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“Global popularity proves Open Access is the future” says UCL Press as it hits one million book downloads milestone

Alison Fox23 May 2018

UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access University Press, has announced that one million copies of its books have been downloaded around the world.

The announcement comes as the publisher celebrates its third anniversary since launching in 2015.

Its academic books – which feature monographs, edited collections and textbooks – have reached readers in 222 of a possible 223 countries and territories, giving readers in nations as far afield as North Korea and Haiti access to important academic research.

While traditionally published scholarly monographs sell an average of 250 copies per title, UCL Press’s Open Access monographs are downloaded free-of-charge approximately 12,500 times per title. This provides unequivocal evidence that publishing academic content via Open Access is the most effective way to reach a wider, more diverse and global audience.

The most popular title in the UCL Press list to date is How the World Changed Social Media by UCL Professor of Anthropology Daniel Miller and a collective of eight other esteemed global anthropologists.

The first title in the hugely popular 11-book Why We Post series has been downloaded an astonishing 227,336 times since it was published by UCL Press in early 2016.

Professor Margot Finn, Chair in Modern British History at UCL, and published UCL Press author, commented: “Our East India Company at Home volume was co-produced by academics, museum and heritage professionals and independent historians, and making the book open-access is essential to our dissemination plans. It’s a delight in this context to see that the book has already been downloaded in Algeria, Argentina and Azerbaijan as well as China, India and Japan.”

UCL Press’s pioneering publishing programme spans many of the major academic disciplines, from history to philosophy and the sciences to anthropology.

It has published 80 titles and launched eight journals since its inception, doubling its year-on-year output of scholarly monographs with the introduction of 31 new titles last year and expanding its staff head count to six.

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost at UCL Library Services, said: “Institutional Open Access publishing is transformative, being a completely new model of how universities engage with readers and with Society. In the fifteenth century, the invention of moveable type printing in the West transformed Europe. In the twenty-first century, Open Access publishing can do the same.”

Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press, stated: “We are delighted to have reached one million downloads and this achievement is testament to the vision and support of UCL’s senior management, the hard work and commitment of the UCL Press team, and above all to the authors who have chosen to publish their wonderful books with us. This milestone shows the power and potential of Open Access publishing and the global popularity of our books proves OA is the future.”

Knowledge Quarter Community Champions launch

Benjamin Meunier1 May 2018

On Monday 30/04, I attended the launch of the Knowledge Quarter Community Champions scheme. The Knowledge Quarter is a partnership of over 85 academic, cultural, scientific and media organisations located in a 1-mile radius around King’s Cross and Bloomsbury. Partners include the British Museum, University of the Arts London, Google, the British Library and UCL.
For more information on the Knowledge Quarter (KQ), see www.knowledgequarter.London

The Community Champions project is a series of events designed to bring KQ partners together with local charities and community groups, in order to encourage KQ partners to develop collaborative projects around the themes of youth, employability, environment and wellbeing.

Jodie Eastwood (Chief Executive, Knowledge Quarter) emphasised the number and importance of libraries in the Knowledge Quarter. One of the major objectives of the KQ is to facilitate more sharing of our resources and collections with the local community. Dr Grace Sims (Outreach Development Manager, Royal Veterinary College and Chair of the Knowledge Quarter Community Engagement Sub Group) outlined the details of these aspirations, to increase the participation of communities with KQ partners like UCL. The scheme is about sharing knowledge of existing programmes between partners, and identifying potential areas for collaboration. The Library Leadership Team are currently collating stories that show how our teams make a contribution to the UCL London Strategy – how UCL Library Services makes “a tangible difference to London’s people, economy, communities and culture”. I have already received some great examples of work with schools and communities in Camden and hope to share this more widely once we the various activities underway have been fed back in the coming week.

Based on the main areas where programmes are already happening, KQ has identified 4 categories: Youth (which covers work with secondary, primary, early years, family), Wellbeing (physical and mental), Employability, Environment.

