Support for Research at Aberystwyth University

Many thanks to Steve Smith,  from the Information Services Research Support Team/Academic Engagement Group at Aberystwyth University for this blog post.steve-smith-04

Steve blogs about the discussions the library team held with Research Committees to ascertain how the library can best support them. Steve also shared his findings with the WHELF Research Group at their meeting on 25th Jan 2016:

Aberystwyth University Library/Information Services Research Support Discussions with Departmental/Institute Research Committees

During 2015/16, the staff of the AU Library’s Academic Engagement Group held a series of meetings with Institute and Department research committees to determine what forms and formats of research support they would appreciate receiving from the Library.  Leads as to the types of research support already provided by the AU Library for researchers were provided only on request as we wished to gain opinions from the researchers rather than guiding discussions towards particular areas.  We stressed that support could apply to any stage of the research process, from devising grant applications through to storage of research outputs.AU research support

In terms of policy matters, ideas from the meetings ranged widely, from including an overhead allocation for Library/ Information Services support in all grant applications, providing a defined point at which IS/Library support could be requested for formulating grant proposals, arranging regular attendance of subject support librarians at Institute research committee meetings, ensuring that subscriptions to secondary literature sources such as databases and e-resources were maintained, to providing quiet study spaces specifically for postgraduates in the Library.

For operational matters, ideas were equally heterogeneous and covered expected areas such as providing more guidance on assessing journals for adherence to HEFC/RCUK open access policies, additional techniques for assessing which papers should be selected for gold open access payments, which were the best journals/publishers to which to submit these Gold OA papers, further guidance with creation of data management plans and with data archiving requirements, and expansion of our reference management software support and training.

There was also enthusiasm for the formation of postgraduate library focus groups, circulation of non-standard research funding opportunities through the research office, dissemination of details of published research papers (particularly where AU staff were not the corresponding authors), greater publicity for our 1:1 training clinics, more routes for suggesting purchase of research books, and greater stress on alternatives access routes to e-resources.

More unexpected requests included restarting database searching classes for researchers, particularly for inter-disciplinary subjects and systematic reviews, and wider introductions to our library’s special collections as potential sources for research projects.

We are now considering all these responses to form a sustainable Research Support action plan to take in to the future.

Steve Smith
Academic Engagement Group / Grwp Cysylltiadau Academaidd
& Research Support Team / Tîm Cymorth Ymchwil
Information Services / Gwasanaethau Gwybodaeth
Hugh Owen Library / Llyfrgell Hugh Owen
Aberystwyth University / Prifysgol Aberystwyth

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