“Social media for scholarly communications and networking” training session

Social media for scholarly communications and networking-title slide

Me and Chris recently ran a training session entitled “Social media for scholarly communications and networking”.

It provided an introduction to how different social media platforms can be used in relation to research and scholarship,  focussing on dissemination, keeping up to date and networking.

We provided some tips and advice on effective use of social media,  used real-life examples as illustrations and got participants to reflect on their use of digital tools as a whole using the Visitors and Residents mapping exercise.

You can access the slides on Slideshare.

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What is an Electronic Lab Notebook, and why should I use one?

…so begins this recently published guide to Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELNs), from the Gurdon Institute at the University of Cambridge.

The short answer is that ELNS are “a software system for documenting your research work”, which can replicate a hard-copy notebook and add benefits of being searchable, shareable and having safeguards of security and backup.

kenyon_5.1.07_083 by ydylg https://flic.kr/p/2WbiUE

The guide was put together following a trial of various ELNs and provides a great source of information if you’ve either never heard of them before, are in the process of working out if they could work for you, or know you want to try one but don’t know which will best suit your work.

As with other technologies, there are many ELN products on the market, all of which do the same sort of thing but with a wealth of other features that vary between them.

To help make sense of all of this, the guide:

  • poses some key questions to ask yourself to decide which ELN would be the best fit for your work
  • lists the functions and features to consider when evaluating them
  • has a quick reference checklist of 25 current ELN products

There’s also a discussion forum where ELN users can share their experiences, and where prospective users can ask questions.

For further reading you can also find a blog about the ELN workshop held in Cambridge last year.

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Dimensions – a new service for discovering and analysing academic literature

Researchers may be interested to try out the free version of Dimensions, a new research information platform from Digital Science (the company behind Figshare, Altmetric, Readcube etc.).

Screenshot of Dimensions search page

Its main functionality includes:

  • Discovery – search for journal articles, books and other research literature
    • It indexes over 89m publications
    • You can view PDFs where available, open access content is highlighted and links to publisher pages are provided for other content (so you can still potentially login and get the full text if your institution has access)
  • Analysis – gain insights into research via a wide sets of linked data covering citation counts, linked grants, patents and clinical trials
  • Insights into impact/popularity – via citation counts and Altmetric scores (mentions on social media, in the news, in policy documents, on social bookmarking services etc.)

It has been described as an alternative starting point to Google Scholar – see what you think and let us know!

Learn more about Dimensions at www.dimensions.ai

Screenshot of Dimensions item page

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You asked, we delivered: online training

We are regularly asked if we can deliver our training sessions online to research staff and students who don’t work at Walton Hall and can’t make it onto campus. In order to satisfy this demand we have arranged a series of online training which will take place throughout January and February in the new year.

Here’s the programme of training, with links to full session details on My Learning Centre:

These sessions will be run using Adobe Connect; joining instructions can be found on the event pages on My Learning Centre, but if in doubt please email us at library-research-support@open.ac.uk

If there’s any other training you’d like us to deliver online, feel free to let us know by emailing or commenting below.

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New icon images in Library Search

OU Library Services is constantly trying to improve the services it provides.

As part of this commitment, we have developed new icons for Library Search. These are brighter (in keeping with The OU’s up-to-date website templates), colour-contrast tested for accessibility and include many more format types than before. This has involved creating some icons (and underlying categorisations of material) that did not exist before and updating others.

Here are a few examples:

New Library Search icons

We have received great student and staff feedback on these changes already and we are seeing their benefit during usability testing. The new icons were designed following an analysis of similar work undertaken in Tennessee and Washington. This was a real team effort – colleagues from across Library Services worked together to make it happen.

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Research Groups in ORO

This week we will be changing how Research Groups are represented in ORO.  The benefit of representing Research Groups in ORO includes being able to quickly ascertain all the publications of a Research Group and the ability to embed this information via RSS feeds into other web pages.

Up until now Research Groups have been associated to individuals – this means that an affiliation to a Research Group is represented on all their papers in ORO – irrespective of the relevance of the particular paper to the Research Group.  This has meant some papers have inappropriate Research Groups associated with them.

From Tuesday 20th December this method will change to tagging individual papers with one (or more) Research Groups.  This can be done in the usual deposit workflow where the option to choose Research Groups will be available to the depositor.  This should lead to a more accurate representation of any Research Group’s publication set.

What’s a Research Group?  Well, I’ve left that intentionally vague.  This functionality is available to any self defining Research Group at the OU – it may be a formally defined Strategic Research Area or a smaller research collaborative.  If this functionality of ORO is useful to any group then it can be used by them.  Similarly, if it’s not useful to a particular research group, then there is no compulsion to use it.

We have canvassed the Research community and have a set of Research Groups we are adding to ORO.  If you wish another Research Group to be added, or a publications set for any particular group to be reviewed please contact me: library-research-support@open.ac.uk

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Save the date! Research Data Resolutions event on 24th Jan

Start the New Year by joining us to reflect on how we manage research data at the OU, and think about how we can work together in 2018!

Managing research data is a hot topic and the focus of much debate and effort among the research community.

Expectations to share data and create Data Management Plans are just two issues which raise a number of questions, such as ‘What are the benefits and barriers of data sharing?’ and ‘are funder requirements clear and realistic?’

There are also an increasing number of tools and services available to researchers – are they the right ones? Do they do what they need to do?

The Library Research Support team invite you to an open discussion to talk about all of this and more, and to find out what the important issues are to researchers at the OU.

So please join us to talk about what managing research data means to you and your work. Bring your questions, thoughts and experiences to discuss over refreshments and biscuits. You’re welcome to bring your lunch too.

If you have a topic you’d like to discuss, feel free to email us in advance at library-research-support@open.ac.uk, and we’ll make sure we get to it on the day.

Date/Time/Location: Wednesday 24 January 2018, 13:00-14:00. Ambient Lab, Jennie Lee Building, Walton Hall.

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New online training resource for social scientists

The new CESSDA Expert tour guide on Data Management has been put together by a group of experts in research data management from across Europe who make up CESSDA – the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives. This consortium includes 11 European social science data archives, including the UK Data Service.

This fantastic new resource aims to help social science researchers to make their data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). The guided tour takes you through 6 areas on a journey through the different stages of your project:

  1. Plan
  2. Organise and document
  3. Process
  4. Store
  5. Protect
  6. Archive and publish

As well as numerous examples and expert tips, the tour also includes specific information on data management practices in different European countries.

Curious to take the tour? Visit the online guide at cessda.eu/DMGuide

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“Metrics: what they are and how to use them” – session slides

Chris and I delivered a training session today entitled “Metrics: what they are and how to use them”.

We defined metrics (a.k.a. bibliometrics or quantitative research indicators), looked at how researchers are using them to demonstrate their excellence, contrasted three databases that provide metrics, examined certain popular metrics, looked at author profile systems in relation to metrics and discussed the uses and abuses of metrics.

We aimed to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to navigate this part of the research environment and we hope that people left with an understanding of how metrics can be useful and what their srengths and weaknesses are. The session really highlighted how metrics continue to be an important albeit contentious area that sheds a useful light on some of the murkier aspects of research assessment.

Here are the session slides:

We also drew attention to the Library advice regarding the responsible use of quantitative research indicators . This document outlines our approach to bibliometrics, representing current good practice and acting as a guide for future activities.

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