One of the presentations of early “success stories” was a collaboration between the Recovery College, part of Camden & Islington NHS Trust, and Kings Place Music Foundation. The Recovery College provides courses designed to contribute towards wellbeing and recovery, allowing students to share their experience of mental health or physical health challenges and teach on the courses, with the intention of inspiring hope and embodying the principles of recovery. The speakers emphasised how being able to hold events at Kings Place allowed students to socialise and normalise mental health experiences in a welcoming non-clinical space. This has proven very beneficial to the students of the Recovery College. Wellbeing courses at the Recovery College are open to all, including staff in the KQ partners. For further details see: https://www.candi.nhs.uk/services/recovery-college

Presentations also illustrated how the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) set up a homework club with the Bengali Workers Association (BWA), supporting pupils aged 6-16 (mainly 9-10). This has proven hugely popular with the BWA. The RVC initially offered vet-related activity sessions (e.g. specimen handling in lab coats) but transitioned to support for Maths, English, Science in line with parents’ expectations and demands. The homework club still has a link to the RVC, for instance, narrating the stories of animals or counting different types of animals or bones…


The slides and delegate information pack from the launch event have been uploaded to the Knowledge Quarter website here. If you would like to find out more or get involved in the Knowledge Quarter activities, you can:

  • sign up for the newsletter to be kept informed about the latest Knowledge Quarter news and events. You can sign up on the KQ website.
  • sign up to the Knowledge Bank, where KQ are trying to encourage people to connect with one another based on skills they want to share or want to learn about.
  • attend future events, subject to line manager approval. KQ have a great line up planned for 2018 including private views at the British Library (May 9) and the British Museum (May 18). All of these events are run for free with the aim of encouraging mutual trust and understanding between KQ institutions.

International Women’s Day events at UCL

Kate Cheney8 March 2018

Today is International Women’s Day – see below for a free programme of events supported by the UCL Institute for Women’s Health.

In 2018 we are also marking 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, 1918 first saw certain women winning the right to vote. The new exhibition in the Main Library, Dangers and Delusions’? Perspectives on the women’s suffrage movement is part of the UCL Vote 100 celebrations taking place throughout the year.

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris22 February 2018

The National Archives at 40

Yesterday,  I attended an evening reception at The National Archives (TNA) in Kew to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its new building. In addition, the CEO Jeff James noted that 2018 marks the 180th anniversary of the foundation of a precursor organisation, the Public Record Office, by Sir Henry Cole. Henry Cole also initiated the practice of sending commercial Christmas cards by post, so he has a lot to answer for. Cole was quite an innovator and clearly his day job gave him plenty of time to pursue other ideas and activities, as his entry in Wikipedia, which can be found here, makes clear.

As with all cultural organisations, the TNA is re-inventing its role in terms of how its spaces are configured and how it engages with the general public. Redevelopment of the TNA spaces, with bookable conference facilities, are already in evidence. I was reminded by TNA staff that the UCL Cruciform Hub has had quite an impact on the thinking of the TNA in how to configure public spaces. The TNA are extremely impressed by the UCL model for learning spaces, which is being implemented across the UCL family of libraries.

The formal part of the evening consisted of a number of short talks in the new Conference facility. Those of you with long memories (including me) will remember when Blue Peter on BBC1 was compulsive viewing for children and, surprisingly, a Blue Peter video formed the centrepiece of the presentations.

The video showed two of the Blue Peter presenters (those with long memories will recognise the main presenter) summoning up papers about the history of Halifax. I must have seen this programme when I was much younger, but I cannot remember it. Amazing to see how times have changed… The presenter in question arrived at the TNA and was told by Security at the desk, ‘Do you have a pencil?’. On being told ‘No’, the Security Officer  said, ‘Well you can’t come in without a pencil. Look, we can sell you one’ – 11d, I think, was the unit cost of TNA pencils. To emphasise the fact that times have now changed, the TNA demonstrated a 3D printer (unit cost £3,000) which was printing 3D replicas of seals which are attached to medieval and early modern TNA documents.

UCL of course currently has part of its Special Collections stored at the TNA, and we have our own dedicated Reading Room there. The TNA are good friends and we value our partnership with them whilst we plan exciting futures for our own Special Collections.

