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

Author: Marié Roux (Page 1 of 10)

Newly signed Open Access (Read and Publish) agreements

The Library and Information Service is pleased to announce two additional Open Access (read and publish) agreements recently signed in addition to existing agreements. These agreements extend reading access and provide Open Access publishing opportunities for Stellenbosch University staff and students. Authors can publish in fully Open Access journals at a discount and in hybrid journals without having to pay article processing charges (APCs).

​The following agreements were signed in 2024:

Taylor & Francis (T&F) Open Access (Read and Publish) agreement

This agreement commenced in 2024. It is a three-year agreement (2024-2026).

Institutions participating in this agreement have read access to nearly 2000 journals in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Science & Technology (S&T) packages. In addition, eligible authors affiliated with subscribing institutions can publish their articles open access in all Taylor & Francis Open Select (hybrid) journals without paying article processing charges (APCs). Eligible authors will also benefit from a 10% discount when they publish in the Taylor & Francis fully Open Access journals. Read the full press release here.

The Company of Biologists  Open Access (Read and Publish) agreement

This agreement commenced in 2024. It is a three-year agreement (2024-2026).

Under this agreement, corresponding authors from the SU community can publish an unlimited number of research articles as Open Access in the publisher’s hybrid journals, such as Development, Journal of Cell Science, and Journal of Experimental Biology, as well as their fully Open Access journals, including Disease Models & Mechanisms and Biology Open. Authors will not be required to pay any article processing charges (APCs) for these publications. Researchers will also benefit from unrestricted access to the publisher’s hybrid journals, including their complete archives dating back to 1853. Read the full press release here.

Contact details:

For more information about the publishers and to view titles eligible for Open Access publishing, please visit

Enquiries about Open Access agreements may be directed to the Manager: Scholarly Communications and Open Access, Tel: 021 808 9907.

JoVE trial

From time to time the Library and Information Service acquires temporary access to electronic sources via the internet. Staff members and students of the University are encouraged to test these sources available on trial and to complete the evaluation form to provide feedback to the Library.

A current trial is available for The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). The trial runs from 10 April to 10 May. It is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes experimental methods in video format. JoVE covers research methods and experimental techniques from the physical and life sciences. The journal currently has 13 sections: Biology, Developmental Biology, Neuroscience, Immunology and Infection, Medicine, Bioengineering, Engineering, Chemistry, Behavior, Environment, Biochemistry, Cancer Research, and Genetics. It also publishes Science Education collections aimed at instructing scientists in fundamental concepts and methods in various fields including biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and practical subjects like laboratory safety, cell culturing, etc.

EnquiriesTel: +27 21 808 4884/4852  | E-mail

SunDMP: SU’s Data Management Planning tool

We are thrilled to announce that this year’s launch of Library Research Week on 13 May 2024 will coincide with the launch of our new Data Management Planning (DMP) tool, SunDMP. Powered by FAIRWizard, the new DMP tool will ensure full compliance of SU researchers with international standards in the form of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. It will enhance data organisation and preservation at the University. This tool is set to improve data quality, facilitate data sharing and ensure compliance with funder requirements. Through our subscription to this tool, SU researchers will no longer need to scour for DMP tools elsewhere, which will help improve research efficiency at the University.

Data management plans are an integral part of the research process. This has necessitated researchers to prospectively think about the data they intend to collect during the research process, and how such data will be managed to strengthen their research design. To achieve this requires a good research data management plan (DMP). A DMP is a written document that describes how a researcher expects to collect or generate data during the research process, how such data will be managed, described, analysed and stored, and what mechanisms will be used at the end of the project to share and preserve such data. Being cognisant of such developments, Stellenbosch University’s Library and Information Service division as a natural support partner to the research process has taken an initiative of licensing a DMP software tool that will enable researchers to generate DMPs automatically. SU researchers need to use DMPs as a map to follow when dealing with their research data as it helps navigate possible events they may encounter during the research process.

Like a map, a DMP ought to be explicit and concise so that others can read it and immediately understand what the principal investigator is doing or intends to do with their data. DMPs are often required by funders, including the National Research Foundation. For this reason, the Library and Information Service division will officially launch SunDMP on 13 May 2024, during Library Research Week. This will ensure that SU researchers use the SunDMP software tool to write formal DMPs, and identify weaknesses in their plan, guided by the metrics centered on the FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) principles. Moreover, this will provide SU researchers with a framework to record what they intend to do with their data during the research process. After having consulted with various stakeholders within the institution, the Library and Information Service division is convinced that the SunDMP tool is a valuable resource that will help SU researchers save time when managing their data, protect their data, and increase research efficiency.

Contact the Research Data Services team, Xabiso Xesi and Sizwe Ngcobo:

Improve the impact of your research

There are numerous ways in which you can showcase your research and therefore improve the impact of your work. Considering these aspects when you publish and promote your research is important.

Decision-making about where to publish

  • Publish in high-impact journals:
    Use the Journal Impact Factor (Web of Science) or Citescore and SNIP metrics (Scopus). Always publish in journals that are accredited by the DHET. See the lists of accredited journals on the Division for Research Development’s website.
  • Publish Open Access:
    Always look out for options to publish your work in accredited Open Access journals. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ list) is a good place to start. Because of high article processing charges (APC’s), it is best to make use of the open access agreements with publishers that make it easier for SU researchers to publish open access (OA), and in some cases to even publish OA without paying any article processing charge. Have a look at all the publisher agreements and the lists of journals in which you can publish at discounted rates in the Open Access Publishing library guide.

Use persistent identifiers

    Create and connect your ORCID iD to your SU identity. Connect your iD to all citation databases and other research profiles where possible. Remember to keep your record up to date with adding your employment and works (publications) especially.

Manage your author profiles in citation indexes/databases

In both these citation databases there might be more than one profile for your name. If this is the case, you may request them to merge the different profiles. In Web of Science you also need to claim your profile if you haven’t done so yet. It’s important to connect your ORCID id in both these databases.

Create and maintain online profiles

These profiles will help you to make your work more visible and accessible, which could in turn help you to get more citations.

Post about your work on social media channels

  • Facebook
  • X
  • LinkedIn

Communicate about your research (Science Communication)

  • Blog posts
  • Personal webpage / Research Lab webpage or blog
  • Publish in popular magazines related to your research (health, agriculture, etc)
  • Write for magazines such as “The Conversation”
  • News items / Media

Track your impact (bibliometrics)

Track your impact through citation databases and altmetrics. Go to your author profile or do a search for your publications and track your metrics.

The above information comes from a workshop “Maximise your research impact” which will be presented on 23 May 2024.  Make your reservation to get more in-depth information about these topics.



30 years of human rights in South Africa

An exhibition about 30 years of democracy can currently be viewed in Special Collections at the Library. UNICEF defines human rights as “standards that recognize and protect the dignity of all human beings.” In South Africa, Human Rights Day is a National Public Holiday that is historically linked to the Sharpeville massacre of 21 March 1960.

The commemoration of the day serves as a reminder of the sacrifices that people made and the gains that came with achieving democracy.  Although the country continues to be confronted with inequalities resulting from weak governance, uneven wealth distribution, unemployment, poverty, and others; the existence of human rights should inspire citizens to continually strive for the betterment of our country and its people. By enshrining human rights in the constitution, the country affirms how it values human dignity, equality, and freedom.

This year, thirty years into democracy, it is time for South Africans to remember that the democracy we are celebrating began when the country’s political landscape shifted in the 90s, resulting in the first democratic elections in 1994. Part of celebrating this milestone should be our continuous commitment to uphold, protect and advance democracy and human rights. 

