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


  • Caitlin J. Bakker Associate Librarian, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Jenny McBurney Assistant Librarian, University Libraries, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Katherine V. Chew Associate Librarian, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Melissa Aho Library Professional, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Del Reed Library Professional, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN



Research Impact, Bibliometrics, Altmetrics


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.

 This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.


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Case Report