Library starts Click and Collect service for print collections

A barrier reading "2 metres. Please maintain social distancing at all times" stands in front of the security gates at the University of Sussex Library. Image: Sussex Library

Since the Library building closed in March the team have been working hard to provide Sussex students and staff with the online resources and support they need.

Now – after consultation with Health & Safety, SEF and campus unions – they’ve launched a Click and Collect Service to enable access to some printed materials in the collection.

It isn’t possible to request items that are on loan at the moment, but if the item you want is available on Library Search, request it as normal and you will receive an email once it’s ready, with further instructions on when and how to collect.

See the Library Click and Collect webpage for more information.

This article is a stub: why we should all become Wikipedians

A cartoon drawing of three diverse women's arms upraised, each holding a mobile phone, below the words 'DEcolonize the Internet'.
Image source: Whose Knowledge?

First year medical students watch on in horror as my colleague casually edits an important looking number on the dosage section of Wikipedia’s entry on Insulin. She is a librarian teaching a class on information literacy, and making vital points about the value of using reliable sources and the need to think critically about knowledge. But this is only half the story. I check the page again on my way home that day and – reassuringly – the inaccurate dosage has been reverted to the original figure, complete with a clickable citation.

Of course, I don’t think we want our future doctors scrolling Wikipedia pages before writing out our prescriptions. But we do know that students use it. Researchers use it. Librarians use it. For me, it’s a starting point for so many fact-finding missions and curious explorations. Come to think of it, do you know anyone who doesn’t use Wikipedia?

The endlessly fascinating Wikipedia Statistics page tells us that in May 2020 there were 25 billion page views. I can’t quite fathom a number that high, but it is definitely a lot. The internet is a busy place filled with spaces for buying and selling, influencers and dubious pop ups, clickbait and social media likes.

Remarkable to think, then, that one of the most used websites in the world is an almost twenty-year-old platform for sharing free and open knowledge. And those pages that hold the knowledge we greedily consume every day, are created and edited by human people out there somewhere. Last month, Wikipedia editors made 54 million edits to this giant knowledge base, and the English Wikipedia averages 594 new articles per day.

A graphic from Art+Feminism in the style of an inspirational quote, with the words 'Making the internet less garbage, one edit at a time.'
Image source: Art+Feminism

It is a staggering feat of human achievement. And it’s the community of editors that make it: committed to sharing knowledge. With everyone. For free. Sounds like the stuff of our research dreams.

Librarians (always the coolest crowd at a party) are getting in on the act. Twice a year, the #1Lib1Ref initiative calls on librarians around the world to add missing references to articles on Wikipedia. Hooking readers up with reliable sources and accurate citations. The ‘academic win’ is twofold: students using Wikipedia will be ushered towards valuable research AND the cited researchers will find their work is more widely read (and cited).

Researchers can get involved too. Makes sense, right?

  • You are an expert on your topic.
  • You’ve actively chosen to dedicate your time to communicating information.
  • You have privileged access to world class resources (I’m talking Library content here… not all those journals we subscribe to are open access, but don’t get me started on that now).
  • You are an awesome person who wants to contribute to global knowledge.

 Ok, so I guessed the last one, but I think I’m selling it pretty well. As part of the Festival of Doctoral Research the Library is hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on Thursday 18th June at 10am. We’ll be meeting online to contribute to the creation and dissemination of open knowledge, and help to address under-representation and bias in knowledge.

If you are interested in learning how to improve diversity on Wikipedia by developing pages on notable women, LGBTQ+ and BAME professionals, and under-represented issues missing from the free and open encyclopedia, please join us. Absolutely no prior experience of web editing is required, and we’ll be there to share top tips and answer your questions.

Sign up! Hope to see you there.

Bethany Logan, Academic Services Librarian (Research & Scholarship)

Further reading / inspiration


Other Library events during the Festival

  • Viva Survivor Soundtrack, a collaborative Spotify playlist – read the Research Hive blogpost for more info and share your suggestions with #VivaSoundtrack @SussexResHive
  • PGR Publications, a @SussexLibrary Twitter thread of research articles from the past 12 months, shared throughout Festival week. Thinking about getting published? Check out the Library’s resources page for guidance.

NEW! Festival of Doctoral Research: Daily Check-Ins, Yoga, PhD Crafternoon and more

Since our Festival blogpost last week, we are pleased to announce six new events have been added to the Festival line-up. The latest additions bring even more fun and variety – from yoga to crafts, viva soundtracks to publications, there will be something for everyone!

On top of all of this, kicking off each day will be a check-in blogpost and Twitter chat looking at how doctoral researchers have been coping throughout lockdown. Find out more about the events and how to get involved below.

