UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

Archive for the ‘Research Support’ Category

Information and Digital Literacies & the Researcher

Posted by Helen on 5 December, 2014

On the 28th November I travelled to Cardiff University to attend this WHELF/GW4 event. Although many of the attendees were from Wales and the South West, there were plenty of us from further afield. It was a really good chance to hear about developments in other institutions and to compare good practice. The EMRSG serves a similar purpose on a local level, but I think this event was useful for a wider understanding of research support.

Moira Bent (Newcastle University) gave the keynote speech.

Moira urged us to identify opportunities for successful interventions and then implement them.

We should be asking “Where can we add value in the research environment?” She questioned the use of ‘research support’ as a term, despite this being well accepted in libraries and literature. She considered whether the terminology influences perceptions and whether our job titles limit what we can do, or what we are perceived as being able to do, for researchers. We need to become more integrated in the community of practice.

She used the seven ages concept to help us identify who we cater for and who we leave out:

  • Masters
  • Doctoral
  • Contract researchers
  • Early Career Researcher (ECR)
  • Established
  • Senior
  • Expert

We should consider what different kind of help we could provide to support their role.

Moira then organised a small workshop which involved lots of interaction and was a chance to discuss with colleagues in smaller groups and find out the challenges others find in supporting researchers. We discussed what we do now, what we would like to do and what obstacles stand in our way.

TeachMeet

In the afternoon there was a round of TeachMeet and two were particularly interesting

Amy Staniforth (Aberystwyth University) on organising Open Access week events

  • Researchers feeling bombarded and over monitored.
  • Events focused on practical advice, how to get help (not advocacy)
  • Put an OA poster on every departmental noticeboard
  • OA administrator gave out ‘Five top tips’ and ran an internal event for public services
  • Continued OA visibility by sending round stats each month – ‘Top depositor’ etc.

Alison Harvey (Cardiff University) on assessed research assistantships for the Humanities

  • English department launched a pilot module ‘Project Management and Research’
  • Emphasis on vocational training and employability through activities such as editorial work, image research and assisting in Cardiff’s Special Collections and Archives.
  • The Special Collections staff provided training at the start and then benefited from the work carried out by the students throughout the semester.
  • Further details on the module guide and student blog

 

Advertisements

Posted in Research Support | Leave a Comment »

USTLG November Meeting: Supporting Research

Posted by selinalock on 1 December, 2014

On the 26th November 2014 I attended and spoke at the University Science & Technology Librarians (USTLG) winter meeting on supporting research at Aston University. The last time I attended a USTLG meeting was in 2012 when I spoke about our re-structure into a Teaching and Learning team, a Research Support Team and a Special Collections/Digital Humanties team, and I was juts about to start my post as a Research Information Advisor.

This time I updated attendees on what had happened since the restructure and how the Research Services team had developed, and took #OAowl along for company:

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

The line-up for the day was:
Research Bites – researcher training programme
Georgina Hardy & Clare Langman
Aston University

  • Subject librarians with research support as part of their remit.
  • Research Bites – every lunchtime in July/August, 15-30mins sessions.
  • Record audio & slides to make available.
  • Used EventBrite for bookings & to keep stats on attendance.
  • Advertsie via lots of methods e.g. new bulletin, direct emails, flyers/posters to Depts, posters in library, in email sigs.
  • LibGuides to gather recordings.
  • Options to stay after talk to try  things out hands-on (in the lovely library training room where we had the meeting!)

Raising Your Research Profile – training programme
Linda Norbury & Judith Hegenbarth
University of Birmingham

  • Research support group to oversee research training within the library, run by subject librarians/group.
  • Tried out research support (ideas sessions) on Publication strategies, Open Access, Bibliometrics & Social Media on subject librarians first – helps upskill library staff.
  • Good feedback and led to other sessions/contacts, but need to review and expand in future.
  • Raising your research profile webpages.

Developing a blended learning approach to literature searching support for PhD students
Jenny Coombs & Liz Martin
De Montfort University

  • Compulsory lit searching module for PhD students as part of the Graduate School training programme.
  • Moved to an online approach – students can choose online module + face-to-face sessions or online only (depending on if they can visit campus)
  • Involves all subject librarians in the feedback part of the module – where students fill in a lit searching form to show what they have understood of the module.

Consultancy, bitesize and training – how Northumbria supports researchers
Suzie Kitchin
Northumbria University

  • Provide free advice and help with literature searching for all researchers, but also provide a charged literature searching service for funded projects that wish the library to undertake the literature search for them – charged at research librarian pay rate per hour.
  • research development week – feedback that it’s a good brand that is seen as targeted directly at researchers.
  • Use an online tutorial that is a pre-requisite to face-to-face teaching to ensure everyone is on the same level.
  • Skillsplus – online learning repository – includes all researcher materials – all online tutorials/learning objects are bitesized.

Supporting researchers – then and now
Selina Lock
University of Leicester

JISC Open Access Pathfinder project
Linda Kerr
Heriot-Watt University

  • Research Support Librarian – remit to run repositories and support open access publishing.
  • Offers advice, co-ordination, writes policies, support to staff in schools.
  • OA fund devolved to schools who deal with APCs.

 

Applying systematic review methodology from Health to other Science disciplines
Beth Hall
University of  Bangor

  • Supports systematic reviews in medicine/health care but found a growing demand for using thouse methods in other subjects such as ecology and software engineering.
  • Bangor Evidence Synthesis Hub (BESH) – Application of review methods and processes to different and interdependent contexts such as health, social care, environment, conservation.
  • Issues with applying methods to other areas – no one database to model search on (e.g. Medline in medicine), search functionality lacking in databases, no subject terms, no register of systematic reviews in non-medical areas.
  • Centre for evidence Based Conservation

 

You can access copies of the presentations on the USTLG website.

Tweets from the day: USTLG November 14 Storify (header seems to feature #OAowl)

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Visit to the University of Virginia and North Carolina State University libraries

Posted by benwynne2 on 28 June, 2013

Thanks to the generosity of my employer, I had the opportunity to visit the libraries of the University of Virginia (UVa) and North Carolina State University (NCSU) during the week of 17 June 2013.

Both libraries have a strong track record of digital library innovation of different kinds. The University of Virginia is a leader in digital humanities and NCSU has gained a reputation for creating user friendly, Web interfaces to Library services and resources, in particular.

University of Virginia

Scholars’ Lab

UVa Libraries is home to the Scholars’ Lab – a service which supports and enables the use of technology in humanities scholarship by the postgraduate and research community at the University. There are three strands to the service:

  • a ‘walk in’ facility where students can use high end computers and applications (GIS and statistical applications, for example) with access to specialist help (provided by fellow, experienced students employed by the Library)
  • a programme of workshops and training opportunities. In particular, the Scholars’ Lab runs a graduate fellowship programme where about 6 lucky students each year are trained and supported to work together on a particular project – developing valuable technical and ‘soft’ skills (including project management)  in the process.
  • a research and development team of Web developers – from a research background – who work with academic staff on development of specific projects.
Scholars' Lab

Scholars’ Lab

This all adds up to an impressive service. The Lab benefits from some endowment funding and, unusually, the research and development team is funded from the core Library budget – not from short term, grant funding.

