My notes from yesterday’s “Supporting Evolving Research Needs” conference organised by ALISS, the Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences.
1. The Systematic Review – is the social sciences librarian involved? If not, why not?
Alan Gomersall, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Evidence & Policy, King’s College London
Alan spoke of his experience of working with academics involved in doing systematic reviews to inform national policy. He found that the academics only searched one database (Medline) and did not use synonyms or broader/narrower keywords, or related terms, when searching. He and a colleague wrote a paper about this, to try to find out why the academics’ research skills were so poor.
His paper identified weaknesses in the systematic review process e.g. Academics ignoring all grey literature on the grounds that it wasn’t peer-reviewed.
Home Office guidelines for systematic review focus on synthesis of findings, not search strategies. Alan’s work shows that key UK information is being systematically excluded in favour of information from the big-name US databases.
Possible points of failure:
- Uni library fails to invest in appropriate databases
- Social sciences librarian & academic staff fail to work together
- Academic’s poor search skills
- Too much trust placed in WoK, Sociological Abstracts etc
- Social sciences librarian never leaves confines of the library
Alan encourages everyone to trial/subscribe to Social Policy & Practice, good source of UK info
- Are UK unis ignorant of the many excellent but small social science databases?
- Are UK database producers failing to market
- Are UK library schools limiting student training to a few well-know US services which offer discounts for educational purposes e.g. WoK?
- Influence of Campbell Collaboration and refusal by many US databases to accept grey literature
Social sciences librarians must engage with their academics!
Evidence Network site – option to sign up for Alan’s free bimonthly newsletter
Miggie Pickton argues for librarians to be involved in systematic reviews and included in research bids
Centre for Research & Dissemination at York Uni – set good standard
2. What did I do wrong?”a project to support independent learning practices to avoid plagiarism
Helen Hathaway, Liaison Team Manager Science and Information Skills Coordinator, University of Reading Library
Panic, stress, anxiety, confusion – lots of emotional issues about plagiarism and referencing
Does TurnItIn help with academic practice/referencing? Mixed answers. May sensitise students to good practice. Some academics report that it fails to detect plagiarism.
Referen©ite, Uni of Auckland – student voice videos give perspectives on importance of correct referencing e.g. Shows respect to predecessors’ ideas
Uni of Reading have developed re-purposeable resources toolkit – “Academic integrity toolkit”. Aimed at academics. It’s meant to be bites iced and incorporated into teaching, not just given out to students for them to read (/ignore). Considering publishing it as an Open Educational Resource. For now, guest access to their Blackboard can be arranged. Contact details here.
Results of research
- Crucial to go beyond formatting and show role of correct referencing in academic writing
- Many students failed to engage with skills training
- Students report lack of consistency and difficulty in finding guidance
- Implications of alternative academic cultures and experiences (international students)
3. Supporting the Research data management [RDM] process – a guide for Librarians
John Southall, LSE Data Librarian
Digital media formats aren’t future-proof, and researchers have trouble referring back to their notices from 5, 10 years ago if they can no longer open files, or no longer have appropriate disk drive
Strengths of digital media are that it is easily stored, produces perfect copies, great potential for sharing and re-use
RDM includes docs, spreadsheets, research notebooks/codebooks, questionnaires, transcripts, audio, images, videotapes. A lot of data is generated before any paper is drafted.
UK Data Archive – best practice for creating, preparing, storing and sharing data
Research data objects are acquired or generated during the research process. Includes protocols and methodologies
Common themes in RDM:
- Storage and preservation issues
- Research ethics (of data creation, of sharing)
- Data management plan and planning
Not just compliance. Consider what you would do if you lost your research data tomorrow…
4. Identifiers for Researchers and Data: Increasing Attribution and Discovery
John Kaye, Lead Curator Digital Social Science, British Library
Identifiers such as DOIs uniquely identify research objects. DOIs assigned by DataCite and CrossRef. I think the difference is that DataCite makes DOIs for things that aren’t articles, whereas CrossRef assigns DOIs for articles. ARK = archival research key, a URL to create a persistent identifier.
5. Sharing information literacy teaching materials openly: Experiences of the CoPILOT project
Nancy Graham, Subject Advisor (Medicine), University of Birmingham and Dr Jane Secker, Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor, LSE
DELILA = developing educators learning and information literatures for accreditation. Cross-institutional project to adapt digital and IL [information literacy] resources to OER.
Mailing list: IL-OERS@jiscmail.ac.uk
CoPILOT – like crowdsourcing of IL materials, gateway of links to sites where materials are hosted. Good use of tags will be important.
6. Supporting research by becoming a researcher
Miggie Pickton, Research Support Librarian, Northampton University