Library Research Support Strategy | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Library Research Support Strategy


Research priorities at USC are guided by the USC Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020, Imperative 2. The University will increase research productivity and impact. In the context of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), with its focus on research quality and evaluation, the University has committed to undertaking, supporting and promoting high quality research. USC’s research capacity is growing, with designated research centres and groups established and increasing numbers of higher degree by research students enrolled.

The USC Library is a strategic partner in the University’s research initiatives and has a key role in providing resources, professional advice, training and management of research output. The Library’s engagement with the research process is determined in part by the new competitive research environment and by the increase in sophisticated online content and tools available to researchers.

This Strategy provides a framework for the Library’s engagement with, and support of, research at USC. The Strategy will be reviewed regularly to ensure its continued relevance to USC’s research priorities.

Current environment

The Library currently supports research at USC through collaboration and support, working with research staff and Honours and HDR students individually, with their discipline groups and in cooperation with the Office of Research. The Library provides training, the provision of appropriate resources guidance in the management of research data and has responsibility for the institutional repository, USC Research Bank.

Key Library staff involved in research services are Liaison Librarians, the Team Leader, Research and Academic Liaison and the Coordinator, Research Collections. The Library is represented on the Research Committee, Learning and Teaching Management Committee and Academic Board. Liaison Librarians are assigned to each School and the Team Leader, Research and Academic Liaison liaises with the Office of Research. The Coordinator, Research Collections works closely with the Team Leader - Research Performance and Information to manage and report on USC's research outputs. The Library provides assistance and training to researchers in the use and application of research resources and the analysis of research output.

Training and support are offered to best meet the needs of diverse client groups, including participation in programs for Higher Degree by Research students, individual consultations with new researchers and engagement with discipline-based research skills development activities.

The Library subscribes to a selection of research quality online databases and content management and analysis tools. Researchers can supplement the Library’s own resources through document delivery and interlibrary loan. The collection includes high quality indexing and abstracting databases and resources which support researchers in the development of research strategies and methodologies.

The Library manages the USC institutional repository, USC Research Bank, which showcases the research output of USC’s staff and students. USC Research Bank provides the avenue for USC researchers to increase their worldwide exposure through open access, and the Library encourages and facilitates USC engagement in international initiatives which increase the visibility of USC research. The Library is also responsible for the digitisation of Herbarium samples and records, included as a sub-set of the USC Research Bank. The Library is developing new research collections which can expose USC research and attract international interest and collaborations.

The Library supports national and international research data management initiatives through its leadership of USC research data management initiatives, research data management training and promotion of the potential benefits of open access research data. Library staff are actively engaged with the Australian National Data Service and encourage researchers to contribute datasets to Research Data Australia.

Library objectives

The Library aims to strengthen its contribution to USC’s research direction through actions outlined below under the themes of:

  1. Partnerships
  2. Training
  3. Provision of resources and facilities
  4. Research output and data management
1. Partnerships
Collaborating with key stakeholders

Collaboration with research staff and students ensures that researchers are aware of the Library services and resources available to them, and that Library staff are aware of their research needs. Key internal stakeholders in the research process have been identified as:

  • PVC (Research)
  • Heads of Schools, Research Coordinators
  • Directors of Research Centres, Clusters or Groups
  • Office of Research
  • USC researchers
  • Research students
  • USC Research Committee
  • Information Technology Services

The Library will:

  • work with key stakeholders to investigate opportunities for external collaboration and support, eg ANDS (Australian National Data Service)
  • work jointly with the Office of Research on the planning and implementation of research activities and initiatives
  • consult with stakeholders to monitor and meet research needs
  • identify and contact new research staff and students
  • contribute to development of Honours research programs to ensure inclusion of appropriate skills training and information literacy
  • participate in University fora, seminars and workshops
  • participate on relevant committees, eg Research Committee, Learning and Teaching Committee, Academic Board
  • investigate the potential for joint projects between faculty and library staff
Providing support for researchers

The research process, particularly for students or staff new to research, can be challenging and complex. Liaison Librarians can work with researchers in accessing information resources and advising on the use of bibliometric tools, complementing the formal training services outlined below.

The Library will:

  • offer individual appointments with Liaison Librarians to research students
  • provide customised classes at point of need for different cohorts of researchers and research students
  • work with faculties and the Office of Research to develop training resources for research students
  • develop a series of resources packages for researchers, including those located away from the USC Sunshine Coast campus
2. Training

The development of information literacy and skills in the use of research databases, bibliometric tools and online resources is ongoing and incremental. It is important that the scaffolding of skills established in undergraduate study is maintained as students progress through honours and on to postgraduate research.

The Library will:

  • identify a set of advanced research skills appropriate for research students and staff to inform planning for training programs
  • work with faculties to ensure students continuing or planning to continue to further study have an appropriate set of research skills, in the context of USC’s Research Graduate Attributes
  • work with the Office of Research to continue the Library’s role in the Research Essentials program

Training research staff and students in the use of analytic tools to report and analyse research output and quality.

Changes to university funding regimes require researchers to be more strategic with their publication output and more active in the management of their research. The Library supports research output by subscribing to key bibliometric analysis tools. In cooperation with the Office of Research, the Library can provide training and support in the use of these tools and other reporting mechanisms.

The Library will:

  • develop online learning resources to support the use of bibliographic tools and metrics
  • provide training and help for staff who provide research support, particularly faculty-based administration support teams
3. Provision of resources and facilities
Building a Library collection of resources which are relevant to the research direction of the University

To date the USC Library collection has focused on resources which support teaching and learning, primarily at undergraduate level. As the University’s research activity increases, the Library will review its collection development priorities to ensure the specific needs of research are being met.

The Library will:

  • map the University’s research strengths and potential growth areas
  • develop a plan for the ongoing development, analysis and review of the Library’s research resources
  • promote, manage and enable access to free and open access material
4. Research output and data management
Populating and promoting USC Research Bank

USC Research Bank, the institutional repository, records and showcases the publishing output of USC researchers including theses. The content of the Herbarium, which is progressively being digitised, is an additional component of USC Research Bank. Institutional repositories have been established in all Australian universities and contribute to the university's performance in the ERA environment. The Library has managed the development and ongoing operation of USC’s repository, including the Herbarium collection.

The Library will:

  • work with the Office of Research to expand the content of Research Bank, including increasing the proportion of full-text and open access resources
  • continue the digitisation of the Herbarium collection
  • develop additional research collections which align with institutional strategies and directions
Managing research data

There is an increasing awareness, acknowledged within the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, of the need for the data generated by research to be effectively managed, preserved and made accessible to colleagues and the broader community. Increasingly, funding bodies such as the Australian Research Council and open access publishers are requiring research data to be made available.

The Library will:

  • work with ITS, Office of Research and other key stakeholders to develop guidelines for the effective management of USC research data
  • offer training and support to researchers seeking to manage their research data more effectively
  • investigate potential opportunities for USC researchers to manage and share their research data