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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)

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Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Training, Wider profession | 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.

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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 »

Research Data Management Forum – Engaging with the Publishers

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 April, 2012

Southampton - venue of RDMF8Last week I spent two days in a very sunny Southampton at RDMF8, an event from the DCC that drew together librarians, repository managers, researchers, data scientists, funders and publishers and looked at issues around managing research data.  The particular theme of this event (there have been 7 previous ones) was looking at what publishers are planning to do with data.  It’s an area I can’t confess a broad understanding of, and so it was an opportunity to find out as much as possible about the various activities and consider how they might impact on work here at Leicester.

Speakers
Speakers from the publishing world included Ruth Wilson (Nature), David Tempest (Elsevier) and Rebecca Lawrence (Faculty 1000).  From the scholarly society side of the fence was Brian McMahon (International Union of Crystallography), Todd Vision (National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre. Finally representing the researchers were Simon Coles (Southampton) and Christopher Gutteridge (Southampton).

Publishers and Data
For the publishers there is a strong awareness of the value of data as the principle output from research, and the potential value it has to other scholars.  Elsevier noted that they were planning to incorporate data within “all their publications by the end of 2012”.  However, when the issue of reuse came up, they seemed to indicate that while they wouldn’t be hosting the data that it would be reused under “their licence terms”.  As one of my colleagues at the end commented, is this the beginning of another IPR land grab from the publishers?  I know many researchers whom are far more protective of access to their data than they are of their publications, and suspect this might be a hot topic in the not too distant future. 

It was suggested that unlike publications (which come with the potential for career boosting citation impact) data offers no career advantage to researchers, and as such they would be disengaged from worrying about its storage and public sharing.  There was also the issue of just whom owned the rights to share the data, given that most projects are carried out across multiple institutions and often countries.  Finally it was suggested that many researchers might well be concerned that they would lose primacy of research impact if some other researcher was to come along and obtain more revelatory discoveries from their data.

Hosting Data
The role of hosting the raw, and indeed structured data came in for considerable discussion.  Publisher view points were very much that this wasn’t their role, although they’d be seeking to aggregate it through their data journals allied to their publications.  Sadly most of the speakers went so far as to detail quite whom would be doing the data hosting, tagging and curation at a practical level; with the exception of Brian McMahon who demonstrated that Crystallography has a demonstrable and already in practice data management and curation workflow; all be it one that is not immediately replicable in other disciplines.  For those less ICT savvy researcher communities, the feeling seemed to be that there would be more need of national, regional or local support in these activities.

The presentation from Todd Vision focussed on Dryad, an international data repository for the biosciences.  At the point of submission researchers are prompted to provide metadata to augment rediscovery and use.  At the moment Dryad hosts around 15,000 “data packages” – with one package being outputs from a single project; charged at £30/50 a deposit.  Interestingly in terms of size he indicated that most were ~5-10Mb in size, which seems a suspiciously small size.  My own personal suspicion is much of the data produced here locally would be many times that in size.   Todd’s talk also flagged up the idea of data citations being different to publication citations, in that different authors would be highlighted in the companion data and articles.  This seemed to be the case for many of the objects that Dryad has ingested.

Breakout session
On the second day there were a series of breakout groups, and I attended the one focussing on national/institutional data repositories.  One issue that arose was the risk of allowing researchers, rather than LIS or digital curation specialists, to set the policy on data curation within these.  Many researchers it was argued would be heading on towards their next goal, and may not recognise the potential value buried within their datasets; that they themselves could exact value and meaning from the data sets would be enough.  It was agreed that it was desirable (among those in the room at least) that data was both curated and appropriately metadata tagged.  In addition the variance across disciplines in terms of believing in the value of data, or in its potential reuse was touched on as a barrier or least an area for further exploration on how to overcome.

Belgium - Don't store your data here?One debate that raised my eyebrows was the Subject vs Institutional data repositories as the best long-term host.  The first suggestion was that SRs are more natural hosts, given their transnational capture and in many cases ready, willing and able to perform data curation.  On the other hand a potential future war with Belgium or the USA (!) was cited as a strong argument against the international storage of data, and that institutions would be seen as more natural and long-term stable hosts.  It was agreed that separate repositories to publication based ones would be needed, given the technical architecture for discovery, curation and differing reuse policies likely to be applied.

Conclusions
I took away from the event a feeling that most of the focus and activity currently seems to be on STEM data management.  I learned the phrase “Data journals” as distinct from “research journals”.  I also learned that what is a “trusted repository” is an issue for many in the publishing sector – with scepticism of both subject and institutional repositories as appropriate hosts; and yet a total reluctance from the publishing sector to proffer an alternative.  It was refreshing to discover that far from being in a room where everyone had the solution, that most seemed to be still groping their way slowly forwards.  Research data curation on a large and systematic scale is still in its infancy, but I would not be surprised to see things leap forward over the next 18 months as both technology and policy w.r.t. it evolve.

A twitter stream with comments from the back channel is available.

