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Posts Tagged ‘research’

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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cpd25: Support for researchers (7 December 2012)

Posted by Helen on 2 January, 2013

Senate House

Senate House
Shared via CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

Towards the end of last term I attended the ‘Support for researchers’ event hosted by the M25 Consortium.

It was very nice to be in Senate House and to meet lots of new colleagues. The discussion sessions clearly showed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to research support. Longer time in the discussion groups would have been useful but unfortunately it was only a half day event.  I have summarised the three speakers below and included some questions raised in discussion.

Miggie Pickton & Nick Dimmock (University of Northampton) started the event by talking about collaboration between the Library, Graduate School and the Research Office at Northampton. The Research Support Hub is a joint initiative between the three teams. It is a WordPress hosted blog, designed to be a one-stop shop for researchers needing information about funding and training. Nick described how there had previously been a very scattered presence and no single place for researchers to find information. The site has only been live since October 1st but has had a good response. There are eight regular contributors and categories/tags are used to maximise discoverability. There is also a section which links to other University blogs and a FAQ page to avoid repetition and aid enquiries.

The repository (NECTAR) is a mutual interest between the Research Office and the Library. The Research Office provides the administrative support; the Library covers the technical issues, metadata and IPR. NECTAR is the main source of data for the REF. In terms of disseminating research, the team are involved in an annual poster competition, annual research conference, and measuring impact.

Benefits of collaboration were increased visibility and increased perceived value of Library services.

Miggie concluded with some tips for making collaboration work:

  • Share common goals and common interests.
  • Actively look for opportunities to collaborate internally
  • Communicate frequently and share knowledge and expertise
  • Present a shared point of view at formal committees.

Jenny Evans (Imperial College London) discussed the Research 2.0 programme at Imperial.  A version of this programme has been running since 2008 but it was only in 2011 that it was integrated into the professional development course for students. The six-week programme was delivered face to face and online, covering productivity, networking, developing an online digital identity, and legal & ethical issues. The advantage of the course was that it raised the profile of the Library and allowed researchers and staff to build their network and collaborate. It was regarded as innovative. However, the blogging part didn’t work so well. Because the course was part of mandatory Graduate School training it was hard to get the researchers to finish the course or stick to deadlines.

Jenny was also involved in filming five interviews with academics about their use of Web 2.0 tools and technologies. The interviewees were at various stages of their career and the aim was to show researchers how a ‘real’ academic was using such tools. The video can be found here.

Jenny’s talk raised a number of issues including:

  • Should we give students guidelines on what technology to use?
  • Should the focus be on the specific tools or the output?
  • How do you evaluate success with Web 2.0 workshops?

Tahani Nadim (Goldsmiths) recently completed her PhD and gave a short talk about her experience of research support. Tahani felt that the Library has a role to play in signposting throughout the PhD, not just at the start. Induction week can be overwhelming and information quickly forgotten. The PhD is an incredibly solitary venture and it is hard to imagine how subsequent years will pan out. Tahani suggested that videos of different stages of the student experience would be useful. She also suggested that Library pages need to answer the question “I need help with…”. Too often they can be buried and messy, when they really need to be simple and clean. The difficulty with a PhD is that you often don’t know what help you need until you need it! This means that problems are often figured out amongst colleagues and the PhD cohort; an informal and valuable network for recommendations.

A number of discussion points were raised:

  • How can the Library’s expertise and resources be used to support research?
  • How can the Library actively participate in the university’s research culture?
  • What role can they play in advising on version management?
  • What about students who aren’t part of the daily research culture?

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Implementing Finch (29 November 2012)

Posted by Helen on 13 December, 2012

This conference was hosted by the Academy of Social Sciences and looked at the implementation of the recommendations of the Finch Review for Open Access publishing in the UK.I attended the first day of the conference which focused on the impact for those involved in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It was an informative day and it was particularly interesting to hear the sharp differences in opinion voiced by PVCs, administrators, librarians and individual researchers.

