Research Week: Innovate, Impact, Illuminate: Navigating the Research Frontier

Posted on May 07, 2024

The Department of Library Services (DLS), Scholarly Communications unit, successfully hosted a virtual Research Week, from 22 to 26 April 2024. The theme for the event was "Innovate, Impact, Illuminate: Navigating the Research Frontier.”

The first day’s theme was “The Future of Research and Innovation”. Ms. Lindiwe Soyizwapi, the Director of Library Services, warmly opened the ceremony and provided an overview of the week’s events. Dr. Olebogeng Selebi (Deputy Director: CFoW) highlighted the role of HEIs in preparing students for future work and the impact of technology on work, emphasizing the need to equip students with the right skills to address the skills divide. She proposed solutions such as Private-Public Partnerships, upskilling, reskilling, and soft skills development. Prof. Martie Mearns (Lecturer: EBIT) elaborated on making data visible and accessible, emphasizing effective and ethical technology use towards value creation. She recommended books such as "Factfulness" by Rosling et al. Mr. Isak van der Walt (DLS), discussed concerns about AI misuse, such as deepfake technology, and emphasized the importance of maintaining academic integrity through initiatives like the Academic Integrity Series developed by DLS.

World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated under the theme “Empowering Creativity: Copyright for Innovation and Expression.” Mr. Leemisa Molapisi, Manager of Copyright Licensing & Stakeholder Relations at DALRO, explained copyright and DALRO's role as a copyright agency, addressing concerns around exceptions and limitations in the Copyright Amendment Bill. Mr. Bongani Masombuka, Intellectual Property Legal Advisor at DRI, University of Pretoria, discussed Intellectual Property in research, including practical, policy, and legal aspects, ownership, distribution, and UP Policies, Regulations, and Guidelines. Talking about Plagiarism Prevention, ms. Gerda Ehlers (DLS) identified the forms it can take, as well as prevention methods, and highlighted the importance of tools like Turnitin for academic integrity.

Day 3’s theme was “Measuring Your Research Impact.” Mr. Ben Mcleish, EMEA Team Lead at Altmetric/Dimensions, demonstrated the Altmetric Explorer tool for data visualization and report generation. Ms. Lesego Makhafola and Katlego Aphane (DLS), showcased research tools like Scival for enhancing research visibility and impact. Mr. Lathola Mchunu (DLS), demonstrated referencing using Endnote. Dr. Sean Kruger, Senior Lecturer at CFoW University of Pretoria, discussed leveraging cutting-edge technologies in research, including research tools and software.

“Open Access Publishing” was discussed on day 4. Ms. Khawulile Radebe (DLS), discussed SANLIC Transformational Agreements (TAs) and the benefits of publishing under these agreements, including Article Processing Charges (APCs) funding. Ms. Rosina Ramokgola (DLS), gave an overview of research data management at UP. Mr. Tlou Mathiba (DLS), demonstrated UPSpace, an institutional repository for UP scholarly outputs.

The last day’s theme was “The Next Decade in Research: Predictions and Preparations” Ms. Marguerite Nel (DLS), focused on the SDGs, the project the Library embarked on, and the work done at UP. Ms. Liesl Stieger (DLS), warned researchers about predatory journals and encouraged them to use the library integrated list and their respective information specialists. Dr. Leti Kleyn, Digital Research Platform Coordinator at the Future Africa Institute, presented about the implications for authors from the global South in terms of publication fees, discussed the scholarly publishing crisis and the importance of finding African solutions for African problems. Prof. Claire Quinn, Professor in Natural Resource Management: University of Leeds, provided insights on equity and sustainability in international partnerships, emphasizing shared vision and mutual trust integrated into the UN’s Agenda as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She shared guiding principles and transformative approaches that may serve as a roadmap to equitable and sustainable partnerships.

In conclusion, Research Week 2024 was a resounding success, showcasing a rich tapestry of discussions, insights, and practical demonstrations across various facets of research and scholarly communication. From envisioning the future of research and innovation to exploring copyright, measuring research impact, delving into open access publishing, and envisioning the next decade in research, each day of the event provided valuable perspectives and tools for researchers to navigate the evolving landscape of academia.

- Author Rosina Ramokgola, Khawulile Radebe, Tlou Mathiba & Zamantungwa Khanyile

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