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UCL’s innovative open access megajournal starts taking submissions

AlisonFox31 January 2019

Posted on behalf of Ian Caswell, UCL Press Journals Manager

UCL Press has launched its new open access megajournal ‘UCL Open’ and will start accepting academic research submissions from today (January 31, 2019).

It is the first university megajournal providing an open access and transparent end to end publishing model, enabling research to be accessible to everyone.

It is being piloted with UCL Open: Environment which focuses on environment-related research and will include contributions from life and earth sciences, as well as medical, physical, population, engineering, and social sciences. The model is expected to be developed and rolled out across a broad range of multidisciplinary research subjects.

Dr Paul Ayris, CEO of UCL Press and Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services), said: “UCL believes that the future of academic and scholarly pursuit is best served by an open science agenda and fully open access publishing because knowledge should be accessible to all, regardless of location or financial means.

“By establishing UCL Press and bringing the publication and dissemination of knowledge back into the academy, UCL will stimulate disruptive thinking and challenge prevailing scholarly publishing models across and beyond the university itself. We want to transform the way new knowledge is shared openly and without barriers.”

UCL first announced that it would be launching a new open access megajournal in January 2018, signalling its continued commitment through UCL Press to providing academics and students with ground-breaking research free of charge in a move that challenges traditional commercial publishing models.

Powered by the ScienceOpen discovery and publication platform, the megajournal aims to showcase radical and critical thinking applied to real world problems that benefit humanity.

The megajournal will champion the open science/scholarship agenda by openly and transparently reviewing and publishing articles that generate new knowledge, ideas and new ways of thinking.

Articles will be judged on the merit and scientific validity (sound science/scholarship) of the work. The journal is inviting submissions from any grade of researcher at and beyond UCL, at all career stages, including early career researchers, professionals, and mid to late career scholars. Editors are welcoming research from all parts of the globe that particularly focus on inter- and multi-disciplinary research.

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), said: “UCL seeks to transform how knowledge is shared and applied to humanity’s problems. Only by sharing academic research as openly and widely as possible – with, for example, researchers, educators, students, policymakers, partners and members of the public – can its benefits to humanity be maximised. The traditional scholarly publication system is not fit for, nor does it intend to serve, this purpose.

“UCL Open is a further innovative step towards delivering our ambitions, building on UCL Press’s leading accomplishments in open access. Operating dually as an e-journal with a linked preprint server, accepted papers will first appear as open access preprints, then undergo Open Peer Review before the final article is published in the e-journal. In this way, the entire publishing process will be accessible, transparent, accountable, and faster.”

Stephanie Dawson, CEO of ScienceOpen, said: “Working with UCL Press to further develop the concept of the ‘megajournal’ within the context of an interactive discovery environment has been enriching for all. Drawing on the ScienceOpen infrastructure for preprints, open peer review and community curation, UCL Press is creating new ways to for scholars to interact with research results and rethinking the current publishing paradigm.”

Preprints are defined as scholarly articles that precede publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They speed the delivery and accessibility of academic research work and lead to faster reuse and collaboration by the research community.

UCL Open: Environment is now open and accepting new submissions. To read more about the megajournal, how it works and how to submit, as well as all its peer review and editorial policies, please visit ucl.scienceopen.com.

Annual convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES)

Wojciech AJanik13 December 2018

Last week I had an opportunity to attend the 2018 Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) in Boston, Massachusetts. ASEEES is the leading international organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Central Asia, the Caucasus, Russia, and Eastern Europe in regional and global contexts.

ASEEES convention.

It is one of the largest gathering of professionals (academics, librarians, publishers, etc.) working in the field of Eastern Europe and Eurasia in the world, so it was great opportunity to meet colleagues from a plethora of organisations, to exchange ideas, make new links, and discover new opportunities, and of course the right place to highlight our own work and achievements.

Round table The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity at the 50th Annual ASEEES convention.

The convention lasted four days and was filled with panels and meetings. I was able to attend a number of panels, ranging from “Russian Imperial Cultural Heritage Abroad: 1917-1945”, chaired by Edward Kasinec from Columbia University, to “Copyright and Related Rights: A Look at the State of Play in Publishing, Music Licensing, and Broadcast Media” chaired by Janice T. Pilch, a library colleague from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. I found the panels, and especially the discussions that followed, to be very useful and informative. I also attended a UCL SSEES and UCL Press related event: round table “The Global Encyclopedia of Informality: Towards Understanding of Social and Cultural Complexity”, which was chaired by Elena Denisova-Schmidt from the University of St. Gallen and attended by Predrag Cveticanin from the University of Nis, as well as Eric D. Gordy, Michal Murawski and Alena Ledeneva, all from UCL SSEES.