Recent work includes the creation of Neatline – a platform for creating digial exhibits as overlays on maps with timelines.  This is just the sort of thing we wanted to try out as part of our Jisc funded Manufacturing Pasts project – but ran out of time and didn’t have a suitable platform.  Neatline is built on Omeka – a content management system created at George Mason University. Both are open source and if you have – or can have – access to a LAMP server (which I eventually did for Manufacturing Pasts) – it doesn’t sound too difficult to try them out …

SHANTI

UVa is also home to SHANTI – the Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives. SHANTI isn’t part of the Library but is based in the ‘main’ library – the Alderman Library – as is the Scholars’ Lab.

SHANTI provides practical support and guidance for researchers who want and need to use information technology to carry out research – but who aren’t ‘techies’. The resources it has created include a Knowledge Base – which includes a suite of software tools – many of which anyone can use.

Digital Media Lab

The Digital Media Lab is part of the Library and provides an impressive range of resources and support for use of multimedia by the University community – including creating videos, large scale data visualisation, a ‘telepresence’ lab and use of video clips for teaching. A lot of the technology is Mac based.

The Lab is based on a newly refurbished floor of one of the site libraries which is gradually being redeveloped as the ‘learning and teaching’ library (this redevelopment also includes the provision of social learning spaces).

Digital Media Lab at the University of Virginia Library

Digital Media Lab

The Lab has its origins back in the University’s audiovisual service which became part of the Library many years ago. It has evolved to become more about the creative use of technology in learning and teaching – than the simple provision of hardware and software as such – although, clearly the two need to go together.

While many libraries provide high end, ‘self service’ multimedia facilities – providing an expert, staffed service of this kind is unusual.

Staffing

Compared to many UK university libraries – and certainly compared to us – UVa Library is big – with 220 staff, 11 libraries and a complex structure.

That much is predictable for a major, American university library.  But some aspects of how the Library is organised are less obvious.

The people I met were from a diverse range of backgrounds – the outcome of a decision over ten years ago to seek applications for vacancies from both formally qualified librarians and other relevant professions.

View of part of the Learning Commons floor of the undergraduate library at the University of Virginia

Learning commons floor of the undergraduate library

The head of the Scholars’ Lab is an ‘academic’.  The Deputy University Librarian comes from an IT background (she joined the Library to head up its technical services, originally).  The head of the learning and teaching focussed library is a learning technologist.  A recent appointee to the University’s very impressive Special Collections Library has a background – amongst other things – in the rare books business.

Some recent senior retirements and resignations have led to a decision to ‘flatten’ the structure – removing some second tier posts and bringing the managers of some of these specialist, newer services into the management team.

NCSU

NCSU Libraries won an award from the ALA for its Web site in 2011.  In 2010, it won an award for its Library Course Tools project.  Back in 2000, it won the ACRL Excellence In Academic Libraries Award.

So, what has enabled NCSU to sustain this consistent record of service development and success?

Staffing and culture

Like UVa, NCSU Library is a big department – with about 220 staff and a budget of about $20m.  The University has 35,000 students.

Again, like UVa, the Library has quite a complex staffing structure.

One thing which is notable about this structure, is that there is both a Library IT and a Digital Library Initiatives (DLI) team.  Unusually, also, the Library IT team runs both servers and storage for the Library – not just Library specific applications (this wasn’t the case at UVa Library where – like us – they see servers and storage as clearly being part of central IT infrastructure).

I met some members of the DLI team.  As the team name suggests, their focus is on developing and implementing new services – such as the Library Course Tools service noted above.

The team has existed for about 12 years – and grew out of a small service which the Library had created to support use of GIS and geospatial data.

Banner promoting mobile app tour of the Hunt Library, North Carolina State University

One of the DLI team’s mobile apps

Most members of the team are librarians – who have become skilled Web Developers during the course of their careers.  As librarians, they understand the context within which they are working and the services that are being provided – and this understanding combined with the technical skills clearly makes for a powerful combination.  This is also true of some of the members of the Library IT team – with the person responsible for the specification and installation of the very extensive IT facilities in the new Hunt Library (below) being a qualified librarian with an Arts background (who then developed a specialism in IT).

NCSU has a ‘Library fellowship’ programme.  This means a number of two year, fixed term posts which are open to newly qualified library professionals.  Postholders are based in a ‘home’ department and also work on a project.  Some of these projects are very significant.  For example, one Library Fellow is developing a Web based application for browsing the contents of items in the Hunt Library’s new ‘bookBot’ (see below).

About 50 people have been through this programme since it started.  Interestingly, many members of the DLI team originally joined the Library through this route – so, it clearly seems to have worked as a way of attracting capable, highly motivated people who – crucially – are looking for on-going opportunities to learn and develop on the job.

I was interested to find out how the DLI team communicates with other teams.  The picture that was painted was of lots of horizontal communication i.e. between teams.  Ideas for service development are as likely to emerge this way as be from ‘top down’.  They said this works because individuals take responsibility to make communication with their colleagues work – they don’t wait for a ‘manager’ to do it for them.  Later on I spoke to a member of staff in a public services, student facing role – who sung the praises of the DLI team – so, she clearly saw them as student focussed and helping her to do her job.

There is still, structured, organised decision making because there needs to be.  But they have a pragmatic straightforward process for specifying and agreeing projects that are going to be resourced – taking a 2 sides of A4 approach to make sure objectives, timescales, responsibilities etc. are clear (something we have tried to do consistently in recent years).

Hunt Library

The Hunt Library is a major development for the Library, the University and the evolving concept of what a ‘university library’ is and what it is for.

Entrance area to the Hunt Library, North Caroline State University

Hunt Library entrance area, North Carolina State University

The Hunt Library opened in January 2013.  It cost $110m and, so, represents a huge investment by the University (and its primary funder the state of North Carolina).

It joins the University’s other primary library – the Hill Library – which dates from the 1970s and is a ‘traditional’ ‘book tower’ library – lots of shelves, lots of floors, lots of single study spaces (although in 2011 the entrance floor of the Hill Library was totally redesigned in ‘learning commons’ mode).

The Hunt Library is on the university’s technology park – which is also the home of its large Engineering and Textiles teaching programmes and research (NCSU is – largely – a science and technology institution).

There are a lot of things about the Hunt Library that you would expect in a modern library.

  • lots of natural daylight
  • lots of social learning space of different kinds (including 100 group study rooms!)
  • high quality interior design and fit out
  • single integrated service point and staff ‘roving’ to provide help at point of need
Some objects created using a 3D printer

What you can create with a 3D printer

Where the Hunt Library is really different is in the scale of the IT facilities it provides.  These go way beyond access to desktop PCs/Macs and wireless networking to include:

  • lending of a huge range of equipment – and accessories – including laptops (of different kinds), high end filming and photography equipment, storage devices etc.
  • data visualisation lab with very high resolution screens
  • 3D printing
  • ‘creative’, multimedia lab which includes creation of virtual environments
  • a gaming lab

The technical facilities aren’t just used by the engineering students etc. but also by their Arts and Social Sciences departments (they do exist).

