A few notes on the CLSTL’2019 Conference “Changing Landscape of Science & Technology Libraries” in Gandhinagar (India)

Thu, 14/03/2019 - 22:36 -- Pablo de Castro
Pablo de Castro, University of Strathclyde and euroCRIS Secretary
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The INORMS 2018 conference organised in Edinburgh last June by the INORMS Network and the UK Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) ran under the main theme "Promoting Global Research Management, Supporting Global Research Challenges" and offered the opportunity to learn more about initiatives aimed to promote research management in various countries around the world. One of these countries was India, which had a national delegation to the event – a first for the country.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When an invitation arrived last Dec to deliver a guest talk at the 2nd International Conference “Changing Landscape of Science & Technology Libraries” (CLSTL 2019) to be held at the Indian Institute of Technology in Gandhinagar, the opportunity to follow up from a euroCRIS perspective on some of the topics addressed at INORMS2018 was too valuable to overlook.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The guest talk, delivered on behalf of euroCRIS and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, did not directly deal with research administration, but rather addressed research information management systems and their role in supporting the implementation of Open Science at a research library. The topic of research administration is of course far wider than that, but there are evident contact points between both areas. With a rapidly increasing awareness of the value of research administration as a basis for research- and innovation-related information workflows in India, the presentation offered the chance to highlight the emerging e-infrastructure that could be used for supporting such research administration tasks. Previous presentations have been delivered at euroCRIS events (from our Peruvian colleagues at CONCYTEC) making emphasis on the need to collect a sufficiently comprehensive national-level research information snapshot as a basis for issuing evidence-based research policies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The CLSTL’19 presentation also highlighted the somewhat new skills required and the potential role for research libraries in the country for the implementation of a research administration practice at a national level – a suggestion echoed from the audience by confirming that some preliminary activity is already taking place at specific institutions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From a strict CRIS perspective, it was also rewarding to get the opportunity to meet the team behind the Indian Research Information Network System (IRINS), a home-grown RIM system with 20 implementations already at universities and research institutes in the country plus – at the time – 89 further institutions in the waiting line to join the initiative. Following the IRINS presentation delivered at the event by P Kannan and Kimidi Siva Shankar (which earned them the best short presentation award at the event) this figure for pending implementations has significantly grown.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is finally worth highlighting the fact that none of this Indian research information management activity was captured in the 2018 joint OCLC/euroCRIS survey on RIM practices that resulted in the recently published report. Fortunately, the team behind this report expressed their intention to run further iterations of the survey in order to collect a more comprehensive snapshot next time.