By Kirsty, on 6 October 2021
We have three events lined up for our UCL audience, you can get full details about those below. They are all very different to each other and we are hoping to see you there! We also have daily blog posts in the pipeline and the latest edition of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter coming out during the week too. It’s going to be a busy one so make sure you follow us on twitter or subscribe to the blog for regular updates!
Tuesday 26th October 2-3pm – New UKRI Open Access Policy Briefing
The new UKRI open access policy announced in August 2020 affects academics publishing work that acknowledges UK Research Council funding. The policy requires open access on publication under the CC BY licence (or, exceptionally, CC BY-ND) for articles and conference papers submitted on or after 1 April 2022. It also requires open access no later than 12 months after publication for monographs, book chapters and edited collections resulting from a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, published on or after 1 January 2024. The UKRI policy will inform the open access policy for the next REF.
In this first UCL briefing session on the UKRI policy, Catherine Sharp (Head of Open Access Services) will set out the key policy points and compliant routes to publishing in journal articles and conference papers. Lara Speicher (Head of Publishing, UCL Press) will explore the details of the new UKRI monograph requirements, and their implications for authors. Professor Margot Finn (UCL History and immediate past President of the Royal Historical Society) will also join the session to discuss these changes and the implications for authors of monographs in the humanities and social sciences in particular.
Given the importance of the UKRI policy in shaping UK open access requirements, all researchers who publish are encouraged to attend a briefing on the UKRI policy, and to bring questions from their own disciplines.
Please register online.
Wednesday 27th October 2-3pm – UCL Press as eTextbook Publisher
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, please register online.
Thursday 28th October 4-5pm – Opening data & code: Who is your audience?
To achieve the potential impact of a particular research project in academia or in the wider world, research outputs need to be managed, shared and used effectively.
Open Research enables replicable tools to be accessible to a wide audience of users. The session will showcase three projects and discuss the potentials of reuse of data and software and how to adapt to different types of user.
Join our speakers and panel discussion to:
- understand the potential of sharing your data and software
- learn about how projects share their software and data with different audiences and how they tailored their open data & code to different audiences appreciate the needs of different types of user (e.g. industry based, policy maker, citizen scientists)
Please register online.
By Kirsty, on 14 September 2021
Guest post by Louise Mc Grath-Lone, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Health Informatics), Rachel Pearson, Research Assistant (UCL Institute of Child Health) and Ania Zylbersztejn, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Child Health)
In July 2021, we held a session on code sharing as part of the UCL Festival of Code and were thrilled to have almost 90 attendees from 9 out of UCL’s 11 faculties – highlighting that researchers from across a wide range of disciplines are interested in sharing their code.
The aims of the session were to highlight the benefits of code sharing, to explore some of the barriers to code sharing that Early Carly Researchers may experience, and to offer some practical advice about establishing, maintaining and contributing to a code repository.
In this blog, we summarise the benefits and barriers to code sharing we discussed in the session taking into account the views that participants shared.
What is code sharing and what are the benefits?
Code sharing covers a range of activities, including sharing code privately (e.g., with your colleagues as part of internal code review) or publicly (e.g., as part of a journal article submission).
For Early Career Researchers in academia, there are many benefits to sharing code including:
Reducing duplication of effort: For activities such as data cleaning and preparation, code sharing is an important method of reducing duplication of effort among the research community.
Capturing the work you put into data management: The processes of managing large datasets are time-consuming, but this effort is often not apparent in traditional research outputs (such as journal articles). Sharing code is one way of demonstrating the work that goes into data management activities.
Improving the transparency and reproducibility of your work: Code sharing allows others to understand, validate and extend what you did in your research.
Enabling the continuity of your work: Many researchers spend the early years of their career on fixed-term contracts. Code sharing is a way to enable the continuity of your work after you’ve moved on by allowing others to build on it. This increases the chances of it reaching the publication stage and your efforts and inputs being recognised in the form of a journal article.
Building your reputation and networks: Code sharing is a way to build your reputation and grow your networks which can lead to opportunities for collaboration.
Providing opportunities for teaching and learning: By sharing code and by looking at code that others have shared, Early Career Researchers have opportunities to both teach and learn.
