In the ninth and final part of a series on university research, Education Minister Leighton Andrews reviews Researching Wales and explains why Welsh universities must build on their solid foundations.
Posted in research
The Government has announced that it has accepted all the recommendations of the Finch report except the recommendation on reducing the VAT on e-journals. It stresses Government’s preference for “gold” over “green” open access. Its response can be found here: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/l/12-975-letter-government-response-to-finch-report-research-publications
RLUK and SCONUL welcome the commitment of the UK government to ensure that publicly funded scientific research is made available for anyone to read for free. They agree with Science Minister David Willetts that “Removing paywalls that surround taxpayer funded research will have real economic and social benefits.”
They point out that the transition from older models of publishing to open access (OA) will take some time and will have serious cost implications. They also have concerns about the length of embargo periods for green open access suggested in the Finch Report. They would like to see more modelling of the potential transition scenarios – in particular focussing on the interplay between and interdependence of green and gold OA, and the possible role of national licensing.
Read their response here: http://www.sconul.ac.uk/news/rluk_sconul_response
The report of the Working Group chaired by Dame Janet Finch published on 18 June recommends a programme of action to enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research. Better, faster communication of research results will bring benefits for public services and for economic growth. It will also bring improved efficiency for researchers, and opportunities for more public engagement with research.
The internet has brought much better access to research results for members of the academic community. But the full benefits of the digital and online revolutions have yet to be realised, especially for business, the professions, and the general public. Many people have expressed the ambition for a worldwide open access regime. The key policy questions are how to promote that shift in an ordered way which promotes innovation and maximises the benefits while minimising the risks.
The report recommends actions which can be taken in the UK which would help to promote much greater and faster access, while recognising that research and publications are international. It envisages that several different channels for communicating research results will remain important over the next few years, but recommends a clear policy direction in the UK towards support for open access publishing. This means that publishers receive their revenues from authors rather than readers, and so research articles become freely accessible to everyone immediately upon publication.
At the same time, the report recommends extensions to current licensing arrangements in the higher education, health and other sectors; and it welcomes recent moves by publishers to provide access to the great majority of journals in public libraries.
The full report is available for downloading, along with an executive summary. http://www.researchinfonet.org/publish/finch/
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
RLUK has published a major report by Mary Auckland on the changing needs of researchers and the effect on the subject/liaison role within libraries.
As research activities evolve, research support must evolve with them. RLUK has been keen to determine what the new requirements of researchers are, and how best these needs can be met by the library. We want to place the needs of researchers in the context of the libraries current offering, and look at how we must change to fulfil the new demands placed upon us.
This report, Re-skilling for Research, takes us a long way to mapping these requirements. It looks in detail at researchers’ information needs and begins to outline the skills and knowledge that are required to meet those needs. The Report offers a comparison of different models of library support for researchers, with valuable comparisons of current job descriptions. Finally, issues around the training opportunities for subject librarians to acquire the additional skills and knowledge they will need to fulfill their new roles are explored.
Download the report: http://www.rluk.ac.uk/content/re-skilling-research
Cardiff, 14-16 December 2011
The UK Digital Curation Centre is running a series of inter-linked regional workshops to support institutional research data management as part of the DCC Roadshow. The seventh DCC Roadshow is being organised in conjunction with Information Services at Cardiff University and will take place 14-16 December in the Rowe-Beddoe Studio, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff.
Each day is aimed at a different audience:
* Day 1 is a general introduction and is open to all. Best practice will be shared through case studies to help build a community of data management expertise in Wales.
* Day 2 is a strategic workshop to help senior support staff start to plan research data management services for their institution.
* Day 3 is the DCC’s practical training course for researchers and research support staff. This provides an introduction to curation and DCC tools through presentations, breakout discussions and exercises.
Each workshop can be booked individually. We encourage you to select those workshops which address your own particular data management requirements and to pass this invitation on to colleagues who might also be interested.
Find out more about the event at: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/events/data-management-roadshows/dcc-roadshow-cardiff
RIN has published the results of a study, undertaken between January and July 2011, investigating the place and role of PhD supervisors in the drive to ensure that research students possess the necessary level of information literacy to pursue their careers successfully in academia and beyond.
The work was undertaken on behalf of RIN and the Working Group on Information Handling by a partnership between Curtis+Cartwright Consulting and Cardiff University.
The ability of researchers to handle information is of vital importance. Many individuals have become adept at developing approaches and using innovative technologies to make most of the information environment, but others rather less so. Questions about how researchers develop appropriate skills, the support they receive, the training opportunities provided for them, and the take-up of such opportunities are thus highly pertinent.
Read more at: http://www.rin.ac.uk/our-work/researcher-development-and-skills/information-handling-training-researchers/research-superv
This jointly commissioned RIN and RLUK report presents the ﬁndings of a systematic study of the value of the services that libraries in the UK provide to researchers, and of the contributions that libraries from a wide range of institutions make to institutional research performance. The aim was to identify the key characteristics of library provision to support research in successful UK universities and departments.
Libraries are changing and the value they provide will change too. This project has provided a snapshot of libraries based on current evidence, as the sector begins a period of turbulent change. The need to demonstrate value will endure should not be underestimated. Arguing the case for libraries may get harder as the traditional role of libraries in providing access to content – the role most frequently mentioned and valued by researchers and senior managers – continues to become less visible.
The ﬁndings are summarised in the form of map which sets out the key characteristics and behaviours of libraries, and the links between them and the performance of individual researchers and institutions. Libraries have changed and are changing, developing new roles and services. The detailed ﬁndings are presented in the form of ten stories, about the different kinds of value that libraries provide in supporting both individual researchers and the research performance of their host institutions.
JISC has recently released a new report, Inspiring Research, Inspiring Scholarship, looking at the value and impact of digitised resources.
Written by Simon Tanner of King’s College London, it considers four broad areas in which the creation of digitised resources have has a significant impact.
http://bit.ly/9NjGw6 (pdf file)
The four themes are
*Inspiring Research* Digitised resources not only improves access but enable new types of research to be asked, such as the Data Mining with Criminal Intent project that is based on the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, 1674-1913 – http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
*Bestowing Economic Benefits* The digitisation of journals, such as the Wellcome Trust Medical Journal Backfiles project, provides free and immediate access for scientists. One digitised journal, the Biochemical Journal, receives over 300,000 uses a month – http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitisation/medicaljournals.aspx
*Connecting People and Communities* Resources such as Great War Archive, gathering digitised memorabilia from World War One, not only provide new material for scholars, but enable new communities and expertise to be developed outside the campus walls – http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa/
*Digital Britain* Digitising some of Britain’s special collections not only provides new data for educators and learners around the world, but also for a greater appreciation of the nation’s ‘prize jewels’; examples include the Freeze Frame collection of polar photographs, or the Old Weather resource for measuring and transcribing weather reports in Naval logbooks – http://www.freezeframe.ac.uk, http://www.oldweather.org/