Researcher support: a collaborative approach

ALIA Library

O'Connor, Mary; Duffield, Nel; Tovara, Jess

Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference 2018, 30 July - 2 August 2018 Gold Coast: Roar Leap Dare
This conference paper discusses the approach by University of Adelaide to improve research outcomes through reducing researcher time spent on administrative tasks; and through more effective storage and exposure of research outputs. The University’s organisational structure did not provide a clear pathway for a co-ordinated, enterprise wide approach; so a new, cross-portfolio researcher engagement process was designed and implemented. This paper will describe the partners and the processes - who is involved, how they work, and our successes and challenges. 
Technology Services and the Library collaboratively staff a three-tiered service model. The engagement is spearheaded by a Change Manager who works with key researchers to identify their pain points and identify an appropriate solution; then lead the implementation and uptake of the products and services to facilitate their work. The Change Manager is supported by the eResearch Project Librarian. This role, funded jointly by the Library and by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), assists in the design of new services, the identification of useful products, and in their implementation. Services include broad-based researcher support and training. Products include ORCiD, Researcher Profiles, figshare data repository for open data, online Data Management Records and Altmetric Explorer. The eResearch Librarian then works to upskill the third tier of research support: the Liaison Librarians.
Once a particular research tool is no longer a ‘project; and becomes part of ‘business as usual’ it becomes the responsibility of the Liaison Librarians. The Liaison Librarians are aligned to a Faculty portfolio to allow them to develop discipline specific skills. For example, the Liaison Librarian responsible for the Faculty of Arts has Digital Humanities expertise, whereas the Liaison Librarian with responsibility for the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences will develop deeper knowledge around de-identifying research data to allow open access. This discipline specific knowledge, in conjunction with relationships with researchers within their Faculties, makes the Liaison Librarians well placed to provide targeted ongoing support.
In 2017 the University rolled out an unprecedented number of research supporting technologies with resounding take-up by the University’s research community. The take-up is a clear measure of success for this approach. The Liaison Librarians learnt new skills and new ways of engaging with researchers. Library staff began to work more deeply and collaboratively with research support staff in Technology Services, Faculties and Schools and the Office of the Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Research), building credibility and prominence across the wider University. This cross-structural approach to research support has been a demonstrably successful model. The combination of resources provided by Technology Services and the Library provided both bandwidth and a diverse skill set which enabled new initiatives that would not have been possible by one business unit alone.


Deakin, ACT: Australian Library and Information Association
University of Adelaide