La Trobe University
Partner across campus to raise your institution’s research profile
“The library has a significant role … to help expose those research outputs and to feed information about them and … the publication metrics into our research information management and our reporting at La Trobe internally and externally.”
Deputy Director of Research and Collections, La Trobe University
To meet internal and external requirements for managing and reporting on research activities, La Trobe University had implemented 8 different systems for researchers, with partial or no integration between 33 systems across the university. Often these systems didn’t automatically share information, which tasked researchers with rekeying data multiple times. Although some of these systems supplied data to important reports, such as the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) national research evaluation framework, providing this information was often time-consuming and confusing, leading to incomplete reporting.
“La Trobe University has, like a lot of other institutions, wanted to improve its visibility of its research as well as the quality and the impact of its research,” explained La Trobe University Library’s Deputy Director of Research and Collections, Simon Huggard. To make this easier, the library has partnered with the University Research Office, which is leading a research information management (RIM) initiative that centralizes all 8 systems into one and fully integrates 29 systems across the university. This allows researchers to enter information into one place that feeds into government reporting and online researcher profiles, supports academic year plans and open-access mandates for research, and raises the research profile of La Trobe by ensuring its researchers receive attribution for the work they do.
“I think there’s a really strong reason why libraries are involved, because we do so many of these areas that feed into information management.”
“Previously, there was low engagement of academics in depositing material into our repositories and providing publication metadata because they didn’t see the value of it,” Simon said. “Now, it’s all part of a much more integrated research landscape, and it’s … not just seen as a library thing that’s done on the side. It’s really central to managing our research information.” Now, when researchers submit information, the library can help verify and supplement the data. Although establishing a RIM system is an institution-wide activity requiring partnerships across campus, he noted, “the library has taken a strong role in that part of enabling research outputs to be seen externally and to be attributed to La Trobe researchers.”
The library’s efforts to help to implement RIM have helped to heighten the reputation of the entire university through accurate and complete reporting. “La Trobe this year has achieved its highest ranking in all of the different international, external ranking profiles,” Simon said, “and that’s partly because … the capture of our metadata about our research publications and other research outputs has been much more accurate.” He added, “The visibility of what the library does has really fed into improving outcomes for the university.”
- Supports more than 33,000 users with nearly 2 million visits a year
- Holds more than 2 million items, including nearly 100,000 e-journals and more than 500,000 e-books
- Maintains a large campus library in Melbourne, two smaller campus libraries in Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga, two shared libraries, and a virtual library
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