A banner with writing: Festival of Doctoral Research #SussexDocFest

Daily Check-Ins and Lockdown Tips
(Doctoral Connections blog each morning at 9.30, followed by discussion on Twitter)
Every morning of the Festival we’ll be checking in with you on Twitter @SussexDocSchool and chatting about ways you’re looking after yourself during lockdown. We will be posting mini interview blogs with researchers, who will share what has helped them throughout the lockdown/Covid-19 period. Then join the discussion on Twitter and add your own tips and resources! The themes for each day are:

  • Monday – Working from home and productivity
  • Tuesday – Games and hobbies
  • Wednesday – Exercise and physical activities
  • Thursday – Media and entertainment
  • Friday – Creativity: arts and crafts

Yoga session with Gratia from Sussexsport 
(Wednesday 17th June, 12.30 – 13.30) Book a place
Based on flowing sequences and precise alignment, linked to full rhythmic breathing that will open up both body and mind. This class will improve your strength, stamina and flexibility.

PhD Crafternoon 
(Friday 19th June, 17.00 – 19.00) Book a place
This Online Crafternoon will include whatever crafty activity you’d like to spend an hour or so doing – you can doodle, sketch, paint, sew, colour, or even collage if you have some scissors, old magazines and glue lying around. Take a creative break from your research and cultivate a space to delve into something immersive and relaxing. You could create something about how lockdown has been for you, something that represents or speaks to your research, or something completely unrelated.

Viva Survivor Soundtrack!
(online, throughout the week)
In the era of the online viva, where PhD candidates are unable to celebrate with their examiners and support networks in person, the Library have put together a crowd-sourced Spotify playlist of songs that have helped Sussex graduates get through their vivas and celebrate their doctoral achievements. Join the conversation on social media @SussexResHive and add your recommendations to the playlist by tagging #VivaSoundtrack #VivaSurvivor.

PGR Publications
(online, throughout the week)
Throughout the Festival, the Library will be tweeting a thread of articles published by Sussex PhD candidates over the past twelve months. Check out @SussexLibrary and the hashtag #SussexDocFest. If it inspires you to write but you don’t know where to start, the Library will be compiling resources to help you get into academic publishing (further details to follow).

Quick Query Drop-in Career Advice
(Tuesday 16th June and Thursday 18th June, 16.00 – 17.00)
Drop in for a chat with careers consultant Sarah Coleman about any careers-related questions you have. Bookings will open this Thursday 11th June, so make a note to check the Festival website listing for a link to sign up!

Ethics Applications issues during Covid-19: online drop-in sessions every Wednesday

This week, the Doctoral School caught up with Lauren and Tim from the Research Integrity, Ethics and Governance team to speak about some of the latest issues cropping up in their Ethics Drop-in Service, which runs online every Wednesday from 14.00 – 16.00.

It’s been a difficult time for doctoral researchers, especially where they have had to adapt their research plans to accommodate the university policy on no fieldwork. Both the Social Sciences/Arts/Humanities and the Science/Technology committees have been impressed with how students have creatively navigated these changes and looked for ways to ensure that their research is relevant and able to continue during these restrictions. 

For many research projects, these changes have included adjusting from face-to-face research to online questionnaires and interviews. Having the ethics drop-in has been really useful in terms of supporting researchers to think about the switch from in-person to online research and whether the nature of their research is suitable for online methods.  

Lauren and Tim have also been able to provide advice on practicalities such as using the right interview platform (Microsoft Teams!), data management, assuring confidentiality/GDPR compliance, and online consent processes. 

A recurring issue regarding information sheets and consent documents is that of participant withdrawal. A tip would be to make sure you clearly state the point at which participant withdrawal from the research is no longer possible, as this is often stated vaguely or overlooked. Telling participants the exact point up to which they can withdraw their data (such as a couple of weeks after an interview has taken place) will enable you to concentrate on writing up your research or collating your data without having to worry about subsequent requests for participant data to be withdrawn.

If you would like to discuss your ethics application with the team, the drop-in sessions run every Wednesday from 14.00 – 16.00. To book a slot email:

Responsible authorship and getting feedback in publishing – Wiley workshop (3rd June)

The Library, in partnership with the Brighton & Sussex Research Integrity Series, have organised an interactive online workshop on 3rd June (14.00 – 15.30) with international publishers Wiley. It’s open to all but will be of particular interest to doctoral and early career researchers.

Authorship is becoming an increasingly important issue in scholarly communications. Experts from Wiley will discuss how responsible authorship can enable transparency and openness with contributor roles, making sure that you get the credit you deserve for your research. The workshop will also explore the benefits to researchers of adopting open practices with feedback.

Usually, we would be holding our seminars in the Library – in our rather airless top floor meeting space – and providing you with lunch and time to chat. Sadly, there will be no refreshments on offer with this one but Wiley have produced a glossy pdf on ‘Top tips for getting published’ which they will distribute to all attendees.

We are hoping that the online workshop format will provide opportunities for you to see some new and familiar faces and to take advantage of having expert publishers on hand to answer your questions. Please go to our Eventbrite page to book your place.

Suzanne Tatham, Associate Director, University of Sussex Library

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic

As a doctoral researcher you will currently be facing a lot of uncertainty. You might be worried about your funding or visa status, juggling study with family or work, or dealing with disruptions to your research. That is to say nothing of the psychological impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on all of us.

If you are feeling anxious about any aspect of your personal or professional life, or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed, it is okay to ask for help; the services and resources below may be useful.

