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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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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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EMALINK Supporting Researchers Event

Posted by selinalock on 13 July, 2011

Several of us attended this event on the 13th April 2011. Sorry for the rather delayed write-up!

The bulk of the session revolved around the idea of the “information arc” that a researcher would work through, going from a consumer to a producer (see embedded slideshow). We all thought about what researchers might want at different points in their research and how we can fulfil those needs.

Literature Search

  • Defining research topic, Concept mapping, Search Strategies
  • Types of information required & how to access them
  • Time management
  • Reading strategies, decoding academic language
  • Alert services – as literature search evolves, is refined and is reviewed  later in research

Information Management

  • Reference management strategies & software, bookmarking tools
  • RSS tools
  • Note taking
  • How to structure writing  a literature search, thesis, journal article
  • Critical Analysis

Writing

  • Academic writing style
  • Proof reading & grammar skills
  • Summarising, paraphrasing, citing

Publication Strategies

  • Types of publication
  • Copyright issues
  • Writing for a specific audience
  • Quality measure – impact factors/bibliometrics – what might be required for REF
  • Benefits of collaboration
  • Publication fees – OA ‘vs’ traditional publishing
  • Publication trends
  • Responding to feedback and/or Handling rejection
  • Tips for becoming highly cited & reviewed
  • Corrections and retractions

Publicising Work/Publications

  • Open Access (Institutional Repository)
  • Online research profiles (and being professional online)
  • Social Networks and blogs
  • Google Juice

Most of the institutions represented at the event felt that they offered training or services that could help with all these areas but:

  • Not clear who offers what – Library, Student Development/Support/Study Skills, Staff Development, Research Support Team.
  • No clear advertising/promotion or route through the training available from different places.

Other points that arose from discussion were:

  • Researchers often need/want one to one support as have specific needs.
  • Useful to talk to staff before they go on sabbaticals to see if they need any research support.
  • Good to get research supervisors on-side and clued-up on training on offer.
  • How can we get involved in the research process and be there at the right time to offer support?
  • Important to share expertise between staff.
  • Look at collaborative project e.g. EMRSG who are creating online tutorials for supporting researchers.
  • Online tutorials – there for staff that cannot access face to face services, access at the time right for them.
  • Need to market libraries better and ensure buying the right resources for researchers.

We are lucky at Leicester to have a couple of specialist posts to support researchers and work alongside Information Librarians:

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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.

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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!

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The complexities of Chemical Information

Posted by katiefraser on 29 June, 2010

Royal Chemistry Society London headquartersIn May I visited the London headquarters of the Royal Chemistry Society in Burlington House to attend an event entitled ‘Chemical Information for the Chemist and Non-Chemist’. As I’m new to the world of Chemical Information (albeit armed with my knowledge of information resources and an A level in Chemistry) I’d been looking out for a session to expand my knowledge and this seemed perfect. For those interested, the slides are available on the CICAG (Chemical Information and Computer Applications Group) website – just click on ‘previous meetings’, but here I wanted to talk a little bit about what I learnt about chemical information in general at the event.

Since I started getting up to speed with Chemical Information resources I’ve been fascinated by the unique search mechanism of molecular structure. The majority of chemistry-focused databases cross-reference the literature with  molecular structures.. This means you can draw a molecule, and then search for articles referring to it. As David Walsh (whose presentation has informed much of my thoughts in this particular post) noted at the event, the naming of chemicals changes constantly according to fashion, the property of the chemical that a particular scientists wants to emphasise, and according to commercial concerns (for example, using trade names, or local laboratory numbers). Drawing the chemical allows you to by-pass a large number of these problems.

Molecular structure of phenylethylamine, used under Creative  Commons licence, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideonexus/

Molecular structure of phenylethylamine, used under Creative Commons licence, courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/ideonexus/

This seems like  the perfect search tool! Surely a mechanism allowing such exact searching means that the core information professional’s toolkit – define your keywords, perform the search, alter keywords, perform your search, iterate until satisfied or exhausted – seems almost redundant? Well, unfortunately for simplicity, but luckily for making information professionals feel useful, this isn’t the case. A lot of the time there’s reason to search for something that’s either more or less specific than a molecular structure.

For example, when patents are registered for chemicals they usually use something known as the Markush structure – a molecular diagram which records certain key aspects of a compound, but allows for certain points on that structure to be substituted by a variety of different sub-structures. This indicates that a lot of the time one exact molecular structure can be too specific. On the other hand, sometimes a molecular diagram is not specific enough. For example, the stereochemistry studies at the arrangement of atoms within a compound. When compounds with the same molecular structure are arranged differently, this can give two apparently identical compounds different chemical and physical properties.