Demonstrating a commitment to Open Science principles: Code sharing is increasingly valued by research funders (e.g. the Wellcome Trust) and is a tangible way to show your commitment to Open Science principles which are part of UCL’s Academic Framework and important for career progression.
Despite the clear benefits to code sharing, at the start of our session just 1 in 4 participants (26%) said that they often or always share code. However, by the end of the session, almost all participants (90%) said that they definitely or probably will share their code in the future.
We asked participants what has put them off sharing their code in the past. The most common responses were:
The time and effort required: Ideally, you would write perfectly formatted and commented code on the first go – however, in reality, it often does not work out like this. As you update code and encounter bugs, code can often become messy and considerable time/effort needed to get it to point it can be understood by someone outside the research project. We discussed the importance shifting your perception of ‘shareable’ code. Sharing any code, even if messy, is far more helpful than sharing nothing at all.
Lack of confidence and concerns about criticism: Many researchers who write code as part of their work have very little (or no!) formal training. This means that sharing code can be daunting. For example, researchers may be worried about others finding errors in their code; however, sharing code can help to catch bugs in code early on and can bolster your confidence and reassure you that your code is correct. In the session, we also discussed how getting involved with online coding communities that emphasize inclusivity and support (e.g., R Ladies, Tidy Tuesday or one of the UCL Coding Clubs) can help grow confidence and provide a kinder environment in which to share code publicly.
Not knowing how to share or who to share with: A lack of formal training means that many researchers are unsure about where or how to share code, including not knowing which license to use to enable appropriate reuse of code. We discussed the need for more training opportunities, encouraged setting up your own code review groups (like a journal club, but for sharing and discussing code).
Worry that code will be reused without permission: Some participants were worried about plagiarism and their hard work being re-used without their knowledge or permission. However, hosting your code in a repository like GitHub allows you to choose suitable licence for re-use of your code to prevent undesired use while still supporting open science! You can also see how many people have accessed your code.
How can Early Career Researchers get started with code sharing?
Preparing code to share can take time and, as they work to secure their future within academia, many Early Career Researchers may already feel overloaded and pulled in different directions (e.g., teaching, institutional citizenship, engagement work, producing publications, attending conferences, research management, etc.). However, code sharing is hugely beneficial for a career in academia and so we would encourage all Early Career Researchers to try to find the time to share code by viewing it as an opportunity to invest in your future self. For example, you could:
- Adopt a coding style guide to help produce clear and uniform code with good comments from the outset. This will reduce effort end when you come to share code (and help your future self when you look at your code many years later and have inevitably forgotten what it all does!
- Join a UCL Coding Clubs or online community to learn tips from others about coding and sharing code.
- Learn to use a code repository like GitHub. As part of our session, we delivered an introductory tutorial on how to use GitHub with links to other useful resources (available here).
How can UCL support Early Career Researchers to share code?
We ended the session by asking the participants how UCL could better support them to share their code. Some of the ideas suggested by Early Career Researchers were:
More training on writing and sharing code: For example, one suggestion was that UCL could create a Moodle training course for code sharing. Training about best practice in coding (across several languages) to help Early Career Researchers to write code right the first time would also be helpful.
Simple, accessible guidance about code sharing: This might include checklists or 1-to-1 advice sessions, in particular, to help Early Career Researchers to select the right licenses.
Embed code sharing as best practice at all levels: Encouraging and supporting senior researchers to share code so that it becomes embedded as good practice at all levels would provide a good example for and encourage more junior members of staff. It would also help to ensure that the time and training required to prepare code for sharing is built into grant applications.
Knowledge sharing opportunities: More events and opportunities to discuss how research groups share code to share best practice across faculties throughout UCL.
We would like to thank everyone who attended our session – “Code sharing for Early Career Researchers: the good the bad and the ugly!” – at the UCL Festival of Code for their time and contributions to the lively discussions. All the materials from the session are available here, including an introductory tutorial to getting started with code sharing using GitHub. We would also like to thank the organisers of the UCL Festival of Code for their help and support.
