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Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris13 June 2019

Visit of Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation

On Thursday 13 June 2019, the EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, visited UCL with members of his cabinet.

The purpose of the Commissioner’s presence was to re-visit those European universities to which he feels especial affinity. He leaves his position in the autumn of 2019 once the new European Commission takes office.

As Pro-Vice-Provost with a responsibility for co-ordinating Open Science across UCL, I was asked to address him in the Provost’s Office to outline the success that UCL has had in introducing Open Science practice across the institution. I also highlighted the challenges in Europe in moving to embrace Open Science principles. This is the text which I used in my talk, sitting next to the Commissioner as I spoke.

Successes

  1. UCL Press is the UK’s first fully OA University Press. We have published 106 monographs with over 2 million downloads – when conventional sales over the bookshop counter might result in 200 sales per title. Our most downloaded book is from Professor Danny Miller in Anthropology in UCL, How the World Changed Social Media, which has been downloaded over 300,000 times. This shows the transformative effect of OA monograph publishing.
  2. We have also launched a megajournal platform – with the first subject section being the Environment. This has Open Peer review and the submission is made available immediately as Green OA in a Pre-Print repository prior to peer review and final publication.
  3. We have just launched our Open UCL Research Data repository for academics to archive their research data for sharing and re-use.
  4. UCL Discovery is the institutional OA repository. We monitor OA compliance from the Faculties on a monthly basis and have compliance rates as high as 90%. UCL Discovery has just passed the 20 million download mark.
  5. From 2000-2016, Digital Science has shown that UCL is consistently the university in the Russell Group in the UK most engaged with OA.
  6. We have also launched a pilot Open Educational Resources repository to collect educational materials for sharing and re-use.
  7. We have a pan-UCL Open Science governance platform, which monitors the introduction of Open Science principles and practices across the institution; and we lead work in Open Science in LERU (League of European Research Universities).
  8. UCL is one of the first universities anywhere in Europe to include Open Access to publications, research data and software, as a core principle in our academic promotions framework. This policy was signed off and published in 2018.

Challenges and how UCL can help  

  1. Academic concerns with Plan S, not with Open Access, threaten to de-rail the advances made across Europe in Open Science practice. We would like to support Plan S by working with the Commission and others to make Alternative Publishing Platforms, on the model of UCL Press, a reality across Europe.
  2. Those who manage the European Open Science Cloud have not engaged with universities, indeed they ignore my calls for collaboration. UCL would like to work with the EOSC to determine rules of engagement for universities. We have considerable experience, running the DART-Europe portal for OA research theses, which aggregates metadata for 619 universities and provides access to over 800,000 full-text research theses in 28 countries.
  3. The Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform work on Next Generation Metrics is badly stalled and needs a kick for it to produce a set of Recommendations which can be embraced by the global academy. UCL could help as we are out to informal consultation on an institutional Bibliometrics policy, grounded in Open Science principles.
  4. UCL is attempting, with LERU and other partners, to build a pan-European community for Open Science; the Commission could help by providing opportunities for seed funding to encourage growth in community engagement. Open Science, after all, is about people not just principles and practice.

I gave the Commissioner a gift bag from UCL Press containing, amongst other things, a copy of Danny Miller’s How the World Changed Social Media, the most downloaded book from UCL Press. The Commissioner has asked me to follow up with him and his team on a number of the issues I raised. I will certainly be doing that.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Desktop IT support for Library Services staff

MargaretStone24 May 2019

Image of all in one EAPThe support arrangements for library staff desktop IT equipment have changed slightly, as outlined in the Core Brief for May.  Please note that this is in addition to (and complementary to) recent changes in support for Alma and other digital library services.

In summary, the first points of contact are as follows:

  • for support for Desktop@UCL hardware and software, contact servicedesk@ucl.ac.uk as this forms part of their standard service
  • for support for non-Desktop@UCL hardware and software, contact Library IT support (the usual address, listed on LibNet)
  • for ordering, disposal, liaison and escalation with ISD, again contact Library IT support.

