Last month representatives from twelve of the fifteen OCLC Research Library Partners in Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand met together at the University of Sydney. Before the two-hour meeting, participants had submitted their “top three priorities”. Most (25 of 36) fell under the rubric of “research collections and support”, for example:
- Research processes: Addressing researcher/learner gaps and needs; building sustainable services to support researchers; models that focus on proactive outreach and faculty liaisons; new collaborations for better learning environments
- Collections: Understanding how users utilize the scholarly content provided; capitalizing on the decreasing use of physical collections and relocating low-use print sources off-site to transform library spaces to better meet student and researcher needs; enhancing access to collections through digital services; implementing Open Access policies.
- Research Information Management: The library’s role in tracking research impact; building better research support infrastructure to capture, disseminate and promote research and its impact; improve support for Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA), Australia’s national research evaluation framework.
Most of the discussion focused on research information management and specifically the library’s role – from advisory (not managing) to various degrees of involvement and collaboration with the university’s research office. Participants use a variety of research information management systems: Converis, Pure, Symplectic Elements and in-house developed systems. These are supplemented by other systems such as DSpace, Figshare, Omeka and VIVO.
It was noted that there are many stakeholders in the research life cycle and no one system offers end-to-end support throughout the research process. Managing and preserving born-digital is considered a particularly thorny issue.
Many of the issues reflect those of OCLC Research Library Partners elsewhere. Indeed, several of our Australian colleagues are collaborating with other Partner staff on the working group led by my colleague Rebecca Bryant to investigate the institutional requirements and activities for adopting research information management systems (see Rebecca’s January 2017 post, An increasing role for libraries in research information management). This work is an example of how the OCLC Research Library Partnership offers a venue for addressing common concerns among geographically-dispersed institutions.