Academic and Research libraries in Ukraine: main tasks and best practices 

Starting from March 2022, TIB’s Open Science Lab has been hosting three scholars from Ukraine, whose research were disturbed by the war: Maryna Nazarovets PhD in Social Communications (Library Science), Sabina Auhunas PhD in Pharmacy and Nataliia Kaliuzhna a second year PhD student at Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts. In the first week of July, an introductory webinar, dedicated to Research and Academic libraries of Ukraine was conducted. Accordingly, this blog post is meant to serve as a brief report of the webinar. As the focus of the event was on the academic and research libraries, whose fundamental role is to support academic inquiry and discovery, it is both logical and beneficial to start with a description of the national science environment.

Research Landscape in Ukraine

There are currently over five hundred legal entities with registered scientific activities in Ukraine. The most numerous are the higher education institutions, in particular 281 universities, the vast majority of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. Another division of the scientific domain is represented by the National Academy of Science which consists of 160 research institutions. Besides, there are five narrowly specialized Academies:

  • National Academy of Agricultural Science
  • National Academy of Legal Science
  • National Academy of Arts
  • National Academy of Medical Sciences
  • National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences.

In 2020 78,860 individuals were involved in research activity, including 51,427 researchers, 7,117 technicians and  20,316  supporting staff.

Ukraine employs different research funding instruments and modalities. The most important are the ones provided by the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Research Foundation of Ukraine (established in 2018). The Ministry of Education and Science gives direct financial allocations to public universities and public research institutions. The amount of allocated funding depends on several parameters, namely number of students admitted to a university with correlation of the study costs, applicants’ results of External Independent Evaluation, quality indicators of educational and research activities of an institution. The NRF supports basic research, as well as applied scientific research and developments. It is important that these grants can be used not only to  carry out scientific research but also to develop material and technical bases, create research infrastructure, and support key public laboratories. In 2021, the NRF funded 216 scientific research projects totaling UAH 271.7 million (≈ EUR 8.7 millions).

In light of ever growing need to support digitized scientific communication on all stages academic libraries offer comprehensive support services. A bright illustration of this is a case  of Maksymovych Scientific Library, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and the introduction of the Information Monitoring Service (IMS), which was established in 2015. The purpose of creating this service was to monitor the effectiveness of the presentation of the scientific achievements of employees of the largest university in Ukraine in the global information space. As well as comprehensive informational support in using digital tools for scientific communication (full-text and abstract databases, author identifiers, etc.) by researchers representing the university. At that time, it was a new service that had just begun to appear in the libraries of higher education institutions in Ukraine. Today, such services are available in almost every academic library.

Conventionally, IMS tasks can now be divided into two main ways of activities and three main groups. First, employees of the service monitor information, analyze it, and transfer this data to the university administration so that it is aware of the university’s position in the global information and scientific space. These data are part of the official reports on the scientific and publishing activity of the university. And the second way – is informational work with researchers and editors of scientific journals of the university (events, seminars, workshops for large non-specialized and small specialized groups, individual consultations, video recordings of webinars, step-by-step guides in Ukrainian etc.). And three main groups of activities: tasks related to the positions of the university in the world rankings of higher education institutions, work with researchers, and representatives of the editorial offices of university journals.

Besides, Ukrainian libraries actively build new services that strengthen the national open research infrastructure. Among such services are Ukrainian Open Citation Index and Ukrainian Current Research Information System “URIS”. Both systems are developed by the State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine.

Open Ukrainian Citation Index (OUCI) – is a search engine and a citation database which comprises citations from all publishers that use Crossref Cited-by service. The main purpose behind its development was the desire to simplify the search of scientific publications and increase visibility of Ukrainian research papers,  in particular in the field of social sciences and humanities. OUCI offers a wide range of filters for refining search results, including peculiar ones, like journal category (A or B according to the National list of scientific journals) or field classification in accordance with Ukrainian regulations.  Apart from that, OUCI displays profiles for Ukrainian journals and offers some quantitative characteristics, like number of publications, number of citations, h-index etc. OUCI is open and free, it does not require any registrations or permissions to use.

Ukrainian Current Research Information System (URIS) – is a web-based service that collects, manages, stores and analyzes information about research being carried out by Ukrainian universities and R&D organizations. System consists of five central databases, which store information on researchers, research performing organizations, research outputs, scientific equipment and projects. The ultimate goal of the URIS is to enhance the location of information and experts on research and boost visibility of national research. Furthermore, it is planned that URIS will become a booking gate for technological services and research infrastructures, as well as will allow access to the number of governmental services in the future. As of time of writing this blog post the system is not publicly available and is expected to go operational in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Home page of URIS
Home page of URIS

Also, State Scientific and Technical library of Ukraine is actively working on the National ORCID Consortia formation.

PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Head of the Department of Scientific Research and Digitization of the State Scientific and Technical Library of Ukraine. Responsible executor of the national project on creation of software modules of the Ukrainian Research Information System (URIS).
Currently she is a visiting scholar at TIB Open Science Lab.