Paul Ayris


UCL Library Services

Doing Outreach: ‘Telling Tales of Independence’ at the Bloomsbury Festival

utnvsap23 January 2018

Photography: Christian Fisher, Bloomsbury Festival 2017

To some ‘Doing Outreach’ might sound more like a points-winner in Strictly Come Dancing than a legitimate pursuit for an academic institution, yet it is not only legitimate but essential to what we do. Outreach is the means by which we share with our community and the wider world what we teach, what we research and, of particular relevance to us in UCL Library Services, the treasures we care for.  It is relevant to everyone, regardless of their role in the university, as it not only demonstrates our value but also gives us the opportunity to bring together people who previously shared nothing but curiosity, but might go on to solve problems and create new knowledge.

So for anyone who has ever considered putting a toe in the Outreach water but has yet to go further, here is a brief insider view of a recent event.

The Bloomsbury Festival is an annual enterprise:

“a five-day celebration of the area’s pioneering creativity. Presenting an inspiring programme of arts, science, literature, performance, discussion and reflection, each October the Festival shines a light on the radical imaginations, institutions, and 11,000 residents that shape contemporary Bloomsbury.”

UCL has supported the Festival since it began in 2006, and for the second time was the Saturday Hub, bringing together most of the festival events for that day on the main UCL campus. The stalls were a mixture of UCL research-focused presentations and outside businesses, with street food, music and dance provided by the Festival organisers. Traditionally the Festival has a theme – a broad concept such as ‘Light’ or ‘Language’ or (for this year) ‘Independence’. This gives a useful focus for planning an event, but is sufficiently flexible to encompass many interpretations.

Like many outreach projects, our event (Telling Tales of Independence) developed somewhat organically and we finally focused on aspects of the personal independence made possible through reading, creativity and performance. Sam Duncan, IOE Senior Lecturer in Adult Education and Literacies, discussed her Reading Aloud in Britain Today research with visitors, and invited them to contribute to her data collection by completing surveys or signing up for interviews. Theo Bryer, (Lecturer in IOE’s Culture, Communication and Media Department) and Rebecca Wilson (IOE ICT Teaching Support Analyst), both recently returned from introducing ‘agile film making’ with iPads in a variety of schools in India, presented some of the films and a poster explaining the project.  For younger visitors, performer Laura Mitchison (of community interest company On the Record) read aloud from story books from the IOE Curriculum Resources Collection, and children (and in more than a few cases grownups) were able to explore their creativity by making puppets and designing for them superpowers or award-winning talents.

The weather, a crucial factor in outreach endeavours such as the Bloomsbury Festival, was not kind and led to last minute changes in the positioning of stalls and performances. Even so 3790 visitors came through the Gower Street gates of the UCL campus, and another 1242 came to the Institute of Making. There were 30 stalls set up in and around the North and South Cloisters, and 26 performances took place during the day.

So what did we learn about Doing Outreach from our Telling Tales of Independence experience? Here are a few of the many lessons:

  1. Prepare to be flexible. One of the excitements (and challenges) of one-off outreach events such as Telling Tales of Independence is the unknown. You have to be prepared to throw your best-laid plans to the wind, and do what works when circumstances dictate. Our planned story times, for example became ‘stories on demand’ when we realized that arrangement was more suited to the flow of visitors.
  2. Being part of a large mixed event rather than an individual one might take you out of your comfort zone if you like familiar surroundings and control over arrangements, but it will bring in more visitors, have wider reach, and enable you to meet fellow ‘outreachers’.
  3. 11am to 5pm feels a lot more than 6 hours when you are presenting an outreach event. Arrange for reinforcements for the later part of the day if possible.

And what did we feel we achieved? Well based on the conversations held, the surveys completed, the puppets created and the stories enjoyed, it seemed visitors appreciated and engaged. We hope they left with a better understanding of what UCL is about and enthusiasm for the possibilities presented. Introductions were made – with UCL colleagues, with visitors, with perhaps potential students – that might one day lead to something that would not have happened if we had not ‘outreached’. So on reflection, a worthwhile day’s work.

