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Raju, R., Adam, A., Johnson, G., Miller, C. & Pietersen, J. Eds. 2015. The quest for deeper meaning of research support. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Libraries.
Table of contents
Ellen Tise, Reggie Raju and Amina Adam
Jeremiah Pietersen and Jaya Raju
Robinah Kalemeera Namuleme and Agnes Namaganda Kanzira
Lorraine J. Haricombe
Jayshree Mamtora and Gaby Haddow
Elliot Shore and Kathleen Shearer
Changing pedagogy and rapid growth of enabling technologies has significantly influenced research trends and processes within the higher education research ecosystem. These changes have triggered a series of positive responses from academic libraries such as the re-evaluation of their approach to research support services. The expansion of the suite of research support services such as bibliometrics, systematic reviews, data management, digital preservation and curation, Open Access and open journal publishing have moved the librarian from the periphery to the epicenter of research support. This transition is viewed by many as revolutionary in terms of support for research production.
The synergic relationship between evolving research processes and evolving research support services consolidates the librarian’s critical role in research production and dissemination. This evolution of research service trends has also been influenced by, amongst others, recent open mandates from some funding agencies. The swing in the research pendulum demands a metamorphic role of the academic librarian from reacting to research needs to becoming a collaborative partner in the research journey. Taking a proactive approach to this new role, integral services that are now being offered are: assisting researchers in understanding and managing the data lifecycle (including having data management plans and digital preservation), open scholarship, alternative metrics, competency-based learning and digital humanities. The use of research performance management tools to understand the research landscape, which includes assistance in determining the impact factor and assistance where to publish research results, also form part of the suite of services academic libraries need to make a contribution to research production at high education.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions’ Academic and Research Libraries Standing Committee’s preconference was held in Cape Town, South Africa, between 13 and 14 August 2015. The theme of the preconference was The quest for a deeper meaning of research support. There was a blend of papers with young researchers sharing empirical research information while seasoned LIS researchers and practitioners shared ‘best case practices’. The keynote speakers are thought leaders with Ms Tise being a past president of IFLA and Dr Haricombe being a renowned open access advocate.
Ms Ellen Tise, Senior Director of Library and Information Services at Stellenbosch University in South Africa highlighted that librarians cannot only be helping researchers succeed in completing and disseminating their research, but they need to be also contributing to the knowledge creation, using their specialized knowledge and skills. She stated that this research partnership includes active creation and constant engagement with researchers.
Dr Lorraine Haricombe, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin gave emphasis to the deeper collaboration between librarians and researchers, which result in librarians contributing to the research productivity and scholarship of higher education institutions. This requires distinctive competencies to engage with faculty, to understand the scholarly communication process, and to leverage technology, thereby embracing the change and empowering scholarship.
The paper by Jeremiah Pietersen and Jaya Raju report on a masters’ study that examined the ‘look and feel’ of a 21st-century academic library. The services interrogated include digital curation, digital scholarship, open access and collaboration. Agnes Kanzira and Robinah Namuleme also share empirical research conducted on the role of the academic library in Uganda, in supporting research through the development of research collections and data repositories, and providing bibliometric analysis, data literacy training and research data management. Notice Pasipamire reported on a study which investigated how subject librarians gain the skills and knowledge required to support researchers in the new research landscape of higher learning institutions in Zimbabwe. Jayshree Mamtora and Gaby Haddow brought a developed world perspective to the programme sharing how librarians support researchers with information and services relating to research impact measures, specifically bibliometrics and altmetrics tools. The exemplar presented by Mike Berrington on restructured services to create a dedicated research support team is a clear demonstration on academic libraries re-evaluating their role and responsibilities within the changing higher education paradigm. Charlotte Beck highlighted the new trend of systematic reviews. The librarian can be an active research partner and demonstrate value by being directly involved in the university agenda by offering this service.