View of the bookBot at the Hunt Library, North Carolina State University

The bookBot at the Hunt Library

The Hunt Library is also about books – but most of these – 1.5m – are stored away in an automated, high capacity, racked storage system (the bookBot!).  Users request items through the Catalogue and they are delivered to the Hunt Library service point within about 5 minutes (some staff intervention is required).  This system cost about $4m to install.

What about staffing such a  facility?

No new money was available to staff this library – so existing staff have been allocated between the Hunt Library and the Hill Library.  Students are employed to help at the Hunt service point and with the bookBot.  There are 4 people on duty ‘front of house’ at most – this is between 10.00am and 4pm.  So, lean front of house – which reminds me of the Information Commons at Sheffield.  The Library is open 24 hours – with staffed services continuing overnight (two Library staff employed for the purpose and a student helper – a model they already had at the Hill Library).

While use of some of the high end facilities is by appointment with specialist staff, most of the facilities can be used directly by students and they have found that students have needed very little ‘training’ to use them.

So what?

So, you visited UVa and NCSU – so what?

This clearly was a great opportunity for me personally as I have long wanted to see something of the large, North American university libraries in action (because, one way or another, what happens in the North American academic world has a huge influence on us and we are almost entirely dependent on library systems and resources provided largely for the North American market).

Data visualisation lab at the Hunt Library, North Carolina State University

Data visualisation lab at the Hunt Library

But there are also some specific questions which I think we could realistically ask ourselves based on the experience of these libraries – despite the fact that they are clearly much larger and much better resourced than we are (although they don’t necessarily support a very much more students than us).

  • How do we provide the Web development expertise – focussed on library services and context – which we are going to need to develop our Web services further? (not everyone may agree with me on this – but I see this as absolutely essential and I don’t think that the advent of cloud based services reduces the need.  We are still going to need to integrate services and build services which draw on disparate, underlying services.  That is a large part of the ‘added value’ that we can offer our users);
  • What opportunities do we have/can we create to attract technically able, highly motivated, early career professionals and then develop them on the job?
  • How do we improve access to generic software tools/solutions for digital scholarship/humanities projects at Leicester – including exploiting the tools identified/created by SHANTI, George Mason University and others? (there is a Web developer need here as well – currently the subject of a bid to the University’s Research Infrastructure Fund which Simon Dixon and Dan Porter-Brown have put together).

I’d be interested to hear your views.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Research Support, Technology & Devices | Leave a Comment »

EMALINK Research Data Management Meeting

Posted by selinalock on 27 March, 2013

Several of us attended the EMALINK meeting on Research Data Management (RDM) at the University of Northampton on the 13th March, 2013. Here’s some of the main points I picked up on:

RDM at the University of Northampton (Miggie Pickton)

  • In 2010 little was known about the RDM needs of researchers so undertook a project using the ‘Data Asset Framework Methodology‘ (DAF) from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC).
  • Interview with research leaders, online survey of researchers and follow-up interviews to look at types of data, storage and access needs and funder requirements.
  • Found some good practice and some uncertainty about RDM.
  • A research data policy was drafted and approved, but not mandated.
  • Behaviour changes takes time and advocacy.
  • Research Councils started to bring out policy frameworks for RDM – led to research data roadmap.
  • Reflections: DAF allowed meaningful dialogue with researchers, raised awareness of RDM good practice, embed RDM training for new research students, up-skilling of library/support staff to support researchers.
  • More training, advocacy and awareness of RDM needed.

RDM at the University of Nottingham (Laurian Williamson)

  • Much bigger and more research intensive university than Northampton.
  • JISC funded project: A Data Management Infrastructure for Research (ADMIRe)
  • Looking at infrastructure, tools and policies.
  • Surveyed 366 researchers: survey and analysis available.
  • Wide types and locations for data.
  • Remember: Not just digital data!!
  • Need technical infrastructure but also human infrastructure: skills, workshops, materials & training needs.
  • Pre-requsite for any RDM service: approved policy, technical infrastructure, up-skilling of support staff, advocacy, tailored training, buy-in.

Common Themes among all the Universities attending:

  • Early stages of institutional RDM efforts.
  • Cross team skills needed (library, research support office, IT services etc) – no funding for RDM posts.
  • Staff need up-skilling before real advocacy and training can start.
  • Need to understand needs of researchers, institution and funders.
  • Can draw on expertise of DCC.

At Leicester:

RDM Website and cross-service working party.

Library Research Services Team: Think about how to offer RDM training – possibly use MANTRA for PhD students.

Posted in Meetings, Research Support | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

eMRSG Meeting

Posted by selinalock on 17 September, 2012

 

I had lunch with Katie Fraser overlooking the lake at the University of Nottingham.

On Tuesday 11th September Helen Steele & I visited the University of Nottingham for the East Midlands Research Support Group meeting.

The first half of the meeting was about the creation of online learning resources for researchers (presented by Wendy Stanton & Helen Young), which you can find out more about on the eMRSG website. Some of the interesting points the group found when creating the online resources and talking to researchers were:

  • Researchers prefer online tutorials to be 10-30mins and include visuals, links, quizzes and screencasts.
  • They also prefer peer support, which was not an option for the current online tutorial project.
  • Skills they rated highly and think researchers should develop = literature search planning, assessing quality information and in-depth knowledge of published literature.
  • Tutorial creators thought they would need to present a balanced view – researchers wanted to know how to advance their career in three amazing leaps.
  • Tutorial creators thought they should include high level content such as ‘how to start a journal’ but many researchers were bemused as to why anyone would want to do that!
  • Calling the tutorial ‘Promotion of Research’ was perceived as too aggressive so changed to ‘Dissemination of Research’
  • Content more important than aesthetics – both were important.
  • The ‘Dissemination of your Research’ tutorials are now available under a creative commons license.

The second half of the meeting was a discussion of what the various libraries represented were doing to support research and the future of the group.

Keighton Auditorium, University of Nottingham

Main themes of research support were:

  • Work closely with Graduate School, Research Office, Staff Development/Learning Development.
  • Blogs, websites or Blackboard sites to bring scattered resources together as a one stop shop for research support within institutions.
  • Research Data Management – big theme for the future, how to support, where funds are coming from, working closely with IT Services etc.
  • Looking at different ways of engaging researchers – training sessions, Elevenses, attending appropriate committees, blogs, social media.
  • Mapping training and support on to the Researcher Development Framework.
  • Library support costed into research bids e.g. systematic reviews
  • Institutional repository data and REF.
  • OA publishing – how Finch Report will affect things – how/where OA funds placed and managed – what about institutions not receiving extra funds from Government?
  • Modules or moderated courses on information literacy and research skills for PGRs.
  • How to measure impact of training provided.
  • Contacting new staff/researchers on arrival (if possible).
  • Reference Management training and support.
  • Some libraries (like our new team at Leicester) have staff specifically responsible for research support, others it is part of the remit for all subject librarians.
  • Catalogue of Research Equipment (across the M5 group, as announced today here at Leicester) – could the equipment catalogue be linked to research data and research publications? (Loughborough investigating this).
  • Research Support Space within the library.
  • Challenges = time, resource, funding, do we know what researchers really want/need?

It was a really useful afternoon and everyone in attendance agreed that it would be useful to have a few meetings every year and keep in touch regarding developments to research support within the East Midlands. The next meeting will be hosted here at the University of Leicester in March, provisionally on Open Access Publishing Funds and the affects of the Finch Report.