Posted in Open Access | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

BLA Conference Sheffield 2011

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 29 July, 2011

A is for Advocacy, B is for Branding and C is for Communicating your worth
Antony Brewerton, University of Warwick

Antony talked about marketing library services. Of special note in this highly entertaining talk was the Ladder of Loyalty: successful marketing creates the Ladder of Loyalty which (from the bottom) goes:

6. Partner (clients with whom you work to develop new services/better meet needs)
5. Champion (users who are aware of the added value you provide will fight your corner)
4. Advocate (users who have been well-served will recommend you to others)
3. Client (frequent user of services – consult, what are their needs?  Meet those needs)
2. Customer (2nd year UGs, 3rd yr UGs – meet them again, encourage them to use resources)
1. Potential customer (new users – induction)

Huddersfield University Library Impact Project
Graham Stone, Huddersfield University

Graham spoke about the findings of the library impact project, the results of which are already widely reported. 
Interesting in this talk were the value-added services Huddersfield’s catalogue (Sirsi Dynix’s Horizon) provides to students:

  • The catalogue has a keyword cloud below its search box.  This shows the most popular keywords used on the catalogue in the last 2 days and students can click on them to search the catalogue.
  • If students log on, the catalogue knows which module they are on and recommends readings
  • The catalogue produces new books lists at module level – it recognises Dewey numbers associated with each module.
  • The catalogue has a ‘students who borrowed X also borrowed Y’ service.
  • It has a ‘did you mean?’ service
  • It has a ‘students who searched with this keyword also searched with this keyword’ service.
  • It has a ‘students who needed this journal also found this one useful’ service.

All these services are possible because of the data storing the library undertook for the impact project.  And, they claim, their value-added services introduce serendipity into online searching.

 Also of note, Huddersfield have introduced Summon recently.  This is how they have set it up on their website: http://www2.hud.ac.uk/cls/library/index.php

Analysing service quality among postgraduate Chinese students
Bradley Barnes, University of Sheffield

Bradley has conducted research in this area as he recognises the importance of Chinese students to university income.  We run the risk of losing these students to HE institutions both in China and other parts of the world. 
He used a SERVQUAL survey to test Chinese students’ satisfaction with their UK university and found satisfaction levels were low.  Amongst Bradley’s recommendations to help make the Chinese student experience a better one, at institutional level, are:

  • Be empathetic to students’ situation – in an alien culture, miles from home
  • Make adjustments for Chinese expectations – the students lack experience of the UK and therefore have higher expectations than home students
  • Give more pastoral care
  • Reduce class sizes
  • Provide staff time to do the above
  • Provide textbooks and, if possible, laptops – an adequate number of books are especially important to Chinese students
  • Provide financial assistance and advice
  • Provide low-price refreshment outlets
  • Provide longer opening hours – do not close everything down at 5pm
  • Provide cultural guidance in China before they come here.

Research Services at the LSE
Barbara Humphries, London School of Economics

The LSE contacts each new PhD students and asks them to complete a short questionnaire which asks them for their thesis title/research area.  They then send the student a 2-page guide to support their research.  This guide includes information on:

  • Appropriate information resources
  • Keywords to search with
  • Sconul access
  • Inter-library loans

The guide is written from a template and takes about 1 hour to write at first, but with practice this gets shorter.  

Students are invited for a 1:1 consultation with the academic liaison librarian after they have received the guide and are also put in contact with students from other departments who are researching in the same field (there is significant research overlap in management, sociology, economic history, anthropology and social policy).

This personalised service has helped:

  • Increase library awareness of research areas
  • Increase student awareness of library resources
  • Increase the visibility of the library
  • Evaluate library resources and isolate the core resources which need continuing at all costs

SMILE
Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University

GCU has created an information literacy and academic writing skills package called Study Methods and Information Literacy Exemplars from an original package created by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester. 

It sits in the VLE but can also be viewed here: http://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/SMILE/Unit_1_vers3/start.html

It is available for use by other institutions under Creative Commons licence.

Promotional library videos
Stephen Bull, University of Birmingham

Stephen reported that the University of Birmingham Library has made a promotional video.  The video was 4 months in the planning and was filmed by Birmingham’s in-house media centre.  It took 3.5 days to capture the 7 hours of footage that was filmed to make the 4 minute 28 second video.  The video includes testimonials of students of all levels and from all faculties.  Birmingham expect the video to be current for 2 to 3 years.  It can be viewed here: http://www.library.bham.ac.uk/video.shtml

Posted in Wider profession | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice

Posted by katiefraser on 13 July, 2011

Earlier this month I attended the 6th annual Evidence-Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP) Conference. In return for my kindly sponsored place, the Library and Information Science Research Coalition asked me to blog a day of the conference. I won’t repeat the same material here: my post covers day one, and my fellow sponsored attendees covered a pre-conference workshop, day two and day three.

Overall, it was a great conference, and a really useful opportunity for me to consider how to use evidence in my own work. The main messages I took away were:

  1. think small and manageable when gathering evidence in your own everyday work
  2. nothing is too small to share, there’s an appropriate place to publish any study
  3. library and information practice isn’t the same as medicine (where EBLIP emerged), librarians need to think about the kind of evidence which is appropriate to use in our own work.

Next up? Thinking about how to gather evidence for the new (and repeat!) sessions I’m running this coming academic year.

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Symplectic User Group Conference 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 25 May, 2011

This Tuesday saw me down in London once again (a whole 4 days since my last trip down for CILIP Council) for the Symplectic User Conference 2011 at Hamilton House – so here are my notes – apologies for any typos as I was typing these on my knee! 

The day was split in two with talks in the morning and workshops in the afternoon.  Daniel Hook kicked off the day by announcing that Symplectic had partnered with Digital Science to work in the open science community.

