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Set for spring: Research area to open at 18th Avenue Library

Construction workers continue to make progress on the new Research Commons on the third floor of the 18th Ave. Library on Sept. 8. Credit: Courtesy of Pamela McClung

Construction workers continue to make progress on the new Research Commons on the third floor of the 18th Ave. Library on Sept. 8. Credit: Courtesy of Pamela McClung

The Research Commons Workshop Series, which is provided through the University Libraries, will now have a centralized location called the Research Commons on the third floor of the 18th Avenue Library.

Construction began Aug. 10, and the third floor will be closed for the entirety of the fall semester.

“One of the things that we are trying to do with the space is make it a focal point of research support on campus,” said Joshua Sadvari, Research Commons program manager and geographic information systems specialist. We will bring our partners in to hold consultation hours so if researchers have questions, they can see the Research Commons as sort of a first line of support.”

Sadvari said the Research Commons will be a “hub for collaborative and interdisciplinary research on campus,” as well as a research-intensive space for researchers to network with each other and to participate in the research lifecycle: planning, conducting and publishing research, as well as increasing the impact of research.

“We want to make this a place where people can get their questions answered,” Sadvari said. “It is going to be a place where researchers can come to get work done but also to see this as a point of connection.”

At a large university like Ohio State, the research operations and resources can be spread across campus. The creation of the research center shows that the libraries are attempting to pull all of these resources together, said Larry Allen, the communications and marketing manager of University Libraries.

“This is something that (University Libraries) have talked about and looked at for a while,” Allen said. “Josh’s unit will essentially provide a starting point and a way to take advantage of all the different resources here on campus that are related to research.”

The hub will be similar to a library, but will provide more available activities that will make it more than just another open study area. It will allow researchers to attend workshops, present research in the showcasing area, conduct research in private study rooms, study in the small computer lab and use “software that might not be as readily accessible on other areas of campus,” Sadvari said.

Concept art for the Research Commons. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Sadvari, Larry Allen, and BHDP Architecture

Concept art for the Research Commons. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Sadvari, Larry Allen, and BHDP Architecture

The Research Commons Workshop Series began last fall. Sadvari said it has had a lot of success with its target audience: graduate students.

“For the fall and spring, we had about 440 attendees come from over 120 different departments — about a third of them were graduate students,” he said.

However, Sadvari and Allen said they want it to be known that the space is not simply for graduate students but for all researchers — graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral students, faculty and staff — to conduct research and network.

“Everything in life is about connections and knowing others,” said Andrew Smith, a fourth-year in biology. “So if by chance you are able to do research in a certain field that somebody else has experience in, and you are able to connect with them in the research facility on the third floor, then I think that it would be a great opportunity to not only learn from somebody, but to also get your foot in the door.”

Sean Sun, a graduate student in computer science, said he thinks that Research Commons can help graduate students.

“Grad students want to go beyond their basic studies to understand their area,” Sun said. “It would be very beneficial to connect with other researchers and experts.”

Coco Headley, a graduate student in biomedical science, said the research area has the possibility to be useful.

“I think there is potential for it to be helpful,” Headley said. “As a graduate student, sometimes you run into roadblocks that your mentor may not be able to fully explain, and sometimes you just need a different opinion or perspective.”

While the floor will remain closed because of the construction through December, Sadvari said there was a conservative effort to get the loud methods of construction out of the way so that students could still use the first, second, and fourth floors of the library in peace.

“We started construction in early August and really tried to get a lot of the noisy stuff done before the semester started,” Allen said.

With most of the “disruptive construction” completed, students can continue to use the 18th Avenue Library or other campus libraries as alternative study locations. The Biological Sciences/Pharmacy Library has extended its hours, and will close at 11 p.m. instead of the previous 8 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays.

Construction is expected to be completed in December, and the Research Commons is scheduled to open at the beginning of the spring semester in January.

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