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Confessions of an ex-librarian: research support across divisional borders


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Recounts the personal experience of developing research support services at an academic library

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Confessions of an ex-librarian: research support across divisional borders

  1. 1. | 0 A research affair: confessi♥ns of an ex-librarian Lucia Schoombee, Former librarian and Customer Consultant: Research Intelligence Solutions (Elsevier); SARIMA Workshop, Pretoria, 26 Augustus 2014
  2. 2. | 1 Contents 1st stage: Getting acquainted 2nd stage: Pursuit 3rd stage: Commitment 4th stage: Disillusionment 5th stage: Finding the balance
  3. 3. | 2 1st stage: Getting acquainted Characterised by introduction; awakening, awareness and kindredness Two important factors: • The role of the Carnegie Research Libraries Consortium (RLC) Project (2006-2012) • Professional / academic literature
  4. 4. | 3 Research Libraries Consortium Four components: • Research portal • Research Commons • Library staff development • Digitisation Each component a clue in determining the parameters for advancing scholarship
  5. 5. | 4 Benefits of the RLC • Improve understanding of the research process • Emphasise importance of communication between researchers and librarians • Emphasise the importance of subject expertise • Create enthusiasm and confidence • But, lacked skills transfer; disconnect between attendees and management; US vastly different context; abrupt end
  6. 6. | 5 Professional Literature
  7. 7. | 6 Academic Literature
  8. 8. | 7 2nd stage: Pursuit Characterized by the exploring of prospects; contemplation of possibilities and delving into mutualities Important factors: • Global change agents • New modes of research • “New Science” • Socio-political imperative • National and institutional research agendas • New funding model
  9. 9. | 8 Global forces • Changing technologies • Abundant digital information • Increased understanding users • Evolving research methods • Scholarly communication
  10. 10. | 9 New modes of research • Different conceptual schools • Well-known models include: • Dr. Michael Gibbons’ New Production of Knowledge Mode 2 (1994) • Drs. Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff Triple Helix (1998)
  11. 11. | 10 New science • Problem-orientated • Application-based • Team-driven, partnership-based • Multi-disciplinary, Interdisciplinary Transdisciplinary • Heterogeneous, multi-cited • Awareness of impact • Social useful • Beyond peer-review
  12. 12. | 11 Socio-economic impetus “…higher education and research contribute to the eradication of poverty, to sustainable development and to progress towards reaching the internationally agreed upon development goals, which include the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA)” 2009 World Conference on Higher Education: The New Dynamics of Higher Education and Research For Societal Change and Development (UNESCO, Paris, 5 – 8 July 2009)
  13. 13. | 12 National Imperative Goals include: • Increased targets for high publication output rate • Increased enrolment in science, engineering and technology • Increased enrollment Masters and doctoral enrolments • Increase number of HE permanent staff with doctoral degrees Pertinent documents: •1997 White Paper on Higher Education Transformation •2001 National Plan for Higher Education •2012 Green paper for post-school education and training •2012 National Planning Commission – Vision 2030
  14. 14. | 13 New funding model / world rankings • Ministry of Higher Education and Training's (MHET) , 2004 • New funding framework (NFF): (a)actual totals of research graduates and research publication units for the year (b)total research outputs • Academic ranking of world universities heavily based on research output / citations / postgraduates / PhD’s etc.
