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

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 9)

Where to find help on publishing avenues

Did you know that our faculty librarians offer assistance in choosing the best avenues for publishing your research? They can assist you with the following:

A library guide on where to publish your research

It gives you an overview of all the important aspects of publishing and finding a suitable journal to publish your research. Visit the library guide here.

Journal metrics in databases such as Scopus and Web of Science

With the use of journal metrics (see this page on library guide) you will be able to decide which journal to publish. These metrics include the Impact Factor, CiteScore, SNIP, and many more. It is also helpful to see in which percentile the journal falls, and then also analyse the subject fields and get suggestions for other journal titles in which you may publish.

Publish in accredited journals

Consult the Division for Research Development’s webpage for information on which journals are accredited by the DHET to qualify for subsidy. Librarians will also be able to assist you with whether a specific journal is accredited or not.

Guidance on how to avoid predatory publishers

Librarians are also able to assist you with determining whether a journal/publisher is predatory. This tab in the Library guide will give you some guidance on the topic, but you are also most welcome to contact your faculty librarian for assistance.

Getting to know all the Open Access avenues and discounts that exist

Your research will be widely visible and accessible if you publish with Open Access avenues. See more information here and see the library guide which describes all the discounts available by means of transformative agreements for Open Access publishing here.

A workshop on where to publish will be presented early October

The workshop, Making important decisions about publishing your research, will be presented again early October. Please make sure to book your space here!

Enquiries: Your faculty librarian or Marié Roux




What can SUNScholarData do for you?

Are you someone who has been mulling over any of the following questions:

  1. How can I go about uploading my research data to an Openly Access repository so that I can satisfy my academic publisher’s requirements?
  2. How can I provide reviewers with access to my research data as part of the peer-review process?
  3. How can I obtain a Digital Object Identifier for my research data so that I can satisfy my academic publisher’s demands?
  4. How can I ensure that my research data are openly accessible after I graduate from Stellenbosch University?
  5. How can I make previously published research data more findable?

Well, if that is the case you need to look no further than SUNScholarData, Stellenbosch University’s very own institutional research data repository. SUNScholarData is used for the long-term archival storage and publication of research data produced or collected in relation to research conducted under the auspices of Stellenbosch University. The research data published on the repository are openly accessible. The Library and Information Service library guide on SUNScholardata provides a wealth of information relating to the use of the repository.

If you are interested in finding a solution to your problem click here in order to make use of SUNScholarData. Should you require more information about SUNScholarData click here to access the SUNScholarData Library Guide or contact the Research Data Services Division at the following e-mail address:

Author: Samuel Simango

Elsevier Author Workshop 4 & 5 September


You are invited to attend the upcoming Elsevier Author Workshop to be held on the 4th of September and repeated on the 5th. The workshops will be held in the Library’s auditorium. The first session on each day will be from 11h00AM to 13h00PM, followed by a practical session at 14h00 to 16h00. The workshops will be in person only, however, we will record them and make it available upon request. Below is more information on what will be covered:

Efficiencies in the Research Process

  • Step 1: Learn how to create an effective Boolean search string that will give you more relevant search results related to your topic of interest
  • Step 2: Evaluating topics and documents. Learn how well cited a topic is, identifying trending keywords for searching optimization and increased visibility of your article, evaluating the performance of a document
  • Step 3: Creating reading lists of relevant literature, finding authors and identifying potential collaborators or mentors
  • Step 4: Creating alerts to stay updated on your topic
  • Step 5: Qualifying characteristics of trustworthy literature

Journal Selection and Author Profiles

  • Step 1: Creating a candidate Journal list
  • Step 2: Understanding Journal Metrics, Editorial Board, Publishing options (Open Access/Subscription)
  • Step 3: Evaluating aims and scope
  • Step 4: Predatory Journals
  • Step 5: Finding Authors and updating your own Author Profile

Tips for Journal Article Publication

  • Step 1: General dos and don’ts
  • Step 2: APCs, Publishing options (Open Access/Subscription)
  • Step 3: Visibility, search engine discoverable and viewership
  • Step 4: Structuring an article
  • Step 5: Peer review and becoming a peer reviewer

To register, click on the appropriate link:

We look forward to seeing you there!

