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Library Buildings in Europe – new online database

Benjamin Meunier23 June 2020

The LIBER Architecture Group launched a new resource this week for librarians and architects around the world.

The Library Buildings in Europe website records examples of good and interesting library buildings throughout Europe; it is a benchmarking tool for all those involved in new or refurbished library building projects including librarians, architects or any other professionals.

The aim is to inspire and support anyone working on a library building project – a new building, an extension, a renovation, or a reworking of interior spaces. The wide variety of case studies will enable those involved in such projects to pick up on new trends, to share knowledge and experience, and to learn from, and make contact with, each other.

Buildings featured include the Student Centre and this year’s winner of the SCONUL Library Design Awards, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) Library.

Frankfurt Book Fair, October 2017

Alison Fox24 October 2017

Posted on behalf of Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager, UCL Press

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the oldest and largest book fair in the world. Founded in 1454, it has taken place regularly ever since, and it attracts more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and over 278,000 visitors annuallydownload(2016 figures). It has five separate halls each with several floors. The Fair has a dual purpose: for most international publishers it is a trade fair where they come to do business every year: to sell international rights, and meet with suppliers and other collaborators and colleagues, and that is what the first three days of the Fair are devoted to. For many of the German publishers, it is very much a Fair to promote their new books to the public, and visitors come at the weekend to see the displays of books and attend author presentations.

Each year there is a country of honour, and this year it was France. The Fair was opened by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron, demonstrating the importance of the Fair to international trade and culture. Every day on the German news there are reports from the Fair’s activities, showing the central place it holds ifbfn the country’s calendar.

This year was the first year that UCL Press exhibited. We had a small stand in Hall 4.2 where we were surrounded by other UK and European university presses, and other science publishers and small scholarly publishers. I attended for the first three days then Jaimee Biggins, UCL Press’s Managing Editor, came to look after the stand for the weekend and attend a Convention of International University Presses (see here for more).

I had over 25 meetings during the three days I was there, and among those I met were other university presses and other institutions with whom we have collaborative projects already happening or in development, such as Chicago and Cornell University Presses; other university presses for sharing of knowledge and information, such as Sydney University Press and Wits University Press; publishing associations with whom we are collaborating such as the Association of American University Presses, the Association of European University Presses and ALPSP; our existing suppliers and distributors such as NBN, OAPEN, JSTOR and Science Open; and potential new suppliers and collaborators.

Among the most interesting of this last category was a company called Baobab who distribute both print and ebooks to African university libraries. As an open access publisher with a mission to disseminate scholarly research around the globe, I was particularly keen to hear whether Baobab might be able to help UCL Press distribute its open access books to African university libraries. It turned out that Baobab has an existing service that distributes free ebooks on behalf of NGOs and aid agencies that UCL Press can take part in. Although OA books are made freely available online, ensuring that they reach targeted communities is not always easy since OA supply chains for monographs are not fully developed. So this new partnership is very encouraging and exciting, and it meets one of the key drivers of UCL’s global strategic objective of ‘increasing independent research capability around the world’ by making high-quality scholarly research freely available.

All in all it was a very worthwhile event for raising UCL Press’s profile, strengthening our existing relationships, and forging new ones, and we are already planning Frankfurt 2018!

The International Convention of University Presses

Alison Fox23 October 2017

Posted on behalf of Jaimee Biggins, Managing Editor, UCL Press

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest trade fair for books. It takes place in October every year. UCL Press had a stand at the Fair this year where we could showcase our books, and have meetings with other academic publishers and suppliers. While at the Fair, I attended the 5th International Convention of University Presses. The Convention featured about 100 representatives from more than 22 countries and each year it offers an opportunity to discuss new trends in international academic publishing. It is a great way to network with other university presses and those working in academic publishing and gain an international perspective.

The topic this year was ‘Translation: Unlocking New Worlds of Ideas’. The day focussed mainly on foreign language authors who want to be translated into English. The keynote ‘What factors determine the circulation of scholarly books in translation?’ by Gisèle Sapiro (Director of Research at the CNRS –The French National Center for Scientific Research) set the scene for the discussion. It sparked quite a debate especially around the funding for translation of scholarly works. Scholarly books are costly to translate and do not sell many copies, so there is quite a dependence on subsidies. Other sources of funding are international organisations and private foundations. Also interesting to note is the trend of scholars choosing to write in English so they will be read right away – this is sometimes at the sacrifice of publishing in their national language. There is also a certain pressure by publishers on academics to publish in English to gain access to the widest readership possible.

