Research Commons @ Stellenbosch University presented at RLC Academy, Mont Fleur 2011


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  • As with all the Research Commons’ at the various Universities it is important to note that it is part of a bigger picture. We call this big picture “the research moment”.The current research moment is determined by three factors:1. Firstly, on National level there is National System of innovation in South Africa and the Department of Science and Technology’s Ten Year Innovation Plan (2008-2018).Both documents are based on the premise that there is a link between research production and wealth.Within this context, Universities are seen a playing an extremely important role in developing innovation skills through research output and student throughput. 2. The second factor refers to huge targets which have been set for Universities in terms of numbers of PhD’s, number of publications, student throughput, etc.3. The third factor refers to the emergence of a new mode of research:More interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, transdiscipliniary, solution-based. Research is increasingly focused on finding solutions for social and environmental issues.More collaborative – more focus on sharing and communicating researchAll these factors have resulted in the fact that Universities and University libraries can no longer function as they always did. New services are needed to comply with national and institutional needs
  • At theUniv of Stellenbosch the creation of the Research Commons has therefore been done along other services which together form a suite of services which enrich the general services we have always rendered.Institutional repositoryFirstly, there has been the development of an institutional repository - A Library initiative taken in 2008 to organise the University’s output of theses and dissertations in a digital repository has grown exponentially into a much bigger repository called SUNScholar. The repository now accepts a range of materials including published journal articles by Stellenbosch University authors and is underpinned by a philosophy of free and open sharing of the University’s research output with the rest of the country, continent and the world. Online Journal PublishingVenturing into unchartered territory, the Library, working with academic departments, has begun publishing scholarly journals using the open source software, Open Journals System (OJS). In venturing down this road, the University has become the first academic institution in South Africa, and on the continent, to offer its academic staff the opportunity to publish their research output using an open source publishing platform. Eight journals formed part of the pilot projectResearch Performance ManagementThe Library has also been instrumental in implementing performance evaluation tools which support managing institutional performance and identification of opportunities for facilitating research and collaborative partnerships Elsevier Partnershipincreased access to key, peer-reviewed scholarly journals and electronic books and included writing workshops, career guidance for researchers and search strategy training.
  • Getting back to the Research CommonsWe have very specifically aligned the Research Commons goals with institutional goalsTo provide a high-level research facilityFor exclusive use by masters and doctoral studentsWhich will empower / facilitate researchWith the aim to increase student through-putAnd enhance research outputHow: by following an holistic approach which combines space, services, facilities, skills development, social & emotional support and has a strong virtual arm.
  • Spaces (carousels, discussion rooms, lounge, white boardsEquipment (laptops, video conferencing)Utilities (wireless, lockers, printing, photocopying, scanning, coffee)Reference collection: Research methodology, Scientific writing skills, Reference techniques, Dictionaries
  • VIP LoungeHigh class finishes – expression of respect and value of researchersStyle: Afro Chic “African style meets couture with elegant feathers, detailed textiles, bold shapes, and refined colour”Indigenous South African designs, furniture and fabric
  • Artwork has been chosen to provide inspirationWinter, Spring, and Rain - Larry Scully (1922-2002)How do I know - Renee le RouxRasputin's Blue Roses - Christo CoetzeeAfrican Sentinel - Sculpture by Eduardo Villa (1915-2011)
