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Archive for the 'Research Support' Category

Recent staff publications

Anna Di Iorio28 March 2018

Congratulations to Desta Bokre and Katie Meheux on their recent publications, a testament to our engagement with research:

Rüschen H, Aravinth K, Bunce C, Bokre D. 2018. Use of hyaluronidase as an adjunct to local anaesthetic eye blocks to reduce intraoperative pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 3, DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010368.pub2 [http://cochranelibrary-wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD010368.pub2/full].

Meheux K. 2017. Digitising and Re-examining Vere Gordon Childe’s ‘Dawn of European Civilization’: a celebration of the UCL Institute of Archaeology’s 80th Anniversary. Archaeology International, 20, 91-105, DOI: 10.5334/ai-357 [https://ai-journal.com/articles/10.5334/ai.357/].

Meheux K. 2017. Eight Socialist Conscientious Objectors at the University of Oxford, 1914-1918. Oxoniensia, 82, 165-200.

Anna Di Iorio and Michelle Wake

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris17 February 2018

New Student Centre

Friday 16 February 2018 saw the topping out ceremony for the new Student Centre. This tremendous building development is a pivotal objective of the UCL 2034 strategy and of the Library Strategy, which are designed to enhance the Student Experience and to provide an environment fit for education, research and outreach in the 21st century.

The photograph to the left shows the current state of the interior of the building. Topping out marks the fact that the building has reached its full height in terms of construction. No fitting out has yet been undertaken in the interior of the building. That comes next.

A large group of UCL staff, including members from the Library, joined the construction teams to celebrate the topping out ceremony. There were a number of speeches to mark the occasion led by the Provost and President of UCL, Professor Michael Arthur. The Provost spoke of the importance of the UCL 2034 strategy to deliver a first class student and research experience. The delivery of the vision contained in UCL 2034 is of fundamental importance for the future health and vitality of the institution as one of the great research universities of the world.

The topping out ceremony itself took the form of the Provost inscribing a concrete block with his name and title, which will now be secured into the structure of the building.

The Student Centre, when fully open this time next year, will mark a transformation for the service which the Library can provide to UCL students. The building will be operated by the Library and contain 1000 digitally-enabled learning spaces. There will be no paper provision in the building. Library collections will remain in the existing UCL family of libraries. If borrowed by the student they can, of course, be brought to the new Student Centre for personal use. The type of learning spaces the Library will provide is being closely modelled on the learning spaces which we already provide in the Cruciform Hub and in the UCL Institute of Child Health. These are in fact the model we aspire to for all UCL’s libraries.

One of the most striking things, which I noticed when I joined the UCL group for the topping out ceremony, is that the views from the top of the building are stunning. Pictured here is the view of Wilkins’ Dome in UCL and UCLH across the road in Gower Street. And the Student Centre will offer a new thoroughfare through UCL, helping to unite the campus and to bring a greater sense of community to staff and students on the site.

The opening of the Student Centre marks a very important development for the Library. It will transform the Student Experience and the way students use libraries and learning spaces across UCL. This will give us the opportunity to continue to re-think our existing library spaces and how they are used.

The topping out ceremony marks the start of a year of communication in and from the Library as UCL fits out the interior of the building and we plan for the full operation of the Centre. Ben Meunier this week gave an interview to CILIP, and there will be other interviews and national Newsletter articles to announce the birth of what is a major development in academic libraries throughout the whole country. It augurs well for a bright future for UCL students working in a cutting-edge building.

Paul Ayris


UCL Library Services

Love Data Week 2018

ucyldva12 February 2018

This week is the 3rd international Love Data Week. ‘Similar to Open Access Week, the purpose of the Love Data Week (LDW) event is to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ Several Research Data Management teams from London universities have joined forces to run a series of data related events.

Most events are open to all UCL research staff and research students and library staff are also welcome to attend. During the Love Data Week we will also be publishing a number of data case studies on UCL’s Research Data Management Blog.

You can find an overview of the events below;

A full listing of events is available to share.

For any UCL-specific questions, please contact the UCL Research Data Support officers at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris17 January 2018

UCL Press Megajournal platform

16 January 2018 saw the soft launch of the UCL Press megajournal platform to an audience of 55-60 people in the JZ Young Lecture Theatre.

What is a megajournal and why is UCL Press launching a megajournal platform? Essentially, a megajournal is a platform where cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary work can be brought together and where the outputs are characterised by openness – of peer review (where the reviewers’ reports are available for scrutiny), of readership (when the final output is freely available for sharing and re-use), of scope (where, for example, underlying research data can be made available alongside the published output), and of evaluation (where responsible metrics are used to help evaluate the quality of the outputs).

