Needs assessment for improving library support for dentistry researchers




Academic Libraries, Health Sciences Libraries, Dentistry Libraries, Research Support, Research Services, Needs Assessment, Research Impact, Research Dissemination, Grey Literature, Funding and Grant Applications


Objective: To better support dentistry researchers in the ever-changing landscape of scholarly research, academic librarians need to redefine their roles and discover new ways to be involved at each stage of the research cycle. A needs assessment survey was conducted to evaluate faculty members’ research support needs and allow a more targeted approach to the development of research services in an academic health sciences library.

Methods: The anonymous, web-based survey was distributed via email to full-time researchers at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto. The survey included twenty questions inquiring about researchers’ needs and behaviors across three stages of the research cycle: funding and grant applications, publication and dissemination, and research impact assessment. Data were also collected on researchers’ use of grey literature to identify whether current library efforts to support researchers should be improved in this area.

Results: Among library services, researchers considered support for funding and grant applications most valuable and grey literature support least valuable. Researcher engagement with open access publishing models was low, and few participants had self-archived their publications in the university’s institutional repository. Participants reported low interest in altmetrics, and few used online tools to promote or share their research results.

Conclusions: Findings indicate that increased efforts should be made to promote and develop services for funding and grant applications. New services are needed to assist researchers in maximizing their research impact and to increase researcher awareness of the benefits of open access publishing models, self-archiving, and altmetrics.

Author Biographies

Helen Yueping He, Head of Dentistry Library, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Head of Dentistry Library, Dentistry Library

Madeline Gerbig, Instruction & Liaison Librarian, Dentistry Library, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Toronto Academic Libraries Intern (TALint Program), Dentistry Library

Sabrina Kirby, Intern, Toronto Academic Libraries (TALint Program), Dentistry Library, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Toronto Academic Libraries Intern (TALint Program), Dentistry Library


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Original Investigation