Hamilton House, London - venue for the dayThe first speaker was Lorna Mitchell of the Brunel University talking about the BRUCE project.  She mentioned BRAD (their Symplectic Elements) and repository BURA (which coincidentally I helped formally launch back in 2006).  They have linked BRAD and BURA together, although they noted that this was a longer process than they expected.  They both a mandate, of which many academics remain unaware, but also a OA publishing fund for researchers to bid to for OA publishing.

BRUCE was a JISC funded project.  Their aim was to facilitate the analysis and reporting of research information from existing data sources, using a CERIF framework. It brings together a lot of different sources of information from across the university system and generates bespoke reports based on them.  While the focus is often the REF, there are other university management areas of interest for the outputs.

The next speakers (Sarah Mallory, Rachel Proudfoot and Nicola Cockarill) spoke about the RePosit project (I’m on the expert group for this one).  The aim of the project was to increase the engagement with repositories to generate more content for them.  A lot of the focus was on advocacy but also to engage with the repository community as well.  The project has 5 HEI and one commercial partners, using one CRIS and 5 different implementations.  The question they asked was does simplifying the process of deposit increase the level of ingest for the IR.  At Queen Mary part of their problem was low visibility, and so their engagement with stakeholders aimed to get them up the agenda.  Embedding it within college strategies was key in this respect.

Plymouth  rolled out their SE alongside their repository (PEARL) – but noted it was tricky in terms of time.  Not for the first time we head about how much of a time sink setting up crosswalks between SE and the repository has been too; something I know will occupy a lot of my time in the coming months.  Plymouth are considering moving to a self-deposit model, as they feel this mirror the model of staffing and library service.  However, noted that speaking with other repository managers Emma noted that there were various concerns to address.  Their advocacy was met with mixed reception, some were very enthusiastic.  For others though they struggled to see where it fitted in with their research outputs.  However, illuminating academics with the knowledge of how restrictive (or not) publishers in their sector are with open access is a role all subject librarian staff should be very experienced and engaged with.  Highlighting metrics of downloads and demonstrating that students want or indeed expect to be able to download their local academics research from the repository, important for keeping student experience levels high.

The third case history was from White Rose Repository Online (Leeds, Sheffield and York) where a similar experience to Leicester, 25% engagement from academics even after a protracted advocacy campaign including direct email contact.  Awareness of WRRO was generally low.  Making deposits as easy as possible was a major point, as academics are simple creatures with time poor lives.  They also suggested that there is a need to build a community of interest in CRIS related systems, not solely within Symplectic but across the IR, research support and IT environment.

Next up was Jonathan Breeze talking about research data management, from more of an IT and data life cycle POV.  Researchers think a lot about their data but how do you keep it or even what do you keep.  Research funders are increasingly expecting or requiring data as well as publications to be shared, and curated for long-term access.  Ownership of data is unclear, even within the institutions let alone whom or how this will be captured and stored.

Finally for the morning Peter Murray-Rust made a call for open bibliographies.  He declined to use PowerPoint or PDF on the grounds that they “Destroy information”.  He went on to say that we should use volunteers to gather bibliographic data rather than paid for systems.  He spoke a lot about community performing the data gathering or aggregation functions, but I must confess that while he raised some interesting points practically I think a lot of what he talked about was aspirational rather than functional.  Most academics I’ve worked with over the years have very little interest in collating the literature, they’re more focussed on their own area of research and outputs.  What Peter was suggesting was certainly laudable, and may have worked in the isolated examples he suggested but one has only to look to the Arts or Social Sciences to see where the technical knowledge or awareness may prevent many academics from engaging with his one.

After a sandwich free (but tasty) lunch we broke into two groups for workshops.  The one I was at looked at new REF functionalities for Symplectic, which as I’ve yet to have much hands on experience; and given this is more the research office’s forte, left me a bit flat.  Then we went into groups to discuss where the problems with REF submission functionality in Symplectic will be.  Again, somewhat out of my area of knowledge so not something I felt informed enough to contribute to.

All in all there was a lot to talk about with the other delegates on the day, and I especially benefitted from conversations with a number of my fellow repository managers; focussing on the implementation side of Symplectic Repository Tools.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Open Access: the impact for libraries and librarians (RSP Event)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 December, 2010

As a special Monday treat – here’s the third guest post from my team, this time from Valérie Spezi.
______________________________________________________________________________

I went to a very interesting conference last Friday on Open Access and its impact on libraries and librarians, organised by the Repository Support Project (RSP). As usual with RSP events the conference was very well organised, including venue and catering, and the selection of speakers was of great quality.

The conference was well-attended, mostly by librarians from all over the UK and across sectors, which wasn’t really surprising given the title of the conference. Librarians from the Higher Education sector formed the bulk of the audience; but it was nice to see that there were also a few publisher and funding agency representatives, as well as information and library consultants.

The conference objective was to provide librarians with greater knowledge of Open Access, what it is and what it isn’t, how it is currently developing and shaping scholarly communication systems and what impact it’s having on libraries. Far from preaching Open Access at any costs, the selection of speakers offered a balanced view of what is achievable within Open Access and what isn’t.