If you don’t know where to start or even how you are feeling, join our online workshops to discuss wellbeing and mental health knowledge and experience in a safe space. The Looking After Yourself during the Covid-19 Lockdown workshop on Wednesday 6th May will give you the tools to think about your own unique mental health needs, how you can help yourself concretely, and when you may need professional help. Book a place on Sussex Direct.

You may also be interested in these upcoming RDP workshops:

  • The Healthy Researcher: how to look after yourself and keep going (12th May)
  • The Productive Researcher: how to keep writing (14th May)
  • Stress, Resilience and Strengths: a digital workshop for researchers (4th June and 7th July)

University services are open, and operating virtually. The Student Life Centre are trained to help you if you’re struggling with anything from emotional, relationship or financial difficulties to health problems, self-motivation or university procedures. Get in touch with them on studentlifecentre@sussex.ac.uk. The Student Support Unit is available online for disability-related enquiries (this includes high levels of stress/anxiety lasting at least six months): email disabilitysupport@sussex.ac.uk.

Silvercloud is a free, interactive self-help app promoted by the counselling team – see their self-help webpage for details, and guidance on other common psychological issues.

The Doctoral School wellbeing website, developed by the Office for Students-funded U-DOC project, includes video interviews with PGRs, links to university services and tools for self-care. Our new suggested self-care strategies gif is available to download as a PDF poster, if you’d like to use it as a visual prompt in your work space.

The Wellbeing Thesis website was co-created by King’s College London, Derby University, PhD researchers and the Student Minds charity. The Managing Adversity topic may be particularly useful, alongside bitesize videos on breathing exercises, chair yoga and getting a good night’s sleep. See key themes on the homepage or use the menu to explore videos and downloadable resources.

If you’re seeking support for yourself or a friend the Student Minds website has a section on coronavirus, and one of their consultants, Dr Dominique Thompson, has blogged about coping with coronavirus anxiety. Follow her DomInSixtySeconds YouTube channel for more.

And if you are feeling isolated and want to connect with other PhD researchers we’ve pulled together some of the key platforms elsewhere on the blog. See the new Things To Do During Lockdown section on the Student Hub for ideas.

Tell us how Covid-19 is affecting you and your PhD research

Collating PGR Experiences During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Thursday 16th April (12:00 – 13:30), Online (Zoom)

The Doctoral School is hosting an online session for PhD researchers to share experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to hear your views on how it is impacting your research, and how we are responding to this fast-moving situation.

This is a space for voicing how Covid-19 is affecting you, a chance to talk with us and your fellow PGRs and to make sure the PhD community is heard at university level. Your anonymised responses will be presented to the Doctoral Studies Committee on 17th.

The aim is for us to listen, not to answer individual questions, but we will collate all the issues raised and seek responses. If you want to comment anonymously, or cannot attend but would like to have your say, please use the Hive Scholars’ Padlet Wall (no sign-up is required, just click the pink + icon in the bottom right and start typing – note: the text box may appear in a different location on the page).

The panel will consist of George Kemenes (Doctoral School Director), Miles Willey (Head of Doctoral School), Albertus Schoeman (PGR Rep), and Devyn Glass (Research Hive Scholar).

Follow this link to Sussex Direct for more info and to book a place. If you have any queries contact researcher-development@sussex.ac.uk.

Please note: All attendees will be sent a link via email to join this online session before it takes place.

Record your Covid-19 diary for the Mass Observation Archive

The Mass Observation Archive, housed at The Keep as part of the university’s Special Collections, is a unique archive of material telling the stories of everyday life in Britain.

Now, they are looking for writers to submit reflections or keep daily journals about their experience of life during the Covid-19 pandemic, to create a lasting record of these extraordinary times.

For more information on making a contribution see the Mass Observation website.

Workshops: Technology Enhanced Learning Spring series

The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) department has a number of workshops this semester designed to provide professional development opportunities for doctoral tutors through the effective use of technology to enhance teaching, learning and assessment.

A list of the workshops (and links for booking) are detailed below, and you can find out more on the TEL workshops and courses webpage.

TEL Spring workshops

Research Student Week, 20th – 24th April

The Doctoral School is excited to share details of the USSU’s Research Student Week taking place in April. There will be daily panel discussions on themes related to PhD life, followed by a Q&A session, buffet lunch, and an opportunity to socialise / network with fellow researchers.

The week’s schedule is as follows:

  • Day 1 (20th April): Theme – Supervisor / Supervisee Relationship
    12-3pm @ The Debating Chamber, Falmer House
  • Day 2 (21st April): Theme – Mental Health & Wellbeing
    12-3pm @ Meeting Room 2, Falmer House
  • Day 3 (22nd April): Theme – International Student Experience
    12-3pm @ The Debating Chamber, Falmer House
  • Day 4 (23rd April): Theme – Professional Development
    3:30-5:30pm @ Meeting Room 2, Falmer House
  • Day 5 (24th April): Theme – Funding
    12-3pm @ The Debating Chamber, Falmer House

To book a free ticket and for more information about these and other postgraduate events, scan the QR code below or visit the USSU’s Postgraduate Events listings.