Special Collections has some collections that cover themes on human rights and democracy in South Africa.  You can visit collections such as Frederik van Zyl Slabbert Collection, Edwin Cameron Collection, IDASA Collection , Noseweek, South African Elections and Vrye Weekblad.

For more information on the material in Special Collections, visit our library guide.

Author: Pakama Ncume

Library Research Week May 2024

Library Research Week is an annual event that seeks 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. The theme for LRW2024 is Let’s Achieve Research Excellence and the programme is almost ready. We will host workshops and discussions on research best practices throughout the week, including those dedicated to effectively utilising the new DMP tool.

On Tuesday, 14 May, there will be webinars on academic writing skills and proposal writing, and an introductory workshops on quantitative and qualitative research. On Wednesday, 15 May, you can attend a workshop on how to use the newly implemented FAIRwizard, an introduction to mixed-methods research, an advanced workshop on how to optimally use EndNote and how to conduct scoping reviews. On Thursday, 16 May, you will be introduced to Microsoft PowerBi and SPSS and there will also be a webinar on how to “tell a story with your data.” The programme for Friday, 17 May, which will be in-person only, will start with a panel discussion on the progress and impact of our transformational agreements with publishers. This will be followed by a presentation by Prof. Karen Esler on how green spaces influence our well-being. Those who attend the Friday programme, will be invited to enjoy lunch afterwards.

The full programme and links to register will be made available soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the announcement. We are looking forward to helping you on your journey to achieve research excellence!



LRW Banners (Document (A4))(1).png

Scholarly Communication retrospective digitisation project

Theses and dissertations are important information resources preserved in the Library and on the institutional repository, SUNScholar. To ensure access to these resources, the Library has embarked on retrospective digitisation projects, digitising Stellenbosch University theses and dissertations between 1990 and 2008.

Digitisation of retrospective theses and dissertations means that research previously available only in physical form or hard copy may now be made digitally available online as open access material and resources, enabling wide accessibility to a wealth of information that had previously only been available in limited capacity and distribution. This project also aids in promoting the scholarly output of SU students, researchers and alumni.

Please contact Scholarly Communication if you find a thesis or dissertation that is not available in digital format and they will do their best to digitise it for you.

Request your Researcher Impact Report

Did you know you could request a full researcher impact report to showcase your impact? This report was developed to summarise the impact of your work as indexed by the following databases: Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science and Dimensions. It also gives you more in-depth information about the impact of your work from the database which indexes most of your publications. This information is visualised in a two-page PowerBi report.

The full researcher impact report is delivered in the format of Microsoft PowerPoint slides. Herewith are example pages of the report for you to see what it all is about:

This is a summarised page that includes all the important metrics, such as the number of your publications per year, per database; the H-Index from different databases, the M-Index, the G-Index and other indices; the number of citations per database; your top article in Altmetric Explorer (only 2 librarians have access to retrieve this Altmetric information); the top 2 highly cited articles, and more.

The second slide will include a VosViewer network visualisation that looks at co-authorship analysis. This is retrieved from the Dimensions database and will therefore only include data that is indexed by Dimensions.

The third slide also includes a VosViewer network visualisation, this time looking at citation analysis. This visualisation is also retrieved from the Dimensions database.

The next two slides are set up in a Microsoft PowerBi report and include interactive visualisations of all the important metrics related to your research output, from a specific database such as Scopus or Web of Science, depending on where most of your articles are indexed. Here all the data associated with the specific aspect is visualised, so you can scroll down and for example not see only your top 10 co-authors as visualised in the databases, but your full list of co-authors. The data we include in these visualisations are: Co-authors, journal titles in which you publish, publication types, your contribution to the SDGs, subject areas, your publications by affiliation (world map) and a list of funders.

Guidance on the responsible use of metrics, the methodology (links to your profiles on databases, etc) and a glossary of important terms are also included.

Request your report from your Faculty Librarian or contact Marié Roux to coordinate the request.

Visit our Research Impact library guide for more information.

