Changing of the Guard: Preserving Research Instrument Accessibility
Yarbrough, Susan P.
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Session presented on Monday, September 19, 2016: Every year nurse researchers create new research instruments and new models simply because they cannot get permission to use existing documents. Good instruments exist and excellent theoretical and conceptual frameworks have been used and tested. The problem is that researchers and students cannot get permission to use the tools because these scholars are not available due to retirement, death, or moves. A generation of aging nurse scholars has moved the research enterprise to a new level. Their contributions include the expansion of nursing science, development of nursing theories and research instruments, as well as research methodologies etc. However, nursing, as with other disciplines, is experiencing a 'Changing of the Guard'. Many of our nurse scholars are retiring or dying. Retirement has created a detriment to continuing knowledge development due to loss of contact information. For instance, doctoral students and other nurse scientists need to seek permission to use a research instruments developed by these scholars in their own research. Without current contact information, great difficulty arises in obtaining permissions, and the research endeavor may suffer. A proposed solution to this problem is to collaborate with Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) to promote the utilization of the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository to increase accessibility to research tools. By inviting nursing scholars (and scholars in related disciplines) to place their scholarly works in the e-Repository, along with appropriate instructions and permissions for use; the scholar's work is preserved and access is provided to other nurse scholars and doctoral students. A review of the literature reveals that nothing of this magnitude has yet been done. The University Librarian stated, 'initial indications suggest that the problem of retiring faculty and fugitive behavioral instruments has yet to generate significant comment'. Sommerville and Lettie (2013) in their white paper reported on the discoverability of scholarly communication. In the paper they addressed the communication ecosystem of individuals connecting with each other. In a follow-up paper, Sommerville and Lettie (2014), continued their discussion of the availability of scholars collaborating on works and the communications between libraries, publishers, and researchers. The two articles do not address the issues related to gaining permissions for the use of research tools. Factors are aligned that will contribute to the project's success. The highly technical environment in which we live today supports the electronic retrieval of information. The Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository is established and already functioning. The implementation of this project will have a powerful influence on the preservation of current nursing science and contribute to the ongoing development of nursing science into the future. Ready access to nursing artifacts will create a true community of nursing scholars and enrich the work of current and future nurse scientists. Call to action: As this generational transition occurs, a call to action is imperative in order to preserve this vital scholarship and continue to build on nursing's research enterprise.