Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service - News from research support services

Author: Marié Roux (Page 1 of 11)

The importance of well-populated ORCID records

The more well-populated ORCID records and integrated systems there are, the more value research communities will get from participating in ORCID. For the researcher, this might mean less administrative burden and time saved managing research outputs.

Here are a few tips for researchers to improve the content of their ORCID records:

  1. Add a biography to your record. 
    It is possible to add a brief biography to your ORCID record to provide a narrative description of you and your research career and interests. This might be helpful to distinguish yourself from other researchers with the same name. In this way it enables you to add more information about yourself than only your employment and publications.
  2. To make your data discoverable, set visibility to “Everyone”
    You are in complete control of the visibility of each section of data in your ORCID record. If it is important to you that your work is discoverable, check to see that your data is visible to Everyone.

  3. Create connections
    One way to allow your trusted organisations to link with and make updates to your record—so you can get credit for your work — is by including your iD when you submit to publishers, apply for grants, or in any other research workflows. Another way is to import data from integrated systems via any of the  Search & link tools integrated into the Works and Funding sections of My ORCID.

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  4. Take advantage of auto-updates from Crossref
    Crossref is currently the only system that uses the ORCID Inbox to send auto-update requests. The request is sent to your ORCID Inbox after a publisher submits a new work to Crossref, as long as you have provided your ORCID iD to the publisher on submission. If you do not want to grant permission to update your record with the new work, simply ignore the notification from Crossref. Learn more about granting permissions to trusted parties from your ORCID inbox here. Learn more about Crossref auto-update here.
  5. Designate a Trusted individual
    Did you know you can grant permission to one or more trusted individuals to update your ORCID record? Some researchers may wish to delegate someone —a Trusted individual—to help them edit information on it or make connections with external systems. A trusted individual does not need to be another researcher, but must have their own ORCID iD. Find out more about Trusted individuals here.

Read more here.

Contact your faculty librarian or Marié Roux for assistance.



Re-examining the Democracy Exhibition in the Library

Re-examining the Democracy Exhibition: Addressing Historical Imbalance at Stellenbosch University

By Moegammad Tahier Kara

27 May 2024

The Democracy exhibition at Stellenbosch University draws heavily from the extensive collections housed in the university library. While these collections are rich in historical content, they predominantly reflect a more white-centric perspective of South Africa’s past. This inherent bias within the library’s archives poses a significant challenge to presenting a balanced and inclusive narrative. Despite efforts to curate a comprehensive exhibition, the reliance on these collections has inadvertently led to an imbalance. A more concerted effort is needed to incorporate diverse voices and perspectives to truly capture the multifaceted history of the nation’s democratic journey.

Stellenbosch University’s exhibition in the university library on Democracy aims to reflect South Africa’s complex political history. The exhibition includes documents and multimedia displays that chart the nation’s journey towards democracy. However, it predominantly focuses on the white history of South Africa, which I will argue overshadows the crucial contributions and experiences of marginalised communities during the apartheid era and beyond. Despite this, the exhibition endeavours to provide a comprehensive overview of the socio-political landscape, emphasising the importance of acknowledging all facets of the country’s past.

While the exhibition’s foundation might appear skewed due to its emphasis on white history, it is not entirely out of touch or wrong. It captures significant historical milestones and figures that played vital roles in South Africa’s democratic evolution. To address the imbalance, the exhibition curators could consider incorporating more narratives and perspectives from non-white communities, highlighting their resistance, resilience, and contributions to democracy. By doing so, the exhibition can offer a more balanced and inclusive portrayal of South Africa’s journey, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the nation’s diverse heritage.

In the exhibition, there are some questionable choices in highlighting key figures in South Africa’s democratic journey. The exhibition points to seven individuals as crucial players, yet their contributions are far from significant by any stretch of the imagination. Alarmingly, four out of these seven individuals are white, which skews the representation of those who genuinely fought for and contributed to the nation’s democracy. This misrepresentation diminishes the roles of the many unsung heroes from marginalised communities who played pivotal roles during the apartheid era and in the struggle for democratic freedom.

The inclusion of PW Botha as a significant figure in this exhibition is particularly egregious. Botha, as the Prime Minister and later the State President of South Africa during some of the darkest years of apartheid, was a staunch defender of the apartheid regime. His policies and actions were instrumental in perpetuating racial segregation and oppression, making his portrayal as a key player in democracy not only preposterous but also deeply offensive to those who suffered under his rule. Elevating such a figure in the context of an exhibition on democracy is a gross distortion of history and undermines the genuine sacrifices made by those who fought tirelessly for equality and justice.

The timeline presented in Stellenbosch University’s exhibition on Democracy also suffers from significant bias, reflecting a predominantly white-centric perspective over the past 30 years. Key dates and events that are emphasized tend to highlight the achievements and milestones associated with white political figures and institutions, often overlooking or underrepresenting the critical contributions and experiences of non-white communities. This skewed portrayal not only fails to accurately capture the breadth and depth of South Africa’s democratic evolution but also marginalises the voices and struggles of those who were at the forefront of the fight against apartheid and the push for genuine democratic reforms. A more balanced timeline should include the pivotal moments and actions led by activists, community leaders, and ordinary citizens from all backgrounds, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive historical narrative.