History Day

Kieron L Jones25 October 2017

Spooky and one hopes eminently informative goings-on will be taking place at History Day on Halloween this year.  Starting at 10:00 and finishing at 16:00 on Tuesday 31st October, the event is based at Senate House.  Along with research clinics and panel sessions on digital history, public history and discovery in libraries and archives, we will have an expanded open history fair showcasing a veritable plethora of libraries, archives and organisations.  Naturally, UCL Library Services will be represented, with colleagues from Special Collections, the Institute of Education, Huguenot and SSEES libraries staffing our stands, with the latter certainly getting into the swing of celebrating “all that is scary, eerie and magical in libraries and archives”.

Please alert anyone you feel may benefit from attending.  The intended audience is really postgraduate students and early career researchers, however, undergraduates and many others with a general interest in history should certainly find the day illuminating and may make some useful contacts.  Registration is necessary via book my free ticket.

Participating organisations: Archives Hub, Jisc; Archives Portal Europe; Black Cultural Archives; US History collections at the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford; British Library; British Records Association; Brunel University Special Collections; Business Archives Council; CILIP Library & Information History Group; CILIP Local Studies Group; Caird Library and Archive, National Maritime Museum; Conway Hall; Dana Research Centre and Library, Science Museum; Engineering Institutions’ Librarians Group; The Feminist Library; FLA: the Feminist and Women’s Libraries and Archives Network; Geological Society Library; German Historical Institute Library; Gladstone’s Library; Goldsmiths University of London (Special Collections); Guildhall Library; Heinz Archive and Library, National Portrait Gallery; Historic England Archive & Library; History of Parliament; History UK; Institute of Historical Research Library; King’s College London Library Services; The King’s Fund, Information & Knowledge Services; Lambeth Palace Library; Library of the Society of Friends; Lindley Library, Royal Horticultural Society; The Linnean Society of London; London Metropolitan Archives; LSE Library; The National Archives; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Royal Astronomical Society Library & Archives; Royal College of Nursing Library and Archives; Royal College of Physicians Library and Archives; Royal Holloway, University of London; The Royal Society, Collections; Senate House Library; SOAS Library; Society of Antiquaries Library and Collections; St Peter’s House Library, University of Brighton; The Stationers’ Company Archive; TUC Library Collections at London Metropolitan University; UCL Library Services; UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) Library; University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) – Archive Collections; University of Westminster Archives; The Warburg Institute Library; Wellcome Library

Higher Education Conference 2017: highlights

Benjamin Meunier17 October 2017

The annual Higher Education (HE) Conference took place last week at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in the shadow of Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. big ben scaffolding (2)I attended to learn more about how HE policy is changing, as both Brexit and the focus on student fees in the recent General Election are continuing to impact on the future of universities. There were a range of speakers, from HEFCE, universities, suppliers and experts in education. Below are some highlights from 2 key speeches by the Chief Executive of HEFCE (1) and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham on new ways of thinking about the role of universities as educators (2), as well as a summary of a panel discussion on life for universities after Brexit (3). I will post separately on a learning spaces workshop led by a US furniture supplier, based on their research and experiences of fitting out learning spaces.



1. Keynote Address, Prof Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of HEFCE

HEFCE is the body which currently funds and regulates universities and colleges in England; from next year it will be replaced by the Office for Students.

The Chief Executive of HEFCE set out 4 main themes:

  • Brexit
  • Industrial Strategy
  • Social Mobility
  • The Student Interest


  • Brexit concerns
    • Rights of EU staff and researchers
    • Relationships and partnerships with EU institutions
    • Funding

Prof Atkins indicated that whilst there are (many) challenges, there is also a significant “Brexit opportunity”, namely that the UK as a country, may be able to define an international strategy for research partnerships, which was not possible or practical eithin the EU. An early example perhaps was Jo Johnson, as Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, signing a £60m agreement with the US Department of Energy’s for the LBNF/DUNE neutrino programme in late September: http://news.fnal.gov/2017/09/uk-commits-88-million-lbnfdune-first-ever-umbrella-science-agreement-u-s/.