In the round table discussion there was a presentation of different translation grant programmes, with speakers from organisations in countries such as Canada, Germany, Norway and France all outlining funding programmes that support translation. It was interesting to hear about schemes to support authors by offering grants which cover the cost of translation and also expenses such as book launches and promotional activities. All of the programmes aimed to make academic books more visible through translations. The criteria for this funding varied – for example the Council for the Arts, Canada, base their funding on the impact, merit and feasibility of the project. Unfortunately it is a trend that there are many more applications received than grants available. Astrid Thorn Hillig from the Association of European University Presses said that university presses need to come together collectively to claim the importance of translations and support more translations.

The day ended with pitching of a number of projects for translation by various publishers. Each speaker had two minutes to pitch their potential project, offering a synopsis of the book, and the selling points which provide a case for it to be translated. All in all the day was a real eye-opener into the world of translation and was a great way to connect with international colleagues.

OPERAS – Open Access in the Scholarly Research Area through Scholarly Communication

Alison Fox18 July 2017


Posted on behalf of Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager, UCL Press

In June, I took part in the first meeting of all the members of a European consortium developing pan-European infrastructure and services for open access in the social sciences and humanities, led by the French organisation Open Edition. Partners from 22 organisations in 10 countries (Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the UK) gathered to discuss the progress of the project to date and next steps in development. UCL Press joined in March 2017 as one of eight core members of the consortium.

OPERAS already has two projects underway that have received significant funding from Horizon 2020. The first of these is OPERAS-D, a design study to address the long-term requirements for governance models, structures and scientific and technical concepts for future services that the infrastructure will provide. The second is HIRMEOS (High Integration of Research Monographs in the European Open Science Infrastructure), which focuses on the monograph as a significant mode of scholarly communication, and tackles the main obstacles preventing the full integration of publishing platforms supporting open access monographs. It will do this by improving five existing open access books platforms, enhancing their technical capacities and services, ensuring their interoperability and embedding them fully into the European Open Science Cloud.

OPERAS’ final goal is to clarify the landscape of Open Access book for libraries and funders through a certification service (DOAB – Directory of Open Access Books); to improve the accessibility and dissemination of research outputs in SSH through a single discovery service; and to increase the impact of multidisciplinary research on societal challenges through a single ‘research for society’ service. It will also provide communication and advocacy, training, R&D, development of business models, standardization of technologies, and adoption of best practices for open access.

OPERAS is now planning its next stages of development – its governance, business model, legal status, and operational development over the coming years, and UCL Press is looking forward to being more involved in the next stages. At the meeting its new work packages were launched, and UCL Press will be involved in the Business Models and Communications work packages. This highly ambitious project aims to address many of the challenges that currently hamper open access from becoming the standard practice for scholarly communication. By pooling resources and expertise from across Europe, OPERAS is developing a significant step forward on the path towards open access for all.

Find out more:

April to June titles from UCL Press

Alison Fox7 June 2017

We are delighted to announce the publication of 9 new open access books and 5 open access journal issues from UCL Press. Additionally, we are also delighted to provide information about a brand new student journal, Interscript, hosted on UCL’s student publishing platform.

New Books (April-June)

New Journals (April-June)

Student Journals Hosted by UCL Press (April-June)

  • Interscript: UCL Journal of Publishing (vol 1, issue 1). This journal is run by students of the MA publishing course, and hosted on UCL’s OJS platform. The students have also published an online magazine.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the UCL Press team with any questions or queries about UCL press or any of our titles.

OPERAS survey on usage of open scholarly communication in Europe

Alison Fox9 May 2017

The OPERAS consortium is launching a survey on the usage of open scholarly communication in Europe, in particular in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). The purpose of the survey is to identify current practices and services that should be developed or invented. It will serve as a basis for defining the future infrastructure of OPERAS.
The survey is aimed at  5 different audiences, all of whom are impacted by open access: publishers, researchers, libraries, funders and the general public. It will primarily collect information and suggestions  about common standards, good practices, new features and new integrated services.

