X Close

LibNet staff news

Home

Menu

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

 

Love Data Week 2018

DanielVan Strien12 February 2018

This week is the 3rd international Love Data Week. ‘Similar to Open Access Week, the purpose of the Love Data Week (LDW) event is to raise awareness and build a community to engage on topics related to research data management, sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services.’ Several Research Data Management teams from London universities have joined forces to run a series of data related events.

Most events are open to all UCL research staff and research students and library staff are also welcome to attend. During the Love Data Week we will also be publishing a number of data case studies on UCL’s Research Data Management Blog.

You can find an overview of the events below;

A full listing of events is available to share.

For any UCL-specific questions, please contact the UCL Research Data Support officers at lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

Text Mining: the role for libraries?

DanielVan Strien2 October 2017

Text Mining: the role for libraries?

Time: 14:00 – 16:30

Date: 23/11/2017

Location: Room 417, DMS Watson Science Library

Text mining – also known as Text Data Mining, Text analytics and Distant Reading – refers to a broad range of processes for extracting information from text. This includes visualization of a single text, finding patterns in large corpora and topic modelling.

Text Mining presents exciting opportunities for researchers across all disciplines.  The expanding volume of literature, the growing interdisciplinary nature of research and the ever-decreasing cost of computing power makes text mining an increasingly powerful tool for researchers. However, despite the potential benefits, the use of text mining in research is still limited.

There are a number of reasons for this; legal barriers, difficulty accessing materials and a lack of knowledge on potential tools and techniques are some of the major ones. Is there a role for libraries to play in overcoming these barriers?

The Research Data Management team have been working with colleagues from the library and Research IT services on a session exploring the potential role libraries could play in supporting Text Mining.

The session will provide:

– an introduction to (potential) uses of text mining in research (Daniel van Strien)

– an outline of some of the legal issues surrounding text mining (Chris Holland Copyright Support Officer at UCL)

– examples of some of the research being done using text mining approaches by UCL researchers in collaboration with Software Developers from Research IT services (Tom Couch, RITs and Raquel Alegre, Research Software Development Group)

The session will allow time for discussion around the potential role of libraries in supporting text mining and present some options for further activities.

If you would like to attend please send an email to d.strien@ucl.ac.uk

How can library staff support Research Data Management?

DanielVan Strien4 August 2017

The Research Data Management (RDM) team recently ran two training sessions on RDM aimed at library staff. The first of these sessions was aimed at subject liaison librarians. The second was organised by Angela Young as part of the series the Summer School and was primarily aimed at library staff working in biomedical libraries.

Both sessions aimed to provide an introduction (or reminder) of the aims behind RDM, the services available at UCL to support researchers and to discuss how library staff can support RDM. As part of our ongoing work to develop the services we offer to support researchers with RDM, we are trying to increase the amount of subject specific resources and guidance available. Different disciplines can have very different types of data, different approaches to working with data or a perception that they don’t work with data. Working with colleagues in the library who support researchers across the disciples represented at UCL should help us develop better support for researches.

As part of both of the sessions, we had a number of different exercises. One of the exercises involved mapping out the interactions library staff and services have with researchers at different stages of the research lifecycle. We asked participants to work in groups to discuss whether the lifecycles accurately reflected the research process and decide on their preferred model. We then asked participants to annotate their chosen lifecycle with points where they may have interactions with researchers.

lifecycleOne of the challenges for the RDM team is trying to engage researchers earlier in their research process so we can help advocate for good practices in storing and collecting data which in turn makes data sharing easier at the end of a project. Mapping out the lifecycles with colleagues from the library gave us useful insights into where potential opportunities may be available for RDM advocacy. During the sessions, we also discussed how existing activities carried out by library staff (training, open access advocacy, signposting, research support…) and the existing skills of library staff can complement RDM advocacy.

We are planning to collate the research lifecycles produced during the sessions and turn it into a resource for us to use when planning advocacy. If you are interested in contributing to developing a lifecycle model with us send an email to lib-academicsupport@ucl.ac.uk.

July titles from UCL Press

AlisonFox10 July 2017

We are delighted to announce the publication of 3 new open access books from UCL Press.

New Books (July)

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

Helen Mirren, Katya Galitzine and other guests at the joint UCL SSEES Library and British Library panel discussion

Wojciech AJanik9 June 2017

On Monday 5th June a panel discussion “Émigrés from Revolution” took place at the British Library. It was a joint event between UCL SSEES Library and the British Library and was inspired by our collections.

