All Jersey-related research brought online into one place.
Local grant-making charity, Jersey Community Foundation is funding a pioneering and innovative digital project in Jersey. It will bring all research related to Jersey online into one ‘open access’ website called the ‘Jersey Research Repository’.
The Jersey Research Repository has the power to transform the manner and ease in which we access Jersey-specific research, as well identify gaps in our knowledge and accelerate our wider understanding and awareness of the small, emerging and big issues that we, as an island, face – from global warming and biodiversity decline through to poverty and inequality.
At its most straightforward, research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources to establish facts and reach new conclusions. Research tells us something about the world that we live in – technologically, culturally, economically, scientifically and socially – that we did not know before (or, that we knew but needed evidence of!). At the very least, it can enhance our intuition; and at its most powerful, it can consolidate and rearrange societal power structures.
But what about original research that is specific to Jersey? At times, it can feel near impossible to find research and data relating to our Island.
There are huge gaps in our research, data and knowledge about Jersey. We simply do not have the dedicated funding or resources that exist in places like the European Union, United Kingdom and United States of America. However, there is a significant expanse of Jersey-related research that does exist, and it is often a case of knowing where to find it and who to ask for it. Perhaps surprisingly, much still exists offline in journals still to be digitised, in formats that are often inaccessible to layperson.
This is where the new ‘Jersey Research Repository’ will step in, scheduled to launch later this year.
The Jersey Research Repository will be an easy-to-navigate website that aims to make research easier to access to increase local knowledge and understanding. As an ‘open access’ website, anyone will be able to use the site for free.
The digital project is being run by JICAS (Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies) with the following aims:
- To explore existing research and scholarly activity;
- To identify gaps in our current knowledge relating to Jersey;
- To encourage the identification and planning of potential future research projects;
- To develop, drive and evaluate innovative and holistic approaches to how we tackle Island-wide problems and inequalities; and,
- To encourage collaborative working between local charities and organisations, and pair people and organisations up with others who can share good practice in research, data collection and presentation techniques.
‘Research repository’ websites that consolidate research and data exist at many universities for students to access as part of their studies. However, there is no website like the one being developed in Jersey that exists for islands, towns, cities or entire jurisdictions. In this sense, it will be the first of its kind and has the capacity to lead the way for other towns and island nations.
The ‘brainchild’ of the Research Repository was the Steering Committee of the Charity Research Group: Dr Patricia Tumelty, Executive Director of Mind Jersey; Rosemarie Finley, CEO of Family Nursing and Home Care; Paul Watson, Operations Manager at Les Amis; and Dr Moyra Journeaux, Postgraduate Programme Manager at Health and Community Services’ Higher Education Department at the Government of Jersey.
Set up in 2022, the Charity Research Group’s aim is to drive Jersey to become more holistic and collaborative in its approach to research. The original project idea was developed out of a shared aspiration by this group to develop more creative partnerships around Island research, especially those connected to health inequalities and care services as we emerged from the pandemic.
Since then, the idea for the Jersey Research Repository has grown to include any and all research relating to Jersey to inform, drive and direct awareness, intelligence and change where it is most needed. The application for funding to Jersey Community Foundation was put together jointly by the Steering Committee of the Charity Research Group and successfully approved.
Dr Patricia Tumelty says, “One of our key motivations for founding and developing the Jersey Research Repository is to encourage and nurture collaborative working between organisations. Sharing and developing knowledge between local and international charities and organisations leads to greater innovation, more progressive services, more efficient processes and improved communication. Crucially, this way of working can speed up positive and impactful change needed in Jersey.”
Lauren Rose, a JICAS Alumna (Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies), has been recruited to manage the planning, build and development of the Jersey Research Repository. She is working with the Charity Research Steering Group, Jersey Community Foundation, Mind Jersey, Les Amis, Family Nursing and Home Care, Health and Community Services and the Institute of Law Jersey – as well as other stakeholders and suppliers, to categorise and manually upload research and build the infrastructure of the website. While the exact structure and design is still being agreed, the key aim for the user experience is for the website to be straightforward and simple, and allow users to search for research by topic, organisation and date.
Any research is welcomed for publishing on the Research Repository website carried out by businesses, charities, government and other organisations, and even citizen research. Any research supplied to the website will be standardised in its format so that it is easier for the user to digest, and research offered by citizens will be checked to ensure it is reliable and accurate.
In addition to offering a central online hub for research and data, one of the other key aims of the website is to encourage the undertaking of more Jersey-specific research. But how do we encourage and incentivise people and organisations to carry out meaningful and accurate research that feeds our knowledge and understanding of the Island we live in and the Islanders we live among?
Lauren believes that citizen science could be crucial in building our knowledge and understanding, saying that, “it’s about converting people’s enthusiasm, about, for example, bird watching, into something that’s useable.” It is about encouraging members of the public to carry out research into topics they are passionate about, and sharing best practice with them on how to collect and present accurate and reliable data that is meaningful for public consumption on this website.
Lauren suggests the Jersey Research Repository website could also support a platform for events that, “showcase the depth and breadth of research and data available, the gaps in our knowledge, and encourage others to carry out and submit their research.” This would be with the ultimate intention of engaging with businesses and charities to help carry out research that can help us solve the problems we face in Jersey. Without solid research and data, it is a challenge to advance policy that can support and drive meaningful change and advancement in our Island.
Events and encouraging citizen science are just part of a wider plan to engage with individuals and organisations and encourage more data about Jersey. There will also be a significant advertising drive to raise awareness of and visitors to the Research Repository, as well as how users and organisations can carry out and submit their research. The organisations backing the project will also engage with local and international stakeholders who have the resources and funding to carry out new local research.
The project has been awarded £80,000 of funding for 3 years, with £15,000 awarded towards year 1 by Jersey Community Foundation. Anna Terry, CEO of Jersey Community Foundation (JCF) says, “When discussing our own Local Needs Assessment Research with a number of community stakeholders, there was consistent feedback that it was very hard to find out what research had been done locally and that there were difficulties in accessing historic research. As a result, it has been hard to identify where the research gaps are.
“As discussions within the Charity Research Group developed, the need for a 'Central Research Repository' was identified as the most pressing current need. The Charity Research Group jointly wrote and submitted their project application for the Jersey Research Repository, which is a great example of charities collaborating and working together on a project that will benefit the whole community.”
“Data is critical in order to understand where we allocate money to make real and meaningful positive changes for those who need it most in our community. Any drive to further increase our knowledge and understanding is critical to the future wellbeing of Islanders. As such, we are very pleased to support the Jersey Research Repository project”
This website provides a platform for members of the public and organisations alike to increase their knowledge about the Island and go on to influence meaningful change. With ongoing funding, the ’Research Repository’ website has the potential and capacity to continue to showcase new research and data in an accessible format and central location for years to come. This innovative website has the power to completely reshape the way we access information about Jersey and drive meaningful change; and provides a platform for other islands around the world to pursue, present and access research, data and information about their territories too.
If you would like to find out more about the Research Repository, please contact Lauren Rose at Lauren.Rose@jicas.ac.je.
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