  • The staffing model is aimed at developing specialised research librarians who are skilled in matters such as: Research process, Referencing, Bibliographic tools, Technical specifications for theses writing, MS Word, Adobe, Latex, Sourcing information from different support units (Writing Lab, Statistical analysis, Research Office, etc.),BibliometricsThis overlaps with subject librarians who share these skills however are more focused on information retrieval, liaison with faculties, training and teaching and general subject reference.The Research Assistants are based on a model of peer-assistants and moving toward mentorshipAn important aspect of the staffing model is that it encourages ownership and relationship building in the Research Commons
  • A fundamental element of the RC is that it aims to bring together resources which are scattered over the UniversityTo this effect we aim to implement a system of consultations facilitated by an online booking systemService units with whom we want to partner are within the Library such as Faculty Librarians, Institutional RepositoryAnd beyond:Writing CentreCentre for Statistical AnalysisCentre for Student CounsellingHigh Computing CentreResearch OfficePostgraduate & International Office
  • The Research Commons at Washington University is most recognizable by its large open spaces and white boards.The space contains only movable chairs and tables, some lounge seats are also movable. Lots of partially walled off spaces including: project showcase and meeting space, small group meeting space, presentation practice area, collaborative computing area, group research with plasma, a presentation area, and a few nooks off to the side. Mobile screens and white boards can quickly rejustify the spaceSmartboards, Photocopier, Scanner, Printer, Plotter1 Information DeskSUPPORT FOR ALL STEPS OF THE RESEARCH PROCESS: Searching, writing, publishing, fundingAn important feature of the center is the Workshops it offers: WORKSHOPS topics include:• Intellectual integrity• Publishing• Preparing for poster sessions• Media literacy• Writing funding proposal• How to conduct research. O A PLACE TO DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PEERS AND COLLEAGUES ARE RESEARCHING
  • Target Population: Senior students and Faculty Location 4th and 5th floor of Bobst LibraryVariety of seating: Individual Seating, Infrastack Seating, Quiet Reading Room Seating, seating at a Seating “bar” overlooking a balcony Description of Rooms: Lots of light and many individualized spots, quiet reading room and two collaborative rooms, data services room + lounge. Computers: 20 regular computers and 36 computers with “advanced” software SoftwareOther Services: Classes and workshops on copyright, publishing, preparing for poster sessions, media literacy, grant writing, and how to conduct research. Grant Funding office relocated to the premises
  • Name: Faculty CommonsTarget Population: Faculty Description: Movable comfortable lounge chairs and tables with office chair seating. Seating Description:Large central room with tables and lounge areas. Peripheral rooms include the Center for Academic Technology, the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Center for Writing Excellence and Media Production. The atmosphere is more like a faculty club lounge. Technology-enabled seminar rooms are available.A classroom for presentations and training is available. Large screen to display faculty research. Technology Hardware: A limited amount of terminals. Emphasis on faculty’s own laptops and mobile devices. Software: standard library software Other Services Reserves: ILL, assistance with Blackboard LMS, Grant-writing, statistical assistance.
  • Name Research CommonsTarget Population Undergraduate, Graduate, FacultyDescription Movable seating for 200 people in large and small groups with adjustable enclaves,sound dampening, and work areas configured around display screens.Description of Rooms An instructional space for 20, flexible 6-8 person group study rooms equipped for computers (must be reserved), presentation and board rooms, and a future conference centre.Description of Digital humanities collaboration and demonstration area.Display Areas orTechnologyHardware Display screens at some work areasReference desk near entrance and a consultation area for meetings with subject specialists or group projects.Print Materials in YesOther Services None
  • My experience in working in the RC the past five months have been: Exciting and stimulatingChallengeLearning curvePioneer workRewardingRLC contribution National / institutional research agenda’sResearcher’s world Research processExposure to US LibrariesVery helpful indeed it created a foundation and a certain amount of insight which I could and still build on.
