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Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris13 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)

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.

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.’

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.”

Brexit and Beyond book launch

AlisonFox30 January 2018

On the 29th January, UCL Press launched its new open access book Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, edited by and Benjamin Martill, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Dahrendorf Forum, LSE and Uta Staiger, Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe) and Executive Director of the UCL European Institute, to a packed lecture theatre of around 180 people.

The event was organised in collaboration with the UCL European Institute (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/european-institute) and featured talks by some of the book’s contributors Chris Bickerton, Reader in Modern European Politics, Cambridge, Helen Drake, Professor of French and European Studies and Director of the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance, Loughborough University London, Simon Hix, Harold Laski Professor of Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science and Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations, and Director of the Centre for International Studies, at the University of Oxford. It was chaired by Quentin Peel of Chatham House, and introduced by the book’s editors. A news article about the event and the speakers was featured on UCL’s homepage – read it here.

Given the highly topical subject of the book and the high-profile authors, both the editors and UCL Press were keen to publish the book as quickly as possible, and we sped up the production process to just 3 months in order to capture the wave of interest and to be as up-to-date and relevant as possible. This has paid off, as an extract from the book was featured in The Telegraph on 22nd January.

Hopefully the event and the combined promotional activities of UCL Press, UCL Media Relations and the UCL European Institute will generate more media interest, but in the meantime we highly recommend Brexit and Beyond to anyone following the Brexit debate who is keen to hear the views of leading academic experts from around the world. Download it free here.

November titles from UCL Press

AlisonFox31 October 2017

We are delighted to announce the publication of five new open access books from UCL Press in November:

New Open Access Books

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