RSC newsletters inside Burlington HouseThese different degrees of specificity have interesting implications for the type of keyword generation that needs to happen in searching for chemical information. In a lot of subject areas I’d advise looking to see what’s available in the literature before deciding how specific to be in search terms: in a little studied area you tend to go quite wide and gather in a lot of related literature; in a widely studied area you can afford to be quite specific. However, in chemical information you can define up-front whether you’re interested  in a wide group of compounds or just a very specific isomer and use this to inform your search. The downside being that the beautifully simple molecular structure search isn’t always the one you want.

Over the summer I’ll be thinking more about how the different kinds of information used in Chemistry affect the way it can be taught, and learning more about the different kinds of notation that are used. I’d highly recommend looking at David Walsh’s slides, entitled ‘What Makes Chemical Information Different?’ from the event to get a good overview of many of the different types of notation used. However, I think cramming all of these into a one hour session might make students cry!

Posted in Subject Support | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

USTLG Spring Meeting Redux (Afternoon)

Posted by selinalock on 17 May, 2010

Following on from my post USTLG Spring Meeting Redux (Morning), here’s few notes on the afternoon.

Theme for afternoon: social networking.

Advocating professional social networking to academics. Paula Anne Beasley and Linda Norbury, University of Birmingham.

  • The subject librarians are well placed to advocate Web2.0 tech for gathering information via social networks.
  • Found a knowledge gap for those not using Web2.0 or not of the generation to ‘just have a go’ at things & prefer some training.
  • Surveyed staff in College of Physical Sciences & Engineering about their use/knowledge of Web2.0 using a free text survey.
  • Responses variable, but enough interest to offer training session.
  • Major issues from survey were whether Web2.0 tools were secure/stable, whether there was a University policy on using them and a lack of knowledge.
  • Anne & Linda managed to get the College Academic Enhancement Group interested in the session, and all invites went out from that group rather than from the Library.
  • The training session that was offered was originally going to cover blogging and twitter. However, as Linda got stuck abroad due to the ash cloud it became focused only on blogging on the day.
  • 31 attendees for session: academics, admin staff, researchers & Emeritus Professors.
  • Got very good feedback and the attendees were enthusiastic about blogging on the day.
  • They hope to follow-up with seminars on social networking and social bookmarking, plus a support course in Blackboard.
  • No-one else in their University is currently offering training in this area.

‘Do Librarians Dream of Electric Tweets?”, Gareth Johnson, University of Leicester.

The next presentation was from our very own Gareth, who gave a very enthusiastic talk on using Web2.0 technology for networking, and in library services.  Main points were:

  • Why use things like twitter & Blogs?
  • For professional networking, self-reflection, sharing experiences, staff development, answering enquiries, motivating staff etc.
  • Can be very powerful tools.
  • Like Gareth, I pick up lots of useful information and links to new reports via twitter now rather than by other routes.
  • When using these technologies it is important to be human: respond to people, don’t just broadcast, share things.
  • The best use of web2.0 csome when you allow it to overlap your personal, workplace and professional lives, but if you’re not comfortable with this level of engagement it can still be useful when used only in work hours.
  • Important to “find the right tools for you”.

Gareth’s full presentation:

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Meetings, Mobile technologies, Research Support, Service Delivery, Staff training, Subject Support, Technology & Devices, Training, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

USTLG Spring Meeting Redux (Morning)

Posted by selinalock on 14 May, 2010

Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House

Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House. Photo by Matt_Fom_London via Flickr Creative Commons.

Gareth had already blogged about this event, but here’s my take on it too.

Theme for the morning: Go to the users, wherever they are online.

Taking your service to scientists: embedding subject-specific resources within VLEs. Jon Fletcher. Nottingham Trent University.

  • Talked about embedding library resources & links into the VLE so student “don’t have to remember where to go” to get stuff. Student feedback suggested that they often forget how to use resources between years/terms/f2f sessions.
  • University mandate that all courses should have a VLE site.
  • Includes links to catalogue, metalib, referencing guidelines, library homepage etc in all science courses.
  • 5 step guide to embedding: Consult/design resources using a team approach, get permission/access to VLE course, embed resources, consider sustainability & update when needed.
  • Often need to ‘sell’ the resources/need to embed to the academics, but once in a few courses then get a snowball effect due to good student & course team feedback.
  • Embeds all his teaching resources as well as core library resources.
  • Sustainability: think about time/workload required, timescales and the tools needed. E.g. previous html editor wasn’t up to the job so now uses Wimbacreate. There approach is to use a repository and link all courses to one version of core resources page so easily updated in one place by more than one person.
  • Updating: design so it only needs updating once or twice a year.
  • This initiative has led to more visibility, embedding of f2f sessions, more liaison with academics and more enquiries.
  • Currently a trial and only being done by Science team.
  • Just about to start using TalisAspire for reading lists.
  • Approx 1-2 weeks of time needed to build resources & embed them.
  • Moved subject-based library pages within the VLE and linked out to other types of library pages.
  • Stats on what is being accessed via the VLE.

