What I have been asked to do, is to share briefly how we approach RS at my institution and to share some examplesAnd then, based on a survey I did recently, I will put this into a national perspective/contextAlong the way,I will try to indicate whether the services can be seen as “with-it”
An obstacle I encountered while preparing for this talk, was: “How does one know what with-it is?”As yet, there are no standards or measures available for evaluating research support services
Fortunately however there are a number of librarians who have published their RS experiences And have expanded the framework for RS substantiallyAmongst them are the speakers whom we listened to earlierOther authors include Sheila Corral, Andrew Wells, Martin Borchert, and a few more
A number of reports published by professional organisations such as:RESEARCH LIBRARIES UKARLOCLCConsortium of University Research Libraries (CURL)RESEARCH INFORMATION NETWORK and a few othersHave also contributed to how RS has evolved and what services should look like
To this effect the SCONUL research lens on information literacy (2011) is also very helpfulAll of these publications provide the framework for my understanding of “with-it” servicesHowever, I also looked around to see if I could find something really visually appealing to use as a metaphor
The most with-it thing I could see around, in fact they are all around – even in the library – are skateboardersWhy Steve appealed to me is because he is also an AvatarAs such he can be deconstructed to show different parts and layersAlso, looking at Steve, I realised that there is nothing co-incidental about Steve - every item, accessory and piece of clothing was added to his appearance purposefully.The message in this is that “with-it is hard work”, it does not happen all at once, and it consists of parts and layersTo better understand this, we will undress Steve to see what some of the building blocks are
Steve did not wake up one morning had all the gear and looked like a skateboarderSteve’s with-itness came from a philosophy – wanting to be free from societal constraintsexpress a lifestyle Have skill, technique, having a certain imageThere are all kinds of things that motivate Steve and guide his appearance and actions.
Just like Steve, RS must be guided by a plan for successAt Stellenbosch, our Strategic Plan addresses specific aspects of research support such asScholarly publication & open accessresearch performance managementpublication support2. There is also leadership - in the form of a Research Support Committee which is chaired by the head of the library. This shows significant emphasis and commitment for research support. 3. Important structure, is provided by sanctions such as: Mandatory submission of theses and dissertations and we are currently working on Mandatory self-archiving of research output.
In this slide, you will see that Steve has found himself a cool t-shirt, fashionable shoes, headphones and sliding gloves. He is certainly getting theres, but his look is still basic
At Stb Library, our cool t-shirt is ourDigital research repository, which we call SUNScholarArchives and makes available digital materials created by researchers. It includes research articles, as well as completed theses and dissertations by students of the University. Secondary research material includes inaugural addresses and presentations2. Our Research Commons represents our fashionable shoesIt’s Modern space exclusively for masters and doctoral students and academic staffIt’s a service rich environment - takes a holistic approach to research support - tries to provide a seamless service experienceThe RC presents workshops, partnerships and video-conferencing3. In general, our service model for research support is spread across a number of service divisions8 faculty librarians, 2 research support librarians, 4 branch librarians, a digital services librarian and the Repository Manager
So now Steve has some defining features and he is starting to look like a skateboarder. Note the hair style, the beanie and the loose shirt
The aspects which define our RS are :Research performance managementThe library has been bold about supporting research performance management - subscribing to SciVal Spotlight, Strata and Experts and actively promoting these tools.We also investigated innovative ways to use the RPM tools. For example, we found that SciVal Spotlight provides useful information for students looking for topics and who want to align research with institutional strengths.2. Research impact measurement is supported in a number of ways. Using metricsto support decision-making about where to publishAssistance with h-index, Journal Impact Factor, Journal Citation Reports, Limited support is provided for Altmetrics (focusing mainly on Google Scholar Metrics and Google Scholar Citations) A libguide is available with extensive information about bibliometric tools and resources3.The library established a division for digital services in 2013 has been very successful in starting to build a digital collection/library of heritage material4. Since 2012 the library has radically expanded its instruction programmefor research students and researchers: Increased citation through Open Access publicationCopyright for theses and dissertationsFinding legislation Finding data/statisticsFree, open source reference managers Sharing large files
Steve is ready to add a little signature to his image -So, he finds this really cool jiggle that makes him stand out from the crowd
The signature elements,we feel make us stand out from the crowd, include: an Open Access publishing platform for online journals (called SUNJournals)We currently host 15 online journalsWe also host an open access system for the electronic management and publication of conference proceedings (called SUNConferences)And authors are subsidised for publishing in open access journals by means of an Open Access Publication Fund to which they can apply
Another signature element is a newly created libguide based on a workshop about Where to publish your researchWhat is unique about the workshop is that it covers The Science publication processAttributes of a good journalWhere to find author guidelinesTraditional vs Open AccessAnd information about the South African subsidy systemThe workshop is presented in partnership with the Research Office
Partnerships with research support units on campus is another strengthPartnerships have led to the creation of a Research Support Forum that meet once a term: Partners include: Language CentreResearch OfficePostgraduate and International OfficeCentre for Teaching and LearningIT Community Interaction.