Posted in Meetings, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

USTLG Spring 2012 Meeting – Being a Science/Engineering Librarian

Posted by selinalock on 4 September, 2012

A very, very late report on the Spring meeting that I attended and spoke at, which was held at the University of Newcastle.

Although the main theme of the event was sharing experiences of being a science and engineering librarian, some other loose themes emerged becoming embedded vs becoming generic, and the way the profession has/is changing.

Being a subject librarian – Changes to the Profession

So, what does it mean to be a subject librarian? Jenny Campbell, Newcastle University

– Recognise how our jobs are changing – teaching, marketing, web guru
– Allowed to develop more things on OA & Endnote.
– Different ways of teaching, larger groups, lectures with drop-ins
– Research support growing – workshops at Faculty level (50-60hrs to PhD students) + need to do more
– Using social media & have some engagement
– Student surveys for refurbishment of library = more study space, quiet areas, more books, power supply at every desk, more IT…

The Environment and Technology librarian: a new professional’s perspective, making the role your own, Emma Illingworth, University of Brighton

– Know my students, researchers, school staff, academics, subjects
– Social networking on the student/staff community networking site
– Twitter for the subjects – but are the students on there? Professionals are on there but students prefer FB. Are there better ways of engaging?
– Little funky business cards to give to staff & students
– Mainly a L&T role & has become embedded in some modules
– Info skills in each year – need a clear path through the modules
– Tried various ways of delivering teaching – for some groups need to change activities to keep attention
– Email before session to online noticeboard to ask what they want out of session – works well for some groups & not others
– Working collaboratively with academics & sharing successes
– Helped with open day & it was pointed out as a unique selling point to students = their own librarian
– Future – wants to be an embedded librarian

From Soviet Studies to Science and Engineering, Jenny Brine, Lancaster University

– 40 years of librarianship, but only science for a few years
– 1st degree in Russian & first post was running library for Russian & East European Studies = Essential to have language skills, hard to find reliable information, embedded/worked closely with research staff, encouraged to do a PhD, specialised, treated as member of research team and found researchers didn’t want to share data until after they were published,
– Moved to Aberdeen & started teaching IL skills (just didn’t realise that they were called IL, but had been compiling bibliographies for years so had the skills required) to a wide range of subjects, encouraged to do a teaching qualification, had to supervise students doing searches in many subjects – learned about how to find out about research/suject vocabularly,
– Lancaster Uni Library – started in ILL which gives you a good picture of research within the Uni plus contact with staff and students, could notice trends and suggest books for purchase.

– Learning about new subjects – informal (family), formal – colleagues, reading, web resources etc
– Read new scientist
– Support from sci & tech lib colleagues e.g. lis-medical, USTLG, courses & conferences
– Read the study skills/research skills books for subjects
– Talk to academics – get invites to meetings or to look around the Depts.

Widening Participation: building on the role of a science librarian, Tony Wilson, University of York

– Helps with Developing Independent Learning Day for schools & colleges network – aimed at 6th formers
– Library challenges = researching & evaluating info (other session on day about academic writing, campus tour & student ambassadors help with day)
– Quzzies about how library works
– Wanted to work closely with other Uni services to make the events more joined up – collaborated more & became the actual widening participation co-ordinator for Uni
– Extended projects may start to be taken into consideration for Uni admissions
– Develpoing a realising opp website at York – freely available resources
– Also work with local primary school projects – they liked the tour of the library! Done some sessions with school librarians and 10yr olds about evaluating websites
– Challenges – Doing on top of normal liaison post, need to be an all rounder, lack of clear leanining objectives from schools, maintaining discipline within classes
– Top tips – use student ambassadors, ensure clear understanding/agreement over what is being covered, keep session interactive, keep groups small
– Now have a relationship management team with WP as an area they deal with, share the workload – in future all liaison librarians will play a role.

All Change! Restructuring Academic Liaison, Selina Lock, University of Leicester

– I talked about our restructure from a team of subject librarians to a team of T&L Librarians (each with a subject remit for UG & PGT students) and a Research Support Team (each with a much wider subject remit for PGR and Researchers).

– I move into my new position supporting STEM researchers in a couple of weeks and I already know I need to learn more about/provide more support on our research archive, OA publishing, REF preparation, copyright, research data management… on top of the experience I already have in teaching literature searching and bibliographic software.

Becoming Embedded (in various ways…)

Embedding information literacy teaching within Engineering, Liz Martin, De Montfort University

– Moved from one induction slot in 2005 to sessions in induction, 1st yr, final yr UG, PG students
– Web-based Induction before students arrive & available all during their first year plus face to face induction within course induction

– 1st yr session = 2hr within design project module (e.g. design a remote controlled gutter cleaner), within report have to show evidence of research & IEEE referencing.

– Final yr UG as part as project briefings, big lecture to everyone as a refresher with the option to sign up for tutorials for more help.
– PG (MSc) – 2hr session
– How from one induction to embedding? Lots of chance opportunities, put together a Bb module for another subject & then showed it to other academics, Technology module leaders liked it, other links were forged through management boards (external examiner feedback), once referencing session in place led to other academics being interested & 1st yr engineering project session came through that, also worked with study support to introduce sessions on report formatting & do team teaching on some sessions.
– Future – a lot of teaching still ad-hoc/short notice, would prefer to be timetabled, see students every year of course, keep plugging for other subjects.

Making yourself indispensible – Science Community Librarianship, Steve Lee, University of Glamorgan

– Science, sport, chiropractice – too many subject to be traditionally embedded!
– Must be valued by our users – how?
– Make our users lives easier – if they value us they will fight to keep us
– Get out of the library – go to where users are
– Visit academic staff in their offices (on their turf) – what are their problems & work out action plan to resolve problems
– What are their problems? = time management, getting research time, dealing with students, accessing journals, searching easier on google, marking, admin takes time, keeping up to date etc
– Library matters not a priority, help solve their problems and their priorities – what makes their life easier?
– Visit your researchers & find out their interests – keep notes
– Plan individual strategies to meet needs – become valued member of support team
– Upskill users – you don’t loose value as they will come back when they need updating
– Takes time to set up e.g. new book lists & Journal ToC, but once up & running they can become automated
– Can then focus on individual problems- take ownership of problems & see it through to resolution instead of passing on to someone else
– Staff & students want fast resolutions to problems – want help now.
– E.g. staff member wanted to be able to borrow moe than 15 books – is it a resonable request? What do other institutions do? Present evidence to colleagues to increase loan limit & take it to senior management – agreed to put it up to 22 for a year – tiny amount took it up but had a few very happy academics.
– Periodically revisit staff to re-evaluate & find out about new needs.
– If you can’t solve the problems then at least they know you tried.
– In response to student need – sits in chiropractic dept at set times to help, as they are in a building away from both libraries – sit in student computer room so became another channel for helping students solve other problems too. Other people wanted same service & now done in other Depts.
– These surgeries allow you to get to know students, staff & researchers, can do work even if people don’t come, on average answer a couple of indepth queries each time, gather evidence for resources needed, only do in term time (exam times usually very quiet).