SunDMP Wednesdays: Weekly webinars on research data management planning

Following its official release to the SU community on 13 May 2024, SunDMP, the Stellenbosch University (SU) Data Management Planning Software Tool, has been warmly received by researchers across various disciplines. Since then, about 48 researchers have been assisted in developing their DMPs using SunDMP.

SunDMP represents a significant step forward in facilitating efficient and effective data management planning for researchers at Stellenbosch University. By providing a user-friendly platform for generating comprehensive data management plans, DMPs, the tool also empowers researchers to easily navigate the complexities of research data management.

Building on the momentum of the launch, the Library is excited to announce weekly training sessions designed to help researchers in developing DMPs. The training sessions started on the 5th of June and will occur every Wednesday from 13:00 to 13:45. To register for upcoming training sessions visit the Library training calendar. Alternatively, researchers can register for our data management planning sessions during the #SmartResearcher workshops.

Whether you’re new to data management planning or seeking to enhance your existing skills, the SunDMP Wednesday sessions offer a valuable opportunity to harness the full potential of the tool. Topics covered will include:

  1. Introduction to SunDMP: An overview of the software’s capabilities and benefits.
  2. Creating Comprehensive DMPs: Best practices for developing robust data management plans tailored to your research needs.
  3. Navigating SunDMP: A step-by-step guide to utilising the platform’s tools and resources effectively.

We encourage all SU researchers to take advantage of these training sessions to streamline their research processes and ensure compliance with funder requirements and best practices in research data management. Your participation not only benefits your research but also contributes to advancing the culture of responsible and transparent data stewardship within our academic community.

For more information or any other training requests, please contact Xabiso Xesi or Sizwe Ngcobo, telephone numbers: 021 808 9489/9978


SUNDigital sources – The Hennie Aucamp collection

Hennie Aucamp (1934 – 2014) was a well-known contemporary Afrikaans poet, short story writer, cabaretist and recipient of various Afrikaans literary and theatre awards. He was also a lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch from 1964 to 1994 and received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University in 1999.

Hennie Aucamp called himself an obsessive keeper of diaries as he started from the age of 14 and kept a diary till just before his death at 80 years old. He donated his valuable collection of documents in 2014 to the Special Collections division of the Library and Information Service. This collection (MS 147) spread over 13 meters of document material consisting of correspondence, cabaret material, manuscripts, photos, and newspaper clippings.  The documents include original manuscripts of his work and examples of different genres of Afrikaans literature. Some of the documents and the index to the material are available on SUNDigital : Finding aids.

This collection is often used for research, from questions about the title of a book, cabaret, song, and translations of his poems, to peer-reviewed articles, books, and masters and PhD studies.

For more information visit his collection and Special Collections library guide.

Author: Marieta Buys

Ask your Faculty Librarian: Systematic reviews

Suppose you are a researcher who has decided to embark on a review study. Be it a systematic or scoping review, umbrella, meta-analysis, or any other type of review,  the Library and Information Service offers in-depth support to assist researchers. Faculty Librarians can assist you in understanding the systematic review methodology, including the structured and reproducible approach used to identify, assess, and critically appraise relevant studies. They will guide you in creating a robust, well-documented protocol, emphasising best practices for search strategies and database selection. Whether helping with comprehensive literature searches or advising on inclusion and exclusion criteria, your faculty librarians will help ensure that systematic reviews are rigorous and evidence-based. Librarians offer training on literature searching techniques, database usage and the navigation of various information resources, helping to ensure that the review process is thorough and replicable.

The Library also offers specific workshops on conducting systematic reviews, literature searching techniques and the use of citation management tools like EndNote that can assist researchers with conducting systematic reviews. Consult the training calendar to register for these sessions. In addition to this support, the Library also has a library guide dedicated to assisting with conducting systematic reviews. Through the support offered in the preparation, retrieval, appraisal, and synthesis of information, the Library contributes to the successful completion and eventual publication of high-quality systematic reviews. So make sure to consult your librarian today!

Author: Elizabeth Moll-Willard

Learn how to evaluate your research impact with SciVal

Since Stellenbosch University subscribed to Elsevier’s research evaluation tool, SciVal, in 2023, it has been used productively for evaluating research for the University as a whole, for departmental groups, and for individual researchers. The following training will take place in June to further enhance research administrators’ and researchers’ skills in using the tool to their advantage. Both training sessions will be hosted online.