By Kirsty, on 3 September 2021
The phrase ‘Open Science’ originated in Europe, but when used in English gives us a slight issue. To most English speakers, the word Science conjures a specific image to most people – of scientists in labs, chemistry, physics… not the all-encompassing view that Open Science actually represents.
The word ‘science’ here actually draws on the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge, which is why outside the UK is it much more easily accepted for what it represents. Which is opening up what we know, the data we used to learn it and how we got there, across all areas of research, not just Natural Sciences but Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.
To combat the misunderstanding about the word science, a whole host of alternatives are used across academic institutions in the UK, there is a great article on the UKCORR blog by Nick Shepherd which touches on this and lists other universities choices and position statements.
Here at UCL, back in October 2020 we launched the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship, fully embracing the term Open Science and its connection to Europe, building on the LERU 8 Pillars of Open Science but also including Open Scholarship in an effort to make the name sound more inclusive here in the UK, pushing back against that instinctive image that is conjured by the word science.
We have recently released a full discussion of the principles behind the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, our name, and our commitments: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/open-science/defining-open-science-scholarship
By Kirsty, on 17 August 2021
Guest post by James Houghton – Research Data Support Officer
Why not publish a data report article?
For a researcher who produces large amounts of data or works heavily with software and code for analysis, getting proper credit for their efforts can be a problem. Traditionally, an academic article is written in a format where a hypothesis is tested, results produced and analysed, and ends with a conclusion. This format increasingly is a poor fit for the work of many and data journals are one solution to this issue. The goal of this kind of journal is to publish a type of article usually referred to as a data report which focusses on announcing and describing the output of research projects which are resources, raw data, databases or similar and can be of use to the research community in general.
Publishing with a data journal offers several benefits. First, a data report article is more formal than a publication of data files in a repository and is a peer reviewed publication which then contributes to a researcher’s publication record which is important for CVs and advancement for many. Second, they allow a more detailed explanation of a dataset and any analysis or code related to it than is usually otherwise possible. Third, the appearance of an article in a recognised journal can help to drive visibility of a dataset for other researchers. In practice it my often be the case that a repository will be used to host material which is discussed at length in a paper.
For the research community more generally, data reports are a great way to discover and understand valuable contributions which they can re-use and build on. The data report guarantees there has been some level of peer-review applied to the data and, therefore, increases the confidence in the quality.
Data journals have flourished in recent years. Many publishers have introduced titles which specialise in data announcements and many other journals have begun to allow data articles as one of their accepted formats. Publishers will have their own specific guidelines for exactly what to include (or not include), but data articles will often have the following features:
- Detailed description of the methodology of how the data was produced and processed, allowing for far more detail than generally appears in a “traditional” publication.
- Documentation on structure and format of the data and details of how to retrieve it.
- Comments on how the data could potentially be re-used.
- Very limited or no results and conclusions.
The scope of a data journal varies greatly
- Some journals publish a wide range of data reports that cover many research areas, such as Scientific Data published by Springer Nature.
- Others are more subject specific such as Big Earth Data published by Taylor and Francis focussing on ecology and climate science, or Journal of Open Psychology Data published by the Open Access Ubiquity Press and specialising in psychology and anthropology data.
Of course, you must always check individual journal’s instruction for authors before preparing an article for submission.
Repositories and data journals should be seen as symbiotic, rather than needing to choose one or the other. An openly shared data set can be made available, and a data journal can be used as a way of announcing the existence of the resource to the community along with a detailed commentary which might not be easily supported by the repository itself. In fact, depending on the journal, hosting the data with a recognised external repository may even be a requirement for the publication process.
We won’t attempt to provide a comprehensive list of all journals that support this publication type here. There are many discipline specific and several more generalist options – but we would encourage you to investigate the options available in your subject area and tell us what you find!
By Kirsty, on 23 July 2021
There are a number of ways that having an ORCiD can be useful:
- you can use it to distinguish yourself from other researchers, especially if you have a common name,
- you can use your ORCiD to easily find and connect to your outputs, activities, contributions and affiliations
- your ORCiD iD can also be used in place of a publications list or CV in applications to present your full list of contributions in one place
- and finally, you can connect your ORCiD to a growing number of institutions, funders, and publishers, including RPS here at UCL.