This information will be kept up to date on our IT for Staff pages on LibNet.

BEIS launches Knowledge Quarter Science and Innovation Audit

Benjamin G MMeunier15 March 2019

The Knowledge Quarter network is celebrating the release of a Science and Innovation Audit of the area, on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The report, which UCL was a lead partner in developing, identifies the area’s nationally leading strengths in AI, life sciences and cultural and scientific collections and publishing, and recommends opportunities for investment and further developing the area to enhance its potential. A key recommendation is the development of a spatial plan for the area that better enables the next generation of scientific and knowledge-led enterprises to locate in the area. The report is London’s only SIA, demonstrating its unique nature within London’s economy. More here.

 

How does this relate to UCL Library Services? We have a key place in London, and in the Knowledge Quarter in particular, and this is reflected in the full report. The report mentions our 18 libraries, “covering a wide range of specialist subjects ranging from bio-medicine and science to arts, architecture and archaeology”. The report also highlights UCL’s leading role in promoting “innovation in Open Science, including starting UCL Press, the UK’s first completely open access university press.” UCL Press and the launch of the megajournal are referenced in Table 5-5: Open Access Publishers started by universities and scientific bodies within the Knowledge Quarter.

In addition, Box 5-4 illustrates how UCL Special Collections’ Outreach programme is delivering meaningful experiences for non-academic audiences to access, learn about and enjoy our Special Collections. Key projects listed include:

• Time Capsule with Edith Neville Primary School: a whole-school project developed around the building of a new school and the demolition of the old. In collaboration with Museum of London Archaeology, the children explored the concept of keeping things for the future as well as the importance of objects from the past. As part of this, pupils were taught about archives and each class has begun to create a class archive.

• Making East London: with funding from HLF and a UCL Beacon Bursary, this touring exhibition was a collaboration with Newham Libraries and Archives (East) to bring together both organisation’s collections to explore East London’s past, inspired by the Main Library exhibition East Side Stories. The exhibition was a centrepiece around which workshops for community groups were run. The workshops were also opportunities for the recording of local peoples’ stories, experiences and memories of east London; student volunteers from UCL have worked to, and continue to, record oral histories as part of a new digital archive.

 

Making a difference: Library Services Review 2015-18

Benjamin G MMeunier26 February 2019

As we begin to look forward for the next 4 years in the new Library Strategy, we can also take stock of the achievements from the last strategy period and reflect on how Library Services is making a difference to UCL. As a retrospective piece looking at some of the achievements from 2015-18, we have published the Library Services Strategy Review 2015-18.

As Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris states in the Foreword, we have collectively achieved the vast majority of ambitious objectives which were set five years ago to support the vision laid out in UCL 2034. This is down to the work of each member of staff across the service, combining expertise, collaboration, innovation and a large dose of perseverance to ensure that our service is as good as it can be for the benefit of our staff and students within UCL, in the NHS and other users. The Review features a number of colleagues and teams in case studies which provide a glimpse into the varied projects and initiatives which Library Services undertakes. These illustrate how our department is improving the User Experience, delivers best value for money and engages with the world beyond UCL. Inevitably, the achievements listed are not exhaustive and we will be re-introducing Annual Reports effective from 2019, on a similar model to this Review, to present the work of Library Services each year.

Some of the highlights from 2015-18 are listed on the ‘What we do’ webpage, which provides a link to the full text Strategy Review.

New Library Services Strategy launched online

Benjamin G MMeunier21 February 2019

The UCL Library Services Strategy 2019-22 is now available online and in print booklets:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/about-us/ucl-library-services-strategy-2019-22

Our 4-year strategy sets out the specific work the Library can undertake as an outstanding library service to support the long-term goals set out in UCL 2034. Within the Library Strategy, we define our values, based on the contributions of many colleagues from across the service. Thanks again to colleagues who contributed to shaping the strategy through the workshops and meetings at site libraries in the past 18 months. The Library Strategy is organised around six strands of activity, or Key Performance Areas (KPAs):

KPA leaders from the Library SMT oversee each of the KPAs, which contain the specific actions we have committed to delivering during the lifespan of this strategy. For more information, please visit the webpage. If you would like a print Strategy booklet for your team, these can be collected from Daniel Kordik (Main Library room 107, d.kordik[at]ucl.ac.uk). The Library SMT acts as the Library Strategy Steering Group.