Finally I participated in the roundtable panel: “Leveraging E-resources to Foster Access for Libraries”. The panel was chaired by Angela Cannon from the Library of Congress and my roundtable partners were: Liladhar R. Pendse from the University of California, Berkeley, Zina Somova from East View Information Services and Gudrun Wirtz from the Bavarian State Library. Among other issues we discussed how scholars researching Eastern Europe are using new publishing technologies and initiatives to disseminate their output and to reach new audiences. I used this opportunity to highlight research output related to Slavonic and East European studies/themes that can be accessed via UCL Press or UCL Discovery. Finally, at the ASEEES Committee on Libraries and Information Resource Membership Meeting, I provided a summary report on behalf of the Council for Slavonic and East European Library and Information Services (COSEELIS) of which UCL SSEES Library is a part.

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library.

I also had an opportunity to visit the Widener Library, an important part of the Harvard College Libraries that is also home to Harvard’s Slavonic collections, where I met library colleagues working in the Slavonic section of the Widener Library.

The convention provided me with the opportunity to discuss some potential projects with colleagues. The project met with interest and offers of support from colleagues from Harvard Library, the Hoover Institute, the New York Public Library and the Bavarian State Library.

All in all I found my participation at the convention as very helpful and informative. Both the knowledge and professional contacts gained during the conference will be very useful in my work and future projects.

 

Boston. View from the Massachusetts Bridge.

UCL Press joins Association of University Presses

AlisonFox6 December 2018

We are delighted to announce that UCL Press has been accepted as regular members of the Association of University Presses (AUP),  joining more than 140 other university presses worldwide.

Formally established in 1937 as the Association of American University Presses, AUPresses is a community of publishing professionals and institutions committed to the highest calibre of research-based scholarship. AUPresses advocates for the fundamental role of scholarly publishing in achieving academic excellence and in cultivating and disseminating knowledge.

For more information on the work of AUPresses, visit http://www.aupresses.org.

FORCE11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) 2018

Patrycja ABarczynska16 August 2018

A couple of weeks ago I attended the second FORCE 11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) held at the University of California, San Diego – a week long training course with workshops led by experts in their fields. FSCI was attended by librarians, researchers, students, post docs, and administrators from all over the world. This presented an excellent opportunity to learn about scholarly communication practices and processes at institutions not only in the United States but also in countries like Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Nigeria, and Russia.

Participants of the FORCE 11 summer camp selected three courses from an extensive course list. All classes were very intensive, run in form of workshops and required high level of active participation and beforehand preparation from attendees. Morning classes ran through the whole week, afternoon ones took place over two days; this allowed for in-depth learning experience, and gave an opportunity for stimulating discussions. Evening activities included a slideshow karaoke (which was fun!), do-a-thon (a work-sprint where people with different skills work together on different projects), and a party at Scripps Institution of Oceanograhy that included Scripps Pier tours and famous fish tacos.

FORCE11 Scholarly Communications Institute at the University of California, San Diego

My morning classes, Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle, were expertly and entertainingly led by Natasha Simmons from Australian National Data Service (ANDS). The sessions were based on the 23 (research data) Things programme developed by ANDS, with guest speakers that introduced specific topics related to data managment. The classes provided us with an opportunity to work with data managment plans, create metadata for existing datasets (which proved more difficult than we all thought!), and of course stimulated many discussions.

We discussed licensing, the approaches to signing the commitment and FAIR data assessment tool, and how the research data lifecycle offers a framework for assisting with how to understand research processes. The highlight of the course was the open data debate, in which we argued for and against making your research data openly available. The classes helped me understand the issues and challanges around making research data open, and the nuances involved in the processes and licensing.

Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle

My first afternoon class, held on Monday and Tuesday, was on the Open Science experience in Latin America and the Carribean, and was taught by a group of librarians and researchers from Argetnina, Canada, Chile, and United States. We learnt about the long history of Open Science in Latin America and the Carribean, and discussed national laws in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru that seek to make scientific knowledge produced with public funds openly available. The instructors also highlighted regional projects such as Scielo and redalyc.org that have played an important role in making open access the most established communication model in the region.

