Staff Spotlight: Amy Corder, Keith Pickett, and Laura Wright

Recently, Amy Corder, Research Support Librarian, Keith Pickett, Coordinator of Research Services & User Resources, and Laura Wright, Research Support Librarian, from Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences (Matas) presented “Mission to MARS: Meta-Analysis & Systematic Review Support” at the South-Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) conference. As frequent presenters, leaders, and judges for their chapter, Matas librarians detailed how their work offers methods for comprehensive and transparent appraisal of existing evidence through a new collaborative initiative at Tulane between the Office of Academic Affairs/Provost and Tulane Libraries.

In June 2020, the Provost’s Office launched the Meta-Analysis Systematic Review Support (MARS) program aiming to increase grant funding, expand meta-analysis and systematic review production at Tulane, enhance overall citations and impact scores within the next three years, and provide support for publishing in peer-reviewed journals within one year of application. While the library has traditionally offered systematic review services, this is the first formal process that has been implemented in partnership with university leadership to bolster the production of high-impact publications. Being embedded in the systematic review process from the beginning has allowed librarians to guide researchers through systematic review methodology in a more streamlined, unified way and be more integrated into the university’s overall research impact mission, highlighting librarians’ resources and skills.

First, authors email the MARS Program and submit their needs, proposed deadline, and previous experience conducting systematic reviews or meta-analyses. After an initial vetting, librarians review for a final approval. Next, participants are provided with an application, checklist, flowchart, and shared folder with official documents. Librarians are then available to help with refining the research question, searching strategy formation, and selecting databases through in-person or Zoom meetings between the researchers, librarians, and the Scientific Research Analyst.

The Office of Academic Affairs has championed Matas librarians’ involvement, leading to faculty members’ enthusiastic participation and appreciation. “The Provost recognized what the library is capable of and the profound effect librarians have on researchers and the university’s academic standing. The MARS program is special because of the Provost’s support and how we work with others across campus,” says Laura.

Now, the Tulane-based MARS program has become a model for other university libraries. “The program is so goal-driven and results-focused that others who are not as familiar with the process can easily see why and how it’s so successful,” says Keith. Librarians who participate in the MARS Program at Tulane include Elaine Hicks (Public Health Librarian), Mary Holt (History Librarian/Cataloger) and Raquel Horlick (Coordinator for Scholarly Resources, Science and Engineering). Visit our Library Guide on systematic reviews.

picture of Amy Corder, Keith Pickett, and Laura Wright