Divided roughly into four parts – the four big C’sContext/background (for the development of research support services)Conceptual approachComponents / building blocks Comparing
Starting with the context is very importantIn fact, we found it is the most central and KEY aspect of our RS servicesIt is essential to understand the ENVIRONMENT in order to react appropriately.
It is a worldwide phenomenon that RS is expanding and transformingAnd this comes as a reaction to major forces which have a fundamental impact on universities + librariesThe forces behind this phenomen have been at play for the last 10 -15 years:They includenew and rapidly changing technologiesan abundance of digital information in various formatsan increased understanding of how students learnevolving research methods changing practices in how scholars share their research (thinking here specifically about Open Access)
These changes have had a tremendous impact on the way research is doneChanges in the research landscape are explained by different conceptual schoolsWell-known models include: Dr. Michael Gibbons’ New Production of Knowledge - Mode 2 (1994)Drs. Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff – well known for the Triple Helix (1998)
The attributes of “new science” include:Knowledge creation is focused on solving problems (e.g. Aids research, as opposed to science for the sake of science)Application-basedTeam-driven, partnership-basedTransdisciplinary - (e.g. Bio-informatics = information systems + biomedical research)Heterogeneous - a variety of organisations engage with research and interact with each other (universities, industrial laboratories, government agencies, etc.)Great awareness of impact - Researchers are more aware of (sensitive to) the impact of their research.. Social responsibilityScience is not only evaluated by peers – society engages with science in social media spacesIn terms of each of these attributes, it is important to think what it means for the library
It is recognised all over the world that HE and Research contribute to eradication of povertysustainable developmentreaching the internationally agreed upon development goals, which include the Millennium Development Goals”
New teaching modes talk about Learning through engagement Fostering critical thinking and independent thought As well as lifelong learningThese are ways in which innovation is nurtured
New RS services also directly responds to South Africa’s research agendaIt is based on the premise that for SA to succeed economically and compete internationally - innovation and research and development must increase expontiallyIn other words, there is a link between research production and wealth.Particularly there is a call on Higher Education for:Increased targets for publication output rate Increased enrolment in science, engineering and technologyIncreased masters and doctoral enrolments (Green paper: The national target has been set at 5,000 doctoral graduates a year by 2030)Increased number of permanent academicstaff with PhDsUniversities are seen as playing an extremely important role in enhancing innovation skills through research output and student throughput.
As a strategy to stimulate researchIn November 2003, a new funding framework was established for research and tuitionAccording to the NFF, an University’s funding would be dependent on :PublicationsNo of research master's and doctoral graduatesIn terms of Publications - Some South African universities have provided incentives to their academics by passing a portion of the publication subsidy back to the individual staff member who authored the publicationI am mentioning this because incentivised research output has an effect on the Institution – and Universities generally want to increase research output because it directly affects the income of the InstitutionSimilarly, the worldwide ranking system influences Institutional strategy/objective to increase research output (since generally publications and numbers of researchers and research students are the main factors which contribute to ranking.
Naturally there is also the University’s research agendaAt Stellenbosch Univ, research was prioritised in 2008 & 2009In this time, specific objectives set out to change the ratio of students to being more favourable towards senior/research studentsincrease through-put ratehalf the completion time of masters & doctoralIncreased numbers of PhDsand of course increase research output
The library’s approach to RS is threefold:1. Firstly it is holistic -Which means that we align services with research workflow by using the research life cycle as a systematic model and framework.We purposefully aim to play a role in each of the phases of the life cycleThis also provides a framework to encourage innovation and the expansion of research support services.2. Secondly, it is inclusiveSecond principle in our CONCEPTUAL APPROACH = Research support is InclusiveIt is regarded as a suite of services related through its focus on needs of reseachers (vs undergrad and academic teaching staff)Services inclusive in RS are: Research Commons, Institutional repositoryBibliometric Services, Digital Services, Campus partners3. Thirdly, based on best practice (learn from others)Research support is a new and evolving field in librarianship Its interpreted differently in different parts of the worldImportant to stay abreast of developmentsTake note of what’s working and what not and incorporate what is useful and appropriate into your own servicesStill always keep in mind the local situation
I will briefly discuss only two components of RS which might be of interest to you.Namely the Research Life Cycle and the Research Commons
The Research Life Cycle we us at Stb has six phases and represents a fusion of a number of ife cycles in the literature
Managing and preserving research output and dataResearch outputs may include textual data (eg pre- and post-print journal articles, conference papers, presentations and often theses and dissertations), images, moving images and sound recordings;Research data may include datasets on which research publications are based; and other experimental data.
