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Meet the Team: Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS)

Benjamin Meunier19 May 2022

In early Spring, Prof David Price facilitated a series of virtual “Meet the Team” events to help colleagues in different parts of Research, Innovation and Global Engagement (RIGE). One of these events, held on 10 March via MS Teams, focused on our work in Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS), to familiarise colleagues in other parts of RIGE with the role of LCCOS.

In order to provide all staff in LCCOS with an overview of our department, this blog post provides a short summary of the session. The slides are available at LCCOS Meet the Team.

Martin Moyle, Director of Services, opened the event, explaining that the LCCOS presentation would comprise a very brief overview of LCCOS and Library Services, followed by five short presentations highlighting specific areas of LCCOS likely to be of particular interest to RIGE colleagues.

He then gave a short introduction to LCCOS, which since December 2021 has brought together Library Services, UCL Culture, Research Integrity, Research Culture and Open Science.  He highlighted the size of the new  department – with 440 staff, by far the largest constituent part of the RIGE portfolio.

Martin went on to introduce Library Services, highlighting the fact that with 4.8 million annual visits to our libraries, UCL is the busiest university library service in the UK. He also emphasised UCL’s internationally important collections, the innovative services which Library staff provide (for instance ‘Click and Collect’ introduced during the pandemic) and the sheer scale of both physical and digital resources. We hold over 2 million print items and provide access to over 1.1 million e-books, plus 86,000 e-journals and 800+ databases! On Special Collections, Martin presented the team’s role in managing, conserving and making accessible 10,000 linear metres of rare books, archives and records. He emphasised that we hold one of the foremost collections of such material in the UK, and emphasised that they are not simply kept under lock and key, but are well used for teaching, research and outreach.

Charting the Library’s performance, Martin presented key metrics (National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, Postgraduate Research Experience Survey) which showed how UCL has outperformed other UK libraries in supporting users during Covid, although our NSS scores dropped to 79.9% from 88.5% pre-Covid. Surveys shows consistent high satisfaction with the online library and lower scores for the physical library, which we know is due to historic under-investment in physical spaces and ongoing challenges in providing enough study spaces for our ever-growing student cohorts.  He also highlighted the latest UCL faculty compliance with REF OA Policy at 88-96% as a measure not only of the OA Team’s success, but as a mark of successful partnerships across RIGE.

June Hedges, Head of Liaison and Support Services, amplified Martin’s introduction with a more in-depth overview of Liaison and Support Services, which includes Open Science, Research Data Support, Bibliometrics Support and Research Integrity as well as Academic Engagement, Library Skills, Teaching and Learning Support and Open Access Services. In essence, Liaison and Support Services are all about enabling the learning and research of the UCL community, whether that is introducing new undergraduate students to UCL’s libraries and our services during the induction period, or providing support for seasoned researchers when they come to publish their outputs. Teams within Liaison and Support Services. The teams within the group vary greatly in size, from a “team” of one supporting bibliometrics, to the many in the Open Access Team, but all of them actively collaborate and work with colleagues across RIGE and the whole of UCL. June briefly introduced each team and pointed to more information about their work (via web links).

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science) then presented on Open Science, setting the international context and outlining UCL’s strategy and the role of UCL’s Office for Open Science. Paul set out the 8 pillars of Open Science, and described how LCCOS was able to support all of these through leadership, advocacy and engagement. Detailed information on the Office for Open Science and Scholarship is available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/ucl-office-open-science-and-scholarship. Paul also illustrated UCL’s position as a leader in Open Access since 2000, based on a chart showing research output and the percentage of OA publications within each institution in the Russell Group. UCL has consistently topped this chart over two decades, with Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial jostling for the remaining top 3 places. Finally, Paul presented UCL Press as an example of the impact of Open Science: with over 5m downloads from 246 countries, the research published through the UK’s first fully Open Access university press is reaching a truly global audience. The success story of UCL Press contributes to UCL’s leadership role in Open Science and LCCOS will continue to develop this agenda over the coming years.