SUNDigital Collections as research tool: The Maggie Laubser collection

Portrait of Maggie Laubser

An art collection of 150 artworks by the renowned South African artist Maggie Laubser (1886 – 1973) was digitised by the Stellenbosch University  Museum in 2021. These works can be seen on the SU Library’s SUNDigital Collections platform.  Click here to visit the Maggie Laubser digital artworks.

But wait, there is more information on Maggie Laubser on SUNDigital that you might not know about.  The finding aid to the Maggie Laubser document collection and other related manuscript collections are also available to support research. Use the Finding aids on SUNDigital to discover what is available. A record of the Maggie Laubser collection is also available in the library catalogue.

This collection dates from 1907 -1975 and consists of 42 pamphlet boxes containing books, magazines, correspondence, sketchbooks and loose sketches, personalia, articles, radio talks, finances, films, newspaper clippings, photos and more.

Your research on Maggie Laubser would not be complete without a visit to the Manuscript section (Special Collections ) of the Library and Information Service. You can visit or make an appointment to gain access to this wonderful wealth of information.

View a few of her artworks below:

Seemeeu (Seagull)

Die Tamatieplukkers (The tomato pickers)

Landskap met vier figure (Landscape with four figures)

Author: Marieta Buys

Flourish in your data visualisation techniques

The generous free version of Flourish, is very helpful to gain data visualisation techniques and easily create visualisations.

What it does: Flourish is part of the Canva family and was created to enable anyone to tell stories with data. Launched in 2018, the tool is used by a large community. It has flexible templates, custom themes and a very user-friendly interface. It is also not just for visualisations, but you can create anything, from quizzes to carousels. The fact that it is integrated with Canva is also an advantage in the sense that it can import your visualisations into any new creation in Canva, such as powerpoint templates or infographics.

The #SmartResearcher webinar about Tableau Public and RawGraphs on 26 September will also touch on how to create visualisations with Flourish. Please book here!

Learn more: Help and resources / Blog

SciVal training sessions

Two training sessions about the effective use of SciVal will take place on 1 August and 5 September. Stellenbosch University acquired access to SciVal in May 2023 and would like to encourage clients to use the tool to analyse their own research performance or the performance of their group, department, or faculty.

SciVal Fundamentals – 1 August 2023

The first webinar on 1 August will cover the fundamental elements of SciVal and enable users to use SciVal efficiently. Topics that will be covered include data sources, different metrics available in SciVal,  the different modules, navigation, types of entities and rankings. This webinar will be from 11:00-12:00.

Please book here


SciVal SDGs & Researcher Groups – 5 September 2023

The second webinar on 5 September will address how research toward the Sustainable Development Goals can be analysed in SciVal as well as
how to create researcher groups. This webinar will be from 11:00-12:30.

Please book here

Both webinars will be presented by Lucia Schoombee, Senior Customer Consultant Research Intelligence, Elsevier.

Hope to see you there and please let us know if you have any questions!

What is SciVal?

SciVal is Elsevier’s research performance assessment tool that allows the visualisation of research performance, benchmarking relative to peers, and identification and analysis of emerging research trends. The tool is based on Scopus bibliometric information as well as various other data sources such as awarded grants, patent-cited papers, and news media. The research performance of over 22,000 research institutions from more than 230 nations worldwide can be analysed.

The three modules to which Stellenbosch University has access are the Overview, Benchmarking and Collaboration modules. In the “Overview” module you can view the research performance of researchers, institutions, countries, etc. In the “Benchmarking” module you will be able to compare and benchmark the research performance of any data available in SciVal and in the “Collaboration” module you can explore the collaboration of institutions, countries and researchers.

Enquiries: Marié Roux

Save the date: Elsevier Author Workshop

You are invited to attend the upcoming Elsevier Author Workshop to be held on the 4th of September and repeated on the 5th. The workshops will be held in the Library’s auditorium and eClassroom and they will be in-person only. However, we will record the workshop for those who are unable to attend. Keep an eye out for the announcement with a link to register for the workshops.

Click on the image to view the full-size version.



New books in the Research Commons

Are you struggling to find recent sources for your research methodology? Our new books can be the answer to your challenges. Whether you plan on doing a qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods approach, the library has you covered. We recently acquired a couple of new books that can aid you in your research approach and most of them are focused on qualitative research, but also quantitative research. We also acquired some books on how research should be evaluated and also on best practices to ensure research integrity.

