De-colonizing: emphasizing the universality of the university

In this post, Dooshima Lilian Dugguh reflects on the De-Colonizing: Past and Present Workshop held on 13 May 2019 in the College of Arts and Law. This two-day multi-disciplinary workshop examined de-colonization in relation to both research and school curricula.

Reading the workshop title “De-colonizing: past and present”, I am sure that several participants had a rough guess that it was centered around discussing historical realities of colonized nations. But I am also certain that many, like me, were amazed at the understanding that beyond the initial idea is a whole new perspective that exports the concept of de-colonization and applies it to academic endeavors such as impactful research and development of academic curricula, giving an opportunity to rethink research and taught patterns of university courses. This workshop underlined two very important aspects: de-colonizing research and de-colonizing curricula.

De-colonizing asks us to examine assumptions regarding racial and civilizational hierarchy which in the past informed a lot of thinking about how the world worked, what was worth studying in it, and how it should be studied.  SOAS blog

Continue reading “De-colonizing: emphasizing the universality of the university”

Sending your research out into the world

On Wednesday 19 June 2019, there is a deadline for PGRs hoping to graduate in July to complete all the requirements for the award of their research degree.  Among a few other things, this includes submitting an electronic copy of your thesis to the University of Birmingham eTheses repository.

deposit etheses screenshot

Continue reading “Sending your research out into the world”

International Open Access Week is coming up!

Patricia Herterich, Research Repository Advisor from Library Services, introduces us to Open Access Week 2018.

openaccessweek_logoOnce per year, open access advocates (such as myself) get excited about International Open Access Week (this year running from 22 – 28 October).  This event highlights the movement working to make research outputs freely available for re-use, to raise awareness for issues around making outputs available and answer questions that you might have.  If you’re not sure why you should care about this, Suzanne Atkins summarised the benefits of Open Access to PGRs in her blogpost back in October 2016. Continue reading “International Open Access Week is coming up!”

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”

Why should I be interested in Open Access?

In Open Access Week, Suzanne Atkins (Library Services) introduces Open Access.

So, you may ask, as a PGR why should you be interested in Open Access (OA)?

openaccessWell, there are several reasons why OA is relevant and important to researchers, particularly in the early stages of their academic career. Open access in its most simple sense, where research can be accessed without payment barriers allowing anyone to read or download it, offers huge opportunities for researchers to make themselves and their work more widely known. Continue reading “Why should I be interested in Open Access?”

Big data, small data, no data

This week, a guest post from Patricia Herterich, Research Repository Advisor in Library Services, on managing your research data.

There are many aspects to a successful PhD project and challenges to master on your way to graduation. You most certainly are aware that you should acquire e.g. writing and referencing skills, but how much time have you spent thinking about the research data management activities you might need to undertake as part of your research?  None yet? Time to get started with our introduction to research data management! Continue reading “Big data, small data, no data”

Bibliometrics for researchers

An introduction to bibliometrics for researchers by Vicky Wallace, Subject Advisor, Library Services

Have you ever heard the term bibliometrics?  Bibliometrics can be described as a means of measuring the impact of a given publication by looking at the number of times subsequent authors have cited that publication.

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How to find an author’s h-index.

Bibliometrics can be applied at various levels, including:

  • Author level (e.g. the h-index)
  • Article level (e.g. altmetrics)
  • Journal level (e.g. impact factor)

There are philosophical questions about the merits of using a citation as a measure of impact.  Ask yourself the question of why you cite papers in your work, is it for positive or negative reasons, are you building on a researchers work, criticising it, or acknowledging their contribution to a field?  Also, citation patterns vary across disciplines, with some areas having numerous co-authors and citing prolifically, and other areas citing fewer papers and having more sole authors.  Nevertheless, bibliometrics are often used as a quantitative measure to determine the impact of researchers, research groups, departments and institutions, although this is often tempered by using peer review alongside them to bring in a qualitative element. Continue reading “Bibliometrics for researchers”

Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice”

In the first of an occasional series, 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.

The RDF  descriptor “appropriate practice” is one which is easier to define through its opposite:  academic malpractice is any activity – intentional or not – that is likely to undermine the integrity essential to scholarship and research.  Examples of academic malpractice include plagiarism and falsification/fabrication of results.  Continue reading “Spotlight on the RDF: “Appropriate practice””