Research Assessment and the Shaping of Library and Information Research in the United Kingdom

David Ellis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Purpose – The purpose of the chapter is to provide an analytical overview of information research in the United Kingdom and of the role of the Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) in shaping the form and structure of that research.

Design/methodology/approach – The approach adopted is a detailed content analysis of the submissions made to the last UK RAE. This analysis is carried out in relation to four broad subject categorisations, and specific analysis of accounts of research carried out in the departments and research groups.

Findings – The RAE have played a key role in promoting research specialisms in library and information studies (LIS) research in the United Kingdom. The former general approach to research in information studies has been replaced by more focused research activities carried out in a variety of research groups spread across a diverse range of disciplines and departments, from LIS, to business and management, information systems, and computing and engineering.

Research implications – The prospects for general LIS research departments may be increasingly limited, as research becomes concentrated in sub-groups within larger organisational structures, subverting both departmental lines and conventional subject boundaries.

Originality/value – This overview provides a novel synthesis of information research in the United Kingdom in relation to four broad categories of research in information studies and information science, information management and social informatics, information systems and information interaction, and social computing and computational informatics. The account brings together a fragmented field of research in a compact and intelligible form
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLibrary and Information Science Trends and Research
Subtitle of host publicationEurope
EditorsJannica Heinström, Amanda Spink
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
Number of pages26
VolumeVolume 6
ISBN (Electronic)9781780527154
ISBN (Print)9781780527147
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameLIS research in Europe
PublisherEmarald Group Publishing Ltd
NameLibrary and Information Science
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing
ISSN (Print)1876-0562


  • Research Assessment Exercise
  • library and information science
  • library and information systems
  • United Kingdom
  • Research Excellence Framework
  • research quality


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