Your participation would be welcomed- the links below are open until the 31 May 2017.

publishers : https://survey.openedition.org/index.php/468227
libraries : https://survey.openedition.org/index.php/212534
researchers : https://survey.openedition.org/index.php/831687
funders: https://survey.openedition.org/index.php/578782
general public : https://survey.openedition.org/index.php/214336

SSEES Library Green Group meets Global Citizenship Programme

Agnese Riva14 June 2016

On Thursday 2 June, the SSEES Library Green Group (aka Green Comrades) organised a screening of “Swamp Dialogues”, a documentary focusing on the people who live in the protected area of Romania’s Danube Delta, Europe’s second largest river delta (view trailer here). It is part of our Green Impact excellence project and was arranged in the context of UCL’s annual Green Impact competition, in collaboration with the UCL Global Citizenship programme, which offers a strand dedicated to the Danube. pic2

The screening was introduced by Eszter Tarsoly, Senior Teaching Fellow in Hungarian Language at SSEES and Course Leader on the UCL Global Citizenship Programme. It was followed by a discussion about the relationship between people living in protected areas and their environment, led by Sahil Nijhawan and Rafael Chiaravalloti, both PhD students at the UCL Department of Anthropology. The event was attended by about 60-70 people, and was rounded off by a Danubian food and drinks reception. It was well received as the positive feedback from students indicates.

“Genuine, funny and eye-opening, this film raised many questions about the Danube and those who have lived and worked there for generations.” (Rebecca Huseyin – for more feedback click here)

This academic year SSEES Library’s Green Group decided to participate in the Green Impact 2015-2016 competition with an Excellence Project for the first time. The team felt that a project is not only more engaging and inspiring to work on but also allows us to highlight the valuable resources the Library has to offer to our users and demonstrate the skills and knowledge of our Library staff.

There has been a growing interest in studying environmental concerns in the post-Soviet era. With SSEES Library’s geographical area focus in mind, we decided to hold a series of film screenings on environmental issues in Eastern Europe to support this new field of study and foster interest in the topic among different academic communities within UCL and the broader public. We identified a number of documentaries that address topics including human-environment interaction, energy sustainability and pollution in an Eastern European context.

Area expertise on the region has been a key factor in developing all the different aspects of our project. We conducted extensive research in relation to films as due to copyright issues we could screen only films which had not been commercially released. This made the task more challenging but also allowed us to present material never shown before in the UK. Our team’s diverse language and research skills helped us to browse websites to find initiatives dedicated to our topic and discover independent films. We relied mainly on green film festivals organised in East European countries, but we also browsed other sites in several languages and directly contacted directors and associations. Aiming to reach as many people as possible, we gained consent from the copyright holders to show the films to the public.

Liaising with other departments also contributed in an essential way to the success of the event. Our close relationship with the SSEES academic department allowed us to be included in the Global Citizenship Programme, and the initiative was praised by the team leader Eszter Tarsoly who thanked us for bringing such a special contribution to the module. Eszter’s introduction was insightful and concise and provided invaluable background information to better understand the film. Due to the nature of this documentary, we also decided to contact the Anthropology department where people welcomed our initiative and allowed us to find two students working on similar topics to lead a discussion after the film. Their talk was extremely thought-provoking and inspiring. pic1 The cooperation among these different realities proved to be enormously beneficial to all of us: our green group found amazing support for our event in terms of guests and visibility, the PhD students welcomed the opportunity to share their knowledge and develop their communication skills, and the Global Citizenship Programme was able to broaden its offer for its participants.

To complement the screening, we set up a temporary themed book display in SSEES Library, presenting library materials related to the Danube region and environmental issues in Central Eastern Europe generally.

During the summer vacation we will also prepare a Libguide dedicated to various resources on environmental issues in Easter Europe which will be available on our website.

In conclusion, we would like to highlight diversity as a key characteristic of our work environment that made the conception and realization of this project possible. We are a varied team comprising of people of different nationalities and with different interests, and each of us carries a bag of knowledge from different past experiences. This allowed us to contribute in different ways to the project and build up a complete, well rounded event.

Further screenings are planned for the new academic year 2016-2017, so look out for posters and announcements if you are interested in environmental issues in a cross-cultural context.

SSEES Library Green Group (Antje Brauer-Maxaeia, Agniya Dremach, Zuzana Pincikova, Agnese Riva, Suzana Tamamovic, Andrea Zsubori)

The Director’s View: LIBER 2015 ends in triumph for London

Paul Ayris28 June 2015

24-26 June 2015 saw the 44th LIBER Annual Conference take place in London, organised by Imperial College London, the University of London, UCL and the LSE. DSC09398

480+ attenders from all over Europe were present at the event, with visitors also from Canada, the USA and elsewhere. LIBER 2015 is the largest Conference in LIBER’s history. The theme of the Conference was Towards Open Science – a global movement which sees openness and sharing as crucial themes in the processes involved in research and education.