A full report by the Academy with photos, presentations and video will shortly be available at http://www.acss.org.uk/  but I have included a few short summaries of the key speakers below.

Janet Finch
The authors of the Finch report were an independent group commissioned by government. The Government had a clear objective of what they wanted to achieve and the group were asked to advise on this. They were not there to debate whether change was necessary or advisable. It was not part of their remit to look at data, only peer reviewed publications (journal articles). It was seen as a moral imperative that if the tax payer pays, the tax payer should be able to access the research.

The main recommendation of the working group was a mixed economy between subscription journals and ‘author pays’ for foreseeable future. The balance should shift over time. The Finch report did not say that we should immediately move to gold open access, simply that policy should be set in this direction. It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

It was envisaged that University presses will have an increasing role in the future. The transition should be gradual to avoid destabilisation. Disciplines will have to move at different speeds to accommodate these changes. Positive engagement is needed, particularly in the Arts & Humanities.

Paul Hubbard (Head of Research Policy, HEFCE)
Academic publishing is at a crossroads. In the print age the subscription journal had an important role to play but it is no longer necessary.  The business model will have to change. HEFCE are very keen on institutional repositories because they ensure sustainability and cement the notion that it is the job of the research community to look after their output.

It was suggested that for REF 2020 items should be as freely available as possible, with regard to practical constraints and to requirements and policies of other research funders. Considerations for REF 2020 would include the format of the text and the level of open access (likely to be gold). Due time would have to be allowed for compliance, monitoring and verification. It was emphasized that none of this had implications for REF 2014.

Charlotte Waelde (Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Exeter)
It was hoped that copyright would play a small but key part in the open access landscape, but in fact it has no part. The law of copyright is not an impediment to the Finch implementations. But attribution is still vital as is respecting the integrity of the work. It was deemed vital to get the chain of permissions correct so third parties can use with confidence. CC BY is suggested as the best Creative Commons licence to use in the Finch report. CC BY means that credit is required for the author, moral rights are not affected, and the content can be shared, remixed, and used commercially. This enables broadest possible use by third parties.

Jude England (Head of Social Sciences, The British Library)
She discussed the implications of Finch for libraries but emphasized that the Finch report sits within the changing information landscape. The focus of her talk was on libraries of the future and what they will need to do to adapt. The role of libraries has changed, as has the physical appearance. There is now more collaborative space, longer opening hours, and more electronic provision. In terms of the growing areas of data management, rights and permissions management, and open access, it was crucial that libraries should provide training for staff and students in what all of this means.

The speed of transition from print to digital was discussed and it was suggested that by 2017 no print-only journals would exist and only a small percentage would exist in parallel with digital editions. How will libraries cope with the huge digital storage requirements?

Open Access was viewed as eventually resolving the issues of access, permissions, authentication barriers, subscriptions etc. that libraries always have to think about. In an open access future librarians would need to advise and help with discoverability. It was envisaged that OA would reduce the importance of libraries in developing institutional collections but increase role of managing the institutional repository. Libraries would increasingly need to work together to share functions and resources. Librarians would play a significant role in helping students understand the new landscape.

Lynne Brindley (Former Chief Executive, The British Library)
The Finch report was described as a ‘tour de force’ and praised for raising consciousness of open access. It was acknowledged that the path to implementation was contestable and that it was vital to make the transition without imploding the system.

Gold OA means that publishers receive the revenues from authors rather than those who read the articles. Research articles are freely accessible and conditions around reuse are minimal.

Green OA is seen as the only true route for many OA advocates. Articles in post-print version are made available in institutional repositories subject to embargoes.

How does this apply to arts and humanities? The focus of Finch was journal articles but they do not represent the highest volume of research output for the arts and humanities. Research monographs must be included in the wider debate, as must the peer review process.