If that is the ‘what’, then why is UCL Press taking this road? The megajournal platform looks very unlike traditional journals. The reason is this – there is a growing acceptance that the future of scholarship is best served by the Open Access and Open Science agendas. What is the best mechanism to achieve this transition to full Open Access? Research funders have started establishing their own Open Science platforms and research-intensive universities like UCL can do the same. This has the power to change the culture in academic publishing by bringing publication and dissemination back into the academy.

It was these questions and potential solutions that the Megajournal platform launch sought to celebrate and investigate. Three external speakers set the scene – Robert Kiley, who talked about the Wellcome Trust’s Open Research platform; Stephanie Dawson from Science Open, which is the company selected by UCL to deliver its Megajournal platform; and Dr Catriona MacCallum from Hindawi. The plenary session concluded with a presentation by Ian Caswell of UCL Press, announcing the broad details of the planned UCL Press provision, which will work initially with the environmental science research domain in UCL to create an environmental science Megajournal.

The Town Hall meeting ended with a Question and Answer session with the speakers plus Paul Ayris as CEO of UCL Press, which was chaired by Professor David Price (Vice-Provost, Research). This session showed very lively engagement in Open Science by the audience of 55-60 attenders – journalists, commercial publishers and academics.

The UCL Press Megajournal platform will be formally launched in the autumn of 2018 to co-incide with Open Access week. It is an important development in the Press’s mission to change the pattern of scholarly publishing in the academic community as Open approaches gain momentum in a global move towards Open Science.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Transforming Our Professional Services (TOPS)

Benjamin Meunier3 January 2018

It has been some time since I last wrote about TOPS, so as we start the New Year, I would like to provide a brief update. But first, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for a successful 2018.


As a reminder, the vision for the TOPS programme is for UCL to provide effective, efficient and integrated professional services that enable us to achieve our vision of academic excellence, sustain our position as one of the top ten universities in the world and create an environment in which our staff can personally develop and fulfill their potential.


The TOPS programme has been set an initial list of priorities to start work on in 2018, which were outlined by the Provost in December. These include:

• Research and innovation support services

• Improving the student experience

• Relieving the pressures on the Bloomsbury estate

• Improving procurement practices to enable more investment in the academic mission

• Making better use of our estate

• More fulfilling and rewarding careers


Thankfully, more detail is emerging from the TOPS programme following consultations conducted 2017 with over 1,700 staff and students at UCL. The ideas are developing into more practical objectives, from the high-level aspirations listed above.

These ideas are described on the TOPS webpages: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/transforming-our-professional-services/tops-emerging-ideas. There are few references to Library Services specifically, except to note our enabling and supporting role within “UCL Research Support” (under the Research Support Services tab).  Library Services is not one of the areas which TOPS is looking to transform, as I have mentioned in previous posts this recognises the high quality of our services and the levels of satisfaction with the Library from our diverse user groups. Nonetheless, many of the strands of TOPS are pertinent to Library Services, as a department and as members of UCL staff. For each of the areas which TOPS is focusing on, there is a PDF file which provides some detail about the emerging ideas. Within these documents, a brief summary sets out what the TOPS team heard from a large number of colleagues regarding the issues they are facing, for example around Estates, IT, Finance or People services – these are challenges which are shared across UCL (you may recognise these from your own experience) and which TOPS aims to address.

There have been some changes in the Programme Team and Tom Rowson has taken on the role of Programme Director, in addition to his role as Director of Planning. Tom will work with his team and the TOPS Executive Group to take forward the TOPS programme in 2018.

Feedback from the latest round of consultation is due to be published on 19/01. I will send an update once this is made available. 



Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris10 November 2017

PRES survey results (2017)

PRES, the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, is the national survey co-ordinated by the national body for improving teaching and learning in Universities, the Higher Education Academy. The survey is a chance for our research student community to provide us with feedback on their experience and allows UCL to benchmark against the wider HE sector.

Portico green lightPRES 2017 was open at UCL from mid-February until mid-May. It is important that we know what postgraduate researchers think so we can address issues and keep doing what is valued. The full results of the survey can be seen here.

Question 4_3_a relates to the Library: There is adequate provision of library facilities (including physical and online). 87% of the respondents agreed with this statement, compared to 88% in 2015. This is a remarkably consistent performance by UCL Library Services and the scores represent one of the highest as regards answers to the top-level PRES questions.

