Library day in the life, Spring 2022 (part 2)

This post is an account of what I did at work for four days in Mar/Apr 2022. The idea is to give an impression of the range of tasks I engage in during my work as librarian at the Francis Crick Institute. I’ve included some reflections and mini-rants so it’s not just a list of actions.

I’ve done this a few times over the years – the last time was in 2018.  Previously I’ve covered five days in a single week but I have done it differently this time. I’ve stretched it out a bit and ended up covering eight days in total over a period of two months. The previous post covered four days in Feb 2022.

Wed 2 Mar 2022 in the Crick

I’m working in the Crick today and got in early as it’s going to be a busy day.

We had a subscription problem yesterday – an invoice payment problem. It is on the way to being sorted and the supplier had seemed satisfied with my response yesterday.  But today we’ve been cut off from the service; two users got in touch with me first thing asking what’s up.   I shot off some emails – one apologetic to the users and one pleading to the supplier.  A bit later, and to my relief, it’s all resolved.

We’re getting some posters printed for our lunchtime popup event but the person who was supposed to do it was unable to come in to work today dues to transport problems. Fingers crossed his colleague can print them for us. Yes he can!

Recently an aspiring librarian paid a visit, to shadow me for a day and learn about our work.  This was arranged through the excellent NLPN (New Library Professionals Network). The person who visited then wrote up her experience, and today I sent off a short paragraph to go with her write-up on the NLPN website.

I replied to an email from a researcher about a new paper they’ve had accepted.  The publisher changed the CC BY statement that he’d included in the manuscript and he wanted to know if that’s OK.  I know that this publisher does allow OA compliance via the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS), so I’m not too worried if the wording is not exactly that given by Wellcome, so long as the intent is clear. We will be able to deposit the author-accepted manuscript to PubMedCentral with a CC BY licence.

Then I grabbed a coffee.  On the way I saw one of the group leaders who sits on our library committee.  She is a member of the wider editorial board for a journal which causes us a lot of OA problems. She said that she’d raised the issue at the last editorial board meeting but another board member (from a different UK institution that also has core-funding from Wellcome) insisted that it’s not a problem for them.  Hence no action was taken by the publisher. This is really unhelpful. It really is a problem and has been for many years   I dashed off an email to Wellcome  to suggest they remind all their funded researchers about this journal. I emailed our group leader with Wellcome’s response, to let her know I’d taken some action and that I appreciated her efforts to bring about change.

Our popup event in the Atrium to promote Reading Corner went well.  We had a good deal of interest and some good conversations about books, science history, philosophy and EDI. It was a lot of work putting it on so I was very glad we got a good response.

I had some more meetings in the afternoon, then I left slightly early as I was singing some lovely music for Ash Wednesday later.

Wed 16 Mar in the Crick

I got in early today to prepare for the ITO Gathering later on, and for some other meetings taking place.

There was not much relevant for me at the ITO Standup today. I grabbed a coffee then  checked in with ResearchFish to see how the submissions were going.  The number of people still to submit is diminishing so it looks like we’re on target to be finished by tomorrow’s deadline. I chased one person who’s not made a start on their submission yet.

Then I went straight into a meeting about OA we’d arranged for the Crick African Network Fellows.  We explained what the Crick OA policy requires and what the LIS team can do to support the CAN Fellows with OA. They were zooming in from South Africa, Ghana and Uganda. There was a slight technical problem with the sound at our end so I had to talk through all the slides. About half the fellows attended but it was recorded so can be shared with the others. There were a few questions at the end.  It was worth doing – I think we learned as much from the CAN Fellows as they did from us.

At the LIS catch-up (in person) we talked about our next pop-up, about the ResearchFish campaign (the deadline is tomorrow) and about changes to our internal grant codes.

I had a 1:1 session with one team member. We talked through the next steps with journal subscriptions. We are still waiting for two deals for 2022 to be arranged. I hope that we can get at least one of them sorted before the end of this financial year, but I suspect we won’t.

Then I sat in on a meeting with ITO colleagues about a Cybersecurity issue.  I didn’t have a lot to contribute, just some minor typo corrections to the draft plan. Sometimes I surprise myself with some good suggestions, but this topic was a bit too far from my area of operation.

After lunch I made some last-minute changes to the slides for the ITO Gathering (a monthly informal meeting for all ITO staff) then launched into the meeting itself, all on Zoom. We were a bit short of content for this meeting, but it turned out fine with some really interesting talks and demos of new projects completed.

