University Libraries at Virginia Tech welcomes Rachel Miles as its research impact librarian, a rare role that establishes the university as a pioneer in the emerging field of research assessment.

Previously, Miles served as a digital scholarship librarian at Kansas State University. She earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from Wichita State University and a master of library science from Emporia State University.

As an admirer of Virginia Tech’s zeal for discovery, Miles firmly believes her new position fits the university’s land-grant mission as well as its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

“I believe in both the mission and motto of Virginia Tech, and I believe I can assist the community in achieving the highest ideal of both of these through supporting faculty with responsible research evaluation and communication of research impact,” said Miles.

Virginia Tech produces a vast amount of research that manifests itself in a variety of different outputs such as journal articles, book chapters, performances, books, software, and data sets.

As research impact librarian, Miles will assist in tracking this scholarship and help faculty understand the impact of their work.

“I provide services to support the Virginia Tech community in discovering, tracking, and communicating the influence and broader engagement of their research, scholarly, and creative works in academic and public spheres,” Miles said. “As a researcher, accurately tracking and demonstrating your research impact can help you find collaborators, stakeholders, and areas of engagement that you may not have known about before tracking your impact.

It includes various indicators that show, for example, where research is cited, mentioned in bibliographies, and used in news articles online and in social media,” said Miles. “Capturing this information helps tell the story of how Virginia Tech research is making a difference.”

With only a few similar positions currently existing in the United States, Miles and the University Libraries are walking a lightly trodden path, leaving prominent footprints to guide other universities and institutions that will follow.

— Written by Loren Skinker


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