The two keynote speakers on Day 1 set the tone for the whole Conference. Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science UK, gave the opening keynote to a packed audience in Beveridge Hall, Senate House.DSC09189 What is a library in the 21st century? The role of a library is to communicate knowledge, and knowledge is power. New models of doing and publishing science will inevitably alter how results and supporting data are stored and disseminated. Sir Mark Walport discussed how libraries can work to maximise the distribution of knowledge, while protecting the intellectual property of its authors. For Sir Mark, electronic publication is a second Gutenberg moment. Science is not finished until communicated. For Sir Mark, librarians are visionaries who will help deliver the revolution which comes in the wake of the Open agenda.

Immediately after Sir Mark’s keynote, LIBER 2015 invited Dr Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of the Unit of ScieDSC09200nce Policy and Foresight, Directorate General RTD in the European Commission, to address the Conference. Jean-Claude analysed the findings of his Europe-wide consultation on Open Science. I had been privileged to be a keynote speaker for LERU (League of European Research Universities) at the consultation meeting in Leuven, Belgium. Jean-Claude highlighted that the two main features of the Open Science movement are Open Access to Publications and Research Data Management (with Open Data as a goal). UCL should feel pleased, as these are two areas which are strategic priorities and areas in which UCL Library Services is fully involved.

The 3 days of the Conference provided an unrivalled opportunity for delegates to hear first rate academic papers, and to take advantage of opportunities for networking and for developing new collaborations. Over 5000 tweets were sent to the #LIBER2015 hashtag, and the feedback from delegates on the success of the Conference has been uniformly positive. Over 60 colleagues from the four London organisers made a tremendous


contribution to the successful running of the Conference over the whole week. It has taken 2 years for the Local Organising Committee in London to organise the event, and the contribution of all who generously gave their time has been nothing short of outstanding.

The launch of UCL Press earlier in June forms part of UCL’s contribution to the Open Science agenda, as UCL Press is the UK’s first fully OA University Press. Timed with the LIBER Conference, Waterstones opposite UCL DSC09406has made a display of the first 3 launch titles from the Press for those customers who wish to buy paper copies – digital versions are freely available on the UCL Press website. All members of UCL Library Services can feel proud at the Library’s outstanding achievement in developing UCL Press as an OA press.

One of the Key Performance Areas of the new Library Strategy is Communication, Open Access and Outreach. LIBER 2015 has been a deep and meaningful contribution to this KPA. Open Science has Open Access at its heart. Communication and Outreach across the whole of Europe were at the heart of the academic presentations and the networking and collaborations at the LIBER Conference. LIBER 2015 was good for Europe and good for UCL, because it has enabled us to show the European library world what a fantastic library community we have built here.

All the presentations, and videos from the plenary sessions, will be available via the Conference Programme in the coming days.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services

Chair, Local Organising Committee in London, LIBER 2015

The Director’s View: Report to Library Committee (May 2015)

Paul Ayris14 June 2015

Oettinger meeting

UCL Library Committee meets three times a year – we had our most recent meeting on 4 June 2015. One of the regular items on Library Committee agendas is a report from the Director of Library Services on the Library’s performance against the new Library Services’ Strategy.

After discussion in the Library Services’ SMT, we have agreed that I will circulate this Report to the LibNet Blog after Library Committee meetings, so that all colleagues in UCL Library Services can see the recurrent status reports. Please look here for the Director’s Report May15.

The circulation of this Report marks the inauguration of a monthly Blog posting to this Blog called ‘The Director’s view’. In these regular Blog postings I hope to share with colleagues my personal views on current developments in UCL, and how the Library can support them. Given my personal interests in Open Science, Open Access and Research Data Management, I hope to use these Blog postings to share with colleagues news on current developments in these areas on a global scale.

I welcome comments on these Blog posts and will do my best to reply to colleagues, time and my diary permitting.

Paul Ayris

Director of UCL Library Services, UCL Copyright Officer and CEO of UCL Press

EU Copyright Reform: LIBER paper for Commissioner Günther Oettinger

Paul Ayris24 February 2015

Oettinger_meetingOn 19 February, I attended (representing UCL) a high level meeting with Commissioner Günther Oettinger in Brussels on copyright reform – arguing the case of a mandatory pan-European Exception for Text and Data Mining, which could not be overridden by contracts. To have such an Exception across Europe (we already have one in the UK) would revolutionize research and education and make Europe much more competitive. To find out why, read this report.