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Meet the Team: Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS)

Benjamin Meunier19 May 2022

In early Spring, Prof David Price facilitated a series of virtual “Meet the Team” events to help colleagues in different parts of Research, Innovation and Global Engagement (RIGE). One of these events, held on 10 March via MS Teams, focused on our work in Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS), to familiarise colleagues in other parts of RIGE with the role of LCCOS.

In order to provide all staff in LCCOS with an overview of our department, this blog post provides a short summary of the session. The slides are available at LCCOS Meet the Team.

Martin Moyle, Director of Services, opened the event, explaining that the LCCOS presentation would comprise a very brief overview of LCCOS and Library Services, followed by five short presentations highlighting specific areas of LCCOS likely to be of particular interest to RIGE colleagues.

He then gave a short introduction to LCCOS, which since December 2021 has brought together Library Services, UCL Culture, Research Integrity, Research Culture and Open Science.  He highlighted the size of the new  department – with 440 staff, by far the largest constituent part of the RIGE portfolio.

Martin went on to introduce Library Services, highlighting the fact that with 4.8 million annual visits to our libraries, UCL is the busiest university library service in the UK. He also emphasised UCL’s internationally important collections, the innovative services which Library staff provide (for instance ‘Click and Collect’ introduced during the pandemic) and the sheer scale of both physical and digital resources. We hold over 2 million print items and provide access to over 1.1 million e-books, plus 86,000 e-journals and 800+ databases! On Special Collections, Martin presented the team’s role in managing, conserving and making accessible 10,000 linear metres of rare books, archives and records. He emphasised that we hold one of the foremost collections of such material in the UK, and emphasised that they are not simply kept under lock and key, but are well used for teaching, research and outreach.

Charting the Library’s performance, Martin presented key metrics (National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) which showed how UCL has outperformed other UK libraries in supporting users during Covid, although our NSS scores dropped to 79.9% from 88.5% pre-Covid. Surveys shows consistent high satisfaction with the online library and lower scores for the physical library, which we know is due to historic under-investment in physical spaces and ongoing challenges in providing enough study spaces for our ever-growing student cohorts.  He also highlighted the latest UCL faculty compliance with REF OA Policy at 88-96% as a measure not only of the OA Team’s success, but as a mark of successful partnerships across RIGE.

June Hedges, Head of Liaison and Support Services, amplified Martin’s introduction with a more in-depth overview of Liaison and Support Services, which includes Open Science, Research Data Support, Bibliometrics Support and Research Integrity as well as Academic Engagement, Library Skills, Teaching and Learning Support and Open Access Services. In essence, Liaison and Support Services are all about enabling the learning and research of the UCL community, whether that is introducing new undergraduate students to UCL’s libraries and our services during the induction period, or providing support for seasoned researchers when they come to publish their outputs. Teams within Liaison and Support Services. The teams within the group vary greatly in size, from a “team” of one supporting bibliometrics, to the many in the Open Access Team, but all of them actively collaborate and work with colleagues across RIGE and the whole of UCL. June briefly introduced each team and pointed to more information about their work (via web links).

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science) then presented on Open Science, setting the international context and outlining UCL’s strategy and the role of UCL’s Office for Open Science. Paul set out the 8 pillars of Open Science, and described how LCCOS was able to support all of these through leadership, advocacy and engagement. Detailed information on the Office for Open Science and Scholarship is available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/ucl-office-open-science-and-scholarship. Paul also illustrated UCL’s position as a leader in Open Access since 2000, based on a chart showing research output and the percentage of OA publications within each institution in the Russell Group. UCL has consistently topped this chart over two decades, with Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial jostling for the remaining top 3 places. Finally, Paul presented UCL Press as an example of the impact of Open Science: with over 5m downloads from 246 countries, the research published through the UK’s first fully Open Access university press is reaching a truly global audience. The success story of UCL Press contributes to UCL’s leadership role in Open Science and LCCOS will continue to develop this agenda over the coming years.