At its meeting yesterday, the Library’s SMT agreed to establish a Survey Response Team – to give additional focus to the way the Library responds to national and institutional surveys. Survey data is increasingly important as it represents an assessment of the value which students assign to their experiences whilst at UCL. The Library’s 87% score in the 2017 PRES is very good indeed, but the target for all such scores for the Library should be 90%.

Congratulations to all colleagues who contribute to the student experience in UCL and support our students in London’s Global University.

Paul Ayris


History Day

Kieron L Jones25 October 2017

Spooky and one hopes eminently informative goings-on will be taking place at History Day on Halloween this year.  Starting at 10:00 and finishing at 16:00 on Tuesday 31st October, the event is based at Senate House.  Along with research clinics and panel sessions on digital history, public history and discovery in libraries and archives, we will have an expanded open history fair showcasing a veritable plethora of libraries, archives and organisations.  Naturally, UCL Library Services will be represented, with colleagues from Special Collections, the Institute of Education, Huguenot and SSEES libraries staffing our stands, with the latter certainly getting into the swing of celebrating “all that is scary, eerie and magical in libraries and archives”.

Please alert anyone you feel may benefit from attending.  The intended audience is really postgraduate students and early career researchers, however, undergraduates and many others with a general interest in history should certainly find the day illuminating and may make some useful contacts.  Registration is necessary via book my free ticket.

Participating organisations: Archives Hub, Jisc; Archives Portal Europe; Black Cultural Archives; US History collections at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford; British Library; British Records Association; Brunel University Special Collections; Business Archives Council; CILIP Library & Information History Group; CILIP Local Studies Group; Caird Library and Archive, National Maritime Museum; Conway Hall; Dana Research Centre and Library, Science Museum; Engineering Institutions’ Librarians Group; The Feminist Library; FLA: the Feminist and Women’s Libraries and Archives Network; Geological Society Library; German Historical Institute Library; Gladstone’s Library; Goldsmiths University of London (Special Collections); Guildhall Library; Heinz Archive and Library, National Portrait Gallery; Historic England Archive & Library; History of Parliament; History UK; Institute of Historical Research Library; King’s College London Library Services; The King’s Fund, Information & Knowledge Services; Lambeth Palace Library; Library of the Society of Friends; Lindley Library, Royal Horticultural Society; The Linnean Society of London; London Metropolitan Archives; LSE Library; The National Archives; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Royal Astronomical Society Library & Archives; Royal College of Nursing Library and Archives; Royal College of Physicians Library and Archives; Royal Holloway, University of London; The Royal Society, Collections; Senate House Library; SOAS Library; Society of Antiquaries Library and Collections; St Peter’s House Library, University of Brighton; The Stationers’ Company Archive; TUC Library Collections at London Metropolitan University; UCL Library Services; UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) Library; University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) – Archive Collections; University of Westminster Archives; The Warburg Institute Library; Wellcome Library

Congratulations to Angela Young: Research Support Challenge is a winner

June Hedges17 October 2017

Last summer 29 members of library staff undertook an online 30 day Research Support Challenge as part of the UCL Library Services Biomedical and Health Information Summer School. This summer the Challenge faced its own challenge, as an entry for the 2017 Sally Hernando Awards for Innovation. We are delighted to announce that this initiative achieved third place in this national contest for innovation in NHS Libraries. Congratulations go to Angela Young, who conceived and authored the Challenge.

The 30 Day Research Support Challenge, which was delivered via the Summer School Moodle course, was inspired by a current trend for 30 day fitness challenges. Participants were challenged to watch a short video on an aspect of research support, and then undertake a short quiz to test their understanding, for 30 consecutive working days. To succeed in the challenge participants did not necessarily need to complete each day’s activities on the day they appeared as long as they completed all 30 days within the six week timeframe. This was designed to accommodate differing working patterns of library staff.imageforblog

The Challenge was designed to better inform library staff who may be required to deliver advocacy or support for research activities. Most topics were relevant across the service and included citing, reference management software, open access, the Research Excellence Framework, UCL’s Research Publications Service (RPS), research data management and bibliometrics. There were also biomedical-specific topics, such as systematic review methodology and critical appraisal of clinical studies. Engagement with the Challenge was really encouraging, with 9 participants awarded the virtual winners’ cup for completing it within the 30 day timeframe.