  15. 15. | 14 Institutional agendas • Decrease ratio between undergrad and postgrad • Increase through-put rate • Halve the completion time of masters & doctoral • Increase numbers of PhDs • Increase research output • Increase ratio of staff with PhD
  16. 16. | 15 3rd stage: Commitment Characterised by a decision to be together; defining boundaries and establishing communication and behaviour patterns Important factors: • The research life cycle • New models of service delivery (from pre-publication to post-publication services)
  17. 17. | 16 16 Research life cycle Prepare Gather Research life Create Preserve Measure Share cycle
  18. 18. | 17 17 Prepare Gather Create Preserve Measure Prepare • Background reading/ looking for ideas • Deciding on a topic Share • Formulating a research question • Securing funding • Planning the project • Identifying skills deficits & planning for workshops Library response, e.g. • Redesign orientation programmes to match research steps • Make available referral information for each research step e.g. where to find funding info; other workshops on camps • Scival Spotlight used to show research trends – students looking for topic
  19. 19. | 18 Prepare Gather Create Preserve Measure Share • Literature review • Research design • Research method • Research proposal • Ethical compliance • Data collection Library response, e.g.: • Expand workshop portfolio (advanced, different formats, finding open data etc.) • Expand and promote literature about research steps 18 Gather
  20. 20. | 19 Prepare Gather Create Preserve Measure Share • Data analysis •Writing • Edit/proofreading • Bibliographic management • Comply with copyright & plagiarism Library response: • Partner with Statistical Consultation Centre, Writing lab • Introduce new reference managers e.g Mendeley • Promote colloboration – video conferencing, spaces • Promote academic networking sites e.g Mendeley • Relevant workshops 19 Create
  21. 21. | 20 Prepare Gather Create Preserve Measure Share • Managing and preserving research output and data • Research outputs • Research data Library response, e.g.: • Institutional repository • Mandatory self-archiving of research output • Research Data Management 20 Preserve
  22. 22. | 21 Prepare Gather Create Preserve Measure Share • Publication in books • Publication in traditional journals • Open access publishing • Conference papers • Publication in social media Library response: • New workshops – Where to publish ; choosing the right journal; Open Access vs Commercial publishing, etc. • Open Access funds 21 Share
  23. 23. | 22 Prepare Gather Create • Evaluating impact; showcasing; motivating for funding, looking for collaborators) • Determine journal impact • Profiling to increase visibility • NRF ranking applications Library response: • Guides and workshops on citation analysis, h-index, Preserve Measure Share impact factors; altmetrics, impact factor. • Services to provide metrics about journal impact, article level impact and author level impact 22 Measure
  24. 24. | 23 New paradigms of service delivery
  25. 25. | 24 4th stage: Disillusionment Characterized by conflict, power struggle, challenges and transgressions Important factors: • Defining “research librarianship” - opposing views of colleagues • Overlap in roles of stakeholders • Understanding user needs
  26. 26. | 25 Defining “research librarianship” • Focused on advanced subject searches for postgraduates and researchers? • Focused on postgraduates and researchers per se across entire research life cycle? • Focused on post-publications services e.g. research performance measurement? • Primary contact for research office and other researcher-specific matters in an institution? • Subject librarian vs Research Librarian (where are the boundaries?)
  27. 27. | 26 Centre for Student Counselling and Development Writing lab Postgraduate & International Office Innovation Division African Doctoral Academy Graduate Schools per Faculty Research Development Library CREST IT Division Various stakeholders Institutional Planning Technology Transfer Office
  28. 28. | 27 Understanding user needs • “It’s almost impossible to find out what [researchers] want” (RIN & RLUK, 2007) • “It’s easy – they want to do their research, read and write about it, share it with others, and keep up in their fields! (Foster & Gibbons, 2005)
  29. 29. | 28 Obstacles in the research process The Curious Instance of the Library's Travelling Poll: Determining Obstacles in the Research Process. 2014 IATUL Proceedings
  30. 30. | 29 5th stage: Finding the balance Characterized by acceptance, respect and contentment Important factors: • Acknowledge and accept • Demarcate and remove bias • Partner and collaborate • Communicate • Empower yourself and one another (Using the right tools, correctly)
  31. 31. | 30 Acknowledge and accept • Enough evidence exists to indicate that a new service paradigm is required to address transformation related to socio-economic expectations; global changes in science practice and national/institutional objectives
  32. 32. | 31 Demarcate and remove bias • “Research librarian” = misnomer. Means too many things to too many people • Not a specific role but rather a strategic approach underlying various roles • Not superior to teaching-related activities
  33. 33. | 32 Collaborate and partner • “Advancing scholarship” has many stakeholders • Library central and neutral - presents unique position to facilitate integrated service experience for users • E.g. expose funding opportunities; provide career-related information; create awareness for mentorship programmes; host industry talks and soft skills workshops; and provide opportunities for young scientists to create support structures among themselves.
  34. 34. | 33 Communicate • Create forums among library staff; among stakeholders; with researchers and research groups • Survey users; conduct focus groups; listen to users and what they are asking
  35. 35. | 34 Empower yourself and the user • Use the right tools correctly!