Frank Penter, Director of Operations (UCL Culture) gave a sweeping overview of Museums, Collections, Public Programme, Theatre and UCL Engagement. The team manages 8 cultural venues, including 3 accredited museums and the Bloomsbury Theatre as well as collections which encompass over 160,000 objects ranging from Ancient Egyptian dresses to Jeremy Bentham’s head! Frank presented how UCL collections are embedded in teaching, with over 5,000 student uses of collections per year (and 3,100 specimens used in the Grant Museum in term 1 only!), and in research. For instance, the Petrie received 32 researchers from 5 different countries in Term 1 of this academic year.  Pre-Covid around 1,300 research visits were handled annually.  In addition to these ‘standard’ research support activities, the team also work on a number of funded projects with external and internal partners. Frank also explained that the Bloomsbury Theatre is actively used for student co-curricular activity, UCL academic and research activity as well as its range of commercial productions. Frank explained the work of the Programmes and Exhibitions team and their role in working with academics to develop activity and exhibitions in our museums and the Octagon/Cloisters. Frank presented UCL Engagement, who are here to spark connections between people and ideas. Frank illustrated what the team can help with, including advice and support, training (such as an Online Public Engagement course, or Public Engagement Skills and Practice for researchers and PhD students) and funding (such as Beacon Bursaries, Train and Engage, or Listen and Learn funds).  Finally, Frank presented the ground-breaking work of the Co-production Collective.

Emma Todd, Head of Research Culture, then presented work she has been leading on a wide-ranging transformation project. Research culture describes the environment in which research and innovation happens. It is made up of the expectations, values, attitudes and behaviours of our research communities and it shapes how research is created, how it’s stored, shared and the outputs that are delivered. Emma explained that there is an increasing focus on Research Culture within the sector – from Government and funders and also across peer institutions. Culture really does eat strategy for breakfast, as the famous quote goes from management consultant and writer Peter Drucker. If the culture isn’t right, we can’t fully deliver on UCL’s ambition. It is widely accepted in the sector that current research culture is not effective in helping sustain research excellence or the wellbeing of the people who deliver the research. Emma noted that there are also financial and reputational reasons why it’s important – funder requirements (including for quality-related research (QR) funding through REF) and our ability to attract the best researchers depends on UCL doing more to enhance its research culture. Wholesale change will require research organisations, funders, publishers and government to coordinate and consistently apply practical actions across the research community. But in the meantime, this complexity should not stop UCL from making progress on an institutional basis. Emma described what we’re doing at UCL, broken down into 3 parts. The first part between April – Aug 2021 was consultation with the research community. Part 2 is ongoing short term action in the form of a 6-month £1m+ Enhancing Research Culture Programme – ERCP (Feb-Jul 2022). Finally, Part 3 will be to develop a roadmap for cultural change (Apr – Sep 2022). Emma explained that she and her small temporary team (currently funded until 31st July) will deliver this project by working across UCL, with Faculties, colleagues in RIGE and in central Professional Services, and by integrating existing activity – of which there is a lot. A Research Culture Operations Group will oversee the ERCP and roadmap development and  report into RIGE Committee, which will have strategic oversight.

Finally, as Director of Operations, LCCOS, I spoke briefly about space strategy, focusing on library spaces. Whilst further work would be needed to establish a space strategy after UCL’s institutional strategy was more clearly defined, I indicated that libraries and learning spaces would aim to provide a range of interrelated learning environments, offering spaces with a clear identity, fostering sense of belonging for students (for postgraduate students, for instance), but also encouraging cross-disciplinary working. I added that space would also be develop to help extend the shared services model based on hubs, the Student Centre and UCL East approach, creating a local hub for students, e.g. within each Faculty​. I also noted that, as noted in previous Strategic Operating Plans, LCCOS would explore the feasibility of concentrating print stock in fewer sites to allow world-class user experience (24-hour opening, faculty identity, access to specialist services and resources including unique print collections) and improve financial and environmental sustainability. This could be complemented by Library-managed learning spaces​. This piece of work would follow from the UCL strategy and Estates masterplan, when those institutional plans are developed. I highlighted the ongoing work to establish a UCL Special Collections facility to exploit the exceptional institutional assets, particularly for cross-disciplinary research work. This could be linked to a wider Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences hub​, potentially in partnership with other academic institutions in London. Finally, I outlined potential for developing libraries further as portals between UCL and local communities​, which presents a great opportunity to work with colleagues in museums, collections, public engagement and Open Science.