(Whether or not this agreement was helped by Brexit is open to question, but there is a sense that research institutions in the UK are thinking very seriously about which countries and institutions we wish to make or grow partnerships with.)


  • Industrial Strategy

Prof Atkins expected that the White Paper for the new Industrial Strategy was due around the time the Budget comes out on 22/11. The UK Government is determined that research, knowledge exchange and commercialisation undertaken by HE institutions (HEIs) should increasingly be linked and be seen to be linked to the priorities identified in the Industrial Strategy. She referred to a HEFCE-managed £100m boost provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for industrial priorities as well as an additional £100m capability fund to support university-to-university partnership for innovation.

Apprenticeships should be seen as part of this broad Industrial Strategy, with many apprenticeships being created in Engineering/STEM areas.

Advent of new T-level (Technical) qualifications coming alongside A-levels: Prof Atkins suggested that HEIs need to think about equivalence of qualifications, so that in due course a “climbing frame of opportunities” enables students to move from secondary education to Further Education into HE.


  • Social Mobility

Prof Atkins reiterated that social mobility is an absolute priority for the current government. She outlined how HEFCE has been supporting this, for instance through a collaborative outreach programme, working with 25 consortia with schools and local communities. This initiative is taking action at ward level, looking at school outcomes based on student results at 16.

The full impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and its use of student background data has yet to be determined. Prof Atkins speculated that this data being made public would shape how providers are perceived, in terms of the reality of widening participation. Future use of these data will become very important, helping to give much more sophisticated answers to “what works in social mobility?”.

Better information and better careers guidance for students is a priority for OfS.

HEFCE is looking to develop a toolkit for learning gain in curriculum (identifying metrics and effectiveness of curricula). HEFCE has agreed over £4m of investment in this area, expect OfS will continue with this investment. For more information, see HEFCE’s webpages dedicated to learning gain and current pilots.

Finally, Prof Atkins referred to the emphasis made by Nicola Dandrige, the incoming Chief Executive of the Office for Students (OfS) in a speech to the NUS on 09/10: “the OfS will be the champion of students and the taxpayer, not the friend of institutions.”

[See also this recent report from HEPI (August 2017): Where next for WP and fair access?, which was mentioned during the conference]


  • Student Interest

The traditional view of young 18-yo F/T student as the default model for universities is becoming increasingly obsolete.

Whilst the percentage of 18 year olds in education has been generally rising, there has been close to a 60% drop in Part-Time mature students; at the same time, in-house training is declining. Prof Atkins suggested that the sector needs to consider how the Apprenticeship levy can be used to support people in employment as part of CPD.


Opportunities and Challenges

  • Teaching excellence and student outcomes
  • REF 2021
  • Related initiatives


Teaching excellence and  Student outcomes

Sir Michael Barber, who will be Chair of the OfS, sees TEF as part of the “Golden Age” which he expects to introduce. For his full speech to Universities UK, see UUK’s website.

TEF structure retained for Year 3 TEF (specification published last week, on DfE website)

In order to gauge to progress of HEIs in preparing students for employment, LEO (Longitudinal Employment Outcomes Survey) will be used as a metric in the new TEF. ProfAtkins added that Subject-Level TEF is progressing: pilots are recruiting for panellists and assessors now. It will be rolled out across the UK in Year 5, i.e. 2019-20.


REF 2021

Prof Atkins described a number of decisions recently agreed by HEFCE:

  • Impact weighting goes up
  • Each area will include a member of the panel focused on multi-disciplinary research
  • Entries will be allowed to demonstrate how they support activity outside of the university
  • Impact in teaching will be allowed, including impact within the institution

HEFCE webinar and blog floated suggestion that portability of outputs could be resolved for 2021 by some double-counting as a transitional method, i.e. both originating and new institutions eligible to submit.