MyLibrary – building a Library dashboard application. Mark Gavillet. University of Newcastle

  • Creating a MyLibrary dashboard app using a customisable online tool (JQuery UI). A project which will go live for students to trial in new academic year.
  • App draws info from various places e.g. library systems, shibboleth (for authentication, google etc.
  • Tracks what resources are being used.
  • Wanted to identify 80% of ‘start’ points for 80% of tasks that 80% of users do 80% of the time by asking 130 students where they look for resources.
  • Student feedback was that there start points for university work/resources were google, OPAC, reading list, Blackboard VLE, databases, library homepage or student homepage (in that order of preference).
  • The first place they go when sitting at a university PC: Uni email, Google, Blackboard, Facebook.
  • Key library services: ejournals, renew books, search resources.
  • They do not use the library homepage as anything other than a gateway & don’t read library news.
  • Happy to use search tools but unsure of finding the right search tools in the first place.
  • customer journey mapping of tasks such as finding an article form a reading list showed very convoluted routes to get there! Hope MyLibrary tool will help get them there quicker.
  • Can put MyLibrary button in variety of places they use frequently such as Facebook and VLE.
  • MyLibrary tool tabs for modules, resources, announcements, eResources/eJournals, MyItems(loans) & more.
  • eResources pulled from subject categories on Metalib.
  • eJournals via SFX (can search & choose favourites).
  • MyItems/MyRecord from Aleph library system & can renew via tool.
  • Opening hours & events from Library Google calendars
  • TOCs from JISC tic TOCs service.
  • GO TO WHERE THE USERS ARE, rather than expecting them to come to the library homepage. If the tool is successful then they will re-evaluate the role of the library homepage.
  • Several months work and development.

RSC Publishing beta – Have your say…Richard Blount and Louise Peck, Royal Society of Chemistry

Got a quick overview of the new RSC interface and they are very keen for librarian feedback. Either via their survey or as beta testers. Quick look at ChemSpider, an excellent, free chemical structure resource.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EMALink Event On Subject Librarians Part 2

Posted by selinalock on 26 March, 2010

Developing the information literacy practitioner; the OU’s training needs analysis by Wendy Mears.

  • The context of Wendy’s talk was that the OU needed to know what training information literacy librarians needed in order to learn new technology, cut the time needed for course production, and deliver increased return on income for library resources.
  • Information literacy integration in OU courses is seen as a key indicator of library success.
  • Mary Auckland undertook a training needs analysis based on the current and future demands placed on information literacy librarians.
  • This included a literature survey, conversations with key thinkers, anonymous survey of the libs (using survey monkey) and focus groups.
  • Some of the skill gaps identified were: influencing & persuasion skills (for use in meetings), making a case for information literacy in pedagogic terms, marketing & advocacy skills, assertiveness and creating generic information literacy materials.
  • There were also gaps in technical knowledge with regards to Moodle, Word, Powerpoint, Elluminate, social networking, web2.0 and Excel.
  • A development plan was produced with ten recommendations, such as librarians taking OU courses, updating job descriptions, keep a watching brief in new technologies, develop key competencies and research support skills.
  • As with anything, budget was a major factor in responding to the training needs so some needs will be met through existing channels e.g. staff developement hour (hour for training every week), appraisal process, visit from external speakers and University internal training events.
  • New initiatives included: using internal experts, bringing in external experts to provide tailored training and supporting external events/qualifications.
  • Four months in it is difficult to tell if the new training initiatives have had much impact, but it helped define librarian roles as well as training needs.
  • It highlighted existing good practice and ways to use internal resources where possible.

Students, Librarians & Marketing the Library by Becky Laing, Loughborough University.

  • Becky outlined how the library became in a marketing module that is run by the Department of Information Science for their PG students.
  • The library was asked to produce marketing briefs for the students to work on, and the students had to present their marketing pitch to the academic librarians.
  • The briefs were for marketing the library journals, subject librarians, information literacy & study skills, Metalib (library portal) and Library space.
  • The students were also given a subject librarian they could contact for more information if needed.
  • The students came up with some interesting ideas that the library found very useful. (See Becky’s slides for more info).
  • For example, they suggested a leaflet and video to advertise the subject librarians, and more targeted marketing to encourage different groups of students to use the journals.
  • The library also learnt some things about how students perceived the library services, for example, the library had been thinking about rebranding their study skills sessions with a more exciting name, but the students thought study skills was the best way to get across what it was to other students.
  • Overall the module was a big success as the students found it useful to work on real briefs, and the library will be taking some of their suggestion further.
  • So, always good to get hold of tame students!

Overall I think the most useful part of the day was the reminder to continually review what we do, where we’re heading and how to show our worth.

Posted in Meetings, Service Delivery, Staff training, Subject Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »