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Annual report 2018-19

Helping to increase the impact of research

We create and support partnerships to strengthen research grant applications and increase research impact. Playing a key role in the University’s effort to prepare for the next REF, we advocate and enable open access publishing and archiving. We actively manage our White Rose repositories and Research Data Leeds to disseminate the University’s research outputs.

Supporting researchers to ensure REF requirements are met

A Library REF team was established in October 2018 to support the University’s REF submission. The new policy on open access for REF2021 requires that researchers deposit their papers within three months after acceptance.

The team interprets the policy’s implications for local systems and cleanses the data supplied by authors and checks compliance with REF requirements. They provide regular compliance statistics for key stakeholders such as Faculty Research and Innovation Committees and the Scholarly Communication Steering Group.

Open access publishing is critical so our excellent research is available to all. The Library is at the forefront of education, curation and reporting for open access publishing. This leadership has been crucial to ensure we are compliant with funder requirements and to help us prepare for our upcoming REF submission.

Professor Nick Plant, Dean for Research Quality and Impact

Raising research visibility – the role of bibliometrics in university rankings

In November 2018 the Library appointed its first bibliometrician, Barbara Lancho Barrantes, to study publication patterns using quantitative analysis and statistics. Bibliometrics can help an institution better understand its research strengths and potential areas for improvement.

Barbara has worked closely with Deputy Vice Chancellor: International, Hai-Sui Yu, to understand how citations received by the University’s research outputs contribute to Leeds’ current position of =93rd in the QS World University Rankings.

We are now in a better position to understand fully our research citation performance and develop effective measures to further enhance our global research impact.

Professor Hai-Sui Yu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International

The Bauman Project

A partnership between archivists and academics demonstrates how cataloguing can have an immediate and integrated impact on research outputs.

Acquiring the Bauman archive brought a new strength to Special Collections beyond the traditional areas of literature, modern history and art. Zygmunt Bauman (1925-2017) was Professor of Sociology at Leeds from 1972 to 1990 and later Emeritus. He is celebrated as one of the greatest thinkers of recent times. His archive is an incredibly rich source for 20th and 21st century social thought and politics.

Normally researchers have to wait until at least the baseline cataloguing is complete, before taking advantage of a new collection.

Professor Griselda Pollock and Dr Mark Davis put together a funding package to recruit a project archivist and to support an internship, conferences and other legacy activities. Dr Tom Campbell and Dr Jack Palmer worked through the archive, identifying key works, challenging areas, material in other languages and, crucially, unpublished works.

It has proved extremely fruitful, with three volumes of Bauman’s previously unpublished works in preparation. Material from the archive added to the immense bibliography of Bauman’s work. Correspondence fed into Jack Palmer’s Leverhulme Fellowship work on Bauman.

Research Data Management Service extends its reach

A new dataset has been added into the Timescapes Research Data Archive, a resource created and managed by our Research Data Management Team. Timescapes began in 2007 with a £5m ESRC project led by a University of Leeds team. It is the first major UK study that explores how personal and family relationships develop and change over time.

The dataset represents the largest meso-scale qualitative longitudinal study in the UK. It contains three sets of interviews with around 500 people living on social welfare in the North of England. It also includes its management guidelines and gold standard metadata and protocols. The preparation and ingest of this research dataset is the culmination of over 5 years collaboration with the Project Manager based at the University of York.

Strengthening grant applications with Lucid literature searching service

We carried out 21 literature searches in 2018–19 to strengthen grant bids and inform research projects in the Schools of Medicine, Healthcare, Education and Business.

In January 2019 Lucid supported an ESRC funded project, “Raising the Ceiling on Diversity and Inclusion: A Corporate Retail Case Study”.

We are in the final year of our grant and have several outputs to deliver at the same time, including conference papers, journal articles, business reports and presentations. We have four major research objectives and a number of sub-themes. The search by Lucid saved us a lot of time. It made sure that our coverage of the literature was comprehensive yet focused on the truly relevant material.

Dr Kathryn Watson, Research Impact Manager for Leeds University Business School and Principal Investigator

Land Lines lead to high impact public engagement

Land Lines is an AHRC-funded project to research the history of British nature writing, which involved a range of high-profile public engagement activities. One activity of the project was to launch a crowd-sourced online spring nature diary in March 2019. This was a collaboration with AHRC, the National Trust, Natural England and the Field Studies Council. The event was a huge success. It had 75 media mentions nationally, including the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and reached 1.5 million people through social media, attracting over 400 entries.

Research Data Leeds provided us with invaluable support that included advice on the wording for the online forms, particularly concerning participants' retention of copyright, and the long-term storage of entries in an online research data repository. This assistance was integral to the success of the event, helping us to make sure that the online platform for the diary was worded professionally and appropriately.

Dr Pippa Marland, Research Fellow, “Land Lines: Modern British Nature Writing”