“As part of regular worldwide research into the research support service offer in academic institutions across the world in the spring and autumn of each year, I would like to share some of the trends that have been identified in 2014. The scope of this study covers over 80 research institutions, i.e. mainly universities from USA, Canada, Asia and Europe.
You will note that many of today’s research support services are part of an effort to help strengthen the researcher’s skillset.
- Creating the academic digital identity or profile
Improving researcher online presence supports the their visibility. Libraries are doing this by
- supporting researchers in becoming visible in research networks or platforms such as Mendeley.com or Academia.edu
- advising researchers on how to engage in a more targeted way with social media to support them in their phases of research exploration, collaboration and dissemination
- highlighting some of the dos and don’ts for the online professional image
- providing support for good citation management by giving guidance on how to use the correct digital identifiers such as ResearcherId, SCOPUS and Scopus author ID.
Bibliometric services that contribute to increasing the institution’s impact include
- guidance for young researchers on how to determine where to publish looking at journal h-indexes or impact factors
- basic information on the range of metrics available and the differences between rankings
- tracking your own impact factor, citations, h-index or altmetrics chart
- using advanced bibliometric indicators such as field-normalised citation scores
- creating tailor-made reports for individuals and groups.
Since the increase in online fraud detection and a corresponding interest to safeguard institutional reputation, support in the area of academic honesty is gaining ground. Libraries are providing
- cheating and plagiarism policies
- guidelines on research ethics and academic honesty
- guidance on how to avoid plagiarism
- plagiarism school, training sessions or quizzes
- plagiarism detection software
Research data services saw further expansion in universities that either introduced data management into their research support offering or as part of improving their current efforts. In 2014, research data codes of conduct were introduced, information was shared by using LibGuides, courses and tutorials on funder requirements, data ethics and benefits, data documentation and dissemination incl. data citation, rights & licensing, data management planning tools and data archiving services.
- Publication support (including hosting and where to publish)
With increasing international and national high-level policy support for Open Access, and new business models and competition in the publishing industry, more libraries are supporting their researchers in publishing efforts. Activities are very diverse, with some far more ambitious than others. Low hanging fruits can be found in providing researchers with guidance on how to make strategic and informed choices on where to publish or they advise researchers on how they can influence change in scholarly communications.
Institutional commitment to OA is also on the increase, and the implementation of more publication and (revising) OA policies is a consequence of international and national policy change supporting OA. Libraries are also increasingly advising their researchers on how to comply with new OA international or national funder requirements and are needing to adjust work processes accordingly. Libraries are having to manage APCs in a diffuse area of new APC funding models, OA fund management and diverse publisher APC processing workflows.
Other libraries are taking more active roles in changing scholarly communications by advising research groups on Open Access journal or book publishing. Some are even helping establish, transfer, improve or host existing or new publications themselves for want of different more efficient models in the social sciences or humanities for example.
Expertise in the area of author rights, copyright guidance and re-use is still very much essential.
- Research tools and apps
With the increase of mobile devices and the demand for 24/7 access to information, libraries are stepping up to the mark by helping researchers orient themselves in a wide assortment of online research tools and apps. Tools and app list categories include reference management, collaboration, communication, data storage, statistical analysis, reading, writing, and others.
Some libraries even create their own plugins, apps or mobile interfaces.
Canada and the USA in particular have seen an increase in technology-lending pilot projects or services in 2014. Those libraries who lend out technology generally stick to tablets, e-readers and cables or adaptors. However, some libraries lend a wide range of hardware including laptops and netbooks, cameras or camcorders with tripods, projectors, scientific calculators, game consoles, design and modelling tools, ipods.”