Research support through the lens of transformation in academic libraries with reference to the case of Stellenbosch University Libraries

  • Reggie Raju Journal Manager (Academic): South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science & Deputy Director: Client Liaison Services, University of Cape Town
  • Lucia Schoombee Senior Librarian, J.S. Gericke Library, Stellenbosch University
Keywords: Academic libraries, bibliometrics, research librarian, research support, research support librarianship, research data management, data curation


Changing higher education pedagogy, digitisation of scholarly content and the increasing influence of relevant technologies have impacted on the transformation of academic library services. This paper examines research support through the lens of the transformation of academic library services. The authors have conducted a review of the literature to determine benchmarks by which to measure the research support services delivered by Stellenbosch University. The paper examines academic libraries to establish the deeper meaning of the librarian for the researcher and the research process. In support of that deeper meaning libraries are providing a new and expanded set of services which includes, inter alia, research data management, curation and preservation; facilitation of open access and bibliometric analysis. Using the research life cycle, this paper examines the research support services provided by the Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service (SULIS) to the research community. The Research Commons is used as the launch pad for new and innovative services. The use of Research Performance Management tools to scan the research landscape, strengthening of self-retrieval of scholarly literature, assistance in the dissemination of research results via publication, and assistance in determining impact factor are all part of the suite of services offered by the Library at Stellenbosch University. The authors conclude that, for academic libraries, there is much to learn and contribute to in this dynamic environment of research production.


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