Then I had another internal meeting. The Tech Request Group considers new IT system requests.  There were a couple of interesting ones – both quite small in scope but it’s always instructive to see how my IT colleagues approach this kind of problem-solving.

Next was a face-to-face meeting with two people from our Biological Research Facility. They are starting to promote the ARRIVE guidelines at the Crick and to encourage Crick researchers to follow the guidelines when publishing research. This is in conjunction with the National Centre for the three Rs (NC3Rs). We talked about the challenges of persuading researchers to follow new sets of rules, and I mentioned some of the other initiatives under way (training programs, research integrity) as well as our own OA work.  I agreed that we would add a question about ARRIVE to our manuscript notification form, to help promote awareness.

Then I spent a bit of time updating my job description. I tried to flesh it out a bit more –to balance between specifying someone who can lead and inspire a team, but who also knows all about current LIS and scholarly communications issues, including bibliometrics, Research Data Management and archives.

My final meeting of the day was with the Director, Chief Operations Officer and Research Director to discuss some current open access challenges posed by the new UKRI policy.

Thur 17 Mar in the Crick

The ResearchFish submissions are almost complete. My colleague will chase the final few later this morning. We made an effort this year to give more support to those who were making their first ResearchFish submission. This seems to have paid off as there are very few last-minute panics this time.

My manager has revised the draft job description and improved it hugely.   I gave some feedback and we’ve now got a version ready to go. Next stop, HR.

I attended the webinar about the UKRI OA policy, all 2 hours of it.

I arranged to be working in the Crick today in case I had to go knocking on doors to remind group leaders about their ResearchFish submissions, but all of them have been done – before lunch!  (Except one person on leave for whom we’ve arranged an extension).  It’s our best ever – usually we’re chasing up until 4pm, the deadline.

I had a zoom meeting with my counterpart at EMBL in Heidelberg. We do this every now and then to catch-up, share experience and tips.

I drafted a letter to UKRI raising an issue with the new OA policy. I also emailed a couple of major publishers, following up previous correspondence with them about the new UKRI policy.  I’m trying to make sure they are aware of the implications.

I exchanged several emails with one of our suppliers, and one of my ITO colleagues, trying to get SSO integration set up for a product. I think we’re nearly there now, after some stumbles.

Then I spent some time working on new additions to our publications database. The team add new Crick papers to our Symplectic system each week and I have to do a quick double-check and verify them.  We put quite a bit of effort into curating new papers, and adding various metadata elements.  Mostly this is straightforward but some papers are more tricky, and I have to judge whether a paper should be counted as Crick work or not.

Fri 8 Apr 2022, working from home

I dealt with a query from a group leader about her publications.  The list on the external website was different from the list in our Symplectic system, and slightly different from her own list. I figured out why and explained this to her.

One of my annual tasks is to help generate a list of papers to be highlighted in the Crick annual reviewAll 120 group leaders are invited to submit one of their papers that they consider to be a major advance and I collate these for someone else to choose from. I worked through the first batches of responses, collating them and acknowledging their emails.  A few group leaders had questions about the process.

Friday is often a good day for pushing longer-term projects forward. We are looking at possibly assigning DOIs to our core-funded grants, and I’m trying to see what other funders are doing about Grant DOIs. Cue some emails.

I sent a few emails about some other OA projects and answered a GL question about OA.

Yesterday I met with a few people from a publisher, interested to hear my thoughts on information seeking and use generally, with a focus on ebooks and protocols. We had a memorable conversation not least because they made no attempt to sell me anything! In my experience that’s rare with publishers. Today I sent some follow-up information linked to some of the things I’d mentioned.

I sent some more email follow-ups – arranging to chat about archives, about a financial database product, trialling a new(ish) AI citation search tool. I also responded to a request to purchase some research management books.

I tweeted and retweeted some interesting things.  I also contributed to a thread about OA in SpringerNature journals, and whether we could publish in compliance with UKRI. I was then a bit surprised to read an email from Jisc on this subject, very late in the day, with follow-ups on twitter. I know some of the backstory to this so it was interesting to see it play out in real time.

Finally I drafted some internal news items about our new OA policy, and about new journal/article search tools that are now available to Crick staff.

Just in case you’re interested, the job advert for my role is now online.

About Frank Norman

I am a librarian in a biomedical research institute. I've been around a few years, long enough to know that exciting new things fall into the same familiar patterns. I'm interested in navigating a path for libraries as we move further from print to electronic resources to open research, and become more embedded in research workflows.
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