations included adding some information here and there to refine an idea, to better articulate consequences, to explore next steps and how to to improve the research design for future iterations. Much of the usual manuscript cleanup and reviewer comments were handled by the dissertation committee members, but I was still surprised that indeed, the more eyes the better. Thank you, reviewerfolk, for the close reading, patience, and recommendations for refinement!

Next steps? 

  • Well, firstly I want to take on the other three research questions from the dissertation. Those deal with position in academic libraries, not department; the findings are interesting (to me, at least). I will probably shop it to College & Research Libraries or to the Journal of Library Administration, since it focuses on academic library management and leadership at different levels of the organization. 
  • Secondly, I’m in the process of extending the research to different types of academic institutions to see if my research conclusions hold for non-Master’s granting colleges. I’ve gotten IRB approval for one more iteration of the study at baccalaureate institutions, and and am about to apply for approval to collect information on associate’s-granting institutions.
  • Thirdly, I’m working on developing an extension of this research into academic administrators outside of the library. I’ve pitched this idea as a student-faculty collaboration research course (UNIV 498), and I should be hearing about whether or not that was approved here in the next few weeks. I got my start in research under my undergraduate advisor (Dr. Nayef Samhat, now President of Wofford College), and I’d love to get students actively involved in research and analysis. 

The research side of life. I’m digging it. As an instruction librarian, I discuss with students the peer review process, and the iterative process of research as inquiry. It is important to me to be a scholar-practitioner, to be doing what it is that I teach. It makes my teaching more authentic, because I’m not just telling students how to do something from on high. I’m not just telling students what troubles they will encounter. I’m one of them, a fellow researcher, a fellow student, a fellow enquirer. I’ve just been doing it longer, and have a bit more experience, a few more battle scars (or carpal tunnel, as it were). More on that philosophy of practicing scholarship later…

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