Facilitate Research Excellence

Looking for information from previous years? Check out past highlights below!

2017 marked significant Library involvement in the evolution of the research enterprise. Research data management continues to be a critical issue – both at UBC and beyond. We have participated in discussions on the UBC system-wide Research Data Management Task Force; continued work with Canadian Association of Research Libraries colleagues in the development of Portage initiatives, including the Data Management Plan (DMP) builder; and are now involved in the Tri-Agency consultations on their draft Research Data Management Policy. More locally, we have been focusing on streamlining services to researchers, supporting open scholarship, and building the research capacity of our UBC Okanagan librarians.

Digital Scholarship Services Review

In a complex and rapidly developing research landscape, it is common in academic institutions for administrative supports to evolve within allied organizational silos, including the Library, Information Technology, and Research Services offices. On the UBC Okanagan Campus, the Library, Advanced Research Computing (ARC), and Office of the Vice-Principal Research (including the Office of Research Services), work very closely to support researchers, but are currently unable to offer seamless transitions between a constantly expanding list of services.

Inspired by similar initiatives at other institutions, the Library and ARC – who collaborate very closely on Research Data Management initiatives – have been exploring the potential for a more formalized partnership that would remove barriers for researchers through the creation of a Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) unit to align and create a storefront for their respective service offerings.

Existing (or in development) researcher-facing services that could be brought together under the umbrella of DSS include:

  • Research data management services, including data management planning
  • Open scholarship, including support for Open Science Framework (OSF), open data, and compliance with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications
  • Technical consultations and support for grant applications
  • Copyright and author rights, including author retention of rights for deposit and publication
  • Improved access to digital research infrastructure (DRI), and implementing and advancing innovative DRI technologies
  • Digital asset creation (digitization) services
  • Expert technical support and services, including technique- and discipline-specific ARC training
  • Preservation of research outputs, including publications (cIRcle, UBC’s institutional repository) and data (ABACUS Dataverse)
  • Management of academic profiles, including ORCID
  • Retrieval and interpretation of traditional and alternative publication metrics
  • Support for data visualization and analysis

At present a small steering group that includes representation from the Library, ARC, and the Office of the Vice-Principal Research, as well as faculty advisors from a variety of disciplines, has been assembled to help determine priorities and propose a model for streamlining these services. One proposed model would see the DSS unit organizationally located within the Library’s Centre for Scholarly Communication, though services would be provided by the Library and ARC. Referrals to the DSS storefront would be made by the Office of Research Services (ORS) and others affiliated with the Office of the Vice-Principal Research, as well as Associate Deans Research and other campus services. The one-stop shop model would ensure effective referral and follow-through. Implementation of initial steering group recommendations is anticipated to take place in 2018.

Open Scholarship Initiatives

The Library has been an active participant on the Open Science Task Force, a system-wide group tasked to provide recommendations on how to support and facilitate best practices in open science (and more generally, open scholarship) among UBC researchers, implement training of best practices in open scholarship among UBC research faculty members and students, and promote open scholarship at UBC.

As part of exploring these goals, and with the generous support of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic Affairs in Vancouver, a portion of one Okanagan librarian’s time will be dedicated in 2018 to strategic initiatives at UBC Okanagan that represent different aspects of open scholarship and show potential to be scaled to a system level.

Library Researcher in Residence

Our librarians are researchers in their own right, participating as investigators and collaborators on research teams. In support of these efforts, our Library hosted a Researcher in Residence event in December featuring Jane Schmidt from Ryerson University, who spoke about her experience conducting research during a study leave, the challenge of peer review for a topic that takes a critical stance and, following the publication of her article “Little Free Libraries®: Interrogating the impact of the branded book exchange“, the substantial media attention she and her research partner, Jordan Hale, received.

The day also featured speakers who discussed writing grant proposals, and a panel presentation and discussion of research collaborations. We were pleased to welcome colleagues from UBC Vancouver’s Library and Okanagan College Library to share the event with us.

In 2016, the Library began development of a strategic research plan in response to institutional needs. The Fall 2015 launch of the rimes portal in collaboration with the UBC Okanagan Office of Research Services provided a location for one-stop access to research resources and tools in the context of a five stage “research lifecycle”: planning, implementation, publishing, discovery and impact, and preservation. 2016 efforts focused on further developing content, educational materials, and training opportunities for featured tools and resources.

The Library has taken a lead role on providing training and consultation on a variety of tools and resources, including:

  • UNIWeb, which gives researchers the ability to collaborate with colleagues in secure and private networks, streamline funding applications with Canadian Common CV (CCV) syncing capabilities, and manage and track the outputs of research groups and projects.
  • SciVal, which provides access to the research performance of 4,600 research institutions and 220 countries worldwide, allowing researchers to benchmark performance against other institutions or groups of researchers.
  • PlumX, which can examine a wide range of research outputs including articles, monographs and chapters, presentations, datasets, videos, blogs, and other digital artifacts to examine usage (clicks, downloads, views, library holdings, video plays), captures (bookmarks, code forks, favourites, readers, watchers), mentions (blog posts, comments, reviews, Wikipedia links) and social media activity (+1s, likes, shares, tweets).
  • Refworks, which can help to organize research, create in-text citations with the click of a button, and easily format and re-format bibliographies and in-text references, facilitating the change of formats for submission to different journals.
  • Open Journal Systems (OJS), which is a journal management and publishing system that assists every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing.

