Publication output of librarians in tertiary institutions: a case study of Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria.

Author:Ogbomo, Esoswo Francisca


The importance of publication in the growth and development of the library profession cannot be overemphasized. It is essential for problem-solving, leading to dynamism in library services as a response to changing times and environment. Stressing the importance of research, Powell, Barker, and Mika (2002) assert its role in problem- solving and decision-making, and making librarians critical consumers of the research literature, allowing them to provide information services to researchers in other fields. Boaduo and Babitseng (2007) note that research has always been the main approach to problem-solving by professions. Aina (2004) observes that while research and publication are needed for expansion the frontiers of librarianship and for finding solutions to problems emanating from its practice, it also benefits librarians.

Montanelli and Stenstrom (1986) say that publication promotes advancement and recognition for librarians, and that librarians who conduct research have a more effective relationship with other faculty. Powell (1997) maintains that research and publication help individuals to think critically and analytically. Buttlar (1991) and Mularski and Bradigan (1991) find that academic librarians publish to meet the promotion and tenure demands of their institution to gain faculty status.

Despite the benefits of publication to librarians, their publication output is low. Onohwakpor and Tiemo (2006) summarize the limitations as ignorance on where to publish and the acceptable journals. Many studies attribute the low publication output of librarians to lack of training, which hinders the acquisition of adequate research and writing skilld and identification of research problems (Powell, et al., 2002, Avemariautulu, 2005).

Literature Review

Publication output of librarians in academic libraries

The publication requirement for academic librarians varies among different tertiary institutions. Studies have described characteristics of academic librarians and their scholarly publication. In general, such studies look at a large group of publications from librarians who are employed at a wide variety of colleges and universities (Long and McGinniss, 1981). Another useful strategy is a detailed study of the publication of librarians in a single institution. Hart (1999) remarks that, "this narrow focus is particularly appropriate when looking at trends in publication because the type of college or university in which a faculty member works has been shown to be key factor in influencing his or her publication patterns."

This research attempts to further study librarians as authors by focusing on the publication output of the librarians at a single university: Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. Librarians at that institution are required to publish in order to be successful in their quest for promotion and tenure. These librarians believe that expectations for publication have increased drastically in the past few years. Teaching faculty have also been pressured to increase their production of scholarly books and articles. Studies have analyzed whether academic librarians face a "publish or perish" dilemma. As noted by Alemna (1998) and Aina (2004), librarians must find a solution to the problems emanating from this practice, a solution that also benefits librarians.

Publication in core journals and other periodicals

Garfield (1971), states that:

Bradford's law states that documents on a given field are distributed (scattered) according to a certain mathematical function, so that a growth in papers on a subject requires a growth in the number of journals and information sources. The number of group of journals to produce nearly equal numbers of articles is roughly in proportional to 1:n:n 2 ..., where n is called the Bradford multiplier. Bradford 's law is about subjects distributed over a range of sources. On any one subject, a few groups of core journals provide 1/3 of the articles on that subject, a medium number of less core journals will provide another 1/3 of the number peripheral journals will provide the final 1/3 of the articles on that subject. For example, if you did a literature search on the topic of library service to the visually handicapped and you found 300 citations, according to Bradford's law of scattering, you did discover that 100 of these citations came from a core group of 5 journals, another 100 citations came from a group of 25 less core journals, and the final 100 citations came from peripheral...

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