Research support services in UK universities
The search for improvements in research performance is a powerful influence on all universities. Success in research is a major component in the various indicators of overall university performance. Hence universities are increasingly interested in how they can improve their competitive position in attracting, supporting and promoting the work of high-quality researchers. In times of financial stringency, however, they are also seeking to ensure that support and other services operate both efficiently and cost-effectively. In that context, this study reports on both the provision and the use of information-related support services for researchers in four research-intensive universities in the UK: Leicester, University College London (UCL), Warwick and York. It is one half of a pair of studies commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN) in the UK and by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in the US.1 Both studies set out to investigate what kinds of information-related services are available to support researchers through the research lifecycle, and how those services are used and valued by researchers. Both studies are limited in scope, and are subject to the limitations of small-scale case studies. Nevertheless, we hope that they offer some insights into the nature of the services provided to support researchers in their work, and the extent to which they meet researchers expressed needs.