– Have to be pro-active so users cannot afford to loose you…

Hiding library training in other classes, Kirsty Thomson, Heriot-Watt University

– Students not keen on library training – think they already know it – even if they turn up they are not there in spirit.
– What do students care about? Getting their degree.
– Intro to Essay writing – biology students in wk 2+3, jointly teaching with effective learning tutor – saw in groups of 60-70 & got them to do group work looking at extracts of texts (e.g. journal, textbook, fiction, newspaper)
– Think about the style of writing, could they use it for essay, where/what did it come from, followed by group discussion on what is/isn’t appropriate for essay writing
– Fake essay extract with no references, talk about importance of referencing & got them to look at the essay to see whether they picked up where it should be referenced
– Class discussion on plagiarism – ‘is this plagiarised or not?’ slides
– 75% of class said info about referencing was useful & relevant
– Liked group work, working with examples
– Followed up by essay feedback class – essays submitted via TurnItIn – which librarian could see & based follow up on the kind of mistakes they’d made e.g. structuring, problems with referecing, using illustrations
– Made you realise what students don’t know! e.g. don’t realise a 70% mark =  a brilliant essay
– Go to meetings, volunteer for anything that is IL related, work with other services e.g. effective learning
– Needs to be relevant to student interest & worries
– Be convinced your teaching is interesting – if you’re not interested then they won’t be!
– Be careful what you call your sessions e.g. Avoiding Plagarism became ‘Copy & Paste: Just Say No!’ (only works if you remember Grange Hill!) – finally became ‘Using evidence in your essays’
– Don’t give up on an idea too quickly, but be ready to change classes if not working.
– Link to an assignment if possible
– Future: put shorter IL content into other lectures – build links to course content.

Posted in Meetings, Research Support, Subject Support, Training, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

UKSG Introduction to Open Access Day

Posted by selinalock on 25 July, 2012

UKSG OA DAY
Another belated event report as I attended this in May. Recent events, such as the UK Government taking on most of the Finch Report recommendations (e.g. to make publically funded research results open access by 2014) have taken over the Open Access (OA) discussion. However, I think many of the points made below are still relevant:

Review of the traditional commercial pricing models for accessing electronic content  
James Pawley, Regional Sales Manager, SAGE Publications

-James started with a historical reminder of why people publish in the first place – the same reasons as the first journal ‘Philosophical Transactions’ was published by the Royal Society.

– To share knowledge while providing evidence for, and getting credit for your discoveries. – in the past this might get you patronage, now it might get you finding…

– The publishing ecosytem has developed since the introduction of ejournals in the 1990s and now the main competitors for publishers are Amazon & Google as these raise user expectations.

– Business costs – editorial board (to ensure scope, quality, prestige), platforms & discoverability tools – electronic publishing is not cheaper than publishing in print due to the metadata, user platform, citation tools, stats provision etc.

– Publishers need to be at cutting edge to keep submissions and quality high.

– E is also not cheaper than print due to VAT regs, complicated subscriptions models and being governed by different contract law to print.

What is Open Access and how does it differ?  
Charlie Rapple, Associate Director, TBI Communications

– Religion, politics & money – affects OA & for some OA is a religion!

– OA is young in publishing terms so not enough data yet to assess how viable a business model & data available is biased.

– Have to make your own mind up & keep an open mind…

– Green & Gold levels – green = self-archiving/OA repositories, gold = publisher version is OA or hybrid solutions

– OA is not… non-profit, the death of peer review (though may undertake it in a different way), not embraced by majority of academics at this point (it is not a priority for them – they want speedy publication, high impact etc), a panacea that will create savings everywhere (costs just move to a different place), not the only answer to the problems of scholarly publishing

– Benefits of OA – human genome project (funding this & making it OA had an enormous economic & research impact), some evidence for higher citations (but would that be true if everything OA?), might save money (but might just move costs elsewhere)

– Viable funding model? Author funding – shifts costs but costs still there, Membership funding – OA membership fees will be an easy target for cost cutting.

– Politicians getting involved – politicised: makes is harder to discuss in a sensible manner but has got OA on the agenda

– I want to break free! Current promotion system for academics is driven by publishing in high impact journals – if this doesn’t change then academic publishing won’t change.

– Don’t want to lose the skills, knowledge and value that publishers add – throwing the baby out with the bath water?

– Library skills may need to change in an OA world? Become repository managers instead of content purchasers?

OAPEN-UK  
Exploring open access scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences
Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, JISC Collections

– Arts & Hums project looking at scholarly monographs

– Needs to be talked about as it often ignored in favour of STEM journal OA

– Been a decrease in print monograph sales to libraries – so less published – concern for AHSS researchers in terms of getting their research disseminated

– Pilot – 5 publishers, submitted matched pairs of monograph titles, steering group chose titles to include, one of the pair in control group & one in experimental group, 58 titles. Control group made available as standard by publisher & experimental group made available OA under CC license (PDF version for free) through OapenUK library – can be put into institutional repositories etc as well & in Google books

– Key areas identified across focus groups:

– Metadata (needed for discoverability, auditing, who creates it? who maintains it? what is needed for OA? is it put into the supply chain, and whose version? most find things by searching so metadata vital)

– Versioning, preservation & archiving (CC commons license means people can re-use, mash-up – researchers felt threatened by this option & wanted preservation of their original version. who preserves & archives? )

– Methods of delivery (where should it be available? central platform, or anywhere? format & functionality?)

– Usage (collection of data & standards for that data – vital for assessing value & impact & for researchers to know)

– Quality & prestige (perceptions of brand, reputation, quality & maintaining excellence. High concern about the quality of monographs being lowered)

– What do authors want? (Researchers say they want prestige, while publishers thought authors wanted financial reward)

– Copyright

– International issues (territories & markets)

– Changing roles (what stays, what goes – authors value the marketing from publishers. Authors do not want to do own marketing)

– Impact on processes (policies, mandates & behaviour)

– Ways of Making OA profitable, Risk, Funding

– oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org

Repositories Support Project  
The work of the RSP in supporting repository development in the UK
Jackie Wickham, Open Access Adviser , University of Nottingham

– Supports public access to public funded data – serves UK Higher Education

– OA repository benefits for institutions – showcase for research output, marketing mechanism, REF/research management, complying with funding mandates, management & preservation of assets, encourages collaboration.

– Benefits for academics – in principle academics support OA, but not in practice due to pressure for high impact publishing, faster dissemination, wider readership, increased citations.

– Benefits if they do deposit in repositories = compliance with funding mandate, secure storage environment, personalise services (stats on downloads, personal profiles/bibliographies as webpages etc)

– Study by Swan, A suggested OA citation advantage (but people disagree with the rigour of these studies!)

– Creative arts research – repositories for arts material can help with visibility & preservation

– RSP based at Notts Uni – offers advice, visits to institutions to support installations, advocacy, evaluations, telephone & email service, advocacy materials & briefing papers on website, buddy scheme, events programme, webinars, embedding repositories project to look at how this can be done (see website), skills training,.

BioMed Central (+ SpringerOpen)  
Bev Acreman, Commercial Director, BioMed Central

– OA Journals = Journal publishing just a different business model.