  36. 36. | 35 Bibliography References • Borchert, M., & Young, J. (2010). Coordinated research support services at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Paper presented at the IATUL 2010 Conference on June 22, 2010, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.Retrieved from: • Brandt, D. S. (2007). Librarians as partners in e-research Purdue University Libraries promote collaboration. College & Research Libraries News, 68(6), 365-396. Retrieved from: • Brown, S., & Swan, A. (2007). Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services: a report commissioned by the Research Information Network and the Consortium of Research Libraries. Retrieved from • Brown, D., & Dumouchel, B. (2007). Understanding user behaviour and its metrics. Information Services and Use, 27(1), 3-34. Retrieved from • Covert-Vail, L., & Collard, S. (2012). New roles for new times: Research library services for graduate students. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved from 20december.pdf • Foster, N. F. & Gibbons, S. (2005). Understanding Faculty to Improve Content Recruitment for Institutional Repositories. D-Lib Magazine 11(1). Available from
  37. 37. | 36 • JISC. (2014). Research lifecycle diagram. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from • Kearney, M. & Lincoln, D. (2013). Research universities: networking the knowledge economy. Studies in higher education, 38(3), 313-315 • Kruger, H. (2013). The curious instance of the travelling interactive visual poll. Unpublished feedback presented at the Stellenbosch University Research Support Forum on 30 October 2013 • Mamtora, J. (2013). Transforming library research services: towards a collaborative partnership. Library Management, 34(4/5). Retrieved from: http:/ • Monroe-Gulick, A., O'Brien, M., & White, G. W. (2013). Librarians as Partners: Moving from Research Supporters to Research Partners. Paper presented at the ACRL 2013 Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 10-13, 2013. Retrieved from: OBrienWhite_Librarians.pdf • A multi-dimensional framework for Academic Support: a final report. (2006). Retrieved January 25, 2014, from Framework_Final_Report.pdf • New to research. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2014, from • OCLC Research. (2011). Support for Research Workflows. Retrieved from:
  38. 38. | 37 • Parker, R. (2012). What the library did next: strengthening our visibility in research support [Electronic]. Unpublished paper delivered at the VALA 2012 16th Biennial Conference and Exhibition. Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from: support • Patel, M. ( 2011). I2S2 Idealised Scientific Research Activity Lifecycle Model. Retrieved January 25, 2014 from • Radar, H. (2002). Managing academic and research libraries partnerships. Library Management, 23(4/5), 187-191. • Raju, R., & Schoombee, L. (2013). Research support through the lens of transformation in academic libraries with reference to the case of Stellenbosch University Libraries. South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 79(2), 27-38. Retrieved from: • Research Information Network (RIN) & Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL). (2007). Researchers’ use of academic libraries and their services. Retrieved from: • Simons, A., Ke, I. & Wallace, L. (2013). From the Outside In : Using Environmental Scanning for Evidence-based Planning. Paper presented at the ACRL 2013 Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 10-13, 2013. Retrieved from: sKeWallace_FromOutside.pdf
  39. 39. | 38 • Soehner, C., Steeves, C., & Ward, J. (2010). E-Science and Data Support Services: A Study of ARL Member Institutions. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved from • South African Department of Education. (1997). Programme for the Transformation of Higher Education. Retrieved from: tation_National/Education%20White%20Paper%203.html • South African Ministry of Higher Education and Training. (2003). New Funding Framework (NFF). • South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS). (2012). The research experience of young scientists in South Africa. Pretoria: SAYAS. Retrieved from: uploads/2013/11/24-Oct-Ver2-K-11038-ASSAF-SAYAS-Report_DevV11.pdf • Stebelman, S., Siggins, J., Nutty, D., & Long, C. (1999). Improving library relations with the faculty and university administrators: the role of the faculty outreach librarian. College & Research Libraries, 60(2), 121-130. Retrieved from • Stellenbosch University. (2000). A strategic framework for the turn of the century and beyond. Retrieved from ocs/statengels.pdf • Stellenbosch University. (2008). Research Report of Stellenbosch University. Retrieved from • Stellenbosch University. (2013). Research and Innovation. Retrieved from
  40. 40. | 39 • Stokker, J. (2008). eResearch: access and support to university researchers. Paper presented at the 29th IATUL Annual Conference at AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand April 2008. Retrieved from: • Strong, G. E. (2012). Transforming the academic library for the future. Chinese Journal Of Library And Information Science, 5(4):1-8. Retrieved from: • Vaughan, K. T. L., Hayes, B. E., Lerner, R. C., McElfresh, K. R., Pavlech, L., Romito, D., ... & Morris, E. N. (2013). Development of the research lifecycle model for library services. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 101(4). Retrieved from • Wang, M. (1997). Academic Library, e-Science/e-Research, and Data Services in a Broader Context. Paper presented at the ACRL 2013 Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 10-13, 2013. Retrieved from: _AcademicLibrary.pdf • Wiklund, G., & Voog, H. (2013). It takes two to tango–making way for relevant research support services at Lund University Libraries (LUB). ScieCom Info, 9(1). Retrieved from:
  41. 41. Thank you! Dankie!