Comments from the judges of the Sally Hernando awards included:

“A lot of thought had obviously gone into planning and delivering the course, and it included innovative elements of fitness-type challenges, quizzes and gamification, with just a little bit of new content each day, helping to make it suitable for part-time library staff. The needs of researchers are something that many library staff across all sectors needs to be aware of, and support. I also feel it is a good example of partnership working between higher-education libraries and the NHS, and an example of providing library staff with the right skills to support personalised delivery of library services.”

“[Angela] highlights the continued availability of resources beyond the initial 30 days of training module and presents learning points for future developments.”

The full details all the winning entries, together with the other innovation entries submitted in 2017 and from previous years, can be found on the NHS Library and Knowledge Services (England) website. Angela also had a winning innovation in 2011 for another online element of the Summer School, 11½ Things.

Angela’s award includes funding to present this innovation at the Health Libraries Group or an equivalent conference to help disseminate the work. Angela will now look to update the Challenge and investigate other channels for wider dissemination. The Challenge remains available as a training and development tool for UCL library staff via the Summer School Moodle course. Contact Angela for more information or for an enrolment key for the course.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris17 October 2017

European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform

On Friday 13 October, I attended the European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP) in the Kultuurikatel (Creative Hub) in Tallinn, Estonia.Culture Hub The Presidency of the Union is currently held by Estonia and the theme of the meeting was to discuss how Europe can embrace Open Science (Open Scholarship). Open Science is the movement to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring Society, amateur or professional (Wikipedia). I was there as the representative of LERU (League of European Research Universities), of which UCL is a member.

The agenda covered three Reports from Working Groups of the Platform, which commented on fuller reports from High Level Expert Groups. The three Reports were on Rewards, Skills and New Metrics. A substantial part of my role as Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services) is to seek to embed Open Science (Open Scholarship) approaches across the whole University. The three Reports were generally accepted. I hope that they will be published soon on the Commission’s OSPP website.

FlagsThere are a number of high level issues which I will be taking forward in UCL in the wake of the discussions on Friday. Two are particularly relevant to the Library. First is Skills. The Skills Report identifies what new skills and knowledge are required from all colleagues in UCL to engage with Open Science (Open Scholarship). Two immediate deliverables from this will be (a) further engagement with the UCL Doctoral School and (b) the organisation of Open Science (Open Scholarship) Workshops in UCL to advocate for Open Science approaches.

The second area of immediate interest to the Library is the Report on New Metrics. This document looks at how we identify success in an Open Science (Open Scholarship) world and what measures can be used to document that success. This has immediate interest for the UCL Bibliometrics Working Group, which is drawing up a Bibliometrics Policy for UCL with plenty of examples of good practice.

The OSPP will be producing further Reports in the coming months and I look forward to seeing these, particularly the Report on the future of Scholarly Publishing – as UCL is seen as a European leader in this field. Open Science (Open Scholarship) represents a real change in culture in how universities work, collaborate, share, engage with Society and are transparent in their activities. It will be an important journey in the coming months and years. Open Science (Open Scholarship) is already embedded in the forthcoming revision of UCL’s Research Strategy and will, I am sure, be an important part of the new Library Strategy.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Text Mining: the role for libraries?

ucyldva2 October 2017

Text Mining: the role for libraries?

Time: 14:00 – 16:30

Date: 23/11/2017

Location: Room 417, DMS Watson Science Library

Text mining – also known as Text Data Mining, Text analytics and Distant Reading – refers to a broad range of processes for extracting information from text. This includes visualization of a single text, finding patterns in large corpora and topic modelling.

Text Mining presents exciting opportunities for researchers across all disciplines.  The expanding volume of literature, the growing interdisciplinary nature of research and the ever-decreasing cost of computing power makes text mining an increasingly powerful tool for researchers. However, despite the potential benefits, the use of text mining in research is still limited.

There are a number of reasons for this; legal barriers, difficulty accessing materials and a lack of knowledge on potential tools and techniques are some of the major ones. Is there a role for libraries to play in overcoming these barriers?

The Research Data Management team have been working with colleagues from the library and Research IT services on a session exploring the potential role libraries could play in supporting Text Mining.

The session will provide:

– an introduction to (potential) uses of text mining in research (Daniel van Strien)

– an outline of some of the legal issues surrounding text mining (Chris Holland Copyright Support Officer at UCL)

– examples of some of the research being done using text mining approaches by UCL researchers in collaboration with Software Developers from Research IT services (Tom Couch, RITs and Raquel Alegre, Research Software Development Group)

The session will allow time for discussion around the potential role of libraries in supporting text mining and present some options for further activities.

If you would like to attend please send an email to d.strien@ucl.ac.uk