Martin Sixsmith provided the introduction

P1040514

Martin Sixsmith, Katya Galitzine and Helen Mirren taking questions from the audience

The year 2017 marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. One of the main events “in the library world”, to focus on the centenary is a major exhibition at the British Library: “Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths”. The exhibition is accompanied by various events, panels and seminars. That provided a great opportunity for UCL Library Services to co-organise, with the British Library, a public event, which would highlight our collections. To make it more lively and interesting we wanted it to be presented by the descendants of emigrants from the Russian Revolution, so that they could reflect, after one hundred years, on how the history of their grandparents has influenced and still influences them and their families. It provided us with the opportunity to showcase some of our archival holdings, especially as many of the descendants had very successful careers. We are lucky enough to have in our archives documents that were donated by world famous actress, Dame Helen Mirren. Her grandfather, Colonel Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov, initially came to the UK with the aim of buying arms for the Russian Army during World War One. Another example is the memoir of Prince Paul Ivan Lieven, that belonged to the grandfather of well-known historian, Professor Dominic Lieven. We were very lucky once again as both Dame Helen Mirren and Professor Dominic Lieven accepted invitations to the event. Princess Katya Galitzine, whose grandparents escaped via Yalta on a British warship sent to rescue Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna also accepted the invitation. However, there is also another “library link” as Katya is a co-Founder of The Prince George Galitzine Memorial Library.

P1040515

Nicolas Pasternak Slater [L] and Dominic Lieven [R]

Our fourth guest was successful translator Nicolas Pasternak Slater, the son of Boris Pasternak’s sister Lydia, and the grandson of painter Leonid Pasternak and Rosa Isidorovna Kaufman, an accomplished pianist. Martin Sixsmith, former BBC foreign correspondent based in Moscow at the end of the Soviet Union, moderated the discussion, while Professor Simon Dixon from UCL SSEES provided an introduction to the event and highlighted UCL SSEES Library’s archive collections.

P1040509

From left to right: Nicolas Pasternak Slater, Dominic Lieven, Martin Sixsmith, Katya Galitzine, Helen Mirren

The event was a success. The panel was excellent and the attendance was very good. It was a very good way to promote our collections. It also enabled us to foster good working relationships with colleagues from the British Library, especially Jon Fawcett, Head of Events, and Katya Rogatchevskaya, Lead Curator of East European Collections. The cooperation was very successful so it may also lead to another joint event in the future. Of course for us it is not the end. UCL SSEES will hold a major conference later this year to commemorate the centenary of the Revolution and we need to focus on that and build on the success of the event. We would like to digitise selected items from our collection, so that they can accompany the main UCL SSEES Conference. During the panel I had a chance to talk to Helen Mirren and her sister Kate and managed to obtain permission to digitise the documents of Colonel Pyotr Mironov. Professor Lieven has also given permission for the memoir of Prince Paul Ivan Lieven to be digitised. Together with colleagues from Digital Curation, Mat Mahon and Amy Howe, we are working on digitising some other collections from our archives.

Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov Collection [MRN]

Pyotr Vasilievich Mironov Collection [MRN] held at UCL SSEES Library

Our aim is that by the time of the conference we can create a high-quality, professional and academic resource. During 2017 there will be many events dedicated to the Revolution. However it is noteworthy to say that UCL SSEES is one of the best well-known and recognised institutions in the world for its expert knowledge on Russia. Therefore, December’s conference organised by UCL SSEES will attract a lot of attention. This provides UCL SSEES Library with the momentum we need to maximize to our benefit, so that we can effectively publicize our work and our unique collections to the world audience.

Research software management, sharing and sustainability

DanielVan Strien23 January 2017

Two weeks ago I attended ‘research software management, sharing and sustainability’ at the British Library. The event organised by the Software Sustainability Institute (an organisation promoting best practices in research software development) and JISC and hosted by the British Library aimed to explore some of the challenges that researchers faced in developing, maintaining and sharing software they produce as part of their research. In my role as one of the Research Data Support officers one of my responsibilities involves helping foster best practices around research data management. This includes issues around data collection, organisation, storage and sharing – increasingly activities aided by the use of software. For many data collections, analysis and reuse is difficult, if not impossible, without access to the software that was used to generate, process or analyse the data.  As a result of this close relationship between data and software, it is important that research data management activities considers software alongside data.

Image result for british library creative commons

The first session of the day was run by Neil Chue Hong of the Software Sustainability Institute. Neil’s talk framed the rest of the day with the title ‘is my research right? Surviving in a post-expert world’. Neil began by discussing research projects where software (or more specifically the way humans used software) has resulted in incorrect results being published. Many of these mistakes were later discovered by other researchers demonstrating the importance of making underlying data and code available for others to interrogate. Having introduced some of the problems Neil outlined some of the things that researchers can do to address these. Suggestions for best practices were presented in a paper, ‘Best Practices for Scientific Computing’  include using version control, unit testing your code and using a continuous integration service. A subsequent paper recognised that some of these best practices could be intimidating to researchers so a set of ‘Good Enough Practices in Scientific Computing’ was subsequently published.