Self-guided Campus Tours

Benjamin Meunier22 April 2022

I found out today about self-guided tours which UCL Communications have produced for prospective students, available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/self-guided-campus-tours.

The tour consists of a digital map of campus, with videos of some of the university’s landmarks. It focuses on the central Bloomsbury campus, featuring the Front Quad and the Portico, and has a marker for the School of Pharmacy. Whilst it doesn’t showcase many of our libraries, it does feature the Main Library (with a video of the Flaxman Gallery), the Cruciform Hub, the Student Centre, the Institute of Education Library and UCL Special Collections as well as views of SSEES Library. It also includes links to the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL Art Museum and the Petrie Museum.

According to the website, the tour should take between 45 to 50 minutes. This might be a useful resource for first-time visitors to UCL, and I thought it would be useful to share since I don’t think these virtual tours have been promoted much internally.

UCL Press exceeds five million book downloads

Alison Fox11 October 2021

We are delighted to announce that UCL Press books have now been downloaded more than 5 million times. You can see the full details here.

Since launching in 2015, we’ve published more than 200 academic books – including monographs, edited collections and textbooks. Downloads have taken place in 245 countries and territories across the world, reaching readers in countries as far afield as Afghanistan and North Korea!

To celebrate, we’ve produced a video- enjoy!

New UCL Press book hits national (and international) headlines

Alison Fox11 May 2021

We are delighted that The Global Smartphone: Beyond a youth technology (published on May 6th 2021) has hit the headlines across the world, with coverage in newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Guardian and Daily Mail.

Coverage in the UK and Ireland has included stories by The Scottish Herald, Reuters, The Irish Times, RTE, Newstalk, and an interview with lead author Prof Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology) on Sky News this morning. Publications in Portugal (here, here, here and here), Germany, Brazil. Greece  (and here), Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Malaysia, Australia, Albania, EgyptRussia, Italy, Israel, Czechia and France have also reported on the book’s findings.

The book documents the work of a team of 11 anthropologists who spent 16 months documenting smartphone use in nine countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, with a particular focus on older adults. The team was led by Professor Daniel Miller, whose previous UCL Press series on global social media usage, Why We Post, saw more than a million downloads of the open access books that detailed the findings.

The Global Smartphone: Beyond a youth technology is written by Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology), Laila Abed Rabho, Patrick Awondo, Maya de Vries, Marília Duque, Pauline Garvey, Laura Haapio-Kirk, Charlotte Hawkins, Alfonso Otaegui, Shireen Walton, and Xinyuan Wang. It is part of the Ageing with Smartphones series, which also includes Ageing with Smartphones in Ireland and Ageing with Smartphones in Urban Italy.

UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries not to re-open in current location

Anna Di Iorio17 July 2020

The UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries at the Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital in Gray’s Inn Road were due to close on Friday 21st August 2020, necessitated by the Hospital’s relocation within UCLH. Due to the current circumstances and the resultant early closure of the Hospital building, the libraries will not re-open in this location.

Arrangements are being made for the rehousing of the collections from both libraries. Important clinical and teaching material will be retained on open shelves at the Cruciform and Language & Speech Sciences Libraries respectively. The core course books required by UCL Ear Institute/Audiology students will be located at the Language & Speech Sciences Library. The rare book and archive collections owned by Action on Hearing Loss will be transferred to the stewardship of UCL Special Collections, and will remain available for consultation by members of UCL, UCLH and the wider public. Other material from the Libraries will be available for next-day delivery from the Library Services Store.

The UCL Cruciform Hub is now the centre for library provision for UCL Ear Institute staff and students, including information skills support delivered by the training team. The Cruciform Hub is also the home library for healthcare staff and students at the University College Hospital campus, providing a range of facilities and tailored clinical support services.

UCL Library Services is grateful to all those who have made use of the UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss Libraries over the years, and proud that we are continuing our long association with Action on Hearing Loss through UCL Special Collections. Further information will be provided as UCL’s plans to re-open its buildings and Libraries develop.