Open South: The Open Science Experience in Latin America and the Caribbean

Micah Vandegrift, Open Knowledge Librarian at North Carolina State University and Samantha Wallace, PhD candidate in English at University of Virginia led my Wednesday – Thursday workshop on Public Humanities as Scholarly Communication. The class turned into a thought provoking discussion on nature of humanities, and the public. It made me reflect on the role of the public in public humanities, and how public is intrinsic to humanities; engaging public and communities should be a natural part of academic investigation.

Open South: The Open Science Experience in Latin America and the Caribbean

Discussions in and outside of classes were inspiring, as is meeting people who are passionate about increasing access to knowledge and learning about the practices that differ from your own. The level of workshops delivery was excellent; observing different styles of teaching and how instructors engage with their audiences made me develop new ideas for training sessions that I provide for UCL academics. I found this intensive and demanding course, converstations with instructors and attendess extremely stimulating. And all of this in sunny California, where you see hummingbirds on your way to the class, on a university campus half an hour from the beach.

La Jolla beach

Further details on the workshops, including links to materials, will be available on the Open Access blog next week.

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris13 August 2018

UCL Press takes top spot

JSTOR has just published a list of its most downloaded Open Access books. I am happy to report that UCL Press has published 3 of its 10 most downloaded titles, coming in as nos. 1, 2 and 4 in the JSTOR Top Ten List.

JSTOR is a highly selective digital library of academic content in many formats and disciplines. The collections include top peer-reviewed scholarly journals as well as respected literary journals, academic monographs, research reports from trusted institutes, and primary sources. JSTOR has tremendous market penetration worldwide, particularly in North America.

JSTOR houses (13/8/18) 3,091 Open Access books from 42 publishers. One of these publishers is, of course, UCL Press.

How the World Changed Social Media

The most downloaded book in JSTOR is reported here. This is Professor Danny Miller’s book on How the World Changed Social Media, published of course by UCL Press.

Looking at all platforms, where UCL Press books can be accessed, the following stats (up to May 2018) tell their own story:

UCL Press content has been downloaded 1,217,819 times. Downloads have now taken place in 225 countries.

Of the three titles appearing in the JSTOR top 10, these are the total number of downloads recorded by UCL Press from all platforms (to May 2018):

JSTOR no. 1: How the World Changed Social Media – 238,945 downloads from all platforms

JSTOR no. 2: Social Media in Industrial China – 60,707 downloads from all platforms

JSTOR no. 4: Social Media in an English Village – 50,134 downloads from all platforms

There is no doubt that Open Access monograph publishing is changing the way such information is authored, used and disseminated across the world. Under the current publishing model, sales of 200 print copies would be a good result. Open Access monograph publishing, where the default is digital and freely available as Open Access copy, is transformative. And UCL is leading the way.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

 

UCL Press announces first Publishing Services partnership with DCU

AlisonFox26 July 2018

Following the announcement by DCU of the launch of its open access university press (DCU news), the first open access university press in Ireland, UCL Press is delighted to announce that it will be providing publishing services to support DCU Press.

UCL Press started its consultancy and publishing services in late 2017 and has already provided consultancy to UTS Press (University of Technology Sydney), Helsinki University Press, TU Delft, Radboud University and DCU. DCU will be its first publishing services partner.

As a relatively new open access university press, UCL Press is in a unique position to help other universities establish a new press. Setting up an OA university press is a growing trend, and increasing awareness of the benefits of open access publishing, combined with national and funder requirements for open access in both Europe and the UK, have inspired several new open access presses in recent years.

One of the most important determinants of success for a new university press is to attract new authors and build a strong publishing programme, and DCU Press will now focus on establishing its new press and commissioning its first books and journals. UCL Press will work in the background to provide an end-to-end service, including guidance at the setting-up stage and with developing a publishing programme, a publishing platform, full editorial and production services, and open access and print distribution.

Christopher Pressler, University Librarian, DCU said, ‘DCU Press is a unique partnership in Irish universities between DCU’s libraries, research offices and faculties. It is a carefully considered response to change and a progression of the University’s heritage of innovation in open scholarship. Supported by a strong alliance and sound principles, Ireland’s first open access university press will ensure that Dublin City University continues to be at the vanguard of scholarly transformation. DCU and UCL share many of the same aims in terms of how universities must engage with the world and we are pleased to be working in partnership through UCL Press and DCU Press.’

Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice Provost for UCL Library Services and CEO of UCL Press said, ‘We are delighted to work with DCU to establish their new open access university press. DCU is an ambitious university that shares many of the same goals as UCL. UCL Press has demonstrated what it is possible to achieve with an open access press and is delighted to bring its skills and experience to help others such as DCU achieve their goals.’

Open Science at Utrecht University – Erasmus staff exchange

DanielVan Strien10 July 2018

I recently visited Utrecht University as part of an Erasmus Exchange exploring Open Science. The exchange was attended by staff working in libraries across Europe including Croatia, Finland, Malta, Austria, France and Latvia.  The exchange focused on Open Science support being delivered by Utrecht University as part of a national plan for open science.

Open Science in the Netherlands 

The programme was introduced in the context of ambitious plans in the Netherlands to pursue Open Science launched in a ‘National Plan open Science‘ launched in February 2017.

This plan includes focuses on three key areas;

  1. open access to publications which includes the ambitious aim ‘that publicly-funded scientific publications must be accessible to all by 2020’
  2. Making research data optimally available for reuse
  3. Recognition and rewards for researchers.

Open Science at Utrecht University

Utrecht University has developed local plans with the library playing a key role in supporting open science. The library spent time meeting with researchers to discuss how open science could be implemented within the university. This ensured researchers could outline their concerns and their own visions of open science. The chair of the project to implement the project is a researcher and will be supported by library colleagues. The library believed that this strategy of in-depth engagement which included meeting with 45 researchers/groups ensured that there was true buy-in from the research community when the project was launched.

The library has taken a distributed approach to work on Open Science with staff across the library taking ownership of particular areas of open science support. This approach has allowed the library to have a bigger impact than could be achieved by limiting open science support to one team and has made a broader range of support services possible.

Utrecht University Library

Utrecht University’s city centre Library

Areas of Open Science support

The schedule during the week included sessions on a range of topics:

Open access

This session introduced the work being done within the university and in particular focused on the coordinated work being carried out by Dutch universities to negotiate national deals with publishers for Hybrid Journals. These deals mean that researchers are able to publish without paying APCs themselves. Some publishers have helped this process by introducing workflows that make it easy for researchers to understand that they do not need to pay for an APC whilst also reducing the workload for the library in processing APCs.

The library also funds APCs for full Open Access journals but has set a maximum APC of a 100 Euros. This approach  – similar to that of other funding bodies including the Austrian Science Foundation – is intended to positively impact the market for APCs and push down the price. This type of policy was the topic of my Master’s dissertation so it was nice to revisit the topic and see how these approaches are currently being pursued by university libraries.

Research Data Management support 

Utrecht University has a policy on Research Data similar to that of UCL. Alongside helping develop and advocate for this policy the library provides training and support across the research data lifecycle including Data Management Planning and the publication of Research Data through various repositories.  A recent project by the library to build a pool of Data Managers based in the library but working on projects within the university was a particularly interesting approach to delivering practical support to projects in a sustainable way. This allows smaller projects who would struggle to hire a data manager themselves to get access to support as part of a funded project and also ensures that knowledge about systems, processes and policies are not lost at the end of a project when temporary staff leave.

Data Storage infrastructure at University of Utrecht and Research IT services

Utrecht University has also worked to develop IT Services to support research. This is still a relatively new area of support but has already resulted in some impressive projects. This includes YODA a platform that allows researchers to store, manage and share data on one platform. It leverages iRODS a data management technology which allows researchers or data managers to set rules for how data will be managed. YODA includes options to take snapshots to be archived at particular points in the project, options to share data with collaborators with a range of access permissions and to publish metadata or the full data through a repository. A major advantage of the platform is that it is also suitable for holding sensitive data. This means researchers don’t need to engage with different systems when they are working on projects that contain sensitive data and they can also easily publish metadata only records of projects to allow other researchers to request access to this data.