Established in 2011 with partial funding by the CCNYExclusively for masters and doctoral studentsDirectly in response to University objective to increase output and through-putParticularly unique about our Research Commons Launch pad for research support services for the entire libraryServices are based on the conceptual model mentioned earlier – holistic, inclusive and benchmarking
Spaces (deskspace, 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
A large area in the Research Commons is set aside for relaxation, informal networking and scholarly dialogue sessions.
The rooms are used extensively forteam workdiscussionsresearchers co-authoring articles
Specifically designed for researchers offeringlarger desk spaceComfortable seatingHigher sound partitions / double up as notice boards
Style of the RC sembles a VIP LoungeHigh class finishes – expression of respect and value of researchersStyle: Afro Chic – interesting, bold, friendly and aimed to be inspiring
Events are offered regularly to contribute to the culture of reseach networkingOpportunity for researchers to build relationships. The “Social Hour” a distinguished researcher is invited to give a short inspirational talk followed by discussion and refreshments. Emerging researchers can engage, find inspiration, exchange ideas, support each other and socialise
The VC room - very important featureMeetings (CSIR, reading circles), ethical committeesPhD defenseMeetings with supervisorsIt fundamentally supports research networking
We have not been able to determine the impact of the RCWe do now that the usage is very highWe do get anecdotal feedbackto indicate that we are probably succeeding in our objective (especially in terms of decreasing through-put time)
When you evaluate something – you need to measure it against something
But what is there to measure against?As yet, there are no standards or measures available for evaluating research support services
The only indication is found in reading the literatureFortunately however there are a number of librarians who have published their RS experiences And have expanded the framework for RS substantiallyAuthors 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
And there are wonderful publications such as - the SCONUL research lens on information literacy (2011) is also very helpfulHowever, to really find out if our RS were up to scratch, we had to come up with our own benchmark So we looked around for something that is truly with-it and sets a high bar
The most with-it thing around, in fact they are all around – even in the library – are skateboardersThis one is called Steve and his an Avatar – and we thought that is cool because then we can deconstruct him to show different parts and layersAlso, looking at Steve, you realise that there is nothing co-incidental about him - every item, accessory and piece of clothing was added to his appearance purposefully.The message in this is that “being 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 of Research Support
Steve did not wake up one morning had all the gear and looked like a skateboarderSteve’s look and skill 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, he’s got the shoes, headphones and sliding gloves. He is certainly moving in the right direction … but still far from target
At Stb Library, our cool t-shirt is ourDigital research repository, which we call SUNScholar It includes research articles, as well as completed theses and dissertations by students of the University. We already have mandatory submission of theses, now moving toward mandatory submission of research articles2. Our Research Commons represents our fashionable shoes
Back to Steve and the components of Research SupportSo 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 management The 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 metrics to 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 material 4. Since 2012 the library has radically expanded its instruction programme for 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 getting confident and adding 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
Partnerships with research support units on campus is another strengthPartnerships have led to the creation of a Research Support Forum which meet sonce a term: Partners include: Language CentreResearch OfficePostgraduate and International OfficeCentre for Teaching and LearningIT Community InteractionCentre for Statistical Consultation
So far Steve hasn’t been on the move a lot – but here finally he has is skateboard 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 library
Like Steve, we are trying new things and we want to improve all the time.
So we’ve added a number of Libguides to our website which are specifically aimed at Research students and researchers
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.
Initial results indicate what kind of support RC users are interested in
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
So having said all of that … In the end we fdecided it’s not so important to answer whether you’re with-it, but indeed to …
To get on with it!