Joint Agendas: OfS and Research England responsibilities

  • Postgraduate
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Infrastructure funding
  • Health of disciplines
  • Sustaining the research base
  • Research degree awarding powers
  • Interface between TEF and REF


Related initiatives

  • Learning Gain Programme
  • Degree Apprenticeships
  • Institute of Technology
  • Expansion of medical places
  • Connecting Capability Fund
  • Research Partnership Investment Fund
  • Local Growth Academy programme (sending representatives to the next iteration of Academy programme, to address the need of HE institutions to work more closely with regions/sub-regions, NHS, etc.) to address precise regional needs in social mobility or industrial and skills needs


2. Should we be Educating just Brains or Whole People in HEIs, Sir Antony Seldon (VC, University of Buckingham)

New paper published on “The Positive University” [See also caveats on wonkhe: https://wonkhe.com/blogs/beware-of-the-positive-university/]. The University of Buckingham is regularly ranked as best in the UK for student satisfaction (in fact, it has been top or second every year since 2011 – see, for instance,

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/student-life/Studies/buckingham-university-named-best-in-the-uk-for-student-satisfaction-a7006276.html or https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/universities/top-5-uk-universities-for-student-satisfaction-2018/?entry=1)

Sir Antony, Vice-Chancellor at Buckingham, is also a contemporary historian, educationalist, commentator and political author. He makes 10 recommendations in his new book about transition between school and university. He described the 10 points in his talk, which was well presented, posed challenging questions to reflect on and was at times caustic towards leaders and managers in the HE sector, particularly around the need to speak out and act as a critical friend of government, rather than slavishly following policy. As noted above, some caveats have been raised against the moralistic aspects of positive psychology.

1) Need to ensure staff are contented, so that they can fulfil role in supporting mental health and pastoral care for students, as well as having fulfilling lives.

2) The VC of Buckingham questioned why there is a paradox currently, where British universities have never been more successful but public opinion on universities has never been so low

2) Universities are called “Higher Education Institutions”: too often, the focus on the “H” detracts from universities’ role as educators

3) What does “education” mean? to lead out / to draw out what is inside. HE has narrowed down intelligence to 2 of the 8 types of intelligence (see Howard Gardner, Harvard). Focus on linguistic and logical intelligence. Sir Antony argued that universities need to also develop emotional intelligence, social intelligence, cultural intelligence, kinaesthetic intelligence, moral intelligence, spiritual intelligence.

Not about teaching to the tests: schools that prioritise roundedness see their results increase. Those that prioritise results, see decline.

4) UK has extraordinary universities but need real leadership to help them grow and thrive. Universities are narrow. Universities are mainly driven for academics; academic subjects need to be re-booted to their radical roots.

5) Rebellion about universities; government is coming in and insisting on the TEF. In critiquing TEF, Sir Antony contended that it is mechanistic, not looking at learning, more focused on teaching, little learning from abroad, little learning from schools. Sir Antony recognised that there was a need to address education in universities, but does not believe TEF is the right approach.

6) VC pay case playing out over the summer was not persuasive for VC salaries; in contrast with other university staff pay

7) Subjects need to be re-oriented to radical roots, not shaped around academics’ career needs

8) All students should do volunteering

Everybody should be taught virtues: performance virtue (see Jubilee Centre for performance, Birmingham); Civic virtues, Moral. All students should be taught entrepreneurship. Everybody should be taught leadership.

9) The positive university. General mental health crisis response was to get more counsellors, but that is insufficient – need to also think about how to develop personal efficacy and resilience. Mindfulness is one way that we can learn.

10) The British HE sector is outstanding. Contribution of universities to local communities as well as to public perception of Britain abroad is boundless. Sector needs to lead more strongly, to be clearer on the benefits of our sector, since the public case is not being made. Positive psychology, about advocacy and making the case.

Antony Seldson panel

3. Maintaining International Collaboration after Brexit

Brenda McMahon (Global Head of Higher Education, British Council), Vivienne Stern (Director, Universities UK International), Conrad Bird (Director of the GREAT Britain Campaign, Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office)


Universities showing commitment to students in the aftermath of Brexit vote. GREAT Britain Campaign keen to support universities promoting to international students, e.g. via the embassy network.