Frank Penter, Director of Operations (UCL Culture) gave a sweeping overview of Museums, Collections, Public Programme, Theatre and UCL Engagement. The team manages 8 cultural venues, including 3 accredited museums and the Bloomsbury Theatre as well as collections which encompass over 160,000 objects ranging from Ancient Egyptian dresses to Jeremy Bentham’s head! Frank presented how UCL collections are embedded in teaching, with over 5,000 student uses of collections per year (and 3,100 specimens used in the Grant Museum in term 1 only!), and in research. For instance, the Petrie received 32 researchers from 5 different countries in Term 1 of this academic year.  Pre-Covid around 1,300 research visits were handled annually.  In addition to these ‘standard’ research support activities, the team also work on a number of funded projects with external and internal partners. Frank also explained that the Bloomsbury Theatre is actively used for student co-curricular activity, UCL academic and research activity as well as its range of commercial productions. Frank explained the work of the Programmes and Exhibitions team and their role in working with academics to develop activity and exhibitions in our museums and the Octagon/Cloisters. Frank presented UCL Engagement, who are here to spark connections between people and ideas. Frank illustrated what the team can help with, including advice and support, training (such as an Online Public Engagement course, or Public Engagement Skills and Practice for researchers and PhD students) and funding (such as Beacon Bursaries, Train and Engage, or Listen and Learn funds).  Finally, Frank presented the ground-breaking work of the Co-production Collective.

Emma Todd, Head of Research Culture, then presented work she has been leading on a wide-ranging transformation project. Research culture describes the environment in which research and innovation happens. It is made up of the expectations, values, attitudes and behaviours of our research communities and it shapes how research is created, how it’s stored, shared and the outputs that are delivered. Emma explained that there is an increasing focus on Research Culture within the sector – from Government and funders and also across peer institutions. Culture really does eat strategy for breakfast, as the famous quote goes from management consultant and writer Peter Drucker. If the culture isn’t right, we can’t fully deliver on UCL’s ambition. It is widely accepted in the sector that current research culture is not effective in helping sustain research excellence or the wellbeing of the people who deliver the research. Emma noted that there are also financial and reputational reasons why it’s important – funder requirements (including for quality-related research (QR) funding through REF) and our ability to attract the best researchers depends on UCL doing more to enhance its research culture. Wholesale change will require research organisations, funders, publishers and government to coordinate and consistently apply practical actions across the research community. But in the meantime, this complexity should not stop UCL from making progress on an institutional basis. Emma described what we’re doing at UCL, broken down into 3 parts. The first part between April – Aug 2021 was consultation with the research community. Part 2 is ongoing short term action in the form of a 6-month £1m+ Enhancing Research Culture Programme – ERCP (Feb-Jul 2022). Finally, Part 3 will be to develop a roadmap for cultural change (Apr – Sep 2022). Emma explained that she and her small temporary team (currently funded until 31st July) will deliver this project by working across UCL, with Faculties, colleagues in RIGE and in central Professional Services, and by integrating existing activity – of which there is a lot. A Research Culture Operations Group will oversee the ERCP and roadmap development and  report into RIGE Committee, which will have strategic oversight.

Finally, as Director of Operations, LCCOS, I spoke briefly about space strategy, focusing on library spaces. Whilst further work would be needed to establish a space strategy after UCL’s institutional strategy was more clearly defined, I indicated that libraries and learning spaces would aim to provide a range of interrelated learning environments, offering spaces with a clear identity, fostering sense of belonging for students (for postgraduate students, for instance), but also encouraging cross-disciplinary working. I added that space would also be develop to help extend the shared services model based on hubs, the Student Centre and UCL East approach, creating a local hub for students, e.g. within each Faculty​. I also noted that, as noted in previous Strategic Operating Plans, LCCOS would explore the feasibility of concentrating print stock in fewer sites to allow world-class user experience (24-hour opening, faculty identity, access to specialist services and resources including unique print collections) and improve financial and environmental sustainability. This could be complemented by Library-managed learning spaces​. This piece of work would follow from the UCL strategy and Estates masterplan, when those institutional plans are developed. I highlighted the ongoing work to establish a UCL Special Collections facility to exploit the exceptional institutional assets, particularly for cross-disciplinary research work. This could be linked to a wider Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences hub​, potentially in partnership with other academic institutions in London. Finally, I outlined potential for developing libraries further as portals between UCL and local communities​, which presents a great opportunity to work with colleagues in museums, collections, public engagement and Open Science.

