Library Research News

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

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.

    screen grab of a single sign on
  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

Think and check before you submit your article

Identify trusted publishers for your research • Think. Check. Submit.

One of the most frequent questions that academic librarians get is “Is this a predatory journal?” With the advent of the Information Age and the internet, the number of journals in which you can publish in has skyrocketed, with some estimates putting it well past 30 000. Many of these journals are driven purely by profit and does not have the researcher’s interest in mind at all. Known as predatory journals, or predatory publishing, their drive for profit means they focus on quantity over quality, are quick to accept articles without any peer review process, are deliberately evasive about the publishing fees, list fake editorial boards using academics without their permission and more. A more devious tactic that these publishers employ is to directly contact researchers and invite them to publish with them, often using boastful language about the quality and reach of their journal. Researchers who may have been rejected by other journals, or who are unsure where to publish, might be swayed by this flattering invitation. However, they may live to regret publishing in these journals, and their academic reputation and career may be ruined.

Therefore, it is critical that researchers choose the most suitable journals to publish their research. But, as mentioned above, with so many out there and many of them predatory, how do you choose? The best option, of course, is to ask your faculty librarian, but if they are unreachable or you would prefer to double-check yourself, then you should make use of Think, Check, Submit. “Think. Check. Submit.” is a collaborative initiative that provides a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

The campaign’s checklist is structured around three key steps:

Think: Before submitting your manuscript, consider if the journal you’re looking at is the best fit for your research. Reflect on the journal’s scope, audience, and reputation within your field.

Check: Investigate the journal’s integrity and quality. This involves:

  • Verifying the journal’s peer-review process.
  • Checking if the journal is indexed in reputable databases.
  • Reviewing the editorial board for recognised experts.
  • Ensuring transparency about the publishing fees.
  • Confirming the journal’s publisher is a member of recognised industry organisations like COPE or DOAJ.

Submit: If the journal meets the necessary quality checks, you can confidently submit your manuscript.

If you would like to access a PDF copy of the full checklist, you can do so here.

For more information, also have a look a their video below:

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.

Library Research Week 2024

Visit the Library Research Week homepage for the latest news about the upcoming event!

Monday, 13 May

Launch of Library Research Week 2024

SunDMP (FAIR Wizard) Launch and Opening of Library Research Week

Professor Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies

Time: 15:30 – 16:00

Advancing Research Excellence: Stellenbosch University’s Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals

Time: 16:00 – 16:40

Tuesday, 14 May

Let’s kickstart the research process

Writing a sound research proposal: principles and process

Professor Susan van Schalkwyk

Time: 10:15 – 11:30

Writing a good proposal starts with good planning. This session on proposal writing will focus on how you can use nutshell writing to plan your proposal and get the writing process started.

EndNote for intermediate users

Mr. Kirchner van Deventer

Time: 11:30 – 13:00

This workshop will require a working knowledge of how EndNote operates and how to use its basic functions. The session’s focus will be on EndNote’s technical features that allow for greater customisation and precision.


Participants will learn

·         How to edit and create a custom style

·         How to use Term Lists

·         How to handle complicated references

Literature Reviews in Practice

Ms. Heila Mare & Mr. Kirchner van Deventer

Time: 14:00 – 16:00

This webinar will focus on how to extract the most important pieces of information from academic sources and how they should be applied in a literature review. Prior to the webinar, you will receive several academic articles that you will need to read through in preparation for the session. We will draw from various disciplines to be as inclusive as possible. It is highly recommended that you also view the following recording of the general principles of how to conduct a literature review:

Literature Reviews


Participants will learn:

·         How to break down a source using the Literature Synthesis Table

·         How to extract the most important information from a source

·         How to relay that information in your own words in a literature review

Wednesday, 15 May

Let’s excel in research strategies

Managing your research with SunDMP (FAIR Wizard)

Mr. Xabiso Xesi

Time: 09:00 – 10:00

The foundations of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles in managing research will be covered during this session and how the FAIR Wizard tool can help SU researchers implement these principles in the research workflow. Subjects including data management, creating metadata, and data sharing protocols will be addressed, focusing on how crucial it is to improve the discoverability and usability of research data.


·         Understanding the core principles of FAIR data and their significance in modern research practices.

·         knowledge of the FAIR Wizard tool’s capabilities, which can help researchers apply FAIR data concepts in an efficient manner.

·         Applying FAIR data concepts practically to your research projects to improve reproducibility and collaboration.

Mixed-methods research

Professor Stiaan Lamprecht

Time: 10:15 – 11:45

This is a research approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative methods in a single study. This approach has become increasingly popular in many fields, as it allows researchers to gain a deeper understanding of complex phenomena that cannot be fully understood using a single method.

This webinar will focus on discussing what is meant by “mixed method research” as well as provide insight on how to conduct mixed method research.

Introduction and Primer to Scoping Reviews

Dr Michael McCaul

Time: 13:45 – 15:15

This webinar is designed to provide an overview of scoping reviews, a type of literature review that is increasingly popular in the fields of health sciences, social sciences, and other disciplines. The webinar will cover the basic principles of scoping reviews, including their purpose, methodology, and key features, as well as provide examples of how scoping reviews can be used in research and practice. Participants will also have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions with the presenter and other attendees.​

Thursday, 16 May

Let’s utilise tools for research

PowerBi: A Tool for Data Visualisation

Ms. Marié Roux

Time: 09:00 – 11:30

The workshop will be a hands-on introduction to Power BI, available for free through SU’s subscription to Microsoft 365.

Participants will learn the following:

·         How to install the desktop and connect to Microsoft Excel

·         ​Start visualising data easily with an extensive library of data visualisations.

·         ​How to build reports and dashboards

SPSS: The Quantitative Data Analysis and Research Software

Dr Cindy Steenekamp

Time: 11:30 – 13:00

The workshop will first focus on some of the foundational principles of quantitative research before it proceeds to the functionality and utility of SPSS as a tool for quantitative data analysis.

·         The workshop will include:

·         What is quantitative data and where does it come from?

·         Foundation of quantitative data analysis (levels of measurement); and

·         Introduction to SPSS.


Qualitative Research: The Basics

Dr Elizabeth le Roux

Time: 13:45 – 15:15

This webinar is tailored for emerging scientists (supervisors and postgraduate students) interested in doing or supervising qualitative research.

·         Principles for interpretivist research

·         Doing qualitative interviews

·         Interpreting analysed data

·         Preparing to interpret, theorise, and particularise with qualitative data.​

Friday, 17 May

Let’s strive for research excellence, in the face of adversity

Panel Discussion – Three years later: What has been the impact of Transformational Agreements at SU


Mr. Sakhile Mngomezulu, Professor Marena Manley and Melanie Lehnert-Bechle

Time: 09:00 – 10:15

How green spaces influence our wellbeing – Veggie Mandalas: Personal Research Journey

Prof. Karen Esler

Time: 10:30 – 11:10

How SciVal can benefit Researchers in Practice


Time: 11:30 – 12:30

The session will demonstrate how SciVal is used in specific cases, with specific examples of how the data in SciVal could be used by the researchers themselves.

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.

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