Linking your ORCiD to your account in RPS can have a number of additional benefits, key among which is to improve the accuracy of the auto-claiming of your publications. In addition to this, you can also allow RPS to send publications that you claim over to ORCID on your behalf, called ‘Read and Write’ in the table below.
|School||ORCID Read & Write in RPS
– Jun 21
|Total ORCID in RPS
– Jun 21
Back in January 22% of research staff had linked their ORCiD to RPS and were using it to send content from RPS to their ORCID record. Now, 6 months later that total has increased to 29% with IOE leading the way with an impressive 42% of research staff using this feature.
Overall, over 70% of research staff at UCL have linked their ORCID to RPS in some way, but that means that there are still some people that aren’t taking advantage of this and using their ORCiD to its best effect.
To get more information about how to add your ORCiD to RPS, take a look at the guide provided by the Open Access team, or one of our previous blog posts that outlines more information about the ways to best use your ORCiD.
By Kirsty, on 12 July 2021
Last year for Open Access Week 2020 we ran a number of sessions and launched the Office for Open Science and Scholarship in style!
This year we want to try and celebrate all of the ways that the principles of Open can be applied across the board so we are currently working on planning sessions for Open Access Week 2021 with the theme Open in Practice. We want to take a broad look at the principles of Open and look at how they apply beyond articles and books, to other types of output like data, software, code or practice research and even the principles of FAIR, and other pillars of Open Science – everything is up for grabs!
We would like to invite ideas from across the UCL community for sessions we could run, guest blog posts, case studies or proposals for events that could be a part of our week.
Please send any comments or ideas to us by emailing the Office for Open Science & Scholarship by 30 July.
By Kirsty, on 6 July 2021
Text and Data Mining (TDM) is a broad term used to cover any advanced techniques for computer-based analysis of large quantities of data of all kinds (numbers, text, images etc). It is a crucial tool in many areas of research, including notably Artificial Intelligence (AI). TDM can be used to reveal significant new facts, relationships and insights from the detailed analysis of vast amounts of data in ways which were not previously possible. An example would be mining medical research literature to investigate the underlying causes of health issues and the efficacy of treatments.
The importance of having copyright exceptions in place to facilitate TDM arises from the fact that the swathes of material which need to be mined are often protected by copyright. That would be true for example of “literary works” of all kinds and of images in many cases. It is frequently the case that researchers will have lawful access to the material but will be prevented from applying TDM techniques because copying the material onto the required computer platform risks legal action for infringement on the part of the copyright owners. “Copying” is of course one of the acts restricted by copyright law and in general the greater the amount and variety of material, the greater the copyright risk.
It is worth remembering that when the Government created an exception for Text and Data Mining in 2014, it meant that the UK was ahead of the game. Other countries did not generally have an exception in their legislation at that time. Since then, other jurisdictions have caught up and, in some cases overtaken the UK. Cutting edge research is a highly competitive area and researchers working in a country which benefits from a generous TDM exception will have a distinct advantage.
The existing exception is still significant from the Open Science perspective in enabling research projects where computer analysis of large quantities of copyright-protected material is required, particularly in the context of AI.
Let’s take a closer look at the UK TDM exception and what it allows us to do, before comparing it briefly with the more recent EU exceptions. The UK exception is to be found in Section 29A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
What does the exception allow us to do?
Copying copyright-protected works in order to carry out “text and data analysis” (“computational analysis” in the wording of the exception). The need to copy arises because researchers must have have the material to be analysed on a specific platform, to carry out the analysis. The need for the exception then arises because without it, the researcher would require permission from the owner of copyright in each item. Without permission (or an exception), the researchers would be infringing copyright by copying a vast swathe of protected material. That in turn would often make the research impractical to carry out.
Who may do this?
Absolutely anyone, the exception says “a person.” This is wonderfully broad and one of the more favourable aspects of the UK exception. For example you don’t need to be working for/ studying at a particular type of institution to benefit from the exception.
Are there conditions?