– Business model – article processing charge APC (also membership, digital sales, events etc)

– BMC offers several package options = prepaid funds, supporter fund (discount on APC), shared support split between author/institution.

– Hindawi = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– PloS = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– Subjects BMC support the authors are used to paying page rates & often built into research bids

– New journal – peerJ are offering a $99 life membership compared to the $1-3k APC of other OA publishers.

– SCONUL survey 2011 – 13% institutions manage OA payments centrally

– 2014 REF – 20% weighting to societal & economic research impact – easier to show if OA as research open to re-use & sharing

– Why funders support OA? Public access to funded research, wide dissemination, APCs are expected as part of research process, some have a charitable remit e.g. Wellcome Trust

– APCs waive fees to low-income countries but all authors can apply for a waiver e.g. lone researcher outside institution

– Growth in fee waived APCs e.g. Pakistand, Eygpt researchers

– Costs – pay academic editors, societies, writing workshops in China (China now has mandate for researchers to publish in western journals) & developing world, customer service, targeted digital marketing, sales team, editorial office & office systems, IT development

– Common misconceptions:

– Will publish anything = No, need to ensure quality & credibility & keep impact high

– All OA equal = no, there are certain companies who sign up to code of conduct, be wary of those that haven’t.

Nature Publishing Group  
David Hoole, Director of IP Policy and Licensing, Nature Publishing Group

– OA at Nature – focusing on it for business development but not something that’s easy to transition to.

– Recognise there is a shift in the balance of rights back towards authors – no longer ask for copyright, just exclusive publication rights.

– 2009/10 started turning most academic journals hybrid & more fully OA journals = sister journals to existing journals.

– Nature Communications born/launched in 2010 as hybrid – Nature branding with OA policy

– 2011 Scientific Reports – seen as competitor to PLoS one

– High rejection rate so looking at what can be done for good research that’s not appropriate for their top journals & efficient use of editorial teams.

– Nature & Nature Research journals are not OA due to the amount of money that is spent on editorial duties rejecting manuscripts (90% rejection rate) – if introduced APC rates would be phenomenal.

– APC for Nature Communications ~£3k – still a 60-70% rejection rate.

– Large amount of editorial input in Nature titles e.g. redrawing of diagrams & restructuring of articles which adds huge amount of value.

– Their OA journals are small & targeted – they are launching new OA journals instead of subscription titles.

– Scientific Reports – all areas of natural sciences, peer-reviewed, 100% OA, rapid dissemination (less editorial input/added value), external editorial board (no other Nature journals have this), online only.

– Should sub prices lower to reflect the amount of OA? APCs don’t generally make up for the loss of revenue if subscription prices are lowered.

– Top tier, high impact journals – high editorial cost as every submission read, high circulation – cannot transition to APC model – APC would be £20-30k per article!

– Nature is 143 years old & does its job well, especially in communicating with the media & dissemination.

– Genome articles in Nature titles are OA because of human genome project being OA & authors insisting on it & have CC licenses for those articles.

– Encourages green self-archiving – can opt-in on many titles for submission to PubMed Central – self-archive after 6 months post publication.

Managing Open Access in the library  
Wendy White, Head of Scholarly Communication, University of Southampton

– At Southampton OA repository is designated a core system – good for institutional support but tends to put academics off.

– Not just about the library – also need IT, legal, research services, faculty admins etc

– Requirements & Encouragements (carrot & stick) – requirements to deposit where permitted by publisher, emphasis on author involvement over compliance, University mandates will not win people over, funder mandates then funders need to work with repository staff and academics, focus on author benefits.

– Cost & sustainability needs to be considered in future

– Repositories good at making available grey lit e.g. reports, conference papers, theses, art items

– Downloads & uploads – people want to know how often their work downloaded, need stats, RSS & twitter alerts – marketing & discoverability, Google analytics. Even amount of uploads – don’t want big deadlines & backlogs.

– Adding value & support – need to be part of researcher workflow so provide tools to make things easy – lots of ways of importing & exporting between systems.

– Adding value by gaining expertise – guidance on copyright & versions, quality assurance for metadata, engaging with researchers about developments in OA etc, linking the repository to other relevant services & uses in the Uni & professional development for library staff so they can communicate with researchers.

– Individual & group support – training for PGRs and research community, embedded where possible, bespoke session for Depts, session for copyright for teaching materials & OA educational objects, one-to-one support, enquiry service, support for new staff – does require resources.

Managing Open Access fees  
Chris Middleton, Head of Academic Services, Information Services,
University of Nottingham 

– Centrally managed fund for OA fees – challenges & admin issues:

– Drivers for institutional funding is the benefits of OA & the funder mandates.

– Notts have policy for OA e.g. deposit and encouraging OA publishing – need to back up with appropriate funding.

– Research income can be channelled to OA fund – build into research grant application e.g. in the indirect costs in the funding bid (retrospective – institution has to pay and then claim back – quite a complicated and not transparent in funding guideline)

– Notts OA fund is managed by research office but advocated by library

– Nottingham – had fund since 2006, which includes advocating the use of Wellcome Trust money

– Embedded in Faculty Team librarians remit when talking to researchers

– Total number of requests over 5 years = 615. From 27 requests 2006-7 to 262 in 2010-11

– Total costs = £714,244

– Average cost per article = £1,216. Highest = £3,095 (Elsevier/Springer) & Lowest = ~£200

– Mainly medicine & life sciences

– Apart from BMC then only 9 publishers received 10 or more payments (70 publishers overall)

– Biggest challenge = future publishing = costs high

– Changes might come from Research Councils, REF, repositories, future publishing models?

– Challenges of advocacy = OA and high impact are mutually exclusive, lack of awareness of funding options, stigma associated with “vanity publishing” (paying to publish), OA seen as not as high quality

– Repository & central fund is managed within existing staff resource, which is a strain.

Panel Discussion

– Lots of interest in how to set-up a central fund, do you fund first author or any author, split between several institutions if multiple authors? What’s the best value OA model if subscribing as a membership – may depend on area of publication & rate of publication. How to make sure the right fund is used e.g. central fund or Wellcome fund. Nottingham fought hard to say central fund should be funded from research money as it’s a research related cost (not from library journals fund).

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

EMALINK – Bibliometrics & Research Visibility

Posted by selinalock on 12 July, 2012

A rather belated report on this May Emalink event:

What are Bibliometrics and why should I care?  Ian Rowlands (University of Leicester)

  • Bibliometrics can be very sterile & specialist so they must be used in a context that makes sense.
  • Citation data – indicates relationships of influence, deference & usage – a bit like social media networks.
  • Bibliometrics have to help the institution or individual in the research process.
  • BUT bibliometrics just one small par of the puzzle and tools available.
  • How much information is there really out there about research inputs & outputs?
  • Data can be variable e.g. to pick up on Univerisity of Leicester citations then authors need to put University of Leicester in their address.
  • Currently it is difficult to deal with the variety of research outputs e.g. data, software, plays…
  • New tools emerging e.g. Readermeter from Mendely to see if your papers have been socially bookmarked.
  • IMPACT of research – very important for REF but citations do not always translate to real world impact – need to go beyond bibliometrics.
  • Some types of citations have greater ‘weight’ in terms of impact e.g. citation in a NICE guideline directly impacts how healthcare is provided.