The paper by Matthew Buy’s brings to the fore the necessity for the bridge between the developing world and the developed world. Buy’s paper examines the need for some commonality of standards that will ensure the easy exchange of research information. The focus of the paper is on the digital ecosystem of research information and the need for the use of standards to facilitate the exchange of data to ensure that the information can flow seamlessly through the ecosystem and be reused to its maximum capacity. The contribution by Elliot Shore and Kathleen Shearer is significant as they share the role of the professional association to provide support mechanisms to promote and accelerate the transformation to greater collaboration and innovation amongst academic libraries.
As academic librarians embrace their role as research partners, embed themselves in the research enterprise by emphasising collaboration and being connected, their transition to the epicenter of the research process becomes more pronounced.
Jill Claassen (Scholarly Communication & Publishing manager, UCT Libraries)
This monograph is the culmination of months of contemplation as to whether UCT Libraries was ready to launch its open monograph publishing service using the new principle of diamond open access publishing. As one of the hosts to the Academic and Research Libraries Standing Committee of IFLA, the Library was presented with a unique opportunity to pilot publishing quality papers presented at the preconference.
The standard of the abstracts made it incomprehensible not to pursue with the urge to share the ensuing full papers with the largest reading audience as possible. The high quality of the abstract and subsequent papers, and the drive by UCT Libraries to enter the open monograph publishing arena, gave the project the necessary impetus.
The quest for a deeper meaning of research support is advanced on the principle that need for librarians to make the paradigm shift away from reactive ‘disseminators’ of information to proactive partners in the research and teaching and learning processes. In that transition, the librarians need to provide a wider range of services including the new. The inclusion of services such as research data management, open scholarship, bibliometrics, and systematic reviews as ‘mainstream’ services has to become the norm as librarians engage the principle of being a research partner or collaborator.
This compilation of chapters is meant to add to the debate that the role and responsibility of the research librarian is changing and the new roles and responsivities need to be adopted to dismantle the thinking that the role of the librarian is superfluous or redundant. At no time in the history of librarianship is there a more desperate need for the librarian to assist in the determination of ‘good’ sources and the dissemination of those ‘good’ sources of information to those communities that are in dire need of information but cannot afford to pay the huge toll fees. This compilation will confirm to the reader that the role of the librarian is changing and if those changes are not embraced then librarianship, as described by Guyton, will be on life-support.
Academic librarianship is at its pinnacle and is also at a crossroad, the choice taken at this point will determine a blossoming relationship with the researcher or the death of the ‘bespectacled-buned librarian’
The Academic and Research Libraries preconference was the end product of extensive collaboration between the ARL IFLA Standing Committee and the University of Cape Town Libraries. The editors would like to acknowledge the Standing Committee members and in specific, Vicki McDonald, Janet Fletcher, Mimi Calter and Liz State.
The editors would also like to acknowledge the financial support of EBSCO, Thomson Reuters, Sabinet and Digital Science. Their generous financial contributions ensured that as many delegates, especially from developing countries, could attend the preconference.
In terms of the development of the platform, the support from Public Knowledge Project and in specific Kevin Stranack and Michael Felczak, and the training provided. The excellent contribution by the Information Technology Department of the UCT Libraries must also be acknowledged. The contribution of David de la Croes, Gareth Dawson, Wesley Barry and Warren Hansen must be acknowledged. The UCT OMP Project team is also acknowledged. The team includes Jill Claassen, Amina Adam, Busi Khangala Elizabeth Moll, Lena Nyahodza, Jeremiah Pietersen and Tamzyn Suliaman. A special note of acknowledgment for the contributions by Elizabeth Moll and Jeremiah Pietersen who took the lead role in this publication.
Given that the process was double-blind review, the editors would like to acknowledge, without divulging their names, the massive contribution of the reviewers.
Each chapter, including the introductory chapter, has been peer-reviewed. The reviewers were Emeritus Professors who have a National Research Foundation (NRF) Rating. The review process was as follows:
The revised papers were then language edited by a third party.
This monograph is hosted by the University of Cape Town Libraries. The University of Cape Town and the Libraries take no responsibility for the content published within this press, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.