Call for Proposals for 2012 SPEC Survey Topics

Deadline July 22, 2011

Washington DC—The Association for Research Libraries (ARL) is seeking proposals for 2012 SPEC survey topics. For more than 35 years ARL has gathered and disseminated data through the SPEC survey program to assist libraries in the continuous improvement of their management systems. Proposals for topics for the 2012 SPEC survey cycle are now being sought. Each year, ARL works with librarians in the US and Canada to develop six surveys of the ARL membership on “hot topics” related to research library policies and practices. (Survey authors do not need to work at an ARL member library, but only ARL libraries are surveyed.)

Criteria for selecting a survey topic include its currency and insightfulness, its importance to research libraries, its relevance to ARL’s three strategic directions (Influencing Public Policy, Reshaping Scholarly Communication, and Transforming Research Libraries) or its programs that promote diversity or assessment, and whether resources that illustrate current policies and practices can be gathered from survey respondents.

Examples of current areas of interest to research libraries that could fit the SPEC survey model include, but are not limited to:

-Remote storage/shared storage/collection consolidation
-Approaches to library collaborations
-Archiving digital content
-Non-traditional expertise among library professionals and prevalence of disciplinary expertise among staff
-Digital image collections and services
-Managing new forms of scholarship
-Outcomes influenced by library research across the curriculum
-Physical and virtual spaces promoting research engagement and content creation: e.g., research commons, digital research centers, etc.
-Budget restructuring and reallocation, including funding sources, development, and fundraising
-Strategic planning – approaches and implementation
-Strategies for articulating value and impact of library services

Proposals should include the following elements and should be brief (2 to 5 pages total):

-A short bio of the author(s) indicating qualifications to carry out research on the proposed topic.
-An overview of the topic with a discussion of why it is important to examine it at this time and a description of what you hope to learn from the survey data. Include a statement such as “The purpose of this survey is to…” (This text could be used to introduce the survey to respondents.)
-A paragraph indicating the relevance of the research topic to one or more of ARL’s three strategic directions.
-A list of the main categories of survey questions—reflecting your description of what you hope to learn—along with a sample question for each category.
-A list of the types of supporting documentation you would request from survey respondents.

For consideration for 2012, proposals must be submitted online at by July 22, 2011. Proposals will be reviewed and successful authors will be notified by August 22, 2011.

For details on participating in the SPEC survey program see:

Questions about the SPEC survey program and proposal development can be directed to Lee Anne George, Publications Program Officer, at

Description of ARL’s Strategic Directions:

For previous SPEC survey topics see:

Complete list of published SPEC Kits:

2011 SPEC surveys:

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