Survey of eResearch practices and skills at QUT, Australia

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Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is a multidisciplinary university in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and has 40,000 students and 1,700 researchers. Notable eResearch infrastructure includes the QUT ePrints repository, Microsoft QUT Research Centre, the OAK (Open Access to Knowledge) Law Project, Cambia and leading research institutes. ---------- The Australian Government, via the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), is funding institutions to identify and describe their research datasets, to develop and populate data repositories and collaborative infrastructure, and to seed the Australian Research Data Commons. QUT is currently broadening its range of research support services, including those to support the management of research data, in recognition of the value of these datasets as products of the research process, and in order to maximize the potential for reuse. QUT is integrating Library and High Performance Computing (HPC) services to achieve its research support goals. ---------- The Library and HPC released an online survey using Key Survey to 1,700 researchers in September 2009. A comprehensive range of eResearch practices and skills was presented for response, and grouped into areas of scholarly communication and open access publishing, using collaborative technologies, data management, data collection and management, computation and visualization tools. Researchers were asked to rate their skill level on each practice. 254 responses were received over two weeks. Eight focus groups were also held with 35 higher degree research (HDR) students and staff to provide additional qualitative feedback. A similar survey was released to 100 support staff and 73 responses were received.---------- Preliminary results from the researcher survey and focus groups indicate a gap between current eResearch practices, and the potential for researchers to engage in eResearch practices. Researchers are more likely to seek advice from their peers, than from support staff. HDR students are more positive about eResearch practices and are more willing to learn new ways of conducting research. An account of the survey methodology, the results obtained, and proposed strategies to embed eResearch practices and skills across and within the research disciplines will be provided.
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Bradbury, Stephanie J.
Borchert, Martin
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UNSW Faculty