The Research Hub: Design and realisation of an actionable catalogue of connected research IT support services

Dr Cameron Mclean1, Dr Jamie Diprose1, Dr Doris Jung1, Mr Sina Masoud-Ansari1, Ms Yvette Wharton1, Prof. Mark Gahegan1

1Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland, New Zealand, ca.mclean@auckland.ac.nz , j.diprose@auckland.ac.nz, doris.jung@auckland.ac.nz, s.ansari@auckland.ac.nz , y.wharton@auckland.ac.nz, m.gahegan@auckland.ac.nz

 

Summary

We describe the development of the Research Hub – a web application being developed at the University of Auckland to tie together all the various tools and services used to support research. The Research Hub provides a single point of access for researchers to find, discover, request support, and manage service allocations provided from across the University in support of their research activities. The Research Hub connects data, services, instruments, resources, outputs, and people throughout the research cycle, and provides an opportunity to capture data on how these various components are used together to give a more detailed institutional record of research activities, assets and outcomes. We will showcase the design and development of our Research Hub, demonstrate its functionality, share the challenges and lessons learnt, future directions, and reusable service design tools[1,2] and researcher needs and experience we have developed and captured along the way.

Abstract

Services available to researchers are numerous, and are provided from facilities scattered across the university, such as the Library, central IT, Centre for eResearch and from within the Faculties. Previously, there was no single place where researchers could go to find information about which IT and research support services are available to them. Often there was confusion about who provides which services from across different organisational units, what resources researchers are entitled to or can expect, and what the process for requesting or accessing them was. As a result of this, we often struggle to record which services are being used, by who, and how they have contributed to current research activities and any research outputs and outcomes. This lack of data also makes it difficult to manage these services, gauge the value they are adding to research and the University, and forecast future needs.

To improve the level of research IT support at the University of Auckland, the Centre for eResearch has lead a Research Enablement stream of work, a tangible outcome of which is an actionable service catalogue: The Research Hub, described above. We believe it is valuable to take a more systemic or holistic view of research activities, and how different units across the University come together to support research activities. We open-source our code and methodologies for developing a service catalogue and information systems to aid other institutions, and prompt a shared conversation around the sustainable management of projects and institutional research services.

 

Figure 1: Screenshot showing Research Hub content and information architecture.

REFERENCES

  1. McLean, Cameron (2016): Lightspeed Customer Journey Mapping. figshare. Fileset. https://doi.org/10.17608/k6.auckland.4223904.v1

Biography:

Dr Cameron McLean is a Research IT Specialist at the Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland. His background is in Molecular Biology and Computer Science. With a strong focus on researcher enablement, his current work revolves around digital scholarship and helping researchers utilise digital tools in a manner that links with the core values of research and scientific enquiry. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9836-3824

About the conference

eResearch Australasia provides opportunities for delegates to engage, connect, and share their ideas and exemplars concerning new information centric research capabilities, and how information and communication technologies help researchers to collaborate, collect, manage, share, process, analyse, store, find, understand and re-use information.

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