Bill Hubbard started off the conference day with a presentation setting out the background to Open Access (OA), i.e. what OA is and what it isn’t, and what the rationale supporting OA and the drivers are. Open Access for most of us simply means ‘open to read’ (including cache, save and print), and most materials available today on Open Access are open in this way. But it was interesting to learn that the original idea in the Budapest vision started out with a more unifying view of an open world where material would be open to read and re-use. However the reality proved to be much more complex and made it difficult to achieve this ideal of a total open information world. Then, Bill presented the usual drivers for OA (serial crisis, moral case, financial rationale and academic need to have speedy access to scholarship). More importantly, Bill added an additional driver: ‘because we can!’, meaning that we are witnessing major changes in the information environment, and Open Access is one of these major changes taking place and it can’t be ignored as we have the technology and all the good reasons to do it. Finally, Bill went through the usual misconceptions about OA (subversion of peer review, replacement for publication, invitation to plagiarism and an attack on copyright) and explained why these arguments against OA were erroneous or even sometimes illogical. In conclusion, it was suggested that what is needed to build OA are systems and workflows to support researchers, institutions and funders, who all seem to be favour of Open Access but are facing great challenges individually.

The second speaker was Alma Swan, from Key Perspectives Ltd, who has done a great deal of work on scholarly communication and Open Access (it is only fair to note that she and her business partner pioneered key research studies on researchers’ attitudes towards Open Access in 2004/05). Alma’s talk was about the economics of OA. The aim of her talk was to present the costs and savings at system levels (Houghton et al. report [2009]) and at university level (Swan [2010]). She presented first, in great details, the results of the Houghton et al. report, which looks at costs and savings in three different OA scenarios (self-archiving or green access; repository archiving with overlay services; open access journal or gold OA). She then moved on to her own work which builds upon the Houghton report as she used the Houghton methodology to build a limited number of case studies looking at costs and savings at institutional level.

In conclusion, the main idea from Alma’s talk was that universities differ greatly and therefore results differ greatly from one institution to another: whereas the Houghton report indicated that the UK scholarly communication system as a whole could enjoy substantial savings across the sector, Alma’s work indicate that research-intensive institutions may end up yielding negative savings (i.e. paying a cost) in the move towards Open Access, and therefore the national OA savings case needs to be managed so that some universities are not individually disadvantaged.

Following on was the interesting talk from Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President Corporate Strategy at Springer, one of the biggest STM publishing houses. Beside the presentation of the various open access options offered by Springer, Wim made a few interesting points:

  • Firstly, Springer has adopted the strong Open Access position, meaning that all their open access content is open to read and to re-use as in the Budapest initiative, save for commercial purposes. The main reason for this was according to Wim the fact that it seems that end-users generally don’t care about copyright and hence Springer’s decision to go strong OA in order to simplify copyright policies. Wim emphasised the fact that Springer leaves the copyright to authors and is generally happy with just a licence to publish.
  • Secondly, Wim bluntly took on the role of publishers in today’s scholarly communication system. If publishers’ role in distributing or disseminating scholarship was acknowledged as a thing of the past, it was however said that publishers create value-added services to their authors – though what exactly those value-added services consisted of was not really debated.  In short, Wim reminded the audience that publishers are in the scholarly communication market to make money first and foremost, thus the legitimacy of open access embargoes enabling publishers to ‘rightly’ monetise on content. So, yes to Open Access as long as there is a business model, and BMC, recently acquired by Springer, has certainly proved that Open Access can be extremely lucrative. But Wim also insisted on the fact that publishers are equally eager to please their customers, i.e. the research community, and thus Springer wouldn’t go down the open access route if it was felt that there was no demand for this from the research community they serve.
  • Thirdly, Wim talked about the difficulty to introduce new OA journals as they often bear huge fees whereas they still have not yet yield any impact factors.

Wim concluded his speech by saying that it was believed that OA would stay as a complementary business model; a conclusion I understood was also shared by some of the speakers present at the conference. As Bill repeated several times, Open Access is not THE solution to today’s scholarly communication failures; it’s only one of the components of the changes scholarly communication is going through.

Susan Ashworth, Assistant director for Research and Learning Support services, presented the development of Enlighten, the University of Glasgow’s research repository holding just over 35,000 records (but only 3,600 full-text items). Susan talked about the organisational/staff structure of Enlighten, and it was interesting to see that the University of Glasgow went for a manager-less unit but with a very strong support team consisting of cataloguers, a service development manager and an advocacy manager. From the many common drivers listed by Susan, one specific driver stood out: the imperative need for research management the RAE brought about in Higher Education and Enlighten seems to fulfil this role just fine. Other interesting aspects of Susan’s talk were the excellent work the Library has done on author disambiguation using Glasgow Unique identifier (GUID), the delivery of subject feeds from Twitter, and the hot-linking to publications of all that valuable information when it comes to research management that are grant funding and funder names.

Dave Carr, the Open Access Adviser from the Wellcome Trust (WT), was the next speaker. The OA policy was introduced in 2005 and made mandatory in 2006, requiring WT-funded researchers to make their publications available within 6 months of publication. Dave estimated the compliance rate to the policy to be close to 50%. But the WT is aiming high, and raising the compliance rate is one of the top priorities of the trust. Therefore Dave’s talk was all about how the WT can persuade researchers of the benefits of Open Access and how the WT can help their researchers to make their publications available on OA. Dave’s talk was focused on the need to establish communication with researchers. Too many researchers are still unaware of OA funds or self-archiving practice, this is why the WT is working hard in getting the message across to researchers. In conclusion, it was felt that sanctioning non-compliant researchers was not the way to go for now, and the WT would strive to persuade researchers rather than adopting a punitive approach.