The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research Design (2022) by Uwe Flick contains contributions from over 90 top scholars from a range of social science disciplines. This book encompasses a complete exploration of how and why qualitative research designs are shaped and how, why, and into what they are evolving. This is a valuable resource for Master’s and PhD level students, faculty members, and researchers across a wide range of disciplines such as health, nursing, psychology, social work, sociology, and education.

Beginning Quantitative Research (2021) by Malcolm Williams, Richard Wiggins and Paul R. Vogt provides a clear and digestible introduction to completing quantitative research that takes you through the process of completing your quantitative research project, it offers guidance on formulating your research question, completing literature reviews and meta-analysis, formulating a research design and specifying your target population and data source and choosing an appropriate method and analysing your findings.

Research Integrity: Best Practices for the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2022) by Lee J. Jussim offers a behavioural science perspective on how scientific practice becomes compromised. It further provides recommendations to improve research integrity in practice and it presents an organising framework to investigate how scientists’ behaviours can impact the reliability and validity of scientific research.

Evaluating Research: Methodology for People who Need to Read Research (2023) by Francis C. Dane and Elliot Carhart provides students with the skills to read and evaluate research studies. It is aimed at courses where it is more important for students to develop an understanding of methods, rather than conduct their own research, this book covers all aspects of reading social, behavioral, and health science research from the basics, such as the structure of reports and accessing research, as well as overviews of the main types of research methods.

The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (2020) by Patricia Leavy presents a comprehensive retrospective and prospective review of the field of qualitative research. Original, accessible chapters written by interdisciplinary leaders in the field make this a critical reference work. Filled with robust examples from real-world research; ample discussion of the historical, theoretical, and methodological foundations of the field; and coverage of key issues including data collection, interpretation, representation, assessment, and teaching, this book aims to be a valuable text for students, professors, and researchers.

Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches (2023) by John W. Creswell and J. David Creswell is the 6th edition of this bestselling book. It provides clear and concise instructions for designing research projects or developing research proposals. This user-friendly text walks readers through research methods, from reviewing the literature to writing a research question and stating a hypothesis to designing the study. At each step in the process, authors John W. Creswell and J. David Creswell address qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to encourage readers to choose the approach that best fits the research question. This edition has been fully revised to reflect the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association with more inclusive language, updated citation styles, and updated writing suggestions. Updates reflect the latest developments in mixed methods and new research examples throughout help capture and demonstrate new trends in research.

Statistics with R: A Beginner’s Guide (2023) by Robert N. Stinerock offers a clear step-by-step approach explained using real-world examples, learn the practical skills you need to use statistical methods in your research from an expert with over 30 years of teaching experience. With a wealth of hands-on exercises and online resources created by the author, practice your skills using the data sets and R scripts from the book with detailed screencasts that accompany each script.

This book is ideal for anyone looking to:

• Complete an introductory course in statistics
• Prepare for more advanced statistical courses
• Gain the transferable analytical skills needed to interpret research from across the social sciences
• Learn the technical skills needed to present data visually
• Acquire a basic competence in the use of R and RStudio

All of these books are available in the library’s Research Commons. Come speak with one of its friendly staff members about finding the books you are interested in and they may even assist you with finding additional handbooks that can aid you in your research journey!

#SmartResearcher webinars in August

The second semester is starting off with a fully loaded #SmartResearcher programme this August! The webinars will cover various topics related to the initial stages of the research process and more. We record all of our webinars and will make them available afterwards.

Kindly note that all the sessions will only be presented in online webinar format. We look forward to seeing you there!

These workshops are aimed at postgraduate students, emerging researchers and academic staff and the focus will be on the research process. The sessions vary in length depending on the subject matter, but cover a wide range of subjects related to the postgraduate research journey.

How to conduct a literature review

In this webinar, participants will learn what a literature review is and the different types of literature reviews. They will learn best practices for conducting a literature review by working with their topic, structuring the literature review and how to critically analyse literature.

Date: 1 August 2023 @ 11h00 – 13h00

Please book here

Systematic Reviews

Thinking about doing a systematic review? Having its origins in health sciences, a systematic review can be a daunting challenge. Let us help you demystify it and get started with a high-level introduction to the systematic review process.

