UCL Library Services and UCL Press in central and eastern Europe
12-15 September saw me give three talks in central and eastern Europe on aspects of our work in UCL. In particular, I spoke on two topics – the Library of the Future and the work of UCL Press.
The first talk was in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and I gave detailed examples of how UCL Library Services is tackling the Open Access agenda in Europe. Principally I spoke about UCL Press, the 13 research monographs which we have published in our first year of activity, our first Open Access textbook and our journals offerings.
The download figures from UCL Press caused particular interest, and I was able to show that in the first twelve months the Press had received over 40,000 downloads of books from UCL Discovery from over 150 countries. In the commercial market, a book which sells over 400 copies is reckoned to be a good title. UCL Press is already outperforming in this metric.
The second set of talks took place in Ljubljana in Slovenia. I repeated the talk about UCL Press, but also gave a presentation on the future of academic libraries. In this talk, I used a lot of examples from the innovations which we have delivered in UCL Library Services.
I talked, for example, about the UCL Cruciform Hub and the planned New Student Centre. I explained how these digitally-enabled learning spaces, with their 24-hr opening, had and would transform the way that students work in UCL. I surveyed the pan-UCL implementation of RFID for self-issue and self-return, and described how this was led by the Library Strategy and its emphasis on the Student Experience.
In this talk, I also gave more detail on UCL’s engagement with Open Access. I illustrated this with the DART-Europe portal, which opens up 704,265 full-text research theses from 595 European universities in 28 countries. This is a major contribution to making research outputs discoverable and usable. Download statistics from UCL Discovery show that PhD theses are some of the most downloaded content. In July 2016, 4 of the top 20 most downloaded items were research theses.
I greatly enjoyed my time in Hungary and Slovenia, and the ability to meet colleagues from other universities and research organisations. All those I met were very impressed by the developments in which UCL Library Services is engaged, the professionalism of our staff and the impact we are having on UCL as a whole. I was proud to speak on behalf of so talented a Library organisation in so innovative a university.
Director of UCL Library Services