Chris Middleton, from the University of Nottingham, presented a case study on institutional funding for OA publishing. The main driver for setting up the OA fund was the looming REF. Some figures were provided: 353 OA fund requests were made over 4 years, whereof 140 were made in 2009/10, representing circa £171,179. The average cost per article at the University of Nottingham, was estimated at £1,317, but the payments were wide-spread, ranging from £277 to £2,990. The message Chris tried to pass across to the audience was the paramount importance of budgeting those OA costs (where is the break-even point?), but also that this is a very difficult task a University/library sets for itself. Chris used a slightly modified version of Alma Swan’s economic model to base her calculations on OA costs and savings.

Jackie Wickham, the RSP Open Access Adviser, reported on a survey of repository staff she conducted over the summer 2010. The survey was distributed via the UKCoRR list. Beside some useful data on repository staffing, such as 76.2% work part-time, 73.8% work as part of a team or that repository staff tend to be highly educated, Jackie also offered a summary of the skills repository staff (managers and administrators) thought were important, and this included communication (getting the message across), interpersonal skills, project management, determination, perseverance and patience .

Finally, the conference day came to an end with Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services at UCL and President of LIBER, who presented a selection of Open Access projects he’s involved in such as:

  • DART-Europe, the principal gateway for discovery and retrieval of OA European theses, and how the EThOS project fits into this.
  • Europeana libraries, some sort of Google-equivalent (which in itself is an already ambitious endeavour…) for European quality-assured research content.
  • LERU (League of European Research Universities) – a consortium of 22 research-intensive universities in Europe lobbying at the European level for the promotion of research.

In conclusion, this RSP Open Access conference was very informative and enlightening and helped to understand the debate, the drivers but also the challenges of Open Access. And, in the words of Bill, the conclusion would be that OA enables publishers and librarians to channel the huge changes currently taking place and ensure quality control of the research made freely available to anyone. Far from delivering anarchy in scholarly communication, OA helps stakeholders to organise and channel the mass of open research content.

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

USTLG Winter Meeting 2

Posted by selinalock on 8 December, 2010

This follow on with my report of the USTLG Winter Meeting.

Finding the known unknowns and the unknown knowns, Yvonne Nobis, University of Cambridge.

  • Talked about their development of the http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/scienceportal/website aimed specifically at researchers (which I know some of our researchers rather like the look of!)
  • Researchers often don’t known what they’re looking for: unknown unknowns, as research skills might need updating, looking for something outside their field or don’t know where to begin.
  • Scientists don’t tend to use the Cambridge libraries (over 100 of them so confusing system) and they want everything electronically so looking for a way to meet their needs.
  • Found most visitors to the science library are those looking for historical (print) information, or students wanting a place to study.
  • ~95% journal are online and ~95% of monographs are still print only.
  • In response to this they will now scan on demand from their own collections for Cambridge researchers (currently a free service as charging would have copyright law implications).
  • As the staff would often need to retrieve these items from storage the scanning has not added too much extra effort.
  • Science librarians at Cambridge do a lot of training of early career researchers.
  • Science@Cambridge contextualises information within a subject area to help researchers start their searching.
  • Includes a federated search option where relevant databases have been chosen (to steer researchers away from just using Google Scholar as they don’t realise what scholar doesn’t index: unknown unknowns).
  • Trying to make resource discovery as easy as possible.
  • Have problems with making eBooks easy to access, especially individual titles on catalogue records.
  • Trialled using chat with subject  librarians but not really worked so looking at centralising enquiries more.
  • Training branded through College or Computing Services gets a better turn out than library branded training.

We use a similar idea to Science@Cambridge in our subject rooms, but could learn more from them when redeveloping our Rooms as part of our digital library overhaul? Hopefully using Summon in future will make resource discovery easier at Leicester

Lunch!

Obviously the most important part of any conference is the lunch provided. This time it was a good spread sponsored by Wiley Publishers, and in a very unexpected place…

USTLG Lunch in a Church!

Lunch in the Divinity School

USTLG Lunch 2

Citations Count! Experience of providing researcher training on bibliometrics, citations and Open Access publishing. Kate Bradbury,  Cardiff University.

  • Training in citation data in response to REF raising interest in bibliometrics, funders requesting bibliometric data, help deciding where to publish and to promote work. 
  • Training covers: WoS/Scopus/Google Scholar, looking for data in other sources (e.g. book citations, full text resources which include references), what each database provides e.g. impact factors, increasing citations, using open access publishing and repositories.
  • Format of training: 30 min talk and 1 hr hands-on using workbooks – activities such as finding impact factors, setting up citation alerts, looking at OA resource and using ResearcherID.
  • Also do shorter, tailored talks for Departmental meetings etc.
  • Sessions dones for subject librarians, staff development programme, specific schools/depts (e.g. Comp Sci, Engin, Psychology) and within seminar series.
  • Lessons learnt: avoid too much detail, stay up to date with new database features and REF, emphasis benefits to researchers, takes time to build interest in training, targeted sessions best, be flexible & adapt sessions to suit audience, be prepared for discussions about the validity and use of bibliometrics!
  • Stance taken: explain how to find information but leave it up to the researchers to decide if it is useful to them, including discussion of pros/cons of bibliometrics.
  • Types of questions asked:
  • How to pay for OA publishing?
  • Shouldn’t we just write controversial articles to up our citations?
  • What about highly cited, poor research?
  • My journals not indexed in WoS, how do I get citation info?
  • How to find book citation info?
  • What about self-citations? Will they be excluded from REF?
  • BMJ article said no observable citation advantage from OA publishing…
  • Can I import articles on in WoS into ResearcherID? (can do, but tricky)
  • What is a good H-Index to have?
  • Doesn’t H-Index just reflect length of career?
  • Where’s the best place to put an OA article?
  • I use a subject repository so why also use institutional repository?
  • I don’t want an early version of my work available…
  • What next in terms of training? – Continue with sessions, support subject librarians to run their own sessions, introduce Bristol Online Survey to collect feedback from attendees, respond to individual follow-up questions and do a separate presentation on OA publishing.

