Supporting business Ph.D. students requires thinking about these students foremost as junior researchers, so there is the need to bring into focus specific library services that support the research lifecycle. Northwestern University Library uses multiple ways to get the word out to these students about how the library can be a valuable resource for any stage in the research process. Data management, copyright consultation, digital publishing, general research assistance, and workshops specifically geared towards graduate students on a myriad of topics are the core services we offer.
For example, with more funding agencies requiring data management plans, students need to have a framework for understanding what all this entails. Data management consultations offered by experts in the library offer assistance for drafting data management plans and understanding funding agency requirements. As interest in data management continues to grow, there are many organizations that provide insights and tools, such as the DMP Tool, which bills itself as a free, open-source, online application that helps researchers build data management plans. The library vets and curates these resources, which include metadata guide sources and data repositories, including Arch, the Northwestern University data repository.
Arch data repository offers faculty and students the opportunity to preserve and offer access to their data free of charge as long as it is digital, unrestricted, and in support of publication. Related to Arch is the digital publishing initiative the Northwestern University Library has built over the past few years. Not confined specifically to Ph.D. students, it offers all Northwestern affiliates a chance to publish original research online. Open access monographs, conference proceedings, and open licensed course materials are a few of the materials the library’s digital publishing group can assist with.
While many Ph.D. students have some experience with publishing, consultations with a copyright expert can illuminate the important topics of fair use, clearing copyright permissions, and public licenses. The world of social media platforms presents an opportunity for the library to offer advice on how to vet and engage with these platforms. We work with students to better understand monitoring metrics such as traditional impact factors, newer article level metrics, and altmetrics. In summary, we suggest to students that building a scholarly identity requires first thinking about what one has time for, starting small and monitoring, and then taking stock and working from there.
So, how do we at Northwestern University Library put this all together to support business Ph.D. students? We anchor this support with a LibGuide titled Introduction to Library Services for Kellogg Ph.D. Students (https://libguides.northwestern.edu/kelloggphd). There students will find typical things one would expect, such as links to business information sources, instructions on how to locate books, articles and dissertations through the library, and links to citation management software and dissertation guides. There are links to workshops the library offers all year round for topics such as programming and data analytics. Finally, information on connecting to experts for data management, copyright, digital publishing, and advice on scholarly communication rounds out the LibGuide.
Every fall, the library features a Research Resources Forum geared specifically to Ph.D. students and offers presentations on information sources by academic discipline, GIS, special collections, and more. A Connect with Your Librarian session is a feature of this event, and we use this as an opportunity to meet with business Ph.D. students to discuss research interests and library services. Also, our business school publishes a newsletter for Ph.D. students, and it features library services. In summary, while an online research guide, such as a LibGuide, is a useful way to bring into focus the resources and services that Ph.D. students need, we look for every opportunity to get the word out through workshops, presentations, and media throughout the year.