About Us

Introducing the Library’s Research Engagement Team at the University of Reading Library

Who are the Research Engagement Team?

The Research Engagement Team can be found on the second floor of the Library at the interface between students, academics and the wider research community. We provide up-to-date, publicly visible and highly accessed repositories for showcasing the University’s research outputs (both publications and research data). We promote the University’s Open Access, data preservation, sharing requirements, and we provide research publications advice, bibliometrics services and data support services to University staff and students. We identify new agendas in Open Research to develop policies to benefit the University’s research outputs profile, and make major contributions to the Library’s provision of routes to Open Access for research publications.

As our team has recently been renamed and expanded to include the University’s research data service, we thought this would be a great opportunity to take some team photos and introduce ourselves! To find out more about what we do, please visit our Libguides.

Alison Sutton (Research Engagement Manager)

I’m the Library’s Research Engagement Manager and I’m proud to be working with a group of specialists to support our research staff and students with Open Research practices, including research publications, Open Access, research data and bibliometrics. I have worked at the University since the late 1990s, at first as the Librarian in the Department of Meteorology where I led a project to develop a pilot institutional repository, and then in the Planning and Strategy Office where I set up the University’s institutional repository, CentAUR. Before joining the University I had posts in university libraries in the West Midlands.

My work is very varied and a typical day might include meeting a new research division leader, delivering a training session on Open Access to the Graduate School or to staff through UoRLearn, a one-to-one meeting with one of my team, and a development project on CentAUR. I have a professional background in librarianship and am passionate about the development of professional services staff in the expanding world of research support and scholarly communication and the synergy created by our different professional and research backgrounds.

Beyond the University I am a member of the UKCORR (United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories) Committee and represent UKCORR in SC3 (Scholarly Communication Competencies Coalition). I have also provided feedback on the development of the Jisc Open Access services of IRUS-UK and Publications Router through membership of their community advisory groups.

Karen Rowlett (Research Publications Adviser)

I’ve been in my role of Research Publications Adviser for over three years and have really enjoyed working with students and staff in that time. I have a background in research (I did my PhD part-time at the University of Reading in the late 1980s) and also in scientific journal publishing. I’ve worked for a commercial Open Access publisher and also a Learned Society publisher, so I am familiar with the perils of peer review and the publication process in general. This experience helps me to understand the needs of staff and students when it comes to publishing and tracking the impact of their research outputs. I use bibliometric tools such as Scopus and SciVal, Web of Science and Altmetric to find out more about the impact and reach of the University of Reading research outputs and to help researchers find new collaborators. I am an advocate for the responsible use of metrics and had a significant input into the University’s Responsible Use of Metrics statement. I’m also providing regular statistics on the usage of CentAUR to demonstrate the value of Open Access in the dissemination of research from the University.

I help to manage applications for the funding of Open Access publications by University of Reading researchers. I hold regular sessions with individual researchers to help with setting up and checking ORCID identifiers, Scopus Author Profiles and Google Scholar profiles.

I was recently elected to the Council of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and am looking forward to contributing to the development of this important initiative. I have also served on the JISC Lis-bibliometrics committee in the past.

When I’m not buried in spreadsheets or bibliometric reports, you might find me taking photos of insects and nature in the Harris Gardens, whizzing across campus on my bike or making crocheted centaurs as mascots for CentAUR.

Robert Darby (Research Data Manager)

I joined the Library in August, but I have been working in the University as Research Data Manager since 2014, being previously based in Research Services. I provide a research data management (RDM) service to researchers and research students. I support the preparation of data management plans in applications for funding, advise on the use of services for data storage, computation, and archiving, and provide RDM training. I run the University’s data repository, the Research Data Archive, which can be used to preserve and provide access to data supporting research outputs.

I have also been involved alongside my Research Engagement colleagues in ongoing efforts to foster a culture of Open Research in the University. The various outputs of this initiative include a University Statement on Open Research, the Open in Practice conferences, the University’s inaugural Open Research Award, and the recent publication of several Open Research case studies and an Open Research Handbook. Beyond the University I engage with an international network of RDM and Open Research professionals, and have attended events organised by the Digital Curation Centre, the Jisc Research Data Network, and the FORCE11 Open Research community.

I have a D. Phil. in Modern Languages, and have previously worked in Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries and the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Library. At STFC, among other things, I was involved in an EC-funded project concerned with increasing the sharing and re-use of research data. This led me to my role in RDM support here at the University in 2014. I was initially employed to establish a new RDM service, and have been working since to promote awareness among researchers and students of the importance and benefits of data management, and to propagate good practice. I am delighted to join the Research Engagement team. This will enable me to further develop RDM services and, with my new colleagues, to cultivate a supportive environment for Open Research.

Claire Collins (Senior Library Assistant – Research Publications)

I joined the team in October 2015 and work part-time whilst completing my part-time PhD in Medieval Studies here at Reading, meaning half my week is spent working for the Research Engagement Team and the other half is spent absorbed in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century sources! Currently, I am looking at late medieval herbals and lapidaries to research the plants and stones people used to treat various aspects of pregnancy and childbirth in England.

Along with Natasha and Emily, my main responsibilities are to help with the day-to-day support of CentAUR, making sure we have all the information we need from authors and publishers, keeping CentAUR records up-to-date, and answering queries. But our job is varied from day to day, and my role has changed over the four years I’ve been here, especially with the implementation of the REF2021 Open Access policy in April 2016 and the implications that has had for academics and for CentAUR. I spend most of my time in the Research Engagement office, but you may also see me on the Welcome Desk on the ground floor of the library, where I work once a week.

Emily Carroll (Senior Library Assistant – Research Publications)

I’m the most recent member of the Research Engagement Team. I joined in February 2019 following the completion of my PhD in archaeology. My day-to-day work, along with Claire and Natasha, consists of reviewing new items added to the institutional repository CentAUR, checking all the data that has been provided, and contacting authors when we do need additional information. I am also involved in several projects within the team including theses processing, style checking, and generating Altmetric reports.

Before starting here, I had never worked in a library before. It is certainly warmer and more comfortable than digging holes in a muddy field (there’s more cake too)! However, there are some parallels that I have found really helpful while being a member of the Research Engagement Team, such as problem solving, using my initiative and multi-tasking. I find so many parts of this job rewarding, but I think I especially enjoy developing new working relationships with academic staff. Since starting here I really appreciate how important Open Research is to global development, which is something that I never properly considered even as a PhD student.

Outside of work, I spend most of my time trying to rid my life of plastic, covering my lounge in growing vegetables ready for my allotment and knitting!

Natasha Feiner (Senior Library Assistant – Research Publications)

I joined the University of Reading Library’s Research Engagement Team in August 2018 after completing a PhD in Medical History and working in various academic research and teaching capacities at the Universities of Exeter and Bristol. Working alongside Claire and Emily I monitor and maintain the University’s institutional repository, CentAUR: I check newly deposited content and update existing records, and provide support to University of Reading researchers via the CentAUR Helpdesk.

It is a University requirement for all doctoral theses to be archived electronically in the institutional repository. This means that the full text will be available via CentAUR and the British Library’s thesis repository, EThOS. I took primary responsibility for this in January 2019 and have since seen the addition of over 300 new theses to CentAUR. I am currently working closely with colleagues in the Library and the Graduate School to improve the way electronic theses are deposited and archived in CentAUR, and I look forward to seeing how things develop!