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Scholarly communication is an increasingly dynamic area and the support researchers require is becoming more complex. The changing policy landscape means there are more requirments than ever before for researchers to adhere to. Librarians are in a perfect position to offer help and support but they are not always confident enough in their knowledge of the research process to offer advice.

The Research Support Ambassador programme aims to address this problem by upskilling library staff in the areas which comprise the scholarly communication process. Originally designed as an internal programme for Cambridge library staff it is now open to anyone asn an openly licenced, interactive online resource.

The programme

The programme is designed to be flexible to suit a variety of learner needs. It is comprised of six main units which follow the different stages of a research project:

  • Introduction to scholarly communication

  • Managing data

  • Open Access

  • Publish or perish?

  • Copywrong to copyright

  • Measuring the impact of research

The programme is completely online, allowing learners to choose their own pace and build their learning around their own schedule. Each unit works as a stand-alone introduction to a topic with its own learning outcomes or learners can complete all six to get a complete overview of the landscape. There is no time limit and learners can dip into the resources to refresh their knowledge as needed. Each unit is made up of text and video content as well as links to further information and activities which learners can use to enhance their knwoledge of the content and its application to their own local context.

All units of the programme can be found on the programme homepage.


Previous learners have benefited from an increased knowledge of the world of scholarly communication and the changing research landscape. This helps them to carry out a range of roles with confidence and helps to futureproof them for a career in the 21st century academic library.

What have past Ambassadors said?

I feel much more confident now that I have a good overview of all the issues confronting researchers

Excellent programme – the ability to attend webinars from my desk was so useful in a small library!

The content was really interesting and I can see now how scholarly communication relates to my own role in a college library

I feel much more confident in dealing with researcher questions now

Want to know more?

An article about the programme: Developing the 21st Century Academic Librarian: The Research Support Ambassador Programme was published in 2017 and outlines the changes that have taken place since the programme was launched in 2015.  Many of these changes have been in response to feedback from programme participants as we work towards making the programme as useful for Cambridge Library staff as possible. If you don’t have time to read the whole article then you can read the rather fantastic cartoon abstract published to accompany the article instead!


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