Research

Unisa professional staff making their research visible

Dr Lesiba Ledwaba (Deputy Director: Library Technology Services, Unisa)

Making your research visible by publishing in accredited journals is a significant milestone in scholarship. Why? Because new knowledge is disseminated to other scholars globally, which, in turn, contributes to the advancement of scientific information and application.

Dr Lesiba Ledwaba, Deputy Director for Library Technology Services at the Department Library and Information Services at Unisa started the year on a good publishing note post the 2019 Professional Research Committee’s (PRC) writers’ retreat.

As a Professional Research Group (PRG) member, he was afforded an opportunity to participate in a five-day writer’s retreat, writing for an accredited journal. “The 2019 PRC’s writer’s retreat was a turning point in my career,” he remarked. Ledwaba said the workshops presented article-writing and publishing in a more direct and simplified manner. He reflected on how the well thought-through sessions contradicted his perceived idea of publishing as a huge daunting task. Since attending the PRC’s writers retreat, Ledwaba has never had a paper submission rejected.

In the business of information dissemination

Ledwaba joined Unisa’s Department of Library and Information Services in 2016 while pursuing his PhD studies through the Department of Information Science. On completion of his PhD in 2018, he was given an opportunity to assist with honours projects at the department and to date he is still involved.

Furthermore, he serves as an assessor for master’s dissertations outside Unisa, coupled with the publication of articles. He also serves as a reviewer for other accredited journals: “My career was shaped to the better after completion of my PhD,” he said.

Ledwaba’s research focus is on the application of information and communication technologies in libraries. The current research activities he is working on include how the Library can advance open distance e-learning (ODeL) imperatives through fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies and through shaping the future academic library post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unisa, shaping futures of professional staff

PRC has been providing development programmes for publications to its researchers, encouraging research visibility in mainstream media and accredited journals, through a two-day Art of Research workshop by Jive Media Africa and writing skills training by The Conversation Africa and PRC’s publication workshop.

“To be a professional/specialist staff member at Unisa is so advantageous in the sense that, while developing in your specialised area, you are fully supported not only financially but also to develop your research career further as well as professionally,” said Ledwaba.

This culminates into contributing the knowledge he has produced in accredited publications and at conferences. He said this is done systematically through PRG initiatives and “it is a rare career-shaping/developing opportunity that one should not miss.”

Through PRC, Ledwaba has been able to write articles for accredited publications. His engagement with PRC motivated him to continuously keep the publishing momentum.

“Being a PRG member means you are able to access workshops that prepare your article writing skills and hand-holding you until you are on your feet. As a member, you are exposed to a wealth of guidance from experienced academics organised by PRC,” said Ledwaba.

“To PRG members, with PRC you are not alone. You will be assisted throughout as PRC is your support structure as professional/specialist staff,” he affirmed.

Ledwaba has published five articles this year, three of which have been published through the support services of PRC.

PRC’s publication development programme

PRC will be introducing a new online publication development programme from 25 to 27 November 2020. The three-day publication workshop will be facilitated by two Unisa publication experts, professors Puleng Segalo and Lesiba Teffo. The facilitators will guide researchers with the finalisation of draft articles for publication in accredited journals.

In February 2021, a follow-up workshop will be held to assist researchers with their progress, and thereafter monthly additional support will be provided to those who will need to finalise their outstanding journal publications.

For more information on PRC’s support services, please contact: Ms Amisha Benode, PRC’s Programme and Projects Officer on email benoda@unisa.ac.za, PARC@unisa.ac.za

*By Mpho Moloele, PR and Communications Assistant, Department of Research, Innovation, and Commercialisation

Publish date: 2020/11/25