 Introduction to SciVal for research evaluation

Thursday 20 June, 11:00-12:30, presented by Marié Roux

An overview of SciVal will be presented, including the following:

  • The underlying data of Scopus
  • Overview of the different modules and entities
  • An overview of all the different metrics and some example reports for individuals
  • Customised template for a researcher at Stellenbosch University
  • Measuring contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Benchmarking with colleagues internally and externally

Register here

 Introducing SciVal’s next-generation Topics

Tuesday 25 June, presented by Elsevier

This is a global webinar on Scival Topics. A SciVal Topic is a collection of publications with a common intellectual interest, as determined through citation patterns. They are used to enrich strategic planning through a portfolio analysis to see which research fields you and your peers are active in, which research fields appear to be fast-moving, and who are key contributors. In this webinar, Elsevier will look at the next-generation SciVal Topics, talk about the benefits, as well as the functionality made available to help you transition to the new-generation Topics, and answer any questions you may have.

There are two sessions to choose from in different time slots:

Enquiries: Marié Roux

Launch of Library Research Week

Themed Let’s Achieve Research Excellence, the 12th annual Library Research Week will be launched on 13 May 2024 by Professor Sibusiso Moyo from 15:30 to 17:00. This year’s event will also see the launch and introduction of the first University’s Data Management Plan (DMP) software, SunDMP, a DMP tool powered by Fair Wizard. To ensure wider access, the launch will be in a hybrid format, allowing guests and speakers to attend in-person or online. However, due to the small size of the physical venue, only invited guests will be given a choice to attend in person. In line with the tradition of the Library Research Week, during the launch, there will be a guest speaker who will focus on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.  

After the launch, there will be events each day from 14 May until 17 May 2024. These seek to empower researchers on many aspects of the research process including proposal writing, literature reviews, research methods, academic writing skills, scoping reviews, research data management, publishing and many more.

This year’s event has an inspiring lineup of speakers who will conduct these workshops and discussions on research best practices. Check out the programme on the library’s website: Library Research Week Page.

Guest lecture: Saving the time of the user

Prof Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe is Professor and Coordinator for Research Professional Development in the University Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She will present a guest lecture at the Stellenbosch University Library on Saving the time of the user: Academic library implications of industry initiatives and trends.

The lecture will take place on Friday 10 May from 09:30-10:30 in the Library’s Auditorium. All students and staff are welcome to attend.
Please book your seat here.

Removing stumbling blocks for users accessing content and services continues to be a significant challenge across the information landscape. Friction points include discovery, access, and authentication/authorisation workflows. Open access publishing promises to assist but is not the full solution. Recent industry initiatives have attempted to smooth pathways and improve researcher experience. This keynote will share industry efforts, including but not limited to Get Full Text Research (GetFTR), Seamless Access, and the Article Sharing Framework, identify how these efforts are shaping the information access landscape, and catalyse a conversation to explore how libraries and higher education institutions might better serve our users by leveraging these industry efforts.

Exhibition: 1994-2024 – Democracy in South Africa

In celebration of 30 years of democracy in South Africa, the Library and Information Service will be hosting a unique exhibition this month. This exhibition will showcase some of the material from the manuscript collections curated by Special Collections.

The collections focus on the path to democracy through negotiations to create a climate of change in South Africa within political, economic, and social arenas. We look at some of the organisations and individuals that played a role in the negotiations and preparations for democracy from the economic pressure to the conferences and workshops and voter education to the 1994 voting and the first democratic parliament as well as the changes and highlights of the democracy in South Africa till 2024. This exhibition also serves as a reminder of the enduring journey towards a more just, inclusive, and democratic society, honouring the resilience and collective spirit that continue to shape South Africa’s future.

The exhibition will be on view from Monday 13 May in the Stellenbosch University Library.

Launch of SunDMP: SU’s new Data Management Plan platform

The launch of Stellenbosch University’s new Data Management Plan (DMP) platform, SunDMP, will take place during the launch of Library Research Week on Monday 13 May, at 15:30. Book here to attend this event.

SunDMP revolutionises research data management by streamlining DMP creation, ensuring legal compliance, and fostering a culture of transparency. Planning for research data management has advanced significantly with SunDMP, which the FAIR wizard platform enables. Data management planning entails preparing how researchers will manage their data during and after the research process. Researchers now have a solid tool to expedite this process and effectively articulate their data management strategies. SunDMP is important because, by the SU Research Data Management Regulation, these plans must be submitted with research grant applications.

Creating thorough data management plans (DMPs) is essential to data management planning. These documents function as road maps, outlining different facets of data management during the research project. Researchers specify how data will be gathered, handled, examined, and distributed in a DMP. DMPs also include strategies for encouraging research data reusability, which is essential to modern scientific methods.

Researchers can use technologies such as SunDMP to create strong DMPs, assisting them in making important decisions and guaranteeing adherence to legal requirements. Additionally, SunDMP can improve the efficacy and accessibility of data management planning by providing researchers with intuitive software, ultimately promoting an open and accountable culture of research data stewardship.

Please contact Xabiso Xesi (Tel: 021 8089489) or Sizwe Ngcobo (Tel: 021 8089978)  for assistance. Or send them an email at

Other important links on the topic of Research Data Management:

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