International Open Access Week 20th-26th October 2014

By Jean A Harris, on 24 October 2014

International Open Access week celebrates the new way of making research available to anyone with an internet connection. There is now a strong move in the western world towards making all publicly funded research available to those communities that support it and HEFCE has introduced a new open access policy for REF 2020 for articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN.

Open access also helps researchers and practitioners in the developing world where subscription journals are beyond the reach of most institutions and individuals.

UCL Library marked this week with a very successful event held on Wednesday 22nd October featuring Professor Robert Harvey, UCL School of Pharmacy talking about the benefits of Open Access for researchers, Professor Geoffrey Crossick, School of Advanced Study, who outlined his work for the HEFCE Monographs and Open Access Project and Dr Verity Emmans who discussed Wiley’s Open Access options.

UCL Discovery celebrated its 5 millionth download with champagne presented by Prof Stephen Caddick, VP Enterprise & London, to UCL author Gianluca Baio for the article:

Baio, G; Blangiardo, M; (2010) Bayesian hierarchical model for the prediction of football results. Journal of Applied Statistics , 37 (2) 253 – 264. 10.1080/02664760802684177.

Do keep uploading your author accepted manuscripts to RPS , either for us to make available through UCL Discovery (green open access) or provide a copy to the Open Access Funding Team when arranging payment of APCs (gold open access).

UCL joins new data centre partnership

By Jean A Harris, on 17 October 2014

Jisc has agreed a five year partnership with Infinity to provide a specialist data centre via Janet, the UK’s national research and education network.

This will be the first shared data centre for medical and academic research in the UK.

There are six initial partners: UCL, Kings College London, The Sanger Institute, The Francis Crick Institute, LSE and QMUL but it is believed that more institutions will join on seeing the benefits offered.

“The data centre will be connected to the Janet network core and part of its backbone, therefore facilitating access, reducing costs and meeting the bandwidth requirements of large data sets. As space becomes premium on campus this is a significant step on the journey to the cloud and already indications are that this will be a major breakthrough for the UK education and research community.”

California goes (qualified) Open Access

By Jean A Harris, on 9 October 2014

Michael Hiltzik , writing in the Los Angeles Times, reports that California has voted for qualified Open Access for some publicly funded research.

“On Sept. 29, Gov. Brown signed legislation requiring that reports of research funded even in part by California taxpayers be made available to the public for free, starting with research grants made after next Jan. 1. (The legislation is AB 609, by Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert.)”

Critics are calling it watered down as papers are embargoed for one year, rather than the six months originally asked for. It now only applies to research by the Department of Public Health, not all state funded research.

The response from the bill’s drafters on the 12 month embargo is that they were concerned about the huge opposition from the publishing industry that would result. California is such a big research player that, by making the embargo shorter or having none and so challenging the NIH 12 month embargo, they might have created difficulties for Californian researchers applying for federal research funding.

They aim to use Department of Health publications as a test case that they can monitor as this is a sizable part of the state’s research output.

Open Access campaigners feel that California could have led the way, as it has in other fields, to lower/no embargoes on all publicly funded research and others may well have followed.

New OAPEN-UK survey on OA publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences

By Jean A Harris, on 2 October 2014

A new report from OAPEN-UK (a Jisc and AHRC-funded project looking at open access monograph publishing) suggests that Humanities and Social Sciences researchers prefer the monograph as a publishing form although its sustainability in print form is questioned. They are amenable to publishing journal articles open access but see monographs as difficult.

“On the whole, respondents were positive about the principle of open access for journals, but slightly less so for books. They felt that implementing open access would be difficult for both types of outputs, but especially for books.”

71% of PhD students were positive about making books open access but only 36% of professors were although there was less difference about making journal articles open access. Humanities researchers were less positive than social scientists about open access for both books and journals.

The biggest challenge appears to be the difficulty of getting monographs published at all and not necessarily access to the published work. Academics often have to change publishers from one book to the next to ensure publication and this can be perceived as less prestigious.

