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

Alison Fox14 October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

UCL Press exceeds five million book downloads

Alison Fox11 October 2021

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

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

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

New UCL Press book hits national (and international) headlines

Alison Fox11 May 2021

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

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

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

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

Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

Paul Ayris13 June 2019

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

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

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

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

Successes

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

Challenges and how UCL can help  

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

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

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Research Data Repository launch 5 June

t.johnson17 May 2019

UCL is set to launch its new Research Data Repository. This service enables UCL researchers to publish research datasets, make them discoverable and citable, meet funder requirements and store data long-term.  Preserving and sharing digital assets are FAIR data principles – key components of research replicability and open scholarship.

UCL Research Data RepositoryRegister to join us on Wednesday 5 June 5 – 7pm and find out more about the Repository.

Institute of Education, W3.01 IOE, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL  View Map

This event, introduced by Paul Ayris (Pro-VP-UCL Library Services), will include an update on on Open Science developments at UCL, a live repository demonstration and the opportunity to ask questions.

More about the UCL Research Data Repository from the Research Data Management team:

Get involved in reproducible research

Library blogposts on open science and research reproducibility:

 

 

UCL Open Science Day 23 May – Join us

t.johnson14 May 2019

All staff and students – UCL and external – are welcome to attend the UCL Open Science Day on 23 May at the IOL.  This is a free workshop on developing open scholarship at UCL.

Thursday 23 May 2019 9.30 – 4pm

This event is now fully booked.  Read more about the Open Science Day 2019  programme and speakers.

Logan Hall, Institute of Education (IOE), 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL  View Map

Blogposts on Open Science and Open Scholarship:

This blog was updated 22 May.

UCL’s innovative open access megajournal starts taking submissions

Alison Fox31 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.

Better Science Through Better Data 2018 – Springer Nature in partnership with The Wellcome Trust (Wednesday,14th of November 2018)

Ruth Wainman19 November 2018

This year marked the fifth year that Springer Nature has hosted the annual Better Science through Better Data conference. The proceedings this year were held at the Natural History Museum – an appropriate venue for discussion about open science considering the museum employs around 300 scientists. The talk was kick-started with a welcome from the Head of Data Publishing at Springer Nature – Iain Hrynaszkiewicz – who introduced the key themes for the conference on ‘making data useable’ and creating ‘accessible and reproducible research’. This was swiftly followed by a presentation from Rebecca Boyles advocating the role of the data generalist through a potted life history of her professional journey into science. Data is becoming such a highly valuable resource that it is now even overtaking oil as the world’s most valuable resource. For Boyles, the rise of the data generalist clearly signals a catalyst for change in the sector. Next Maria Teperek from TU Delft turned the discussion towards FAIR data principles and the challenges involved in managing research data.  At TU Delft, part of these challenges are being addressed by the creation of designated data stewards who provide subject-specific support in research data management across the university. Teperek, however, was keen to remind the audience that data stewards are consultants and not police as their main role is to help improve the culture of research. Publishers too have a role to play in helping achieve FAIR principles by enabling researchers to share their data. But still the main obstacle to data management and sharing, at least for Teperek, remain cultural rather than technological.

A series of lightning talks dominated the latter part of the conference. Sophie Adler from UCL gave a talk on how sharing protocols have facilitated the detection of epilepsy lesions. Others highlighted themes such as achieving FAIR data in practice through the development of a web platform (Aliaksandr Yakutovich), the difficulties of gaining consent for data archiving (Jane Seymour) and the pitfalls of achieving open science when the very idea of openness can be called into dispute (Alastair Rae). The lightning talks were followed by further keynote talks from the perspective of those working in publishing and journalism. Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief of Nature, emphasised the role that publishers play in helping researchers to share their data by pointing to the fact that 60% of Springer Nature journals have now adopted a research data policy. John Burn-Murdoch from the Financial Times turned the audience’s attention towards the visualisation of data by providing some useful tips on how to get the most out of reporting statistical research. For Burn-Murdoch, data visualisation is first and foremost about communication and that perhaps most importantly we should always try to aim for meaningful visualisation. The panel discussion that followed gathered together speakers from different roles across the domain of scientific research including funders, research fellows and professors to discuss the pros and cons of reproducible research. The discussion was facilitated by additional questions from the audience who had the opportunity to post questions as well as to vote for other audience member’s questions online. The panellists ended the day by providing a lively debate about reproducibility by raising questions as to whether all studies need to be reproduced and who gets the glory for it but also what reproducibility actually means.

The slides from the conference will shortly be made available online.

Harnessing FAIR Data Conference – QMUL, 3rd of September 2018

Ruth Wainman6 September 2018

On Monday (3rd of September), I attended the Harnessing FAIR Data conference held at Queen Mary in conjunction with UCL and the Science and Engineering South consortium. The event launched with an opening talk from Prof. Pam Thomas – the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick. Prof. Thomas spoke of her involvement in leading a task force on Open Research Data which will eventually culminate in a final report in early 2018. Whilst the details of the report are yet to be finalised, the talk raised pertinent questions about what will happen to the increasing amounts of openly available research data that the UK universities seek to generate. As one audience member pointed out, there is still a need for specialist software to process this data otherwise it will remain unusable to other researchers in the future. Questions are currently abound as to whether researchers’ data will form part of the REF submission but for the meantime, it will remain more of a gold standard. David Hartland followed by giving an overview of the Jisc funded FAIR data report and confirmed what many in the audience already largely suspected – the difficulties of what adherence to FAIR data principles means in practice.

Another lively talk was given by Dr. Peter Murray-Rust who provided a rallying cry to all researchers to get behind their readers. The fact remains that a vast amount of research can only be accessed via a pay wall. Murray-Rust made the point that closed access data kills especially in countries which do not readily have access to the latest scientific research. Plus, researchers face further problems trying to extract data from articles which continue to be blocked by publishers as a result of access restrictions. Other talks centred more on the individual projects that researchers ranging from doctoral to early career and established are undertaking. Prof. Paul Longley from UCL’s Consumer Data Research Centre provided another interesting discussion about big data analytics. Just think about how much data companies take from our loyalty cards as a way to understand our shopping habits and movements. But how can this be harnessed for the social good? Well, according to Prof. Longley, we might want to use this data to look at people’s mobility around the country. This was later followed by a wide range of researcher lightning talks about their uses of open data. Some disciplines like biology pose more difficulties than others, as Dr. Yannick Wurm from Queen Mary argued, because they are still considered a young data science.

The conference ended with a panel discussion chaired by Robert Kiley of the Wellcome Trust. The panel was interspersed by anecdotes from Dr. Paul Ayris and Prof. Henry Rzepa about their personal experiences of sharing data. Dr. Ayris felt very much that historians continue to be resistant to sharing data. Prof. Henry Rzepa also spoke of his work as a research chemist and how his research later become subject to scrutiny only to discover that there were two ways his results could be interpreted.

All in all, the conference provided enough food for thought about the opportunities and difficulties that lie ahead for making use of researchers’ data in both a FAIR and open way.

FORCE11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) 2018

Patrycja16 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.