Date: 2 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Tools and applications for research

This workshop will offer a look at some of the top tools and applications for students, academic staff, and researchers. It will cover a variety of mobile apps for research, productivity, reading, writing, presenting, note-taking, file sharing and other essential tools for studying and publishing on the go.

Date: 3 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Tips on how to format your thesis (MS Word)

This workshop will help you work around some of the common formatting glitches most postgraduate students experience, whilst getting their document ready for submission.

Date: 8 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Mendeley for reference management

Managing your references can be a daunting task. This workshop will introduce you to Mendeley, a free tool focusing mainly on reference management. Mendeley offers various services, including reference management, organising and annotation of PDF documents and collaboration.

Date: 10 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Data Management Planning

This session introduces researchers to Data Management Planning. It is comprised of a presentation and practical demonstration. The presentation covers the following areas: the fundamental aspects of Data Management Planning, the structure of Data Management Plans, the regulation of Data Management Plans at Stellenbosch University as well as the resources that researchers can use in relation Data Management Planning. The presentation is followed by a practical demonstration on how researchers use Data Management Planning software to create Data Management Plans.

Date: 15 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

Copyright issues in theses and dissertation writing

This presentation provides an overview of the copyright issues which students typically encounter while working on their theses or dissertations.

Date: 16 August 2023 @ 12h30 – 13h30

Please book here

Introduction to Special Collections: Dealing with primary collections

This workshop focuses on Special Collection material in the library. The session will guide the participant to understand and explore the secondary and primary resources accessible to researchers. The aim is to encourage staff, students, and researchers to optimise the use of primary collections and data for research projects.

Date: 17 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

RDM tools, resources and training

The workshop will introduce participants to various available RDM tools, resources, and training. This will include introducing them to Information resources and technological solutions relating to data collection, sensitive data management, data storage, data sharing, data publication, game-based learning as well as researcher support.

Date: 22 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 15h00

Please book here

Finding Government Statistics

This workshop focuses on the database Statistics SA which is available by means of the Library website. The session includes a demonstration on how to access publications on the database, do cross-tabulation and access time series data with variables over time.

Date: 23 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Overview of software for effective data analysis and data visualisation

An overview of tools and free software for data analysis and data visualisation will be presented. These tools are useful for statistical analysis, visualisation, mapping, data cleaning and the digital humanities.

Date: 24 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Principles of Data Visualisation

This workshop will cover the key principles to keep in mind when you are planning your visualisations, from choosing the best visualisation type for your data to the effective use of colour, narrative, etc.

Date: 29 August 2023 @ 14h00 -15h30

Please book here

An Overview of Research Data Repositories

Many funders mandate that data collected in the process of conducting research funded by them is deposited in reputable repositories, this workshop will provide an overview of research data repositories and demonstrate the manner in which the SU’s Institutional Research Data Repository functions.

Date: 30 August 2023 @ 14h00 – 16h00

Please book here

Discover the treasures of our library guides

Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service’s faculty librarians create subject guides for each department (linked from the library website as Library Guides) as a self-help access point for library resources.

The library offers a diversity of guides: subject-focused guides, services in the library such as the Makerspace and specific skills needed such as referencing and research data support. The subject-focused guides are created by the faculty librarians who can assist you with all the steps of the research process. These guides also form a point of contact, where you can find your specific faculty librarian’s email address, and telephone number. You can also make an online appointment while visiting the guide.

Features of Library guides:

  • Identify appropriate databases for specific departments to support assignments as well as literature and systematic reviews.
  • Allow students to focus on relevant information and eliminates the less relevant.
  • Provide tips on finding, using and organizing information in a scholarly way.
  • Allow for 24/7 library and information support.
  • It is updated continuously.
  • Library Guides are integrated with information and other literacy classes.
  • Communication technology is integrated into library guides so that it is easy for students and researchers to get support as often and conveniently as needed.

The usage statistics of the Library Guides show they are seen as an asset by our clients, as illustrated by the following sample of statistics as on 24 April 2023 (number of views from January 2023). We have a total of 117 guides, with 170 714 views during the first 4 months of 2023. See a breakdown below of the Top 10 guides according to the number of views.

Enquiries: Contact your faculty librarian.

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