Developing supportive frameworks for open access, particularly in light of the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications announced by Canada’s federal granting agencies was a primary strategic goal and major focus for 2016. The Library is working to create and promote more efficient ways to include publications in cIRcle, UBC’s institutional repository, and offer advice on review of publishing agreements to ensure retention of copyright and/or right to deposit publications.

2017 will see the Library further expand its campus role in digital asset creation and curation, and research data management and preservation, including open data requests and requirements. In addition, we are growing our capacity to provide consultation in interpreting a wide variety of traditional and alternative research metrics.

welcome_readingroom_facebook2014-15 marked an important shift in focus for the Okanagan Library in terms of support for the research enterprise. Developing supportive frameworks for open access, particularly in light of the recent Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications announced by Canada’s federal granting agencies has become a primary strategic goal and a major focus for 2016 as the Library develops a new research support framework in response to institutional needs.

With the theme “Your Research Starts Here”, the Library’s annual marketing campaign for 2015 highlighted services available to researchers, including support for data management, UBC’s institutional repository, access to measures of global and local impact (including both traditional and alternative metrics), and the publishing and journal hosting support available through the Centre for Scholarly Communication. 

Research and Infrastructure Management Enterprise Services (rimes) portal

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The Fall 2015 launch of the Research and Information Management Enterprise Services (rimes) portal at http://rimes.ok.ubc.ca represents a major collaborative effort between UBC Okanagan’s Office of Research Services (ORS) and the Library. rimes is a colourful, organized web portal, optimized for both desk and mobile use, that provides access to research resources and tools in the context of a five-stage “research lifecycle”: planning, implementation, publishing, discovery and impact, and preservation. For each stage, rimes allows users to quickly access the information and links they need. The rimes homepage also includes a calendar feed containing important dates for deadlines, workshops, and events relevant to researchers on campus.

In addition to new research tools like UNIweb and PlumX, rimes links users to familiar online tools and services like RISe, cIRcle, and SciVal. The site also contains current information, resources and support contacts for persistent and emerging issues such as data management planning, open access, and compliance (e.g.: ethics and conflict of interest).

Development of programming to support multiple literacies

This year, librarians taught over 180 instructional sessions, many of which were integrated directly into course content. There have also been successful efforts to scaffold information literacy instruction into the curriculum of cohort programs such as Engineering, Management, and the Southern Medical Program.

Ideally, we would like to find better ways of integrating information literacy into the classroom, especially in non-cohort programs. We continue to see students in later years of their programs lacking in basic research skills and hope to find effective ways to partner with faculty to improve this situation.

Creation of Writing and Research Services Unit

Recognizing that the development of effective writing skills is a critical part of conducting and disseminating research throughout a student’s academic career has led to the proposed amalgamation of a suite of services within the framework of the Library to support scholarly communications.

The new Writing and Research Services unit will provide access to a collection of services physically located in the Library building, including:

  • graduate and senior undergraduate student support, both peer and professional, for writing, publishing, and scholarly communication;
  • undergraduate writing support, provided using a peer-support model; and
  • enhanced, subject-based student research assistance and support for Copyright and cIRcle (the UBC institutional repository), provided by UBC Okanagan librarians

This unit, which is scheduled to open in September 2014, will be managed by a new Scholarly Communication Librarian and located in repurposed Library staff space to avoid impacting existing student study spaces. Its philosophy is centred on the belief that becoming a successful researcher is a process that must be supported and encouraged at all stages of development.

Identification, development, and growth of specialized and local collections

In September 2012, the UBC Okanagan Library received funding that enabled the hire of a co-op student from UBC’s School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies to devote focused attention to the development of our special collections. As part of his placement, this student worked with librarians to develop a draft collections policy identifying what materials might belong in a regional Okanagan special collection – including determining what geographically constitutes the “Okanagan Valley”.

Once this was in place, the student analyzed existing holdings in both Okanagan and Vancouver collections that met the mandate of this collection policy, and began to identify additional publications by Okanagan authors or relating to the Okanagan Valley that could be considered for acquisition. In addition, the Library consulted with colleagues from other institutions, including Okanagan College, University of Northern British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, and Selkirk College to consider collaborative and complementary collection development for regional materials.

In conjunction with these efforts, discussions were ongoing with Vancouver colleagues in Rare Books and Special Collections about the project; they were in full agreement that the Okanagan was the appropriate place to house UBC collections related to our region. The transfer of those collections from the Vancouver campus to the Kelowna campus solidified a system-wide partnership to the benefit of our community and its research needs.

In December 2013, the Vancouver Foundation supported the special collections initiative by funding the renovation of a small reading room to create a fitting home for the regional materials. This new space is slated to open in November 2014.

In June 2014, the UBC Okanagan Library accepted its first archival collection, the Simpson Family Collection, which documents, among other things, the history of the sawmill industry in Kelowna. We hope that this collection will be described, organized, and digitized over the course of the next eighteen months so that it can be made fully available to researchers.