Ask A Librarian

Libraries’ Research Commons provides expertise and support

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
April 3rd, 2019
Student working on computer

Are you preparing to start a new research project? Are you exploring publishing options for your latest article?

In addition to connecting you with needed resources, West Virginia University Libraries’ librarians and staff can support users with a high level of knowledge and expertise at many points in the research life-cycle.

Last fall, WVU Libraries launched the Research Commons, a suite of services to foster interdisciplinary connections and support graduate student and faculty research needs.

“The Research Commons is an important step forward for building capacity for services that address the changing environment in research practices and scholarly publishing,” said Karen Diaz, dean of WVU Libraries. “It is important that our faculty have access to the latest best practices and technology and that our graduate students are leaving us with modern skills.”

The initiative involves existing, enhanced and new services, and operates on the principle that engagement with students and faculty is a core component in creating a scholarly community.

“The Research Commons is off to a great start this year, and we look forward to building additional services and partnerships and to expanding our ability to meet campus needs. One area of particular emphasis for us right now is providing new data support services for activities such as data management plans and text-mining,” said Penny Pugh, head of Research Services.

Librarians have long taught information literacy courses, instructional sessions and workshops. Under the Research Commons, the number of topics is expanded. They range from copyright questions to citation management to finding grant sources to meet a variety of research needs. Visit the Research Commons website for a complete list of upcoming sessions.

Also valuable are one-on-one consultations with librarians, who can work with researchers on a gamut of issues such as research impact metrics, literature reviews, intellectual property, open-access publishing and grant seeking.

For example, Scholarly Communications Librarian Ian Harmon can help scholars understand the terms of publishers’ agreements and develop strategies for negotiating to retain the rights that are important, including the rights to reuse works or post them online.

“It’s important to understand how to manage your publishing rights,” Harmon said. “You own your rights until you say otherwise. You can negotiate those agreements.”

In addition to workshops and consulting, the Research Commons offers technology-enabled spaces that may be reserved for small groups, classrooms that are available for research-related events, and scholarly communications and publishing services such as the Research Repository@WVU.

Scholars and faculty who are interested in discussing partnerships or projects are encouraged to contact Pugh at

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