Hey REF! What’s it all about?

In this post, Lynne Harris from the Research Skills Team in Library Services introduces us to the Research Excellence Framework, and explains some of the terminology.

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This blog post is about the Research Excellence Framework (REF).  It covers what REF is, why it matters to researchers and the REF submission process.

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It is important for the University to do well in the REF exercise as this has a direct impact on future funding for research.  This funding comes from the Government via the UK’s Funding Councils.  The key principle is that all research arising from such funding should be as widely and freely accessible as possible. Continue reading “Hey REF! What’s it all about?”

The viva experience – dispelling the myths

In this post, recent viva voce candidate Farhan Noordali, from the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, shares with us his experience of the viva examination. Congratulations to Farhan on passing his viva with minor corrections!

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Image credit: Safarrin

Just over a month ago, I successfully passed my viva voce examination. Needless to say, the elation, after years of sacrifice and hard work is unparalleled. However, I felt it would be worth sharing my experience and perception of the process with the hope it may provide a sigh of relief, especially to those who feel anxious about facing this final PhD hurdle. Continue reading “The viva experience – dispelling the myths”

The One and Only – ORCID for researchers

In this post, Vicky Wallace from Library Services’ Research Skills Team introduces ORCID, a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.

In today’s research climate, the scope for information about you and your work to be displayed and connected is huge.  Historically, publishers and libraries took ownership for distributing and curating works, but roles are blurring in today’s world, where indexing and curation of online content is largely done algorithmically.  The picture is further complicated by:

  • the range of research output types (“online-only” articles, blog posts, slide decks and datasets) and other research activity;
  • difficulties in author disambiguation, exacerbated where people have common names, perhaps change names after marriage, move institutions, or are affiliated with more than one institution.

Vicky would like to make it clear that she is not a fan of Chesney (despite knowing all the words).

How can we ensure that researchers’ profiles are correct, full and up to date?  Continue reading “The One and Only – ORCID for researchers”

Planning to manage your data

We’ve talked a bit about Research Data Management (RDM) on this blog before, with a post from our Research Repository Advisor in Library Services and another from a current PGR.   However, now that there is a requirement for all PGRs who started their research programmes in or after September 2017 to produce a Data Management Plan (DMP) in advance of their first annual review, it seems a good time to revisit this topic, with a focus on DMPs.

A DMP is a living document that outlines how data are to be handled during and after a research project.  A good DMP will protect you against data loss and ensure you have well-documented data to assist with writing up and possible future data sharing. Continue reading “Planning to manage your data”

To EndNote or not to EndNote?

In this post, Sue Stevens from Library Services’ Research Skills Team shares her experience on reference management software, and EndNote in particular.

Citing the sources you have used in a piece of research is obviously very important, but the task of citing and referencing correctly can be an onerous task. x8_mainapp_rgb-largeOver the years I have supported many students, undergraduates and postgraduates, with referencing and the use of referencing software.  I’ve also observed a range of different reactions when I introduce students to the wonders of referencing software, ranging from fear and scepticism to joy and ecstasy!   So what can referencing software do for you, and in particular, what can EndNote offer a researcher?  Continue reading “To EndNote or not to EndNote?”

SUPER-visory relationships

The relationship between a PGR and their supervisor is unlike any other relationship that you might encounter in professional or personal life (although it has been compared to that between a physician and patient).

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A successful relationship can benefit both parties, and nurture a PGR towards a brilliant thesis and blossoming into a highly effective researcher with all the skills and behaviours (both research and transferable) that entails.  What can you do, as a PGR, to increase the chances of building a super relationship with your supervisor?  Continue reading “SUPER-visory relationships”

Spotlight on the RDF: “Enthusiasm”

In one of our occasional series of spotlights, we take a closer look at a specific descriptor from the RDF.

In this series of “Spotlight on…” posts, we’ll be delving into the detail of the descriptors in Vitae‘s Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Each one of the sixty-three descriptors is a characteristic of an excellent researcher, and we’ll be looking at how UoB PGRs can develop these characteristics.

Enthusiastic PhD student!
Photo credit: Kimia Solutions.

Enthusiasm is defined by the OED as “passionate eagerness in any pursuit, proceeding from an intense conviction of the worthiness of the object” [1] and I think this is something that many of us can identify with when we embark on a new research undertaking.  However, passion and intensity require a lot of energy to maintain, so this post explores ways to keep enthusiasm and motivation high over the course of a research programme. Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Enthusiasm””