A skateboarder is nothing without his skateboard. So here is Steve, with his board, and he is starting to show off his moves.
Similarly, we found a vehicle to show off our moves and we call it Library Research WeekWe presented the first one this yearSome of the activities were: Talks on finding peers and building networksA group discussion on the student-supervisor relationshipA research therapy session on research -elated stress/anxietyA social event where students gave us feedback on the librarySocial Hour – A quarterly event where a distinguished researcher would give a short talk about his/her work/career in order to motivate and inspire emerging researchersIn addition libguides and instruction sessions are used as vehicles to makes researchers aware of services.
Like Steve, we are trying new things and we want to improve all the time.
One of the exciting things we’ve completed recently – is a libguide which covers the entire research process The guide focuses on resources which support each of the research stepsIt is not limited to Library resouces but includes services elsewhere on campusAnd it promotes research tools and applications.
Also exciting, is a visual survey – which we started during Library Research Weekit consists of a visual representation of the research cycle on a large pinboard So that students and staff can indicate where in the cycle they encounter obstacles. The aim is to improve services accordingly or to partner with other divisions who can address issues.
The naked truth is that we are lagging in some areas which we feel we can still improveFor instance: We do not have a research support charter/plan that speaks to the entire RS environmentWe feel that we can work on our service modelThere is also some ambiguity around the meaning/understanding of “research support” Some librarians regard research support as assisting researchers in finding information sources,While others regard it as specifically those “activities which are unique to researchers” such as measuring research impact, publication, author rights, etc.As yet, we do not make distinction between user groups (masters, phd, emerging researchers, established researcher, and supervisor are all in the same pool)We are just starting to think about research data supportThere is more that we can do to support researcher visibility and unique author identification
I referred earlier to an informal survey of research libraries services. The libraries included were Stellenbosch Univ, Wits, UCT, Rhodes, UP and UKZNI found that we were similar in most aspects of research support, While one or two libraries have established unique and more advanced services
The similar services are: Thesis & dissertation repositoryResearch output repositoryDedicated space (Research Commons)Service provided primarily by faculty/subject/liaison librariansInformation literacy instruction exists for postgraduate and researchersResearch workshops address particular needs of postgraduates and researchersDistinctive services included: A senior management positionPublication of online journalsResearch data repositorySpecialised services for bibliometrics, researchdata support, GIS, scholarly communicationPartnership with other support units on campus is also fairly uncommon.
So, are we with-it? …. I will leave that for you to decide
I think, what really matters, is that we get on with it.THANK YOU.
Are we with it: research support services at an academic library presented at LIASA Conference, 8 Oct 2013
Are we with-it?
View of a librarian
Stellenbosch University Library and
Information Service, 2013
• Stellenbosch University Library and
Information Service’s approach to
• National perspective
• Are the services “with-it”?
How do we compare?
Similar across all the
Distinctive to one / two
• Thesis & dissertation repository
• Dedicated senior management
• Research output repository
• Publication of online journals
• Dedicated space (Research Commons) • Research data repository
• Service provided primarily by
• Specialised services are provided for
bibliometrics, data support, GIS,
• Information literacy instruction exists • Partnerships exist with other research
for postgraduate and researchers
support units on campus
• Research workshops address
particular needs of postgraduates and