Digital Humanities support, Open Education Repository and other experiments by the library

The library is also experimenting in a number of other areas related to open science. This includes providing support for digital humanities projects, particularly by providing legal advice for text mining projects and facilitating access to materials. The library is currently launching an open education repository to support the dissemination of potentially reusable teaching materials. Utrecht University Library is also in the process of becoming an early example of a library without a catalogue. Instead, they have moved their collections to WorldCat this approach was taken in recognition of the fact that most researchers and students won’t necessarily begin searching for information through a university library catalogue.

Lessons learned

Attending this Erasmus Staff Exchange was a valuable learning experience, particularly in helping me think about how to link the Research Data Management support within the library to open science. Some of the lessons picked up on the exchange will feed into a course I run on open science and open notebooks.  The approach of developing a programme for a group of visitors meant that experiences of supporting open science could be exchanged between participants and it was particularly interesting to learn about how open science was being approached across different insitutions accross Europe. I hope that the Erasmus Exchange will continue to be available to people based in UK universities in the future and would encourage anyone interested to apply to the scheme. If you have questions about how it works I would be happy to answer them.

 

 

 

 

 

Join us for a Twitter debate: Open Access Books: The authors’ side of the story

AlisonFox21 June 2018

Hashtag: #OAauthors

Date: 27th June 2018 

Time: 14:00 – 15:00 BST

Open Access monograph publishing has been steadily gathering momentum over the last few years. Funder policies are being introduced to promote an increase in OA publishing, new OA publishers and university presses are being set up, and publishers around the world are escalating their OA output. As a result, scholarly content is now becoming readily accessible to an extremely diverse global audience, able to reach some of the most isolated and impoverished areas of the world.

Yet we rarely hear from academics and researchers about their experiences with publishing Open Access monographs. Why do authors choose to publish via OA? What are the main benefits they’ve witnessed? And how does publishing OA books and monographs differ from publishing traditionally?

In this compelling Twitter debate, host Alastair Horne will welcome a distinguished panel of academic authors from around the world and explore what it is like to publish their books via Open Access. Whether you are a researcher considering your publication options, a publisher wanting to know more about the academic’s perspective on OA, or an institution weighing up the pros and cons of OA publishing models, this session will provide a great insight into academic authors’ current attitudes towards OA.

Confirmed participants include:

  • Dr Paul Breen (University of Westminster), author of Developing Educators for The Digital Age (University of Westminster Press); @CharltonMen
  • Professor Owen Davies (University of Hertfordshire), author of Executing Magic in the Modern Era: Criminal Bodies and the Gallows in Popular Medicine (Palgrave); @odavies9
  • Professor Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster); author of Critical Theory of Communication (University of Westminster Press); @fuchschristian
  • Dr Haidy Geismar (UCL), author of Museum Object Lessons for the Digital Age (UCL Press); (@haidygeismar)
  • Professor Bob Sheil (UCL), editor of Fabricate (UCL Press); @bobsheil
  • Professor Laura Vaughan (UCL), editor of Suburban Urbanities: Suburbs and the Life of the High Street (UCL Press) and author of the forthcoming book Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography (UCL Press); @urban_formation

 

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

AlisonFox23 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.”

Pro-Vice-Provost’s view

PaulAyris9 March 2018

The role of libraries in Open Science

One of the new responsibilities of my role as Pro-Vice-Provost is to steer the introduction of Open Science principles and practices into UCL. Open Science is a European term, and it covers all academic disciplines, including Arts, Humanities and all the Social Sciences. In the UK, we would more easily talk about Open Scholarship.

Burghley House, Lincolnshire

Open Science is the movement to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible at all levels of an enquiring society (definition from the FOSTER project).

I am often asked what the role of libraries is in this new movement. So I have tried to answer this in a jointly-authored article which was first given as a Conference presentation in the 2017 LIBER Conference (Association of European Research Libraries), which took place in Patras in Greece:

Paul Ayris and Tiberius Ignat, ‘Defining the role of libraries in the Open Science landscape: a reflection on current European practice’, in De Gruyter’s Open Information Science, vol. 2 (1), at DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1515/opis-2018-0001.

The piece has lots of UCL examples and covers areas such as Open Access, Open Access publishing, Research Data Management, the European Open Science Cloud and Citizen Science. The paper ends by suggesting a 4-step test through which libraries can assess their engagement in Open Science.

Later this academic year, I am planning a 1-day Workshop on Open Science for academic and academic support colleagues across the whole of UCL. Please watch this space for more details, if you want to join us.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)