SUNDigital Maps as primary sources for research

Using maps as a primary source can be very helpful in research.  Different kinds of maps can be used to do research on different subject areas and topics. Your subject area and topic will determine the kind of map that will be most applicable to support your research questions.

Maps can provide insight into a specific place at a particular time, and they can also be used in comparison, to see how spaces are changing over time.  It can show interesting information about soil and geology, weather and climate, vegetation, infrastructure, political, cultural, and economic activities.  Maps are most useful as a visual tool to highlight different aspects of your research.

Researchers must also keep in mind that during the early centuries, historical maps haven’t always been accurate in their representations of spaces.  This could be due to a lack of information or other reasons. By studying the differences between maps and exploring why the discrepancies exist, we can learn about history.

The Stellenbosch University Library and Information service, Special Collections has a collection of old and rare maps focusing on Africa. You can visit the Hugh Solomon Map Collection.  Historical maps and atlases are also housed in Special Collections and interesting maps form part of some of the unique manuscript collections. The history of Stellenbosch can be discovered by using the research on early landowners in the Stellenbosch District and research on population statistics.

For more information on the usage of historical maps during your research, contact us at  Special Collections library guide.

Author: Marieta Buys


SUNScholarData earns prestigious CoreTrustSeal

A significant achievement for Stellenbosch University is that the institution has been granted the prestigious CoreTrustSeal, signaling a commitment to excellence in managing and curating research data. This certification holds immense importance in data repositories, underlining the university’s dedication to ensuring the integrity, sustainability, and accessibility of its valuable research data. Stellenbosch University launched SUNScholarData, an open-access data repository enabling SU researchers to share their datasets, and in 2023, this repository received the CoreTrustSeal certification.

The Significance of CoreTrustSeal:

The CoreTrustSeal is a globally recognised certification that signifies a data repository’s adherence to international standards and best practices in data management. Awarded by the CoreTrustSeal Board, this certification serves as a mark of trust and reliability for users, funders, and stakeholders involved in the research community. Let’s explore the fundamental elements of CoreTrustSeal and understand why it is a significant accomplishment for Stellenbosch University.

  • Compliance with International Standards: Achieving CoreTrustSeal demonstrates that Stellenbosch University’s data repository aligns with internationally accepted data management and curation standards. This includes compliance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable), ensuring that data is handled to maximise its usability and impact.
  • Data Integrity and Quality: The certification emphasises the university’s commitment to maintaining the integrity and quality of research data. By implementing robust data management practices, Stellenbosch University ensures that its data remains accurate, reliable, and free from errors, bolstering the credibility of the research produced.
  • Long-Term Accessibility and Preservation: CoreTrustSeal requires institutions to demonstrate their commitment to the long-term accessibility and preservation of research data. Stellenbosch University’s certification assures researchers and collaborators that their valuable data will be securely stored and accessible for future use, contributing to the longevity of scholarly contributions.
  • Enhanced Collaboration and Interoperability: The certification promotes interoperability by encouraging repositories to adopt standardised practices. Stellenbosch University’s CoreTrustSeal achievement facilitates seamless collaboration with other research institutions, as data can be easily shared, reused, and integrated across diverse projects, fostering a more interconnected and collaborative research environment.
  • Increased Trust and Credibility: CoreTrustSeal serves as a stamp of approval, enhancing the trustworthiness and credibility of Stellenbosch University’s data repository. Researchers, funding agencies, and the broader academic community can have confidence in the quality and reliability of the data hosted by the university, promoting transparency and accountability.

Stellenbosch University’s attainment of the CoreTrustSeal is a commendable milestone that reflects the institution’s commitment to excellence in research data management. This certification showcases the university’s dedication to international standards and positions it as a trusted and reliable hub for valuable research data. As Stellenbosch University continues to advance in the realm of research and innovation, the CoreTrustSeal serves as a beacon, guiding the way toward a future where data is not just generated but is responsibly managed, preserved, and shared for the benefit of the global research community.


« Older posts