Pandemic-Fueled Essential Doctoral Community Collaborations: Library and Information Science Professionals and Doctoral Education Faculty Leaders

Pandemic-Fueled Essential Doctoral Community Collaborations: Library and Information Science Professionals and Doctoral Education Faculty Leaders

Robin Throne (University of the Cumberlands, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6944-3.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter presents the current research into doctoral community collaborations between faculty leaders and library and information science (LIS) professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled and fostered rapid decision-making solutions for remote doctoral library research and increasingly blurred the bounds between on ground, hybrid, and online doctoral education. Many solutions necessitated by the pandemic may continue post-pandemic to transform and strengthen the doctoral learning community through LIS and faculty collaboration for the research supports needed for quality doctoral research as well as the effective development of new investigators. Insights include the integration of collaborative digital platforms, enhanced remote access, deeper academic databases, and instructional strategies to enhance remote research supervision.
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Introduction

All aspects of higher education have required agility throughout the tumultuous and shifting time of the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic and leadership has continued with rapid decision-making to ensure quality doctoral education. Never before has the bounds so quickly blurred between on ground, hybrid, and online doctoral education and as a result, digital library resource supports have been instrumental to ensure continuity of quality for doctoral research. In past work, the author has stressed the need for doctoral faculty, researcher supervisors, leadership, and program/course developers to consider their roles as essential partners with library and information science (LIS) professionals to foster and facilitate the ability to continue to conduct rigorous research for doctoral scholars amid the pandemic (Throne, 2020). One of the most significant impacts resulting from the pandemic is access to library resources and library instruction. For example, Lambrechts and Smith (2020) reported 72.6% of UK doctoral researchers were negatively affected for library access across 701 doctoral students due to the pandemic. Similar to the many innovations found early in the pandemic so doctoral research data collection was not impeded, similar cross-departmental innovative collaboration can enhance the doctoral learning community (DLC) (Mishra et al., 2020).

Prior to the pandemic, the authors noted more than half of respondents used the physical library facilities for research at least bi-weekly and the pandemic limited access especially for key works unavailable via digital formats or inter-lending accessibility for hard copy texts (Lambrechts & Smith, 2020). During the early lockdown phases, university libraries were supportive with lending extensions and fee waivers; yet, physical library access and lending continued to change as libraries reopened, impacting doctoral researchers. Doctoral students reported exclusion of key works from their research to the monetary impact of added fees to purchase necessary works. Similar to UK doctoral researchers, doctoral students in North America experienced similar impediments for disruption of doctoral research (Lazurko et al., 2020; Mullen, 2020). Pandemic-related disruption of doctoral research has also resulted in decreased academic productivity, disrupted relationships with dissertation supervisors, shifts to technology-medicated doctoral research supervision, and overall adverse effects doctoral researcher wellbeing (Lambrechts & Smith, 2020; Lazurko et al., 2020; Mullen, 2020).

While the crises in doctoral education wrought by the pandemic has been categorically disruptive and tumultuous, it has also concurrently fostered doctoral faculty leaders and LIS professionals to implement innovative solutions to mediate disruption and maintain continuity for doctoral scholars. Lave and Wenger (1991) coined the term communities of practice, which has evolved to be defined as any group who engage in collective learning within a particular domain (Wenger, 2011). Doctoral communities of practice are formed of diverse members of the learning community who include faculty leaders and LIS professionals among many others. “As Tikam (2018) emphasized, open and available current research is necessary to the scholarly community but must also be carefully considered for inclusion in academic libraries due to the complex intellectual property considerations involved with digital access and fair use. While doctoral students may rely on open sources easily attained from the internet, scholarship sourcing instruction is necessary to ensure doctoral scholars understand the distinctions between credible and reliable research versus non-peer-reviewed research” (Throne, 2020).

While doctoral researchers have been distanced from physical library collections and undergone zero contact policies due to the pandemic, digital and virtual resource replacements have been necessary to continue rigorous doctoral research for many. For many others, collaboration, infrastructures, and emergent resource supports developed for online or hybrid doctoral education are now essential infrastructures to support doctoral research, in turn strengthening the DLC with new or innovative approaches for digital or virtual academic library research and research supports (Throne, 2020). The objective of this chapter is to provide illustrations and insights into the potential, evolving, and ongoing ILS and faculty driven collaborative solutions to offer a multi-faceted DLC among all members post-pandemic to ensure quality doctoral research and distinction in development of new investigators.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Doctoral Learning Community: The doctoral learning community is typically a multi-faceted community of practice to support doctoral education and the research supports necessary for quality doctoral research as well as for new investigator agency and development.

Communities of Practice (CoP): Lave and Wenger (1991) coined the term CoP to illustrate any group who engages in collective learning within a particular domain.

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