Spotlight on a Researcher: Nancy Pontika

Nancy is the Library’s resident expert on all things Open Access, as part of the Library Liaison team she has been previously interviewed about her role which involves being the Information Consultant for Physics, Research and Open Access. Read the Nancy’s previous interviewpontikaBW

Here, I’ve asked her a few quick questions about her PhD in Library and Information Science with a speciality on Information Science.

What was the hardest thing you found about studying?

I had my PhD at Simmons College, Boston, USA. The PhDs there are four years and at the end of your third year our program had comprehensive exams. That period it was the hardest and most boring. I had to read about 200 books and 1,000 articles in 3 months. It was impossible of course, so I was just scanning the text and I was keeping track of names and dates, most important ideas, influences, etc. I find memorising difficult; it is not one of my virtues. I also find studying boring in extremely quiet places. During my PhD I read many many many articles and books in a “quiet” pub. I could not concentrate otherwise- I needed this small level of noise. So, for example, here at Royal Holloway you would never see me at the “silent area” of the Bedford Library, I would probably be somewhere on the entry level floor, by the cafe.

What advice do you wish you’d known when you were studying for your PhD?

You need to chase people a lot. You need to chase your research participants for the interviews, your supervisors to read your versions and provide feedback, the institutional review board to approve your research. And the only way to do that is self-motivation. What motivates each one of us varies, but new PhD students need to find that motivation and be stubborn to keep going with the program. The PhD is not like an undergraduate or a master degree. There is no order, there is no stability, there is no routine in what students do.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Open Access, check out the library pages on Open Access

More interviews coming soon of researchers across the campus!