UCL Press books exceed 6 million downloads

Alison Fox16 May 2022

We are delighted to announce that UCL Press books have been downloaded more than 6 million times, just 8 months after celebrating the milestone of 5 million downloads.

Since launching in 2015, we’ve published more than 240 academic books – including monographs, edited collections and textbooks. Downloads have taken place in 246 countries and territories across the world, reaching readers in countries as far afield as Afghanistan and North Korea! You can see the full details of exactly what has been downloaded where here.

Selected highlights

  • Our 6 millionth download was Cash Flow: The businesses of menstruation by Camilla Mørk Røstvik, which tells the riveting story of commerce and menstruation from the twentieth century to today.
  • The most popular title on our list continues to be How the World Changed Social Media by Professor of Anthropology Daniel Miller and a collective of eight other esteemed global anthropologists. The English-language edition has been downloaded more than 650,000 times since it was published in March 2016 and has been translated into four languages.

Self-guided Campus Tours

Benjamin Meunier22 April 2022

I found out today about self-guided tours which UCL Communications have produced for prospective students, available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/campus-tours/self-guided-campus-tours.

The tour consists of a digital map of campus, with videos of some of the university’s landmarks. It focuses on the central Bloomsbury campus, featuring the Front Quad and the Portico, and has a marker for the School of Pharmacy. Whilst it doesn’t showcase many of our libraries, it does feature the Main Library (with a video of the Flaxman Gallery), the Cruciform Hub, the Student Centre, the Institute of Education Library and UCL Special Collections as well as views of SSEES Library. It also includes links to the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Grant Museum of Zoology, UCL Art Museum and the Petrie Museum.

According to the website, the tour should take between 45 to 50 minutes. This might be a useful resource for first-time visitors to UCL, and I thought it would be useful to share since I don’t think these virtual tours have been promoted much internally.

Opening data & code: Who is your audience? Thursday 28th October 4-5pm 

Alison Fox20 October 2021

Join the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship and the UCL eResearch Domain to explore opening data and code.

Date: Thursday 28th October
Time: 4-5pm
Register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/opening-data-code-who-is-your-audience-tickets-172935283087?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=escb

To achieve the potential impact of a particular research project in academia or in the wider world, research outputs need to be managed, shared and used effectively.

Open Research enables replicable tools to be accessible to a wide audience of users. The session will showcase three projects and discuss the potentials of reuse of data and software and how to adapt to different types of user.

Join our speakers and panel discussion to:

  • understand the potential of sharing your data and software
  • learn about how projects share their software and data with different audiences and how they tailored their open data & code to different audiences appreciate the needs of different types of user (e.g. industry based, policy maker, citizen scientists)

Confirmed speakers:

This event is part of UCL Open Access Week 2021

Please register online.

New UKRI Open Access Policy Briefing, 26th October 2-3pm

Alison Fox18 October 2021

Join the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship, UCL Press and UCL library Services in a policy briefing about the new UKRI open access policy.

Date: 26th October 2021
Time: 2-3pm
Register: https://ucl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_TG1jEr6DSfOKIQQFE3emFw

The new UKRI open access policy announced in August 2020 affects academics publishing work that acknowledges UK Research Council funding. The policy requires open access on publication under the CC BY licence (or, exceptionally, CC BY-ND) for articles and conference papers submitted on or after 1 April 2022. It also requires open access no later than 12 months after publication for monographs, book chapters and edited collections resulting from a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, published on or after 1 January 2024. The UKRI policy will inform the open access policy for the next REF.

In this first UCL briefing session on the UKRI policy, Catherine Sharp (Head of Open Access Services) will set out the key policy points and compliant routes to publishing in journal articles and conference papers. Lara Speicher (Head of Publishing, UCL Press) will explore the details of the new UKRI monograph requirements, and their implications for authors. Professor Margot Finn (UCL History and immediate past President of the Royal Historical Society) will also join the session to discuss these changes and the implications for authors of monographs in the humanities and social sciences in particular.

Given the importance of the UKRI policy in shaping UK open access requirements, all researchers who publish are encouraged to attend a briefing on the UKRI policy, and to bring questions from their own disciplines.

Please register online.

UCL Press Textbook webinar- Oct 27th, 2-3pm

Alison Fox14 October 2021

Join UCL Press during open access week to find out more about their new open access textbook programme and how UCL academics can get involved.

