Research Support Community Day

Today I attended the Research Support Community Day, which was held as a pre-conference event to Information Online. The program promised a day full of interesting presentations, and it didn’t disappoint. I’ll give a brief overview of each of the sessions, and if you want to see the conversation on Twitter, the hash tag was #RSCday.

The first presenter was Mary Anne Kennan from CSU, who discussed the skills that librarians need in order to effectively support researchers at their institution. She and her colleagues conducted a survey of librarians in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the UK to determine where the skills gaps were, and also the services which were currently provided to researchers by libraries. The main skills gaps which were identified were around bibliometrics and research data management (RDM). Respondents indicated that most of their training in these areas happens on the job, and Mary Anne mentioned that as an LIS educator, she is interested in the need to merge the “education” which takes place in LIS courses with “training” done in the workplace. Her survey results also show that bibliometrics training/literacy is done by nearly 80% of Australian academic libraries, training in using the h-index by nearly 70%, and preparing citation reports by nearly 60%. There is currently less RDM support than bibliometrics support by Australian libraries, but there are many more activities planned to increase libraries’ activity in support for RDM than bibliometrics. There were some common constraints which are limiting library support for both bibliometrics and RDM support: staff knowledge and skills, staff confidence, and differing demand between disciplines. Mary Anne also provided an overview of a data management unit which was offered by CSU for the first time at the end of last year. The feedback on this was mixed.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The next presenter was Josipa Crnic from Deakin University Library, who looked at the role that social media plays in the professional lives of researchers. She summarised the findings of several reports which examined this issue. Some of these were:

– occasional use of these tools is common, intensive use is rare

– researchers use more than one tool

– the age of the researchers did not predict the level of uptake of social media. Gen Y researchers were cautious of these tools, and wanted to see evidence that they provided a benefit before using them.

Several handbooks and guides to social media for researchers have been created.

One of the roles of librarians in this space is to promote the permanence of institutional repositories – social media sites that allow researchers to upload their publications may not always exist, but repositories will always be there.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

Next up was Pat Loria from University of Southern Queensland, who talked about “Research Impacts beyond Metrics and Altmetrics”. Journal-level and researcher-level metrics have been around for a while now, but article-level metrics are the cutting edge measurement, with new tools to support them. USQ have developed the NCP (Normalised Citations per Paper), which is based on Scopus RDCP and evens out the playing field between disciplines. He showed the Altmetrics bookmarklet and how it can be integrated into article webpages. Pat also mentioned similar article-level metrics, such as (which can measure the impact of datasets), and the paid service, which covers a range of research outputs. Pat’s dream is to develop an Impact Management System, which brings together all the disparate impact measurement data into one place.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The next speaker was Rebecca Parker from Swinburne University of Technology, who discussed recent advances in Open Access (OA). She began with an explanation of the different flavours of OA (green, gold and hybrid). One thing Rebecca mentioned was that discussions around OA are a good way to engage with researchers and explain the other research support service that the library offers. She presented some statistics that showed that even in disciplines where OA is widely accepted, not even 50% of publications are published in OA journals. The recent OA mandates announced by the two major Australian research funding bodies (NHMRC and ARC) were discussed. With institutional repositories set up to support ERA, libraries are well-positioned to deal with these. These repositories were probably the first library support for researchers offered recently. Being involved in a repository provided exposure to many of the skills which were outlined in the “Reskilling for Research” report from RLUK which was mentioned by several of the presenters. These included knowledge of local research interests, advising on preservation of outputs, impact factors, author rights/IP/copyright/plagiarism, metadata, and funding mandates.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

Susan Robbins from UWS library spoke next, and her topic was data management. She outlined the UWS experience in completing several ANDS-funded projects relating to data management. Her main messages were:

– being involved in data management helps the library develop proper working relationships with groups across campus

– there needs to be collaboration with stakeholders at all levels, including all library staff

– a culture change, driven by education and communication, needs to take place to allow full implementation.

The roadblocks that were encountered included low initial stakeholder engagement, and issues around ethics approval. Engagement was improved by appealing to researcher’s vanity. There are several triggers in the grant application process at UWS which allow the library to be involved in the data management process.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

The final session was a panel session, with several librarians outlining the support services offered to HDRs and ECRs at their institution. The approaches differed, but they were all aligned with the needs of the clients and the strategic direction of the institution.

Updated 6/3/13: Presentation on SlideShare

All in all it was a very interesting day, with quite a bit of food for thought.