Following Neil’s session there were a range of group discussions and exercises alongside sessions by Torsten Reimer, Angela Dappert and Rachael Kotarski covering institutional support, software preservation and crediting software. There are already a range of UCL services which support researchers in these areas. Research IT Services provide training, consulting on software development and a research software dashboard which helps researchers get credit for software they produce as part of their research by linking it to IRIS profiles and making it easier for others to cite this software.

"Citation needed" CC BY 2.0 Image by 'futureatlas.com' on Flickr https://flic.kr/p/8PhzKc

“Citation needed” –  CC BY 2.0 image by ‘futureatlas.com’ on Flickr

Many of the sessions mentioned potential roles libraries could have in supporting software sharing and sustainability, these included hosting sessions on best software practices for researchers, incorporating considerations around software and code in open access and research data management services and working to shift practices and cultures of academic recognition (not a simple task!).  A simple step is to encourage students and academics to cite software used as part of their research. The Software Sustainability Institute offers guidance on citing software in academic papers. Currently researchers do not often receive the same level of academic recognition for software they write when compared to other academic outputs. Projects like Depsy are playing a part in trying to shift this lack of recognition by tracking contributions researchers have made to software, and the subsequent use of that code in other software or published outputs. Librarians can also support researchers by offering them support in making their own code citable.

Although there were no simple solutions to the issues raised during the sessions it was useful to share ideas with other people working in similar and different contexts and to begin to think about projects that would help address these issues. The Software Sustainability Institute host regular events and has a great range of resources which I would recommend if you are interested in these issues.

UCL Special Collections opens new reading room in the Wilkins building

Benjamin G MMeunier23 November 2016

On Monday 21st November 2016, a group of Library Services staff and supporters including UCL academics and Professional Services staff celebrated the formal opening of a new reading room which will allow wider access to UCL’s rare books, manuscripts and archive materials for research and public engagement, supporting UCL’s distinctive Connected Curriculum.

Dr Paul Ayris said a few words to mark the opening of the reading room, sited at the heart of UCL. Paul highlighted that the project had delivered a high-spec space which UCL could be proud of. The opening marks a new phase in the history of UCL Special Collections, which started largely as a set of collections donated by the widows of early professors at UCL. Developments are afoot to establish permanent new bases for the treasures held in Special Collections, with a collaborative venture in partnership with Senate House Library and members of the federal university, as well as expansion facilities in future phases of UCL East. Paul congratulated all those involved in establishing the new reading room, and the party toasted the future of UCL Special Collections.

UC School pupils

As described in a recent tweet, the site where UCL Special Collections’ new reading room is located was once a playground for University College School pupils…

What’s in our Special Collections?

UCL’s collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books date back as far as the 4th century AD and cover a vast range of subject areas, notably: London, Social History, Latin America, Jewish Collections and the Orwell Archive – which is the most comprehensive body of source material for Orwell studies anywhere in the world.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

A selection of Special Collections treasures were on show at the event.

Did you know?

  • Some of the earliest donations to the Library include the 4,000 books given by Jeremy Bentham in 1833.
  • We recently discovered the manuscript of a poem by Byron inscribed into Samuel Rogers’ The Pleasures of Memory (London, 1810).
  • The first major manuscript gift, a magnificent 13th-century illuminated Latin Bible, was presented by William Steere in 1859.
  • Sonia Orwell, George Orwell’s widow, chose UCL Library Services to house the precious manuscripts and notebooks of the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm.

The new reading room is located in the South Junction and is open weekdays from 09.00-17.00 with appointments to consult material between 10.00 and 16.00. The room can hold up to 8 readers at any one time.

Open Access Drop-In (26 October 2016)

AlisonFox10 October 2016

The UCL Open Access Team and UCL Press would like to invite all UCL staff to a drop-in session to find out more about open access options and support available at UCL.

Find out more and register your interest at: uclopenaccess2016.eventbrite.co.uk

15:00-16.45 Drop-in Session

Drop in to meet the Open Access Team and UCL Press to learn more about the HEFCE mandate for REF2020 and publishing with UCL Press, the UK’s first fully open access university press.

Staff from UCL Open Access and UCL Press will be on hand to show you:

  • How to upload your paper to RPS for REF open access
  • The process of applying to have gold APCs paid for by the UCL OA funding
  • How to promote your book/journal via social media
  • The submissions process to publish a book with UCL Press
  • Display of UCL Press books published so far

16.45-17:00

Presentation for the 10 millionth download from UCL Discovery to Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology).

17:00-18.30 Speakers and book launch / drinks reception

Speakers

  • Andrew Morris, Honorary Fellow at UCL IOE, and author of Why Icebergs Float: Explaining Science in Everyday Life.
  • Nicholas Gold, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science

Find out more about the impact of open access publishing on the careers of guest speakers, and about UCL’s leadership in the open access arena.

Join UCL Press for the launch of Why Icebergs Float: Explaining Science in Everyday Life, a brand new open access book that explains how science can solve life’s mysteries.