HO! HO! HO! from Archaeology Library

ucylpma4 December 2019

Christmas has officially arrived here at the Archaeology Library. We have used our creative skills to decorate our Library space and made it look very Christmassy. We have also received a letter from far, far away in a form of a Christmas poem. As this is the most magical, festive and incredible time of the year and we would like to share this experience with all of you.

We would also like to use this opportunity and wish you ALL to have a cheerful, holly, jolly, and a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too!

Christmas joy…
Hoping to get my
Reading list finished
In time for the end of the term.
Stopping for a moment, I
Take in the
Merry lights on display
And hope the students and
Staff have had a great term!
– Lewis Rushton

 

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris13 August 2019

R.D. Laing and UCL’s underground press material

13 August saw a public lecture from UCL Special Collections’ first Visiting Fellow, Professor Adrian Chapman. Professor Chapman is Professor at Florida State University and based in London. He has a PhD from UCL and two English degrees from the University of London. He has publications (academic articles and creative work) in the area of Literature and Psychology / Medical Humanities and a research interest in Rhetoric and Composition. His research is particularly centred on R. D. Laing (the radical Scottish psychiatrist) and his network. For the announcement of his appointment in Special Collections, see here.

Around 50 people, perhaps half of them from outside UCL, attended to hear Professor Chapman talk about the influence of R.D. Laing and his network on psychiatry, using as source material the matchless collections in UCL Special Collections from the underground press. Wikipedia says: ‘Ronald David Laing (7 October 1927 – 23 August 1989), usually cited as R. D. Laing, was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing’s views on the causes and treatment of psychopathological phenomena were influenced by his study of existential philosophy and ran counter to the chemical and electroshock methods that had become psychiatric orthodoxy. Taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of mental illness, Laing regarded schizophrenia as a theory not a fact. Though associated in the public mind with anti-psychiatry, he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left. Laing was portrayed in the 2017 film Mad to Be Normal.’

During his talk in UCL, alas cut short in the last few minutes by a fire practice, Professor Chapman gave a number of examples of Laing’s influence, as displayed in the collections on view, accompanied by recorded music of the period. Take, as an example, musical illustration no. 12: The Doors, ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’. (The Doors, Elektra, 1967). Like Dylan, Jim Morrison was, and continues to be, an icon of the ’60s. The Doors took their name from The Doors of Perception, a book about mescaline and the expansion of consciousness by Aldous Huxley, whose nephew, Francis, was a great friend of Laing. Aldous Huxley found his title in a line from William Blake, the English Romantic poet, who wrote that  ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite’. According to a review in It 39, The Doors’ ‘Break on Through (To the Other Side)’ is ‘very natural, like breathing’. The need to break through convention and the ‘false self’ to a region where one can at last breathe freely – a liberated zone of playfulness, creativity and authenticity – was a desire shared by The Doors, the Laing network and the underground on both sides of the Atlantic (Programme Note from Professor Chapman).

Professor Chapman’s talk was received enthusiastically by his audience and marks a further step in the successful development of outreach and academic engagement activities by UCL Special Collections.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

UCL research data repository publishes its first outputs

t.johnson14 June 2019

UCL researchers can now publish, archive and share data, code and other outputs supporting published research in UCL’s new institutional research data repository (RDR).

research data repository

UCL’s new research data repository

First repository dataset published 5 June

On 5 June, UCL researchers, Library Services, ISD and Figshare staff celebrated two years’ preparation and the launch of the new university repository.  The very first upload: an mp4 laparoscopy video of Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica is part of an interdisciplinary Special Collections – Digitisation Suite collaboration.

Main features of the service

The UCL research data repository (RDR) service is free, open access and cloud-based with UCL single sign-on, and offers 10 year preservation in almost any file format.

Other features include embargo and integration with GitHub – and UCL Research Publications Service later this year, saving effort on REF submissions.  The institutional repository offers additional features over the commercial Figshare service: greater storage (50GB for individuals and 100GB for groups), larger file uploads (5GB), team project collaborations and metrics analysis and reporting.