Date: Wednesday October 27th
Time: 2pm
Sign up: https://ucl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SvPKEH_JTv2ziahZTCMmEA

The debate over access and affordability of eTextbooks is high on the agenda for many institutional libraries and publishers and many are calling for an open access solution.
In response, UCL Press is currently developing a new programme of open access textbooks, for undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules, across disciplines. The new textbook programme will be the first OA textbook list in the UK and builds on the success of the Press’s publishing output and the significant increase in requirements for digital resources, in a changing teaching and learning environment. The programme offers the Press an opportunity to showcase and promote teaching excellence across a broad range of fields and contribute to the open culture UCL is continuing to build.
In this webinar we will discuss in more depth, why and how UCL Press are creating their open access programme and the opportunities, practicalities, and benefits of committing to, publishing and disseminating home-grown textbooks.

We will also focus on other initiatives and projects from UCL and from around the world to provide a forum for lively discussion about open access textbooks and education resources more broadly.

We encourage you to join us to hearing more about this programme and other OA initiatives.

Sign up: https://ucl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SvPKEH_JTv2ziahZTCMmEA

UCL Press exceeds five million book downloads

Alison Fox11 October 2021

We are delighted to announce that UCL Press books have now been downloaded more than 5 million times. You can see the full details here.

Since launching in 2015, we’ve published more than 200 academic books – including monographs, edited collections and textbooks. Downloads have taken place in 245 countries and territories across the world, reaching readers in countries as far afield as Afghanistan and North Korea!

To celebrate, we’ve produced a video- enjoy!

New UCL Press book hits national (and international) headlines

Alison Fox11 May 2021

We are delighted that The Global Smartphone: Beyond a youth technology (published on May 6th 2021) has hit the headlines across the world, with coverage in newspapers including The Sunday Times, The Guardian and Daily Mail.

Coverage in the UK and Ireland has included stories by The Scottish Herald, Reuters, The Irish Times, RTE, Newstalk, and an interview with lead author Prof Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology) on Sky News this morning. Publications in Portugal (here, here, here and here), Germany, Brazil. Greece  (and here), Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Malaysia, Australia, Albania, EgyptRussia, Italy, Israel, Czechia and France have also reported on the book’s findings.

The book documents the work of a team of 11 anthropologists who spent 16 months documenting smartphone use in nine countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, with a particular focus on older adults. The team was led by Professor Daniel Miller, whose previous UCL Press series on global social media usage, Why We Post, saw more than a million downloads of the open access books that detailed the findings.

The Global Smartphone: Beyond a youth technology is written by Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology), Laila Abed Rabho, Patrick Awondo, Maya de Vries, Marília Duque, Pauline Garvey, Laura Haapio-Kirk, Charlotte Hawkins, Alfonso Otaegui, Shireen Walton, and Xinyuan Wang. It is part of the Ageing with Smartphones series, which also includes Ageing with Smartphones in Ireland and Ageing with Smartphones in Urban Italy.

Learn about new digital tools available to UCL Staff

simon.bralee.154 February 2021

ISD are hosting some Q&A sessions this week to provide support for staff at UCL in using new digital tools as part of their DigiInspire program.

Get the joining instructions for all these events at the DigiInspire Events and Webinars page.

DigiInspire is open to all staff at UCL. It’s full of great resources to help you make the most of new digital tools.  Check out their quick welcome video to learn more.

DigiInspire logo

DigiInspire: Learn, Innovate, Be inspired

Nature article Ophthalmology 2020 gaining sight for sore eyes

Debbie Heatlie23 June 2020

Images from the archives of Moorfields Eye Hospital, held in the Joint Library of Ophthalmology and an interview with the librarian, Debbie Heatlie, feature in a Nature article Ophthalmology in 2020 gaining sight for sore eyes.  It is a fascinating read spanning 170 years of eye imaging to improve treatment, from artists’ detailed drawings, over a century ago, to 3D imaging and modelling, used by surgeons to plan operations today, looking forwards to the future of tele-ophthalmology and artificial intelligence.

The article came about because the NIHR Ophthalmology, based at Moorfields, does a great deal of outreach and publicity work to promote research funded by them to improve patient care and they know of our amazing archives.