  • Research Commons @ Stellenbosch University presented at RLC Academy, Mont Fleur 2011

    1. 1. Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service RESEARCH COMMONS Lucia Schoombee 20 October 2011, Mont Fleur
    2. 2. Agenda • • • • • • • • Timeline Big picture Part of a suite of services Mission and goals Four pillars (Facility, Assistance, Partnership, Events) Feedback (Comments, Focus group) New initiatives Surfing the USA 2
    3. 3. Timeline • • • • SU joins the RLC - 2009 Construction completed – Jan 2011 Soft opening – 16 March 2011 Official opening – 9 March 2011
    4. 4. Big picture • National level o National System of innovation in South Africa o DST’S Ten Year Innovation Plan (2008-2018) • Institutional level o Huge targets • New modes of research o Interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, transdiscipliniar y, Solution-based o Collaborative – more focus on sharing and communicating research
    5. 5. Part of a suite of services • Institutional repository • Online journal publishing • Research Performance Management • Scival Spotlight, etc • Elsevier Partnership • Author workshops etc • Division for Research Support • Information Services (Faculty Librarians)
    6. 6. Mission and goals • • • • • • • Aligned with institutional goals High-level research facility Exclusive use by masters and doctoral Empower research Increase student through-put Enhance research output Holistic approach
    7. 7. Facility • • • • • Spaces Equipment Utilities Hours Reference collection
    8. 8. Style
    9. 9. Inspiration
    10. 10. Assistance – Staffing model Senior librarian • RLC Academy participant, 2010 • USA Intern 2011 Librarian • RLC Academy participant, 2010 Peer-assistance • Six masters and doctoral students with research experience
    11. 11. Assistance - aims Specialised Research Librarians • Research process • Referencing • Bibliographic tools • Technical specifications for theses writing • MS Word, Adobe, Latex • Sourcing information from different support units (Writing Lab, Statistical analysis, Research Office, etc.) • Bibliometrics Relationship building
    12. 12. Assistance - virtual Research Commons website • News, services, facilities • Online bookings for training events • Online calendar • Postgraduate portal • Library Research Portal • Useful links
    13. 13. Partnership Consultations • Within the Library and beyond Partners • Writing Centre • Centre for Statistical Analysis • Centre for Student Counselling • High Computing Centre • Research Office • Postgraduate & International Office
    14. 14. Events - workshops • • • • • • • Using Google effectively Practical copyright Tools to stay current in your field Sharing large files Finding legislation in your discipline Finding government statistic Finding full-text
    15. 15. Events – lecture series • Invited lectures by distinguished researchers and visiting scholars • Opportunity to share research/knowledge and inspire young researchers
    16. 16. Events – social hour • • • • • Friday 4 pm – 5.30 pm Once a term 15 min research-related talk cheese and wine Opportunity for dialogue, discussion and interaction
    17. 17. Feedback – comments • • • • • • • • • • Thank you for extra work space in separate room! The new Research Commons motivates you to come here and DO your work. Thank you! Baie dankie! Great initiative! Step up and unto the know ledge Good coffee!! Love the red couch Oh orange chair, thank you for loving my back… This place is extraordinary I LOVE the Research Commons Thank you so much for the stationary, really helpful, I LOVE this
    18. 18. Feedback – focus group • • Complements Suggestions and services required • Technical aspects of theses • Troubleshooting • Latex • Converting chapter of theses to article • Bibliographic tools – Refworks, Mendeley, Endnote, Zotero • Facebook • Notice board • Add reference books • Upgrade wifi • Do not add desks
    19. 19. Initiatives • • • • • • • iPad Newsletter Banner Touch Screen bulletin/display boards Blog Focus group discussion to solicit feedback from users Survey
    20. 20. Usage - general June – August 2011 Gate count: 14 865 Approx. 11% unique visitors (1 514) Bookings for seminar rooms: 110 Queries: approx. 15 per day Coffee consumption: 707 cups p.m. Average occupation of computer workstations: optimal
    21. 21. Usage - enquiries Average number of enquiries per day 15 • Technical (computers, printing, username/passwords, etc.) • General (Refworks, catalogue and database searches, room bookings, card access, coffee machine) • Other: translation, technical editing of thesis, reference techniques, etc.
    22. 22. University of Washington
    23. 23. New York University
    24. 24. Ohio University
    25. 25. UCLA Research Commons: a literature review by Jonathan Strang, UBC Library (2010)
    26. 26. My experience Exciting and stimulating Challenge Learning curve Pioneer work Rewarding RLC contribution • National / institutional research agenda’s • Researcher’s world • Research process • Exposure to US Libraries
    27. 27. Thank You!