The secret to a fast and painless repository experience

Testers found the repository intuitive: easy to log in, browse, and find, view and download items.  Uploading and describing an item takes minutes once the files and metadata are ready.  The trick is to prepare in advance:  good file names, a summary description, co-authors and their ORCIDs, keywords, the grant code, URLs or DOIs of linked research, and copyright licence codes.  A quick guide, detailed guide and FAQs are available on the Research Data Management webpages.

Once checked and approved (within 3 working days), each published item receives a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to make it easy to share, discover and cite.

Researchers are responsible for compliance with funder policies, intellectual property/copyright and GDPR leglisation.  Personal data is not accepted in the repository at present unless completely anonymised or pseudonymised.

The Research Data Repository service is supported jointly by:

More guidance is available on the Research Data Management Repository webpages and in the Research Data Repository FAQs.

Contact: researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk for questions, support, comments and feedback.

Data sharing is necessary for reproducible researchFAIR data and major funder compliance.  The new UCL research data repository is part of the university’s investment in infrastructure to enable Open Science practice across the university.

Join the UCL reproducibility mailing list for news and updates, invitations for input and training.

Further reading

Performance Lab: eleven experiments in science and the arts

Benjamin Meunier3 April 2019

[shared on behalf of UCL Culture]

Experience UCL’s cutting-edge research, brought to life by artists, dancers, opera singers and stand-up comedians onstage at the Bloomsbury Theatre and in the unique surroundings of the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL.

Commissioned by UCL Culture, PERFORMANCE LAB brings a radical and bold theatrical season of ground-breaking discoveries to the stage. The first Performance Lab season includes symposiums, live performance, discussions and full theatre and musical performances from Monday 29 April 2019 – Thursday 20 June 2019.

£5 tickets are available for UCL staff and students, and some events are free. See the full programme at ucl.ac.uk/culture/performancelab

Locus developed by Amanda Simo Rodriguez and Anthos Venizelos with dancer Saloni Saraf. Bloomsbury Theatre 2019 © Belinda Lawley

BEIS launches Knowledge Quarter Science and Innovation Audit

Benjamin Meunier15 March 2019

The Knowledge Quarter network is celebrating the release of a Science and Innovation Audit of the area, on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The report, which UCL was a lead partner in developing, identifies the area’s nationally leading strengths in AI, life sciences and cultural and scientific collections and publishing, and recommends opportunities for investment and further developing the area to enhance its potential. A key recommendation is the development of a spatial plan for the area that better enables the next generation of scientific and knowledge-led enterprises to locate in the area. The report is London’s only SIA, demonstrating its unique nature within London’s economy. More here.

 

How does this relate to UCL Library Services? We have a key place in London, and in the Knowledge Quarter in particular, and this is reflected in the full report. The report mentions our 18 libraries, “covering a wide range of specialist subjects ranging from bio-medicine and science to arts, architecture and archaeology”. The report also highlights UCL’s leading role in promoting “innovation in Open Science, including starting UCL Press, the UK’s first completely open access university press.” UCL Press and the launch of the megajournal are referenced in Table 5-5: Open Access Publishers started by universities and scientific bodies within the Knowledge Quarter.

In addition, Box 5-4 illustrates how UCL Special Collections’ Outreach programme is delivering meaningful experiences for non-academic audiences to access, learn about and enjoy our Special Collections. Key projects listed include:

• Time Capsule with Edith Neville Primary School: a whole-school project developed around the building of a new school and the demolition of the old. In collaboration with Museum of London Archaeology, the children explored the concept of keeping things for the future as well as the importance of objects from the past. As part of this, pupils were taught about archives and each class has begun to create a class archive.

• Making East London: with funding from HLF and a UCL Beacon Bursary, this touring exhibition was a collaboration with Newham Libraries and Archives (East) to bring together both organisation’s collections to explore East London’s past, inspired by the Main Library exhibition East Side Stories. The exhibition was a centrepiece around which workshops for community groups were run. The workshops were also opportunities for the recording of local peoples’ stories, experiences and memories of east London; student volunteers from UCL have worked to, and continue to, record oral histories as part of a new digital archive.