Our Research Commons Task Force has done a marvelous job. Their report [http://go.osu.edu/ResearchCommonsReport] is available here including an executive summary, recommendations and findings, as well as variety of appendices with additional information.
The task force was chaired by Meris Mandernach, and included Beth Black, Tschera Connell, Danny Dotson, Todd Efkeman, Bruce Leach, and Terry Reese. The TF was advised by a group of stakeholders and potential partners including: Jeff Agnoli (Office of Research); Ola Ahlqvist (Geography); Mike Hofherr (Distance Education and e-Learning); David Staley (History); Allison Snow (Undergraduate Research Office); and Sandra Enimil (Libraries’ Copyright).
The report recommended that the Research Commons (to be housed on the 3rd floor of the 18th Avenue Library) be based and formed around services rather than merely providing a space. Focusing on services provides the most useful support to researchers. A four-pronged services model was recommended focused on consultations, education/training, referrals, and showcasing research.
- Campus partners will offer office hours at specific times throughout the week in the Commons space. Partners include the Copyright Resources Center, Office of Responsible Research, Office of Research (grant support), Digital Content Services (institutional repository and publishing), subject librarians, Undergraduate Research Office, and Statistics.
- Higher-end computing infrastructure such as data management, GIS and digital humanities support will be provided by new librarians with this expertise. In particular we have noted a growing interest in GIS, mapping and data services across disciplines and the growing need for support services in these areas.
- Education and Training
- Existing training and workshops provided by campus partners will be provided in the space.
- Existing library training and workshops specific to the research lifecycle will be provided.
- New training and workshops will be developed as needs emerge
- One of the glaring gaps identified by the task force was a basic lack of information or understanding around the types of research services currently available to the campus community.
- Many services have been developed to serve particular departmental or college constituents but with little effort to build connections between these groups.
- The Research Commons will serve as a triage service point to foster referrals to appropriate research services on campus.
- Showcasing Research Output
- Research output will be showcased in the physical space as well as through programming such as colloquia. These showcases will be physical, virtual and experiential.
I had the opportunity to discuss the report with the Vice Provost/Vice Presidents group at our regular Monday morning meeting. There was much interest in the concept but also many questions and suggestions.
Our next steps include:
- The creation of a PowerPoint presentation about the proposed research commons to be used in next level discussions including:
- The Graduate Council
- Council of Graduate Students
- Inter-professional Council (official student government of the 6 Professional Colleges of Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine)
- The Council on Library and Information Technology
- Completion of recruitment and hiring of the public services cohort
- Initiation of a feasibility study of the space on the 3rd Floor of the 18th Avenue Library
- Appointment of a Research Commons Implementation Team (charge being drafted)
- Establish an Advisory Board for the Research Commons (charge being drafted)
The Research Commons is a key tactic in our strategic plan: increase engagement of librarians in the research process and investigate options for a research commons focused on a suite of advanced research services such as GIS, data, copyright and digital scholarship. This initiative is part of Strategic Focus Area #3 – offer enhanced and innovative research services to faculty and graduate students. We’re offer to a great start.