USTLG Lunch

Wiley Publishers: WIREs, Alexa Dugan.
Next up was our sponsor for the day Wiley talking about their new product:

  • WIREs = Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews.
  • Reference work meets journal review article –  a new concept in publishing.
  • Have been finding it difficult to find authors/researchers with enough time to devote to writing traditional reference works, especially as those works do not gain professional recognition .i.e. they are not indexed or cited.
  • WIREs is Wiley’s answer to this: invited content with high quality editorship, drawing on their research journal community ties (so like a reference work), but also managed to get them indexed in major databases and WoS so the authors can get recognition.
  • Each Review has a carefully thought out structure, which is kept up to date with a range of article types e.g. focus (news) articles, opinion pieces, basic reviews, advanced reviews etc.
  • Content is added every two months (so serial like a journal) & articles retain their title and DOIs for citation purposes.
  • One of their flagship titles: Climate Change Review has won several awards already.
  • FREE for first two years: wires.wiley.com
  • USTLG Conference

    Getting Interactive

Researcher@Library – becoming part of the research cycle, Katy Sidwell, University of Leeds.

  • Leeds, like many of us, have managed to get a certain amount of library training embedded or offered to PhD students, but what about Academics and other Researchers?
  • Started to think about how to support researchers so thought about the life cycle of a research project:
  • Ides (pre-funding) – Planning (finding application) – Action (research/life of grant) – Dissemination – Application (of research knowledge/transfer) – back to beginning of cycle.
  • They got us to think about how we all support these stages of the cycle & feedback (using post it notes – a good bit of interactivity to wake us all up!).
  • What they (and from the feedback, others might do) are:
  • Ideas = library collections, current awareness & literature search training.
  • Planning =  Identify funding sources ^ support research bids (though in Leeds this only happens in particular areas as it’s labour intensive and unscaleable).
  • Action = PhD workshops, bibliographic management, lit search support, data management advice, user behaviour research, friendly space for researchers.
  • Dissemination = RAE/REF support, etheses online, institutional repository, publications database.
  • Application = intellectual property advice (Business officer), market research for knowledge transfer e.g. patents.
  • Hard for researchers to know about training – where/how to promote?
  • Created a website for researchers to bring together the various things available to them (need user needs analysis to find out what to put there).
  • Researchers wanted a website that was not solely library resources/focused, not tutorial but advice that could be dipped into at appropriate time, simple navigation, no login but not really basic advice – appropriate to their level.
  • library.leeds.ac.uk/researcher
  • Work in progress – need to clarify purpose, look at navigation issues, obtain feedback and roll out across other faculties.
  • Where now? – created Library Researcher Support Group to continue the work and look at how it fits in with the new Vitae researcher development framework.

A good day all round. The presentations from the day can now be viewed at the USTLG site.

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

USTLG Winter Meeting 1

Posted by selinalock on 30 November, 2010

On 25th November 2010 I attended the University Science & Technology Librarians’ Group Meeting at Keble College, University of Oxford. The theme for the day was “The role of libraries in the research process.” I nearly walked straight past the little wooden entrance to Keble College, but was greeted with a magnificent vista on entering…

Keble College

Keble College

An academic perspective on libraries supporting research. Professor Darton, Dept Engineering, Oxford University.

Professor Darton expressed his love of books, talked about his ancestors being publishers of children’s books and having founded the Darton Juvenile Library. He also talked about how he had fought to keep the Engineering Library at Oxford under the control of the Department as he felt it played an important part in their culture.

He had brought in a couple of classic engineering texts and said it was difficult these days for academics to find time to write “classic” types of textbooks and they were hvaing to find other ways of conveying information to students.

In his time as an engineer he thought that libraries/librarians had moved from being a status symbol (the bigger the library the more knowledge) that was protected and guarded by the librarians for their specific patrons, on to being providers of information which encouraged access for all and finally, these days, being more of an online gateway with librarians as web managers.

He then went on to argue that for science and engineering researchers the library is no longer needed – they rarely use physical texts, there is a huge amount of good quality information accessible via Google (as long as you have the skills to judge quality) and more movement towards open access materials online (e.g. in his are of sustainability). He argued that he would be happy, as a researcher, for there to be a subscription team who oversaw journal subsciptions on behalf of the University, a storage/retrieval service for older print items and for the sciences to stop funding the expensive physical libraries needed by the arts. Or even move to a model where all researchers are given a portion of the library funding to “buy individual article on demand” instead of having a central library service! As you can imagine this was a controversial point of view…

The audience asked if he thought the same applied to undergraduates and he thought up until their 3rd year projects that might have different needs, but by project time they might still need a budget to buy relevant articles.

When asked if he saw any role for librarians he thought there was still an important role in training people to be critical of information, and recommends library training to his students. Also that journal subscriptions would be more cost effective than buying individual articles so perhaps librarians should become/be seen as skilled negotiaters. Librarians need to show how they can help researchers.