“In general, senior researchers tend to be more open to innovation in scholarly communications techniques than their more junior colleagues, but the case of open access seems to be an exception.” This means that this group will need to be won over in order to make progress with the younger researchers who are positive.

Research Fortnight reveals problems tracking open access compliance in universities

By Jean A Harris, on 12 June 2014

Following an FOI request by Research Fortnight to the 84 institutions that received RCUK funding, it appears that there are challenges in recording just what has been made open access.


The difficulties arise with the wide variety of means for making outputs open access. The easiest route to check is via the block grant, which is often centrally administered by the university, but there is also the green open access route and research funding from funders outside RCUK.

Institutions are unclear about what data they are required to collect and are looking for guidance. A policy review panel, chaired by former University of Leicester vice-chancellor Bob Burgess, will make the decision at its meeting on 27th June and RCUK will then approach the institutions for this data.

JISC webinar on Open Access good practice

By Jean A Harris, on 5 June 2014

Jisc Open Access Implementation Community has held its first webinar on the HEFCE requirements for Open Access for future research assessments and what the community will need to do in order to comply.
Attendees were able to question representatives from HEFCE and Jisc and there is a very useful list of questions and answers arising from the session.

A new model for Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences?

By Jean A Harris, on 15 May 2014

A new white paper A Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Open Access Publishing and Archiving for Humanities and Social Sciences was published in April in the US.

It discusses a new model of open access for the Humanities and Social Sciences that “encourages partnerships among scholarly societies, research libraries, and other institutional partners (e.g.,collaborative e-archives and university presses) who share a common mission to support the creation and distribution of research and scholarship to improve society and to help solve the world’s most challenging problems”.

The plan is to convert the traditional publishing models to OA. Funding would come through a subscription levied on higher education institutions and those institutions benefiting from the research, on a sliding scale, to form a central fund. Institutions and scholarly societies would then apply to this, as partners, through a competitive grant process.

The funding would give “direct support for the distribution, access, and long-term archival preservation infrastructure of the partnerships”. Grants would be open-ended to ensure sustainability and would be subject to strict guidelines.

The hope is that the model will be adopted by all countries that support OA.

Open Access and the amateur scientist

By Jean A Harris, on 8 May 2014

Richard Price, founder of Academia.edu, writing in Times Higher Education, argues that not only does Open Access allow amateur scientists to engage with the latest research, it could also allow them to contribute directly to scientific knowledge.

In this way some of the most unusual ideas such as a replacement for forceps delivery, suggested by a car mechanic, are being tested. The idea came to the mechanic, a father of 5, after watching a YouTube video on removing a cork from a wine bottle.

Richard cites the example of the Odone’s who educated themselves in neuroscience through the NIH Library to try to find a cure for their son Lorenzo’s debilitating disease. This led to the creation of Lorenzo’s oil which has been found to be effective if taken before the symptoms appear.

He concludes that although some of the ideas may be outlandish, some may prove to be significant and greater Open Access will encourage this.

UCL Discovery outage, Friday 9th May 2014 between 0500 – 1200

By Erica D McLaren, on 7 May 2014

In order to repair the problems with the download statistics, a scheduled outage will take place on Friday 9th May 2014 between 0500 and 1200.

During this time, deposits will not be possible between RPS and UCL Discovery; the mandatory deposit of e-theses and deposit agreement forms can be done before or after the outage or can be sent or by alternative means. Please email discovery@ucl.ac.uk for assistance.

Disruption to download statistics

By Erica D McLaren, on 7 May 2014

Recent essential maintenance on the UCL Discovery database caused unforeseen disruption to the display of download statistics. Since being alerted to the problem, we have been working with ISD to resolve the issue; a scheduled outage on Friday 9th May 2014 between 0500 and 1200 will take place to bring the statistics back online.

Please note that downloads are still being recorded by UCL Discovery and will be included in record statistics once they have been refreshed. Please send any questions on this matter to discovery@ucl.ac.uk.