We invite all members of Library Services to the Strategy launch event on 20th March and look forward to seeing many of you there!

 

New NBK Library Hub to Replace Copac and Suncat

Thomas PMeehan5 February 2019

Copac and a number of related services will shortly be disappearing, to be replaced by new services from Jisc this summer. Jisc have been working on a new National Bibliographic Knowledgebase (NBK) with a view to replacing a number of popular national library services, including Copac, Copac Collection Management (CCM) Tools, RLUK record downloading (z39.50), and Suncat. There are currently three “Library Hub” services planned, two of which now have a pilot interface available:

  • Library Hub Discover (search, to replace Copac). This is now available as a pilot with limited coverage to test now. There is a link to a feedback form on the Search page.
  • Library Hub Catalogue (record download, to replace RLUK z39.50). I anticipate this simply replacing the RLUK profile in the Alma External Resources search although there is a web interface too. This is now available as a pilot with limited fields and data, but this is for libraries that have contributed to the NBK, which we have yet to do.
  • Library Hub Compare (to supersede CCM Tools and the SUNCAT Serials Comparison service). There is no test version of this yet.

Jisc intends for all three to replace the existing services in July 2019. For more information about the Library Hub Services, see the About and FAQ pages. There is a little more information, including about the Compare service, in this post: Driving Transformation with the NBK – where have we got to and where next?. We intend to fully participate in the NBK so our records will be visible in the Library Hub services.

Alma – update on running reports

MargaretStone16 October 2018

As Alma continues to bed in, I wanted to provide an update on the plans for extracting information using reports.

Firstly, under the terms of our contract, we will only retain access to Aleph and its reporting centre, ARC, until three months after the Alma go-live date.  If you are using ARC, please therefore run any reports that you may need by the end of November and save the results outside ARC.

Secondly, some of the information used for collection management, specifically last loan date and total number of loans, has been migrated to Alma, so you will be able to report on this information indefinitely and the end of November deadline does not apply.

Thirdly, we will shortly be reviewing your reporting requirements from Alma and providing information about access to the Analytics module.  To that end, please could you notify digital-library-support of any reports you expect to need from Alma, and we will incorporate that in our planning.

Thank you for your ongoing feedback and patience as issues are resolved.

Alma and related changes – update

MargaretStone3 September 2018

Further to the earlier email to library staff, here are the updated dates for the changes to Alma and related services.

Changes to loan periods and loan allowances

These will be communicated on the existing public web pages by Monday 10 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.  Please check in particular those FAQ marked NEW or UPDATED.

Service outages between 5-10 September (e.g. no self service, no laptop loans, no access to MyAccount).

An updated news item has been published on the library website.  It is expected that Alma will go live by midday on 10 September.

Move to new Explore interface

New mobile-friendly interface, pointing to Alma, will go live on 10 September.  A news item about the new Explore interface was published on 24 August.

Change to databases page

The databases interface will contain the same information but be provided by LibGuides rather than MetaLib.  Scheduled for switchover on 10 September.  No change to existing URLs.  Public information on MetaLib replacement is available.

Move from SFX to Explore services

SFX links from third-party databases are being updated with links to an integrated Explore service.  SFX links will continue to work for a few months, to provide continuity.  Described in the news item about Explore from 24 August.

Changes to Explore login, including new passwords for non-UCL library members

Login to the new Explore interface will change from 10 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.

Changes to library accounts for UCL members with multiple UCL statuses

Alma will merge library accounts into one, for UCL members who have multiple statuses, e.g. are both staff and student.  Users will receive the highest privilege level, and will be able to use any of their UCL identities to access their single account (userid for Explore and barcode for self-service).  If any issues arise, please refer the user to the library Membership team in the first instance.