Professor Darton was also critical of the current peer-review system, and as an editor of a journal it was becoming very hard to find good reviewers. He suggested that publishing the names of the reviewers might improve the quality of the reviwing. He was also suprised to find younger researchers don’t have a concept of what a journal is as they have never held a print copy in their hands.

USTLG Talk

USTLG Talk

 

Update on REF, Kimberley Hacket (REF Team)

Main points of interest:

  • REF will be a process of critical review and some will include bibliometric information.
  • 3 elements: Outputs (research) ~60%, Impact of research ~ 25% and Environment ~15%.
  • 4 outputs per researcher (less if early career).
  • 36 sub-panels looking at different subject areas.
  • Outputs selected by HEI
  • All types of outputs can be selected as long as they conform to REF definition of an output, including open access outputs.
  • Citation information can be used by a sub-panel if they wish. However, it will be used to inform expert review and not on it’s own.
  • If panels request bibliometric information then it will be supplied by REF (not by institution) and will conform to agree simple metric methods.
  • Panels being selected and will be announced early 2011.
  • Impact is not just economic but also social, quality of life etc.
  • Do not want to discourage curiosity-driven research.
  • Data collection will be built on the RAE system – pilot in late 2012, live in 2013.
  • Assessment in 2014 – results by end of 2014.
  • Any bibliometric data used will come from a single supplier appointed by REF.
  •  

    Old Bodleian Library

    Old Bodleian Library

    Research Metrics, Anne Costigan, University of Bradford.

    Anne talked about looking at metrics with researchers and the issues around metrics:

  • Metrics can be used at author, article, journal or institution level – journal level most known.
  • Citation metrics available from Web of Knowledge, Scopus & Google Scholar.
  • Journal Citation Reports (WoK) – impact factors most famous – attempts to measure importance and quality of journal.
  • Citation Reports usually ignore books, conferences and non-journal research information/citations.
  • Researchers tend to get hung up on journal impact factor – seen as “league table of journals”. However, be wary as different subjects have different amounts of journals listed, impact factor can change over time so look at trend, encourage people to also look at ranking.
  • Often asked “what is a good impact factor?” = how long is a piece of string? Varies tremendously by subject e.g. a specialist area might have many citations missing as journals not indexed, or papers in conferences etc.
  • Self-citation can skew figures.
  • Review journals tend to be very highly cited.
  • Editors have been known to insist that articles always cited articles from within the same journal to inflate impact factor.
  • Controversial papers are usually highly cited and can skew figures (could be a “bad” paper).
  • Other options to look at: Eidenfactor (WoK) – complex algorithm where citations from highly ranked journals hold more weight. H -index e.g. 34 papers which have at least 34 citations = H-index of 34. H-index does favour those with a longer career.
  • Article metrics – times cited (WoK, Scopus, Google Scholar) – different results from each. Scopus & Google Scholar tends to include more non-journal citations.
  • Author metrics – WoK can create citation report & remove self-citations. Problems with identifying papers belonging to certain authors (e.g. similar name to someone else.)
  • Can use ResearcherID (free service via WoK) to register articles under your author name.
  • Scimago – uses Scopus data for free.
  • What about repositories?
  • MESUR – combines citation & usage data.
  • Rise of Web2.0 – vote for your favourite article?
  • Researchers like easy to undertsand metrics e.g. H-index.
  • Uses of metrics – where to publish, what to subscribe to, in recruiting researchers, at Dept or Institutional level for marketing…
  • No measure perfect – always look an a combination of things.
  • Posted in Meetings, Research Support, Service Delivery, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    FIL @British Library St.Pancras – Nov 2010

    Posted by gazjjohnson on 29 November, 2010

    On the 26th November I travelled down to London to attend, and participate, in the Forum for Interlending’s (FIL) biannual British Library event.

    The day started with Graham Titley, current FIL Chair, providing the introduction welcome and overview of the day. One of the things that struck me was the costs to FIL of organising the event at the BL and the newsletter. One thing that was clear is that FIL needs engagement for and with its members, something that resonates with my recent engagement with CILIP.

    First on the programme was Richard Scobie from the BL sound and music collections, who gave an overview of one of the many collections and services within the BL that a lot of people might not have used. As we don’t have a music dept of Leicester this wasn’t of immediate practical use. However, one could easily foresee some of our depts (e.g. Media and Communications) having some call on these materials. I think I was most interested as to practicalities of how one of our readers might get hold of one of these recordings – the formats etc.

    Richard talked us through their acquisitions policy, everything from legal deposit through to collecting representative samples from around the world such as sending representatives to record events like WOMAD themselves. A lot of access to materials is through the reading rooms (aka listening rooms), although print and manuscript music can only be read in the Rare Books and Music rooms. SoundServer exists to provide access to digitised materials. Access to archival sound recordings is via a subscription, which is free to HE and FE libraries (unsure about public libraries mind you). I was quite interested to hear about Petrucci music library which appears wiki for music scores, although for the largest part within copyright.

    I was a bit frustrated as Richard didn’t show us any of these services or various links he alluded to during the session; which given music support isn’t especially in my remit I’m unlikely to follow up after the fact.

    Following this session the group broke in half, one set to tour the BL and the other to take part in a discussion workshop looking at the challenges facing inter-lending, how to overcome them and to generally share experiences with the delegates. This seemed to go down well (so well that we re-ran the workshop in the afternoon with the other half of the delegates).

