Author Archives: Nicola Dowson

About Nicola Dowson

Nicola is Senior Library Services Manager for Research Support at the Open University Library. Her role involves working in partnership across the University to develop products and services that support the University’s research activity.

A day in the life: Nicola

This is the latest in our Day in the Life series of blogposts.

Hello, my name is Nicola. My role is Senior Library Manager for Research Support. I joined the OU in 2003 as a Subject Information Specialist supporting Science and Health and Social Welfare. For the past 10 years I have been responsible for the Library’s research support team. The team provides specialist services e.g. open access publishing and research data management to OU academics, researchers and postgraduate research students. Research support has been a growing area of the Library Service over the past few years and I am very fortunate to work with a fantastic team who work hard to develop their knowledge and expertise and use this to develop our services.

No two days are ever the same but most days I have a catch up with at least one of the team. We have all being working from home for over a year so weekly online catch ups enable us to share what we are doing and plan our work. We also have a weekly Friday team catch up and as Megan mentioned in her blog post a monthly teams games session. I usually act as quiz master as I got fed up with coming last.

As well as the internal services that I am responsible for, I also try to be externally active. Since February 2018 I have been chair of the UK Council of Open Research and Repositories (UKCORR), which is the professional body for repositories and those working in open research. In the latest Committee meeting we discussed gathering members feedback from the latest Research Excellence (REF) submission so we can capture some of the lessons learnt and surveying members to find out their future plans for the repositories to identify areas where UKCORR can offer support. I am also on the Jisc OpenDOAR Steering group and in the last meeting we were discussing a metadata proposal.

Most of my days are a mixture of keeping an overview of our services and answering a range of enquiries that come both through the team mailbox and to me individually. These include how to publish open access, working with one of faculties to set up an undergraduate journal for their project module, assessing new journal deals, supporting the OU’s scholarship activity. My role involves working with a wide range of people which I enjoy and I get a real sense of satisfaction when I have managed to help someone or have learnt something new.

As I am working from home my 2 cats have become my work colleagues, but they do tend to sleep most of the day.

Upcoming training from the Research Support team

We’ll be delivering some training over the next few months on a range of topics, including: using ORO, how to claim your research publications, managing and sharing research data, and academic profiles

Something there for everyone, we hope!

All will be recorded, so if you can’t make it along in person or online at the time, you can catch up later at your leisure (using the ‘View previous recordings’ link at the top of  our Adobe Connect page.

  • Writing successful data management plans. Tuesday 22nd Jan, 14:00-14:30 (Online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Working with research data. Wednesday 30th Jan, 11:30-12:00 (Online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Data sharing: how, what and why? Monday 11th Feb, 14:00-14:30 (Online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Data sharing: legal and ethical issues. Tuesday 19th Feb, 11:30-12:00 (Online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Open Research Online (ORO) – An introductory session. Monday 11th Feb, 15:00-16:00 (face-2-face and online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Open Research Online (ORO) – An advanced session. Wednesday 27th Feb, 11:00-12:00 (face-2-face and online) Sign up at My Learning Centre
  • Academic social networking/author profile systems. Wednesday 13th March, 10.30-11.30 (face-2-face and online) Sign up at Graduate School Network
  • Claiming your research publications: ORCIDs at the OU. Wednesday 20th March, 10:30-12:00 (face-2-face and online) Sign up at My Learning Centre

If you have any question, please get in touch at  library-research-support@open.ac.uk

ON HOLD – Inter-library Loan and Document Delivery Service – system enhancements coming in early 2019

Please note, the proposed changes to the Inter-library Loan and Document Delivery Service are currently on hold. We will provide an update as soon as we are able.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

In the New Year we will be introducing a new, enhanced Inter-library Loan and Document Delivery system.

The major benefit of the new system is that it is fully integrated with Library Search and will allow you to submit requests when you check the library catalogue.  The system will pre-populate your Request Form which will reduce the amount of information you need to enter.  Additionally, ‘My Library Account’ will display all your OU Inter-library and Document Delivery requests (current and archive) in one place.

 We will be sending out further information in December, including detailed FAQs and a help video which will take you step-by-step through the process of making a request on the new system.  We will also be posting regular updates on the Inter-library Loan and Document Delivery  page of the Library website.

 

Training offer: Making your research data open

There are spaces available on our training session ‘Making your research data open‘ on Tuesday (27th November 2018), 10:00 to 11:30.

Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash

In this session we will look at why, how, what and when to share data:

  • Why should you share your data? We’ll discuss the benefits and the reasons why data sharing is such a hot topic at the moment.
  • How can you do it? We’ll take a look at the OU’s data repository, ORDO, and provide guidance on preparing data for sharing, including sensitive data
  • What should you share? Do you need to share everything? What do funders and publishers want you to share?
  • When should you share? We’ll the look at the stages of the research process when sharing data is most useful to you and others.

Sign up via My Learning Centre – any if you have any questions, get in touch at library-research-support@open.ac.uk.

Practical Strategies for Research Data Management: workshop slides

Yesterday I ran a session on Practical Strategies for Research Data Management, where we talked about the basics of research data management, including options for data storage and organising data. We also looked at how to write a data management plan using a DMP template, and ended with a game of DMP Bingo.

Thanks to everyone who took part and contributed to the discussions.

The slides are available here:

 

A reminder too that will be running two online sessions covering the same material in January. Sign-up and see full details on My Learning Centre.

Training offer: Practical strategies for research data management

There are still some places available on our ‘Practical strategies for research data management’ training on Monday 5th November, 14:00 to 15:30.

In this face to face session, we’ll introduce the basics of research data management, including options for data storage, organising data, and how to write a data management plan.

We’ll also introduce services and tools that the OU has developed to help you manage your data.

The sessions is aimed at researchers, research students and research support staff.

Sign up via My Learning Centre – any if you have any questions, get in touch at library-research-support@open.ac.uk.

Open Research workshop – 31st October

Beck Pitt from the Open Education Research hub and Nicola Dowson from the Library Research Support team are running a workshop on ‘Open Research’ from 10:30am-12 noon on Wednesday 31st October.

This session will take a brief foray into open research practices and approaches! If you are interested in making your research more visible, increasing impact, enabling collaboration, making the research process more transparent or sharing your work so others can reuse it… then this is the workshop for you. We’ll be looking at what ‘being more open’ in research means, discussing examples and considering what some of the benefits and challenges are.

This 90 minute workshop will:

    • Look at different stages of the research process and what being ‘open’ means within these contexts;
    • Provide practical advice and suggestions;
    • Discuss the challenges and benefits of being more open research;
    • Give you an exciting range of next steps to continue your open research journey

This session is being run simultaneously face-to- face (in Library Seminar Room 1) and online. For more details and to book go the My Learning Centre.

ORDO online drop-in

Our monthly online drop-in session for ORDO is tomorrow, Tuesday 4th September, 11:30 – 12:30.

Ask Dan about using our research data repository, ORDO, for data preservation, data sharing, showcasing your work, collaborative projects… and anything else.

To join, go to our Adobe Connect “Research Support” page and click on “join room” (and if you find the link takes you to the “DISS Home” page instead, click on “Resources” at the top and scroll down to “Research Support”).

ORDO online drop-in tomorrow

Our monthly online drop-in session for ORDO is tomorrow, Tuesday 7th August, 11:30 – 12:30.

Ask Dan about using our research data repository, ORDO, for data preservation, data sharing, showcasing your work, collaborative projects… and anything else.

To join, go to our Adobe Connect “Research Support” page and click on “join room” (and if you find the link takes you to the “DISS Home” page instead, click on “Resources” at the top and scroll down to “Research Support”).