The Graduate Research and Innovation Center: Enhancing the research experience at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
Ayala-González, Hilda Teresa
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Academic libraries worldwide are transforming and redefining their collections, services, and spaces to meet the demands of the research community they serve. The research lifecycle has been reshaped by the ever-evolving and changing methods of scientific innovation, discovery, data collection and management, dissemination and sharing. During the past decade, the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPRM) carried out several assessments strategies to identify the research services and infrastructure needs of researchers, both graduate students and faculty. Result findings from surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews revealed the need of assistance with technical writing, communication skills, search strategies, and ethical use of information. Those researchers expected new services around data management, authorship, copyright, and organizing, sharing, and preserving information in the digital environment. In terms of infrastructure, they identified the lack of collaborative spaces where teaching and research services coincide. To address those needs and enhance the research experience of graduate students and faculty, an avant-garde space was designed and establish at UPRM’s General Library. The project was fully-funded by the Transformational Initiative for Graduate Education and Research (TIGER), sponsored by the US Department of Education, Title V, Part B, Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) Program. The Graduate Research and Innovation Center (GRIC), inaugurated in September 2016, is changing the way that the library intervenes in the UPRM research ecosystem. Since its conception, the GRIC was envisioned not only as an inviting place where researchers, students and faculty from diverse backgrounds and interests could come together to develop innovative projects, but also as an enriching space with tailored services in academic writing, scholarly communications, research methodology, digital scholarship and data management, among others. Supported by cutting edge technology, access to JSTOR online and intensive collaborative work with other university partners and research efforts we have been able to exceed our expectations in the first six months and we are ready to go for more. While sharing with others what we have learned from our experience we could exchange effective ideas from colleagues working in similar projects or initiatives. Besides, we would like to serve as a model of perseveration and opportunity for libraries in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Region. This poster presents results from the environmental scanning, best practices in seeking external funds for collections, services, and spaces renovation, and overall GRIC accomplishments.