Librarians support research in a wide variety of ways. However, librarians may not always receive recognition for the valuable contributions they make to the research life cycle or research environments. In higher education institutions (HEIs), librarians face competition from other professional support services in addition to external organizations and suppliers. This article provides an analysis of submissions made by HEIs to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014 and demonstrates that the work of librarians is rarely acknowledged in substantive ways, particularly in STEM disciplines. It provides an overview of the multiple ways in which librarians contribute to research environments as well as how they can practically contribute to the REF 2021 submission process and other research assessment processes. Librarians have developed a wide range of responsive and innovative support services over the last decade and REF 2021 is demonstrated to be an opportunity for librarians to gain recognition for the important role they play in UK HEIs.
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