Supporting Research Technologists

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Two sides of the same coin - what can the research community foster their own community version of ALT?

The learning technology community has truly established itself as an integral part of the higher education ecosystem. They are masters of many skills that are backed by pedagogy and underpinned by technology. This role is supported by a myriad of professionals who work centrally and embedded in departments to enhance the whole learning and teaching experience in a digital ecosystem. The same can be said of the research community in that there has been a progressive move on campuses with the development of research support roles. These include those working in Open Access, research data management, metrics and science communication. Yet there does not seem to a research equivalent of the learning technologist? 

In my work over the last ten years I have come across professionals through my writing and talks who align themselves and their work with the ideology of the ‘research technologist’ but there is no truly defined role. Nethertheless, as with learning and teaching how research is being conducted, shared, communicated and re-used is changing at an increasing pace and requires more support to adapt with such big changes. Technology and the move towards more open practices is driving this change. With this move there has been an increased demand by academics, institutions and external agencies to successfully integrate these technologies into practice. The REF, impact agenda, reproducibility of research, involvement with the media and public are all instrumental in bringing this change.

Does such a community exist and where do they operate? The chances are that it does in an unstructured way across various professional bodies and platforms from ALT to UKSG to Cilip among other notable groups. They may not be called a research technologist but there is no doubt they share common skill-sets and practices. Where they are situated in the organisation may also vary from academic department to centralised professional services.

The purpose of this webinar will be to explore what a research technologist looks like and what core skills are needed to carry out such a demanding and ubiquitous role? We will compare similarities between the research and learning technology communities and how they can also try to learn from each other in an environment that can treat research and teaching as wholly separate activities.

Andy Tattersall is an Information Specialist at The School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). Andy writes, teaches and gives talks about digital academia, technology, scholarly communications, open research, web and information science, apps, altmetrics and social media. In particular, their application for research, teaching, learning, knowledge management and collaboration. Andy received a Senate Award from The University of Sheffield’ for his pioneering work on MOOCs in 2013 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Andy was named in Jisc’s Top 10 Social Media Superstars for 2017. He is also a member of the Cilip Multi Media and Information Technology Committee (MmIT). Andy edited a book on Altmetrics for Facet Publishing which is aimed at researchers and librarians.

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25 Sep 2019 12:30 PM   through   2:00 PM