UUK: “need to work harder”. Plenty of reasons for believing that we will retain access to some key partnerships, based on government rhetoric (frameworks for research, Erasmus +)

If cannot remain in EU frameworks, UUK are looking at how we can work with networks (scenario planning with EU counterparts)

The British Council is supporting and avocating for an “open Brexit” with movement permitted for staff and students


Conrad Bird: people who come into contact with a country (as a tourist, student, coming across culture in own country, etc.) are c. 30% more likely to invest in that country. There is a business case for attracting students into the UK.

UUK: there has been neglect in terms of developing commercial/innovation links with other countries. There will be more of this type of thinking. UUK have launched a blog campaign on “bringing innovation home” (600 words, write to Miranda.Thomas@international.ac.uk) describing benefits of universities’ international activity for local/UK firms.


How are Government addressing the risk of loss of EU research funding?

UUK: absolutely believe that belonging to framework is essential and irreplaceable. 7-year multi-lateral agreement provides stability for major international partnerships and also supports networking and benefits not just UK but also EU institutions.

UUK understand urgency; EU counterparts don’t really know whether UK partners can be included in bids. Theresa May said to the House of Commons on 09/10 that the UK wants to continue contributing to research programmes; commitment of intents. Conrad Bird (to the audience of university staff): “you’re doing very good work in this area and I think it’s being heard.”


Overall, the discussion illustrated that there is still a lot of uncertainty around Brexit (unsurprisingly) but the agencies and government departments involved are committed to ensuring that the HE sector in the UK is maintained as a world-leading area. There was no guarantee, nor indeed any real news, about Brexit at the conference, and I will update you as and when there are any developments. I referenced the UUK “bringing innovation home” blog above, in case it is of interest to colleagues (within the Library or UCL more widely).

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris30 August 2017

The Library as a leader in cultural change across UCL

As we start a new academic year, I want to lay out some of the tasks that I have been asked to take on as Pro-Vice-Provost in UCL Library Services. These are objectives which are additional to those in the Library Strategy and to my role as head of UCL Library Services. The theme of all these objectives is ‘The Library as leader across the institution and beyond’.

Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Kitchens, Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Open Science

Open Science is the process by which ‘Open’ approaches to undertaking research, education and outreach are embedded in the daily work of academic and academic support staff. I have been asked to lead on a number of policy developments: revision of the UCL Research Data Policy and construction of a new UCL Bibliometrics Policy. I look forward to working with Library colleagues, particularly with those involved in open access, research data management, bibliometrics, academic liaison and public engagement/outreach across UCL.

I have also been asked to study the reporting of trials data (especially clinical trials) and, particularly, negative results. In conventional publishing, it would be unusual to report negative findings, but the underlying data may well be of importance to further research. So ‘Open’ approaches encourage the publication of negative results. I look forward to working with colleagues in UCL Press and those involved in academic liaison to take this forward. And, finally, the Library has been asked to lead on the organisation of a half-day Open Science Workshop for UCL in Term 2.

Collections and Culture

In terms of Collections and Culture, UCL hopes to continue discussions in the University of London regarding collaborative activity over Rare Books, Manuscripts and Archives.

Great Hall, Burghley House

Great Hall, Burghley House, Lincolnshire

I will be pressing ahead with these discussions. I also hope to work with colleagues in UCL Culture to identify further modes of collaboration and joint working. Of course, in terms of digital collecting the Library has one of the best digital library offerings of any university in the UK. We will continue to develop this, with a particular emphasis on e-book offerings. In 2016/17, ReadingLists@UCL achieved a remarkable target – 65% of all courses present in Portico had an online Reading List. This is a great achievement, but of course going forwards we want to do even better.

Open Access publishing

In UCL Press, we have the first open access University Press in the UK. We now want to develop the Press’s offering and we plan to do this in two ways. First, we want to re-invent the concept of a journal in the digital age, and in 2017/18 we will be developing an Open journals platform to allow UCL academics and others to construct their own peer reviewed journals. Second, we want to re-invent the textbook for an Open, digital age. In this regard, we have already initiated a call for UCL textbooks and we hope to build on the submissions to create a new mode of delivery for textbook materials. We also intend to further develop our links and collaborative working with the UCL IOE Press.