Changes to study space bookings pages

The current study space booking system, which is based on Aleph, was closed down on Friday 31 August.  We are working with ISD on the replacement system, but unfortunately it is not available.  In the interim, study spaces will be available as first-come, first-served, and the existing web address will show the information about study spaces without any booking links.

Digital library service changes for library users

MargaretStone28 August 2018

Alongside the Alma project, there are some imminent changes which affect library users, which I’d like to summarise here.  Communications through our web interfaces have begun and will continue over the next few weeks.  If you have any queries, please contact the Digital Libraries Team on their usual address.

Changes to loan periods and loan allowances

These will be communicated on the existing public web pages on Monday 3 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.  Please check in particular those FAQ marked NEW or UPDATED.

Service outages on 3 and 4 September (e.g. no self service, no laptop loans, no access to MyAccount).

A news item will be published on the library website in the week commencing 27 August.

Move to new Explore interface

New mobile-friendly interface, pointing to Alma, will go live on 5 September.  A news item about the new Explore interface was published on 24 August.

Change to databases page

The databases interface will contain the same information but be provided by LibGuides rather than MetaLib.  Scheduled for switchover on 3 September.  No change to existing URLs.  Public information on MetaLib replacement is available.

Move from SFX to Explore services

SFX links from third-party databases are being updated with links to an integrated Explore service.  SFX links will continue to work for a few months, to provide continuity.  Described in the news item about Explore from 24 August.

Changes to Explore login, including new passwords for non-UCL library members

Login to the new Explore interface will change from 5 September.  Details are available in the LibNet Alma FAQ.

Changes to library accounts for UCL members with multiple UCL statuses

Alma will merge library accounts into one, for UCL members who have multiple statuses, e.g. are both staff and student.  Users will receive the highest privilege level, and will be able to use any of their UCL identities to access their single account (userid for Explore and barcode for self-service).  If any issues arise, please refer the user to the library Membership team in the first instance.

Changes to study space bookings pages

The current study space booking system, which is based on Aleph, will be closed down on Friday 31 August.  We are working with ISD on the replacement system, but there is a chance it may not be fully functional from 3 September.  In that case, study spaces will be available as first-come, first-served, and the existing web address will show the information about study spaces without any booking links.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris23 August 2018

New SMT and associated Working Groups

Felbrigg Hall

On 10 August, I wrote to expain how the Library’s Senior Management Team was being restructured and enlarged. The role of the SMT is to oversee policy developments and the daily operation of the Library. The SMT will also meet regularly as the Library Strategy Committee, to oversee the development and implementation of the new Library Strategy. The new SMT comes into being on 1 September. Its membership and Terms of Reference can be found here.

As SMT, the new Committee will meet monthly (rather than every 2 weeks). It will also act as parent for a series of Working Groups, the purpose of which is to support the business of the SMT.

The Working Groups do not supersede and are not substitutes for established Library Services committees and groups, such as the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. SMT WG chairs will be responsible for ensuring appropriate join-up between their Groups and any relevant established committees.

Broadly, the SMT Working Groups will have 4 functions. These are as follows:

  • To advise SMT on new developments and future strategy in their respective areas of business
  • To ensure that SMT and UCL policy decisions are implemented effectively and equitably across Library Services
  • To take ownership of matters of operational detail in their respective areas on behalf of SMT
  • To make regular reports to SMT through their chairs.

The following Working Groups are proposed, each with a chair and membership drawn from SMT:

  • Budget Executive Group (Chair: Paul Ayris)
  • HR Working Group (Chair: Martin Moyle)
  • Estates Oversight Group (Chair: Ben Meunier)
  • Survey Response Team (Chair: June Hedges)
  • Staff Training and Development Strategy Group (Chair: Kate Cheney)

The full Membership and Terms of Reference for each of these Working Groups will be circulated via a LibNet Blog posting once signed off by the new SMT in September.

Good governance is essential to the successful running of the Library and the wellbeing of our staff and students. I look forward to the enlarged SMT playing a full and successful role in the daily life of UCL Library Services.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)