Lynne discussed four key areas:
1.    Institutional publication funds. How is the mechanism for allocation going to work in the individual university? Who is going to decide and how transparent will this process be? Will the library budget be raided?
2.    Learned societies. If the subscription model goes, what happens to the other activities of the society? They would need adequate time for adjustment.
3.    Big commercial publishers. Does the Finch report hand publishers victory on a plate? Will we be paying twice? Paying journals up front (APCs) feels like a defeat for green OA advocates.
4.    Libraries. Opportunities and threats. They have long played a role in licence negotiations and are now involved in institutional repositories. How sustainable will repositories be in the new environment? Services will have to develop to support the publication fund.

She concluded by saying that it is disappointing that there is no implementation plan because the report has given an impetus to progress. A more extended period for awareness raising would be ideal.

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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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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.

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DataCite and the Research Data Challenge

Posted by gazjjohnson on 30 May, 2012

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

Data Citation

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

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

What is DataCite?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges Around Managing Research Data

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

Conclusion

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

Further reading

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

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LRA Top 10 Items (April 2012)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 9 May, 2012

Here are the most heavily accessed records on the LRA for the month of April 2012. A mix of old and new items as always.

  1. Mobile technologies and learning (Naismith, Laura et al)
     

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LRA – Most accessed items March 2012

Posted by gazjjohnson on 2 April, 2012

As usual here are the most popular items on LRA last month.

  1. Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa (Ndako, Umar Bida)
  2. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths (Sim, Chow Yen Desmond)
  3. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard)
  4. Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care (Pitchforth, Emma et al)
  5. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ (Madge, Clare et al) 
  6. Pragmatic randomized trial of antenatal intervention to prevent post-natal depression by reducing psychosocial risk factors (Brugha, Traolach S. et al) 
  7. The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double-edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas (Mercer, Justine) 
  8. An efficient and effective system for interactive student feedback using Google+ to enhance an institutional virtual learning environment (Cann, Alan James) 
  9. The Development of Nurture Groups in Secondary Schools (Colley, David Rodway) 
  10. Mobile technologies and learning (Naismith, Laura et al)

Don’t forget if your research publications are on LRA, that they can be accessed by anyone in the world, unlike those behind publisher paywalls.  Simply by sharing the unique identifier (handle) in an email list, on webpage or via social networks you will find that your access rates and citations should climb yet further.

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Deposit to LRA now via IRIS

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 January, 2012

As many readers will be aware over the past year the LRA team has been working with the Research Office and ITS to integrate Leicester Research Archive more closely with central systems; in particular the IRIS research information management platform.  As of late December this has now gone live – which means all non-thesis deposits of publications now need to go via IRIS; rather than being emailed to the LRA team as in the past.

Hopefully this will make it much easier for authors to check what they have/haven’t deposited as of yet; as well as for the LRA team too.  There is a guide to the process available from the Library webpages, which we’ll be updating over the coming weeks with answers to any FAQs that we receive.

If you do have any particular questions – either comment here or drop a line to me or my team and we’ll do our best to answer!

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Top LRA Items for November 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 5 December, 2011

Here are the most accessed items on the LRA in November 2011

  1. Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa Ndako, Umar Bida
  2. High Performance Work Practices: Work Intensification or ‘Win-win’? Sparham, Eimer et al
  3. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths Sim, Chow Yen Desmond
  4. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change Sandell, Richard
  5. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ Madge, Clare et al
  6. Ethics and Plagiarism – helping undergraduates write right Willmott, Christopher J.R. et al
  7. Introducing undergraduate students to scientific reports Willmott, Christopher J.R. et al
  8. The List of Threatening Experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat Brugha, Traolach S. et al
  9. Measuring the efficiency of European airlines: an application of DEA and Tobit Analysis Fethi, Meryem Duygun et al
  10. Optimal Number of Response Categories in Rating Scales: Reliability, Validity, Discriminating Power, and Respondent Preferences Preston, Carolyn C. et al

An interesting split with the top half of the table being mainstays from recent months, but with the lower half all being new materials. Notably the articles by Chris Willmott (et al) had been actively marketed by the academic this month, with links back to the LRA as the primary access route. Notably, fewer theses than in recent months are also seen in the table.

Don’t forget you can follow all the new additions to the LRA on twitter – UoLLRA.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

DREaMing of a Library and Information Science research network

Posted by katiefraser on 1 November, 2011

Last week I attended the first workshop of the AHRC-funded DREaM project. DREaM stands for ‘Developing Research Excellence and Methods’ and the project aims to create a network of Library and Information Science researchers across the UK. As an academic librarian with a research background I’m very enthusiastic about the potential for research to improve our practice, and I was delighted to be given a new professional’s travel bursary by the DREaM project, and to have my attendance supported by the Library. In return for my support from Leicester, I’ve been asked to think about how the methods discussed in each workshop might contribute to better understanding the community our academic library serves, and improving our services.

The DREaM workshops are being very thoroughly documented by the team running them: both slides and videos of the presentations are available at the Workshop 1 webpage. I’ll link to, rather than replicate, that content, and focus on my personal thoughts about each method from my own practitioner-researcher perspective.

Introduction to ethnography – Dr Paul Lynch
Ethnography is an approach used to understand culture, usually through immersion within that culture. Better understanding the culture of academic library users, students and staff, is clearly key to improving our service. My MA Librarianship dissertation used ethnographic interviews to look at how students viewed and understood library space, and I think there’s a lot more to be done on understanding how students use and want to use libraries.

In the workshop, Paul Lynch discussed the dual role of the ethnographer – as insider (participant in a culture) and outsider (observer of a culture). I suspect my ability to produce an ethnography of library users is limited by my increased distance from both student and academic roles, so this method may be out for me.

Introduction to social network analysis – Dr Louise Cooke
Social network analysis looks at the networks which exist within groups, and patterns in links between individuals, by asking members of a group to report on their own relationships. During the workshop I could immediately see the relevance of this method to my own work: a major part of my role is acting as liaison between the Library and academic departments, and recording the existence and nature of links between librarians and academic staff would be absolutely fascinating.

I could never use this method with my own departmental contacts: asking individuals to report on their relationships with yourself would be ethically unsound (and probably produce inaccurate results!) However, there is clearly potential to apply this technique elsewhere within the university: perhaps looking at networks between librarians, other academic support staff, and lecturer / researchers within one of the Colleges I don’t directly support.

Introduction to discourse analysis – Professor Andy McKinlay
Discourse analysis is a technique for analysing gathered data, rather than a method for gathering data itself. It involves analysis of what people say (or write) through understanding of the context in which it is said: the social norms embedded in that context, and how language is used to construct a way of seeing the world.

There’s clearly expectations, norms and values implicit in how users talk about the Library. One of the most common comments at from students walking into the David Wilson for the first time is ‘Where are all the books?’ I think that one sentence (and all its implicit assumptions about libraries) could keep a discourse analyst going for days! I could see focus groups, or even analysis of how students describe the Library to each other, on- and off-line, as a really useful way to surface these concepts, and work with, or think about changing them.

Unconference and ethics discussion
The workshop also included bonus research-related sections. In the middle of the day, an unconference session encouraged us to discuss what we wished: I outed myself as a methodological pluralist (i.e. one who believes there is no one best method for studying the world, and has dabbled in several!) and learned about the research interests and priorities of others in our emerging network. At the end of the day, Professor Charles Oppenheim led a section in which we debated ethics in a number of research-related scenarios.

Both these additional sessions really got me thinking about my role as a practitioner-researcher. There are a limited number of participants with dual roles in the DREaM network, but plenty of participants who have been on both sides of the divide at different times in their careers. I think there are lots of interesting discussions to be had about how practitioners use and carry out research, and I look forward to these workshops starting a few. Perhaps we can even kick off here: I’d be pleased to get feedback on some of my suggestions so far…

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