UK Scholarly Communications Licence

And finally, I have been asked to lead in UCL on consideration of the UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UKSCL). Indeed, I chair the national UKSCL Steering Group.

Via this licence, if adopted, each staff member would grant to UCL a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to make manuscripts of his or her scholarly articles publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial v4 (CC BY NC) licence. The benefits of adopting this licence are significant, the main ones being that

  • academics submitting to REF 2021 can more easily comply with REF’s Open Access requirements
  • a complete record of the full-text of academics’ publications is available
  • research outputs can be used more easily in taught course programmes

The licence is based on a similar development at Harvard University and Princeton University has recently adopted a similar position. Discussions with publishers about the implementation of the licence are ongoing. I look forward to working with our copyright and open access teams in the Library as well as with all colleagues engaged in academic liaison to take this debate to academic colleagues.

The role of Pro-Vice-Provost in the Library is a recognition of the immense contribution that the whole Library makes to the corporate life of UCL in offering leadership and secure learning environments and services. The areas outlined above are ones on which I will be concentrating in the coming months, alongside the day-to-day running of the family of libraries in UCL Library Services. I look forward to many interactions with colleagues as we take this ambitious agenda forward.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)


Bobby and Stillman Exhibition

Matthew Rains7 July 2017










The Main and Science Library Customer Service Team are pleased to announce an exhibition by two artists which will run in the Science Library during the summer. Crispin Hughes and Susi Arnott have been collaborating with Swedish mathematician Sofia Olhede (UCL Big Data Institute) on inter-tidal spaces and fluid dynamics – particularly in relation to the concept of movement passing a fixed point and movement observed from a device that moves while observing phenomena. These two perspectives are called ‘Eulerian’ and ‘Lagrangian’ approaches respectively.


Sofia introduced Crispin and Susi to these frames of reference and, inspired by this concept, they produced simultaneous image sequences and sound recordings during a tidal cycle in central London, from two perspectives that were close together, and observing each other. ‘Bobby’, a timelapse camera and stereo audio recorder, limited only by its tether, could float free on the rising water, while ‘Stillman’, a second set of camera and sound apparatus, was fixed. Different analyses of the resultant data sets were then juxtaposed on screen. The effect is extremely beautiful and encapsulates the way in which art and science intersect to produce a satisfying aesthetic experience.

The exhibition, scheduled to run from late July until mid-September in the Science Library Cafe, will consist of two simultaneous timelapse recordings of a full, un-edited tidal cycle in central London projected on a loop onto a large screen. The images are accompanied by an audio feed that may be listened to on headphones. There will also be a companion installation in the Science Library Learning Laboratory showing timelapse recordings from various vantage points on The Thames which students and visitors can observe at leisure – the results are extremely hypnotic and relaxing – and we hope to invite some guest speakers along to discuss their work in this field a little later on.

Jason Hobart and Matthew Rains

Screening of The White Helmets & panel discussion

Kieron L Jones24 May 2017

WhiteHelmetsYou are hereby cordially invited to the following event, organised by Library Services and UCL’s Refuge in a Moving World Network:

Thursday 1st June 2017, 17:00-18:15
Archaeology G6 Lecture Theatre

Synopsis: A Netflix original short documentary, set in Aleppo, Syria and Turkey in early 2016. As the violence intensifies, The White Helmets follows three volunteer rescue workers as they put everything on the line to save civilians affected by the war, all the while wracked with worry about the safety of their own loved ones. Moving and inspiring, The White Helmets (winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short) is both a snapshot of the harrowing realities of life for ordinary Syrians who remain in the country, and a humbling portrait of the power of the human spirit.

After the screening, a multidisciplinary panel discussion will reflect upon the issues raised, future of the region and human rights abuses within countries following the onset of civil war.

The event is free but you do have to book a seat.