Enhancing research visibility at Loughborough (Lizzie Gadd)

  • In 2011 Loughborough found it had slid down the THE World rankings and needed to improve their citations count.
  • The Plan to improve citations = library to run sessions on publishing & promoting research, VC commissioned Academic Champion for bibliometris, promote visibility of good research in high impact journals, recruit & retain good researchers, ciations taken into account when promoting, use ResearcherID and Google Scholar profiles to improve citations & impact & use research repository.
  • Training Implementation = publish or perish sessions for new academics, lunchtime bibliometrics seminars in Depts/Research groups, 1to1 appointments ion request and online tutorials on citation tools and impact tools.
  • Plus provide bibliometric data to support staff and promote bibliometrics training through staff conferences, webpages, blogs & newsletters.
  • The Vision for the future = joined-up thinking (work with research office, IT service etc), research visibility focus (databases of research kit, data and publications).
  • Already seeing improved citations.

Some good ideas that could be implemented elsewhere.

Research training will be high on our agenda once we get our Library Research Services team fully in place, headed up by our own bibliometrician Ian Rowlands. I’ll be moving over into that team later this year.

Posted in Meetings, Research Support, Service Delivery, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Contrasting Search Engine Returns and Indexing of the LRA

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 July, 2012

Repository metrics are upper most in my mind at the moment, as I’ve co-authored a paper for Open Repositories 2012 on the subject.  But they’re also in my mind due to some work I’ve been doing with the LRA lately.

A bit of background first.  A couple of months ago we upgraded the LRA and shifted the server and underlying platform it runs on.  There have been a few issues, nothing devastating mind you, that myself and my wonderful techs have been working to resolve.  One issue that’s niggled at me as manager of the service is that the hits we seem to be getting recorded via Google Analytics were ~75% down on where they were before the change.

While we did discover we were missing a bit of code on some the pages which helped restore some of the recorded traffic, we’re still >40% down on where we have been for the past few years.  While I’m still trying to answer the question “Were the readings before abnormally high or are the readings now abnormally low” I’ve been digging around to try and ID where the issue might lie.  Certainly traffic from search engines is the most significantly reduced element.

So today I’ve run an analysis using the most popular items on LRA in recent months and run them through 4 search engines that regularly do point readers to the repository.  The publications were as follows:

  • Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa Ndako, Umar Bida
  • The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths Sim, Chow Yen Desmond
  • Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change Sandell, Richard
  • Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care Pitchforth, Emma et al
  • Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ Madge, Clare et al
  • Pragmatic randomized trial of antenatal intervention to prevent post-natal depression by reducing psychosocial risk factors Brugha, Traolach S. et al
  • The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double-edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas Mercer, Justine
  • An efficient and effective system for interactive student feedback using Google+ to enhance an institutional virtual learning environment Cann, Alan James
  • The Development of Nurture Groups in Secondary Schools Colley, David Rodway
    Mobile technologies and learning Naismith, Laura et al
  • An evaluation of forensic DNA profiling techniques currently used in the United Kingdom. Graham, Eleanor Alison May
  • Twitter and Public Reasoning Around Social Contention: The Case of #15ott in Italy Vicari, Stefania

There is a good mix of items in the above selection, including some items that aren’t available any where else.  I performed three basic searches

  • The full article title
  • The first four significant (non-stop) words of the title and first author’s surname
  • Author’s name alone

The results were as below.

Google Scholar aggregates together hits with the same title as one return, normally pointing to the published version.  This means that where this happens unless you open up the other hits, you don’t spot the LRA.  So for example Eleanor Graham’s paper is listed as 1*2 – that is the first hit was this paper, but the LRA link was the second in the sublist.

What have I inferred from this?  Well it seems for the most part these search engines are indexing the LRA still.  Given these are popular papers, I’d expect to see them returned as very highly relevant results.  Some particular observations with respect to searching for Open Access publications on the LRA:

  • Google: Appears very good for tracking down OA papers with full title and partial title and author.  Terrible though for searching for an author’s paper by name alone.
  • Google Scholar: Okay for searching OA papers with title or title and author name, but not as good as vanilla Google.  Also very good at obfuscating the availability of an OA version of a paper beneath a publisher link.  Surprisingly though better than Google at retrieving an author’s papers with just their name (but given the more focussed collections that Google aims to search, this is perhaps to be expected).
  • Scirus.com: Brilliant with title and title plus author name at finding OA papers.  The best of the four I used in tracking down items by author name alone too.  Without a doubt the best of the bunch (in this rough and ready test)
  • Bing: intermittently good at times and poor in others in retrieving papers.  Worse than both vanilla Google and Scholar, and much worse than Scirus.  However, had some successes in identifying papers with a high relevance ranking by author name alone at times when the other three search engines could resolve them.

In conclusion if you’re looking for open access publications I would use Scirus.com first and foremost, but avoid Bing unless you’re hitting a total dead end (or just have an author name) and use the Google Family of search engines with care.  As for the LRA, looks like we are indexed by most of these (although I’ve questions about Bing’s totality of coverage).

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

New month, new roles

Posted by gazjjohnson on 15 June, 2012

Hopefully most of our regular readers will have picked up by now that we’ve undergone a bit of a reorganisation in the library in the past few weeks.  Not the collections or resources, but in the staff and how we support our academics and students.  For myself this has resulted in bidding farewell to managing the copyright and document teams after three years. 

My focus is now exclusively on LRA, although the remit for this is expanding to include work towards the archiving and curation of research data outputs as well.  Work which in the light of the recent EPSRC policy framework announcement, and anticipated moves by other major UK funders, is something that the institution obviously has to consider closely.  You might also spot that we’ve changed the contact telephone numbers for myself and the LRA team.

Hopefully we’ll be able to update you on more of the interesting events and progress we make in this area in the next few months, and as always we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support, Subject Support | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

DataCite and the Research Data Challenge

Posted by gazjjohnson on 30 May, 2012

Last Friday (25th May) I took my second trip of the week to London (having been at the Symplectic User Conference on Monday).  This time it was the gentle stroll from St Pancras to the British Library Conference Centre to participate in the first JISC/BL DataCite workshop.  Billed as an introduction to data citation and DataCite, this seemed an ideal follow up to the Research Data Management Forum event in Southampton back in March.  As the role of the LRA Manager migrates to look increasingly at how we will manage, share and curate research data outputs as well as publications it was the sort of thing that I felt I really needed.

Data Citation

Following the house keeping and welcome from the BL’s Lee-Ann Coleman and JISC’s Simon Hodson (owner of the finest waxed moustache I’ve seen in many a moon), Lee-Ann kicked off with an overview of Data Citation; what it is and why is it important.  The fact that there is an expectation from the RCUK that research data will be shared, to assist in validation of research conducted by their funded investigators, is perhaps the most major driver.  At the same HEIs want oversight on their research outputs, and as such the curation of their organisations data resource is important to them for building on earlier work and enabling collaborative research to organically evolve.  Given that many academics in adjoining offices are often unaware of what colleagues are producing, increasing this transparency and accessibility to a rich, queriable and reusable research resource is believed to be of value in not only progressing collaboration but enabling genuine novel research from preexisting work.

