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Supporting research in a 'layered information universe'

Prezi for Drew Whitworth's opening lecture for the 'Developing Research Support' CPD programme, Oslo, 10/7/12

Drew Whitworth

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Supporting research in a 'layered information universe'

Supporting research in a
'layered information universe' Drew Whitworth, University
of Manchester Introduction: the
role of research LEARNING is how we come to
understand the universe around
us... 'Research' is a formal
expression of this
process There are many stakeholders,
with different interests in
research The process of research? Spiranec & Zorica (at 'Creating Knowledge
VI') said the 'information universe' was
characterised by 'complex layering' Rules-driven Subtle constraints... paradigms,
funding priorities, etc
(Critical view) Social media


e.g. Twitter, blogging Accountability: "The days of scientists communicating only with each other, in thelanguages of our individual disciplines, and relying on science journalists totranslate for the public, are rapidly coming to an end.” (in "Nature", cited by Minocha & Petre) Even early ICT made an obvious
difference: 1970s 'public' internet
used frequently
by academics Increasing supervision at
a distance? Globally disperse
researchers: how can we support
them? Institutions using these new media for
marketing and publicity Researcher development - see RDF
1) knowledge & intellectual ability
2) personal effectiveness
3) research governance
4) engagement and impact S & Z say:
"Innovative configurations of scientific discourses have become visible, resulting in the breakdown of traditional assumptions about scientific expertise and the conversion of rigid scientific processes to more open-ended processes of communication. Scientific information and knowledge are socially produced and distributed and scientific activities can no longer be conceived of as a schematic, linear or rules-driven process. " New technologies... Developing new
competencies and services? Fairweather at ALT-C:
RDF 'too broad... to map
resources in a meaningful
way' Understanding RESEARCH
CONTEXTS is essential

Knowledge 'brokering' requires
links to be made between
different contexts What are local strengths? Regional networks? National resources?
(e.g. Datasets) These kinds of skills are
still required... But so are these Conclusion Remember: there are
competing perceptions Different groups compete
to define the dialogue of
research, control inputs
and outputs Vitae research suggests
changed practices are
driven by the researchers
themselves Whatever structures of support
exist - they must be flexible, able
to be adapted where positive
effects can be discerned Investments in research
infrastructure, e.g. CRIStin The "collective collection"
(Lorcan Dempsey) For-profit and private capital,
e.g. Elsevier Location of high-quality datasets,
literature reviews

Data mining, generation

Data management & preservation,
preservation of outputs and project
records Support research by becoming
a researcher? Lorcan Dempsey again (THETA 2013:)
Libraries need to ‘rightscale’, find the appropriate engagement and discovery environment for their location

The library is an actor in the research and learning environments of its users "Research intelligence"

(particularly, but not only,
around funding)
Full transcript