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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

Paul Ayris6 May 2017

LEARN End of Project Conference

5 May saw the final Conference in the 2-year EU-funded LEARN project on research data management (RDM), which has been led by UCL. This attracted 128 registrations in Senate House from 21 countries, with 95 institutions represented.

Deliverables IMG_4286The day opened with a keynote presentation by Professor Kurt Deketelaere (Secretary General of LERU, the League of European Research Universities). Kurt gave a challenging presentation on the need for universities to get serious about RDM. He noted the leadership role that Europe is playing in delivering RDM solutions. Further keynote addresses in the Programme from Spain and Finland amplified the theme from the point of view of research-intensive universities and infrastructure suppliers. Panel sessions with guest members answered questions from the audience on RDM and debated with each other the validity of current approaches and views.

After lunch, the Conference broke into 4 parallel Tutorials, for which UCL led 2. I gave a tutorial on how to use the 200-page LEARN Toolkit of 23 Best Practice Case Studies. June Hedges, Myriam Fellous-Sigrist and Daniel Van Strien also gave a tutorial on engaging early career researchers in RDM issues.

The final keynote was delivered by Dr Claudio Gutierrez of the University of Chile, illustrating with an apple and two books  that research data has become the new currency of the research environment.

The Conference marked the end of the LEARN project, which officially finishes at the close of the month. Twitter postings underline how valuable attenders found the event. CODATA and EUDAT have commended the Toolkit of Best Practice Case Studies. In one of the video podcasts from the day, a North American visitor commented that (as a result of his attendance) he felt Europe was more advanced than the USA in tackling RDM issues. This, and other podcasts, will be available on the LEARN website (along with videos of all the plenary sessions). The podcasts can currently be seen via Twitter and are discoverable under the hashtag #learnldn.

The LEARN partners have enjoyed working together so much over the last 2 years that we are already planning a LEARN II – this time focussed on the whole area of Open Science.

Paul Ayris


The Director’s View

Paul Ayris25 October 2016

Innovation in UCL Library Services

As I write this, I am in Santiago Chile for the forthcoming Workshop of the LEARN project on research data management.

CEPAL, Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz, Santiago, Chile

CEPAL, Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz, Santiago, Chile

I have been asked to give 3 lectures during my short stay and the first one was today in the UN compound at the Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz / Hernán Santa Cruz Library – CEPAL, Naciones Unidas / ECLAC, United Nations.

The topic of the talk was the ‘Library of the 21st century’ and all my examples were taken from UCL and the fantastic work which we are all doing to deliver the Library Strategy. I looked at 2 main issues – space management and research support.

As far as estate is concerned, I showed many pictures of the Cruciform Hub and plans for the new Student Centre in UCL. I described the philosophy which underpins these new spaces – digitally-enabled, 24-hr spaces which act as the heart of the Student Experience for all UCL’s students when they are on campus. I described the wealth of resources which are available in the UCL digital library, and how the ReadingLists@UCL service is transforming the way UCL supports teaching and learning.

The second half of the presentation was on research support.View from the UN Building, Santiago, Chile Here I talked about our work in Open Access, our advocacy and support to academics in UCL, and the development of UCL Press. The UN Library was particularly interested in the UCL Press model and the range of books which we are producing. I was able to present a paper copy of the book Social Media in Northern Chile to the UN Library in Santiago. The Library’s new work on Research Data Management will be the subject of my third talk of the week, at the LEARN Workshop.

One of the recurring themes of the meeting today in Chile was the role of UCL Library Services in advocacy and liason with academics, researchers and students. We looked in particular at the work of the Subject Liaison Librarians, the Open Access Team, the UCL Press Team and our Research Data Management Advocacy Officer. I stressed that we in UCL did not wait for the user to come to us, we proactively go out to meet them in the space that they themselves occupy.

The UN Library staff were full of praise for the UCL model of 21st century library and information services and we ended the day discussing how common challenges could be faced and opportunities maximised. I came away having learned a lot about the developments achieved and planned for the Biblioteca Hernán Santa Cruz, and feel privileged to have been a small part of their planning process.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services