Research support services at an academic library, presented at UFS 27-11-2013
Research support services at
an academic library
SU Library and Information Service
5 November 2013
Driving forces for change
Abundant digital information
Increased understanding users
Evolving research methods
Image from: breakingthespidersweb.blogspot.com
New modes of research
• Different conceptual schools
• Well-known models include:
– Dr. Michael Gibbons’ New
Production of Knowledge Mode 2
– Drs. Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff
Triple Helix (1998)
“…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
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)
• Collaborative learning
• Cultivating critical and independent
• Lifelong learning
= to encourage innovation
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)
• 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 NPC – Vision 2030
• Goals include:
• Increased targets for high publication output rate
• Increased enrolment in science, engineering and
• Increased enrollment Masters and doctoral enrolments
• Increase number of HE permanent staff with doctoral
Image from: http://www.sasportstours.co.za/international-inbound-tours
New funding framework
In 2004 South Africa introduced a new funding framework
(NFF) for research and tuition in all institutions
of higher education. According to the NFF, an institution’s
research output grant for any funding
year is dependent on: (a) actual totals of research
graduates and research publication units for the
year n-2; and (b) total research outputs that an institution
is expected to produce in terms of the
national benchmarks (Ministry of Higher Education and
Training's (MHET) , 2004).
Image from: http://www.sasportstours.co.za/international-inbound-tours
• Research Policy of Stellenbosch University
(2008) & Strategic Plan for the
Environment of the VR (Research) (2009)
• Commitment to National System of
Innovation and Government Research
• Specific goals : ratio between undergrad and
postgrad; increased through-put rate, half the
completion time of masters & doctoral, increased
numbers of PhDs and increased research output
SU Library Conceptual
Approach to Research
•Managing and preserving
research output and data
Image from: http://timoelliott.com/blog/2013/06/big-data-boasts-cartoon.html
•Publication in books
•Publication in traditional
•Open access publishing
•Publication in social media
Image from: http://scistarter.com/blog/
• Senior librarian
• RLC Academy participant, 2010
• USA Intern 2011
• RLC Academy participant, 2010
• Six masters and doctoral students with
• Usage – 6000/8000 card
swipes per month
• “The new Research
Commons motivates you
to come here and DO
your work. Thank you!”
• Average number of enquiries per day 15
(computers, printing, username/passwor
• General (Refworks, catalogue and
database searches, room
bookings, card access, coffee machine)
• Other: translation, technical editing of
thesis, reference techniques, etc.
Postgraduate and International Office
Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Statistical Consultation
The research process
• Steps in the research process – Description of the
step, useful reading, services & tools
User guide for postgraduates and researchers
• Includes virtual networking spaces (SNSs) and
tools and applications
Where to publish your research article
• Covers traditional publication, Open Access and
• Auckland, M. 2012. Re‐skilling for research: an investigation into the
role and skills of subject and liaison librarians required to effectively
support the evolving information needs of researchers (conducted
for RLUK) [Electronic]. Available:
http://www.rluk.ac.uk/files/RLUK%20Re-skilling.pdf [Accessed June
• Drummond, R., & Wartho, R. (2009). RIMS: The research impact
measurement service at the University of New South Wales.
Australian Academic & Research Libraries [Electronic], 40(2).
Available: http://www.ebscohost.com [2013, June 9]
• Hart, G., & Kleinveldt, L. 2011. The role of an academic library in
research: researchers' perspectives at a South African University of
Technology. South African Journal of Libraries & Information Science
[Electronic], 77(1). Available: http://www.ebscohost.com [Accessed
June 9, 2013]
• Hessels, L., & Van Lente H. 2008. Re-thinking new knowledge
production: A literature review and a research agenda. Research
Policy [Electronic], 37(4). Available: http://www.ebscohost.com
[Accessed June 9, 2013].
• Mamtora, J. 2013. Transforming library research services: towards a
collaborative partnership. Library Management [Electronic], 34(4/5).
Available: http:/www.emeraldinsight.com [Accessed June 9, 2013]
• Parker, R. 2012. What the library did next: strengthening our visibility in
research support [Electronic]. Unpublished paper delivered at the The
VALA 2012 16th Biennial Conference and Exhibition. Melbourne, Australia.
ening_our_visibility_in_research_support [Accessed June 9, 2013]
• Research Information Network & Research Libraries UK. 2011. The value of
libraries for research and researchers [Electronic]. London, Research
Information Network. Available at:
een_1.pdf [Accessed June 9, 2013].
• Richardson, J., Nolan-Brown, T., Loria, P., & Bradbury, S. 2012. Library
research support in Queensland. Australian Academic & Research Libraries
[Electronic], 43(4). Available at http://www.ebscohost.com [Accessed June
• Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service (SULIS). (2011).
Research Commons concept document. Unpublished.
• Stellenbosch University (SU). (2012). Strategic Plan for the Environment of
the VR (R). Unpublished.
• Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service (SULIS). (2010).
Strategic Directions 2010-2015. Unpublished.