    After lunch Elizabeth Newbold from the Science, Technology & Med Collections at BL talked about her part of the BL. Like Richard, her overview was ripe with detail but thin on demonstration and I confess that I found it a little hard to pick out particular value from her session. One point she made raised my eyebrows – she commented that generally universities are more clued up in the delivery of digital content and materials than the BL; and that the BL aspires to offer the levels of service that we HE/FE librarians do as a matter of course. I was deeply complimented, if not a little concerned that our national library should feel it wasn’t leading the way on these things.

    After the workshop re-run the afternoon was concluded with Jason Murray giving a highly entertaining, and hands on demonstration of the BL’s technology for dealing with disabled readers. This was by and far the best of the BL sessions in the day, with Jason’s delivery alone raising the slightly flagging attention of the audience. He raised some valid points about supporting disabled readers and included some interesting points about dealing with students with mental health issues as well. He explained that mentioning a disability scares some staff, but that with proper training and plenty of patience it is possible to offer them excellent service levels

    One other thing I did take away from the day was the sheer cost of holding an event at the British Library, close to £8,000 for the day, which meant that even with close to fifty delegates that FIL made a loss on the day. I suspect future events may need to relocate to another cheaper location in London, and include visits to the BL as an add on to the programme. A shame as the BL venue is nice, but sadly the return on the group’s investment doesn’t really seem enough.

    Due to my organisational hat wearing role for the day, I wasn’t able to tour the BL, but I’m pleased to hear from Lyn (my accompanying team member) that it was well worth the trip! Hopefully FIL will be able to arrange something along the same lines as this next year (there’s already a March 2011 event going up to Yorkshire), although perhaps at a less costly venue!  Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve outputs from the workshop to type up and try and turn into a useful resource for those folks who couldn’t make it to the meeting!

    Posted in Document Supply, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Science Online

    Posted by katiefraser on 5 September, 2010

    Science Online conference bag

    Science Online conference bag

    Yesterday I visited Science Online London (the second day). It’s subtitle is ‘How is the web changing science?’ but it’s a general mishmash of people from various walks who share an enthusiasm for science and the web, talking about what they’re doing, and how they can share this enthusiasm.

    For me, the breakout sessions were the most interesting portions, so I’ll summarise those briefly with some reflections on what I learnt from them.

    Tracking researcher identity: pragmatics and ethics

    The first session I attended was looking at an author ID system, ORCID. Such systems try to avoid confusion between academic authors with similar namesby assigning them a unique ID. I’m already signed up to Thomson Reuter’s ResearcherID system, to give an example. This is a more top down alternative to the bottom up approach where databases use algorithms to try to differentiate between different authors. I understand these algorithms are usually successful, but perhaps because of my limited academic output, I’ve found myself lumped in with other “K Fraser”s on more than one occasion.

    ORCID aims to overcome some of the reluctance researchers have to sign up to proprietary author ID systems, and offer a central, open and transparent registry instead. The session came alive in the discussion of what such a system could do – such as create a far more nuanced record of who had contributed what to a paper than the traditional author order could capture – and the ethics behind it – should a researcher’s ID keep track of rebuttals of their work? There are a lot of positives to such a system from a librarian’s perspective (easier author search, simplified tracking down of academics’ papers for the institutional repository) so it was great to have a balanced discussion from a range of stakeholders.

    What scientists want (and how to give it to them)

    The second breakout session I attended was part of the ‘unconference’ (essentially some sessions which were crowdsourced from attendees the previous day). This session focused on ‘users’ (which turned out to be scientists). The most interesting bits for me were a discussion of what scientists wanted from technology (they want better publication and information gathering tools: librarians take note) and one slightly awkward but fascinating section in which a marketing specialist tried to get the scientists to identify the best way to market to them.

    Obviously I had my ears open for the marketing questions, as sometimes it’s hard for the library to ‘sell’ services to academics. The main message was that scientists will come and look for information as and when they need it, and so when they do come looking, you’d better be i) easy to find and ii) prepared with a pitch and some examples of how great your services are. I’m currently mulling over ways to achieve these two things as a librarian: suggestions welcome!

    The “broken publishing system”: whose responsibility is it?

    The last session I attended was ostensibly a discussion of open access publishing, but centred mostly on impact factors, a way of recording how widely read journal are, at the title level. Discussions with Nancy, our library bibliometrician have already highlighted to me that judging a paper by which journal it’s in is a flawed idea, but I was surprised to hear that no one in the room – publishers included – thought they were useful or valid. Somehow impact factors have been seized as a key evaluation metric, and everyone is only interested in them to the extent that others are using them to evaluate their output!

    All were agreed that something should be done to avoid this focus on impact factors, but disagreement centred on whether small acts of protest at this system (opting out, voting with your feet) or a coordinated protest (demanding an overhaul of the system at the highest levels) were needed. Again, suggestions for action welcome!

    Conclusions

    Overall, this was an interesting conference to attend, and I felt I learnt a lot about how scientists view the services on offer to them. Oddly, however, I think maybe I’d be more comfortable presenting at it if I attended again: a lot of the sessions were based on the assumption that the audience was composed of scientists, and I felt like more like an observer than a participant in the discussion sometimes. However, participant observation is a time-honoured way of getting to know a culture better, and I’m sure I’ll use my observations to help inform the library’s development of services over the next year: maybe with something new to contribute to the discussion of scientists online at the end.

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