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Biological Sciences at Cambridge: Research Support

Supporting your research

Research at the University of Cambridge is varied and often very complex. As a result, there are lots of ways in which we can support and help you in your research work while at Cambridge. To help theme some of the things that you might need to talk to the Biological Sciences Libraries Team about, we've grouped our support into key stages of a typical research lifecycle. We work closely with other departments around the University to deliver this support so if in doubt, get in touch with your questions and we can match you up with the best people to answer them.

We also have many training opportunities for you to explore, so check out the dedicated Training Opportunities tab on this guide, or visit the University Training Booking System for options from across Cambridge.

Concept and Planning

The Literature Review

Searching for literature in any field can be time-consuming and often quite confusing. You can get guidance from any of the School of Biological Sciences librarians but if you're not sure who to ask, email us and we will be able to set up a time to go through your needs.

Managing your references

Managing what you read is an integral part of being an effective researcher. Librarians are very skilled in helping you work through what reference manager to use and how to use it, as well as how to cite according to different styles. So set up a time to speak with a member of the Biological Sciences Libraries Team and we can walk you through getting the best solutions for you and your work.

Outputs and Publications

What is Open Access?

Open Access is the process by which research is made freely available for anyone with an internet connection to access, as opposed to locking it away behind subscription paywalls. Many research outputs can be made Open Access, from journal articles and book chapters to datasets and software.

Not sure where to publish?

While we can't tell you where to publish in the context of which is the 'best' journal for your subject area, we can help you with deciding on where to publish through engaging with different criteria, such as who your funder is and what are the best Open Access options for you.

Symplectic Elements

Symplectic Elements is a key University system that helps you record and share your research outputs. A lot of the reporting carried out by your department and the wider University relies on your information being up-to-date and accurate. However, Symplectic Elements can be a bit confusing to use for the first time so get in touch and a member of the Biological Sciences Libraries Team will be able to work with you to get all your information sorted out.

Exploring and Organising

Data Management Plan

Having a good data management plan (DMP) in place before you start any research project is critical in getting prepared to do good research. The Biological Sciences Libraries Team can work with you to build your plan as well as connecting you up with additional resources.

Ethics and compliance

Ethics and compliance can sound like two intimidating words but they are also very important ones to understand in relation to how you do your research. The Biological Sciences Libraries Team can help you with the initial planning stages. However, the University's Research Operations Office has lots of guidance, expertise and training on these topics to help.

Impact and Engagement

Managing Your Online Presence

Whether you need to set up an ORCID, make sure that people find your work when they Google you, or you're trying to navigate social media options, the Biological Sciences Libraries Team can help. With many years of online experience between us, we've got a wide range of options and expertise to share with you as you build your online presence around your work as a researcher.

Talking about your work

The Biological Sciences Libraries Team can help you with presentation skills, designing excellent and accessible slides, creating video content, as well as how to make a great conference poster. We also have expertise in science communication if you want to do some public engagement activities too!

Collection and Analysis

Reusing and sharing

Reusing and collaborating on other people's research is a key part of building on work done and discovering new things. It has become more common within research for people to share their writing, datasets, software, code, and almost anything else.

Creative Commons is the most prevalent copyright sharing licensing system currently in use, with many funders requiring research articles to be published using a Creative Commons license often referred to as CC BY. We can help you work our what Creative Commons means, what might be the best license for you, as well as anything else to do with copyright and your research.


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