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Are We Bridging the Research Practice Gap? (Editorial)

Keywords: research practice gap , evidence based library and information practice

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One of the key aims of Evidence Based Libraryand Information Practice is to bridge the research practice gap and make the findings of LIS research more accessible to library and information practitioners. I’ve therefore been keenly following the UK RiLIEs project(Research in Librarianship – Impact Evaluation Study;,which has been looking at ways to increase the impact of library related research for practitioners. The project culminated in a resources briefing( whichI attended, and was thrilled to hear the project team report that the journal was one of the most appreciated sources of LIS research forpractitioners. My self-congratulation was alittle short lived, however, when the next set of findings presented was a range of resources that practitioners had heard of, but had yet to use – and sure enough, EBLIP was among them. Furthermore, other findings of the project included practitioners reporting a need for accessible summaries of research evidence!! The project team concluded that there was no shortage of research resources available to practitioners, but the challenge was finding the best way to make them available and easily accessible. As an open access journal, therefore, we need to work harder on publicizing the work we do. I’ve thus taken on board the recommendation that “here lies an opportunity for those with responsibility for freely available open access repositories of LIS research materials to raise awareness of their resources amongst the practitioner communities” (Hall, 2012). It is really important that as a journal we do take this message on board, as we have begun to find that the Evidence Summaries in EBLIP do make a difference. Over the past year, supported by a grant from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, and led by our Associate Editor for Evidence Summaries, Lorie Kloda, we have been conducting a research project into the impact of Evidence Summaries. The project will be written up in full and the results published elsewhere, but in brief we validated a tool to assess the impact of the summaries on practitioners, used the tool to survey a number of Evidence Summary readers, and followed some of these up with more in-depth interviews. Initial results are promising, and we have found that Evidence Summaries impact on knowledge, individual practice, and more widely in the workplace of Evidence Summary readers. Earlier in the summer, we presented the results at a range of national (Canada a


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