Blog Archives

Tools for scholarly communication – survey results

innovations in scholarly communicationsA few months ago I invited researchers to take part in a survey of the tools they used to support  their own scholarly communication.  Northampton’s answers were then combined with those from other universities to create a dataset of over 20,000 responses.

The number of responses from Northampton was relatively small (just 36) so these comments should be read with the appropriate health warnings but I promised to let you know our results.

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Have your say on reference management

Do you use RefWorks? Mendeley? OneNote, Papers, CiteULike? Do they improve your life, or raise your blood pressure? Is there anything you wish they did, or didn’t do? Do you avoid them altogether?

All researchers and staff are invited to take part in our survey on the use of reference managers. This is part of a project within Library and Learning Services looking at support and provision for reference management and citation services.
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Tools for scholarly communication – how much do you know?

Which tools do you use to support your research workflow?  Are you aware of all the tools that are available?

Utrecht University have put together a list of over 400 tools used by researchers in the course of their research activity and have launched a survey to find out which of these are most commonly used by researchers worldwide.

The Innovations in Scholarly Communication survey takes about 8-12 minutes to complete and will introduce you to a host of tools that you may find useful.  The survey can be completed anonymously or you can put in your email address to receive a visual representation of your workflow compared to that of your peer group.

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The Altmetric bookmarklet – a researcher view

“Academics seem to be obsessed with metrics of all kinds at the moment, and I’m certainly not immune to it as my recent post on the h-index demonstrated.  So I was intrigued by a new (at least to me) browser plug-in that gives you instant altmetrics such as number of times mentioned on Twitter, Facebook or on news outlets, or cited in blogs, policy documents, Wikipedia, etc. …”

Read more about his experience with the Altmetric bookmarklet in Professor Jeff Ollerton’s blog.

PGR student induction: Making the most of the library

Thank you to all the new research students who worked so hard in today’s session in the library.

Given how many tools we covered in the morning, I thought it might be helpful to provide a list of these, with links, so you can revisit them later at your leisure.  You’ll see that there are a few extra tools that were mentioned today but not explored.

We started by looking at university and external resources:

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10 ways that PhD students can use Twitter

Twitter_iconHere’s an interesting blog post from the University of Warwick

To find out what other research students are discussing then try searching Twitter for one of these hashtags: #phdchat; #phdadvice; #phd; #acwri; #phdforum or #gradchat.

If you haven’t used Twitter before then there is plenty of help to get you started.

Image credit: By David Ferreira [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


I thank my colleague, Helen Asquith, for cheering me up with this link this afternoon. You might enjoy a bit of Friday afternoon fun too.

Here are Rebecca Schuman’s thoughts on the use of Powerpoint in higher education.

We all know I’m guilty of these crimes. Are you?


Open Access Button – breaking down paywalls

Launched on Monday, the Open Access Button is a great new tool for finding open access copies of research articles and at the same time raise awareness and gather evidence of the impact of paywalls on scholarship worldwide.

How it works:

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’23 things’ for research

Dr Scott Turner has just drawn my attention to this latest iteration of the ’23 things’ programme: 23 things for research.

The original ’23 things’ programme was designed by Helene Blowers at the public library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in North Carolina.  Its purpose was to introduce participants to new and emerging technologies.  The programme involved a series of 23 tasks or ‘things’, each related to the use of a new tool or service, and lasted nine weeks.  As they used the new tools, particpants were expected to maintain a reflective blog on their experiences (Wilkinson and Cragg, 2010, p.29).

This version, ’23 things for research’, is organised by the University of Oxford and aims to “expose you to a range of digital tools that could help you in your personal and professional development as a researcher, academic, student or in another role” (Bodleian Libraries, 2012). It is open to non-Oxford folk.

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Improve your research skills with a little help from CfAP

CfAP logoChoosing the right tool to analyse your data or finding the best way to structure your findings can be a fraught process.  However help is on hand from the Centre for Achievement and Performance – otherwise known as CfAP.

CfAP exists to help all students, including those doing research degrees, achieve their academic potential:

“If you were training for the Olympics you may need to work on aspects of weight, speed or flexibility to improve your performance and to gain insights into how your body works. Visiting CfAP should be regarded in a similar way – you wish to work on aspects of your academic work to improve your performance and to gain a better understanding of how you learn. As with athletes, taking responsibility for your own development leads to success.”

(Sandy Gilkes, National Teaching Fellow)

CfAP staff have recently created a new site on NILE; it is open to everyone and there is no need to enrol.  The site contains a huge range of materials to support all aspects of academic endeavour. Read the rest of this entry