Lee-Ann cited some examples included the importance of data sharing in speeding up the sequencing and generation of a vaccine for the African strain of Avian flu.  Her other examples were also in the STEM field which slightly concerned me, given that two-thirds of research here at Leicester is in disciplines outside this domain; whom in my experience often need a greater assistance in capturing and sharing technological resource.  Lee-Ann stressed that one question that needed to be addressed by HEIs was what is critical/worthy data to curate?  A microbiologist might see all the raw data output from an instrument as worthy of this, and yet for many other people it would be the processed data given context and analysis that would be of value.

What is DataCite?

Next  up was Elizabeth Newbold (British Library) who gave an overview of what is DataCite.  Founded in 2009 it is a registration agency, effectively an allocating agent for DOIs (which I had never realised are based on the Handle system that I use daily in the LRA).  However, it was made very plain that DataCite does not work directly with researchers, they are expected to deposit their data (in whatever way possible) to an appririate data centre, and then come to DataCite to “mint” a DOI.  Minting of DOIs was new phrase for me, but clearly one that I can see slipping into my regular conversations about this subject here at Leicester.

It was noted that the UK Data Archive had a strong definition of what was data (termed data collections) as groups of all outputs from a single project source.  Commented that other data centres across the country were working along similar lines and methodologies.

Biscuits - failed to picture lunch, but it was splendidDataCite Infrastructure & Working with DataCite

After an excellent lunch (BL London catering never fails to delight) Ed Zukowski (British Library) gave a very useful, if in part quite detailed and technical, overview of both DataCite and DOIs.  Handles being the technology that underpins them, where DOI is actually a trademarked derivative.  DOIs importantly point to landing pages not to the objects themselves (akin to our implementation of Handles on the LRA), and in practice using the DataCite front-end take around a minute to mint.  He went on to detail how DataCite resolves contents from DOIs minted via them, but I think I’ll wait and link to the slides once available rather than try and make sense of my slightly confused notes.  I was content to see that the service worked, rather than worry about the technicality.

Following this Elizabeth Newbold returned to talk briefly about working with DataCite and the data client responsibilities.  In terms of their metadata schemea there were only 4 required elements needed to make it work.  However, locally people may well augment this with many more fields as they felt appropriate for discovery and description.  I confess one nagging worry I have is whom will create this metadata?  Is it a task we will anticipate a PI will perform at the conclusion of a project?  Personally I have concerns over the quality, accuracy, uniformity and standardisation of such input; going on my experience of manually created records submitted to the LRA via IRIS.  From the academics’ perspective I can see the challenge being that this will be seen as yet another piece of administration trivia that they are expected to deal with, and achieving the cultural change to embeded this into their standard workflows will be challenging with some serious and time-consuming carrot-whipping.  Given the struggle to work deposit of publications into our open access repository into their routine over the past four years, it is a serious challenge and the scale of this should not be underestimated!

Elizabeth noted that metadata created must be shared under a Creative Commons Zero licence, noting that for example the British Library OPAC makes data available for sharing and reuse in this way.  There were some concerns from those present in the room that this might cause problems in cases where institutions, funders or even publishers made claim over such data.  Another speaker also highlighted the problem of having data (with a minted DOI) then having a third party mint a different DOI to it which could interfere with metrics of access as well as uniformity of reference.  There didn’t appear to be a clear consensus or answer to these concerns, and the discussions broke up over tea.

Challenges Around Managing Research Data

The final session of the day was a workshop format where we were broken into small groups, and then smaller groups, an then finally into pairs (!) to discuss and document what we perceived as the challenges around managing research data.  I think it was a shame we were so subdivided, since while I had a valuable chat with my counterpart I would have relished a broader chat with a slightly larger group.  Given that there was a wide disparity between the role of delegates (from publishers to project manages to editors to directors of service through to repository managers) I feel we lost some of the benefit that we could have achieved through putting more of these diverse heads together.  I also sensed a slight bias in the broader discussion when each pair’s issues were categorised and resolutions discussed – it did feel like the expectation was that the answer to “How do we solve this problem?” was intimated to be “DataCite”.  It wasn’t in our room, although in at least one of the other two larger groups DataCite seemed ready to answer more of their challenges.

Conclusion

My slight concerns over the value of the final session aside, this was an eye-opening and valuable day.  It has for me perhaps opened up more questions than answers, although some of those were provided as well.  Importantly what I think it offered was a chance to gauge where other people are on the research data management question and more importantly it gave shape to the bigger operational and strategic questions that we need to be asking ourselves within our organisations.  As such the day was most certainly worthwhile, and my thanks to all the speakers, organisers and delegates for a thought-provoking day.

Further reading

A twitter archive of discussions around the day is also available.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mendeley Institutional Edition

Posted by selinalock on 25 April, 2012

Mendeley Institutional Logo 

 

Mendeley (the academic reference manager and social network site) have partnered with library suppliers Swets to produce the Mendeley Institutional edition, and I had a webex meeting with product manager Simon Litt to find out more.

Mendeley End User Edition

The end user edition is bascially what is already available for free from Mendeley:

  • Desktop reference management software, which allows you to organise nd cite a wide range of reference typs.
  • Desktop software also allows you to upload, read and annotate PDFs.
  • Desktop links to a web-based system which allows you to synch and share your references.
  • Web system also works as an academic social network with groups etc.
  • 1GBWeb space, 500 MBPersonal, 500 MBShared, 5 Private groups, 10 Users per group

Mendeley Institutional Edition

  • Upgrade to end user edition (normally £4.99 per month) to
    • 7GBWeb space, 3.5 GBPersonal, 3.5 GBShare, 10 Private groups, 15 Users per Private group
  • Upload a list of library holdings (journals) to allow fulltext access for institutional members.
  • Turn on institutional OpenURL.
  • Institutional groups – any mendeley users signed up with an institutional email will automatically be added to institutional group & can add further members.
  • Analytics – who’s publishing and reading what.
  • Reading tab – See what your users are reading (adding to Mendeley) by journal title and compare with library holdings.
  • See most read/popular articles.
  • Publishing tab – where your members are publishing.
  • Impact tab – worldwide usage of your members published articles e.g. most read.
  • Compare your institution with other Mendeley institutions with regards to impact/how read your institutions articles are.
  • Social tab – what groups your users are in.

The main thrust of the institutional edition is the analytic functions that Swets have worked with Mendeley to add. The pricing models are currently being worked on so no idea what the price this would be.

When I previously reviewed Mendeley (alongside RefWorks, EndNote, CiteULike & Zotero) in 2010/11 the main issue with using it an institutionally recommended product was that the desktop software needed admin access to be installed and updated regularly on user machines. As far as I can tell this issue hasn’t been addressed in the institutional edition, as user would still download the free desktop software from the Mendeley site or just use the wbe interface.

My questions surrounding the institutional edition would be…

  • Would it be able (be accepted as) a replacement for EndNote and/or Refworks? As there seems little point in getting the institutional edition for the analytics if our users were not using the desktop/web reference software.
  • Do the analytics give us enough “added-value”?
  • How does the analytical information compare with other types of bibliometris from IRIS or InCites?
  • Are the analytics only going to be useful to certain disciplines as they currently only look at journal articles and titles?

Posted in Referencing, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »