Collaborative research support in forestry

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Presentation by Roger Mills (Oxford University Library) at the IAALD 2010 World Congress - 26-29 April 2010, Montpellier, France

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Collaborative research support in forestry

  1. 1. Collaborative research support in forestry Roger MILLS Oxford University Library Services, United Kingdom
  2. 2. Challenge: It’s all on the web <ul><li>Oh no it isn’t </li></ul><ul><li>Older material may be vital in forestry </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries have preserved it </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries are being shut as current material online </li></ul><ul><li>What about the old stuff? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Foresters: information literate <ul><li>Bibliographic control central to IUFRO from late 19 th century </li></ul><ul><li>Information still a separate IUFRO group </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford took on role of storing world literature and CABI of abstracting it, from 1930’s to date </li></ul>
  4. 4. Long time series important <ul><li>Eg in climate change research </li></ul><ul><li>Modern data in vast quantities; older comparable data exists in many forms </li></ul><ul><li>Librarian detectives needed to unearth it </li></ul><ul><li>Then it needs processing </li></ul>
  5. 5. Librarian’s Nirvana <ul><li>Universal Bibliographic Control </li></ul><ul><li>Someone, somewhere keeps a copy of everything </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone knows what everyone’s got </li></ul><ul><li>Is it do-able? Is it necessary? </li></ul>
  6. 6. It will all be on the web <ul><li>Or if it’s not, no-one will ever read it </li></ul><ul><li>$$$$ problem: digitization diverts money from libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Digitization kills libraries? </li></ul>
  7. 7. A few problems to solve first <ul><li>Got an iPad? Currently 26 different e-book formats in use – no device can read more than a few </li></ul><ul><li>So I’ll only read what my device can show me </li></ul><ul><li>I’ll share my thoughts by e-mail or social media </li></ul><ul><li>No-one will keep a record </li></ul><ul><li>The new dark ages? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Time to stand up and be counted <ul><li>Improve communication / networking </li></ul><ul><li>Raise awareness of disappearing collections </li></ul><ul><li>Raise awareness of why it matters </li></ul><ul><li>Help each other, globally </li></ul>
  9. 9. World Forestry Congress <ul><li>Buenos Aires Oct 09: </li></ul><ul><li>Create mechanisms to capture local and community knowledge as an information resource to enrich global forest knowledge and potentially improve decision making and science </li></ul><ul><li>Establish an informal forum for continuing discussion of improved global forest information networks and advocacy for the critical importance of forestry information and its adequate funding </li></ul><ul><li>Identify effective leaders to explore practical solutions to encourage the building of sustainable global and regional networks. </li></ul><ul><li>Generate proposals for formal discussion at regional and international levels. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Who are the forestry librarians? <ul><li>143 centres listed in 2003 IUFRO directory </li></ul><ul><li>Mergers/closures/name changes abound </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Forestry’ disappears from job titles </li></ul><ul><li>If you deal with forestry, please tell me before you leave! </li></ul>
  11. 11. Evidence Based Research <ul><li>Growing interest / requirement to ensure new research recognises old research and addresses questions that really need to be answered </li></ul><ul><li>Needs evidence – so we mustn’t throw it out </li></ul>
  12. 12. In other subjects <ul><li>Medicine: Cochrane Collaboration (Oxford), 1993- </li></ul><ul><li>Social Science: Cambell Collaboration, (USA), 2000- </li></ul><ul><li>Environment: Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (Bangor), 2007- </li></ul>
  13. 13. 9 key principles in common <ul><li>Collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Quality control </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance </li></ul><ul><li>Minimising bias </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding duplication </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping up to date </li></ul><ul><li>Building on the enthusiasm of individuals </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting access </li></ul><ul><li>Continuity </li></ul>
  14. 14. Systematic reviews central <ul><li>Defining an answerable question </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic searching for studies </li></ul><ul><li>Obtaining and reading studies </li></ul><ul><li>Organising studies by methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Critical appraisal and sifting of studies </li></ul><ul><li>Data extraction </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis of data </li></ul><ul><li>Summary answers to questions asked </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for policy, practice and further research </li></ul>
  15. 15. Reviews must be <ul><li>Replicable </li></ul><ul><li>Transparent </li></ul><ul><li>Unbiased </li></ul><ul><li>Published </li></ul><ul><li>Accessible to anyone </li></ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul>
  16. 16. Libraries & Evidenced-based forestry <ul><li>network of review groups </li></ul><ul><li>network for libraries </li></ul><ul><li>openly accessible library of review outputs </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Literature base </li></ul><ul><li>C ollaboration </li></ul>
  17. 17. Tomorrow’s librarian <ul><li>Key player in research cycle </li></ul><ul><li>Data archaeologist </li></ul><ul><li>Archivist </li></ul><ul><li>Data manager </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborator </li></ul>
  18. 18. But first <ul><li>Halt the loss of historical source material </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate its value </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstrate our value </li></ul><ul><li>or…. </li></ul><ul><li>There will be no tomorrow! </li></ul>
  19. 19. Keep talking! <ul><li>Networking is fun… </li></ul>
  20. 20. The Global Forest Information Service on thin ice…

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