You must have lawful access to the material. A prime example would be the text of academic journals. We have lawful access to large numbers of e-journals because UCL Library subscribes to them. The exception would allow a UCL researcher to download large amounts of content from e-journals to carry out detailed analysis using specialised tools. It is important to note that the exception cannot be overridden by contract terms. It follows that a term in an e-journal contract seeking to prevent TDM would have no force, in circumstances where the exception applies. This makes the exception a much more useful tool than it would otherwise be.
As you might expect the copies made for TDM purposes may not be used for other purposes, shared etc under the exception.
Significantly, the analysis must be “…for the sole purpose of research for a non commercial purpose.” This is a major restriction, which would rule out many situations where TDM might be used, for example research by a pharmaceutical company developing new drugs which will be marketed commercially. A major issue with the exception is that it can be unclear at what point “non-commercial” shades into “commercial.” A project which starts out as academic research may take on commercial significance down the line and a piece of research with no commercial aspects may be funded by commercial sponsors. It is an important constraint in the legislation which can also be difficult to be sure about in real life situations. It can stand in the way of joint projects by HEIs and commercial organisations.
Still, in situations where we can claim there is no commercial aspect to the research, the exception is potentially very useful. In addition to material which is already digital it can cover projects where digitisation of copyright- protected print material is required to be analysed. It can be very useful in situations where the copyright status of the source material is unclear, since provided the exception applies, there is no need to investigate further the complexities of copyright in the material.
The new EU TDM exception or rather exceptions
The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM Directive) offers two new exceptions, which EM member states are obliged to transpose. They can be found in Articles 3 and 4 of the Directive.
There are important differences of approach to the UK in the answer to the question: who may carry out the TDM? Article 3 provides an exception which benefits two defined categories of organisations: “Research organisations” and “Cultural heritage organisations.” Included within those groups are for example universities, museums, publicly funded libraries. Commercial organisations are excluded. It seems that independent researchers, not associated with an organisation would also be excluded, even though their research might be “non-commercial.” In common with the UK legislation, this exception cannot be overridden by contract terms and is therefore a powerful tool. The Directive addresses the question of public-private research collaborations in the recitals to the directive, e.g. recital 11. They are not excluded from benefitting from the Article 3 exception.
Article 4 offers a separate TDM exception which is available to anyone (including commercial organisations) but which is limited in a specific way: If the rights owners explicitly reserve the rights to carry out TDM within their works, then it cannot be mined under the exception. In other words, the EU DSM Directive goes one step further than the UK by offering an exception which can be used to mine lawfully accessible works by commercial organisations (or by anyone else), but it does not apply if the rights owner has explicitly ruled out TDM. By contrast, commercial organisations would not be able to use the UK exception, unless they can claim the specific research is for a non-commercial purpose.
Guest post by Chris Holland, UCL Copyright Support Officer. For more information or advice contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kirsty, on 21 June 2021
The Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) describes 14 roles that represent the parts typically played by contributors to a scholarly output. The CRediT taxonomy has been adopted across a growing range of publishers to improve the visibility of the range of contributors to published research outputs. The established list of publishers and individual journals that use the roles is available online and also includes a few submission, peer review and research workflow tools.
The taxonomy also brings a number of additional practical benefits to the research environment, including:
- Reduce the potential for author disputes.
- Enable visibility and recognition of the different contributions of researchers, particularly in multi-authored works – across all aspects of the research being reported (including data curation, statistical analysis, etc.)
- Support identification of peer reviewers and specific expertise.
- Enable funders to more easily identify those responsible for specific research products, developments or breakthroughs.
- Improve the ability to track the outputs and contributions of individual research specialists and grant recipients.
- Easy identification of potential collaborators and opportunities for research networking.
- Enable new indicators of research value, use and re-use, credit and attribution.
We have recently added information about the CRediT taxonomy to the Open Access website, to make sure that you can get all information related to publishing your research in the same place, and as always, the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, and the Open Access team are available to answer any questions you may have on this or any other related topic.
In April 2020 the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the formal launch of its work to develop the Contributor Role Taxonomy (CRediT) as a full ANSI/NISO standard.
Later in 2020, CRediT was awarded grant funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Wellcome Trust. The funds will be used to support implementations of the taxonomy across scholarly publishers, and within the scholarly research ecosystem more broadly once the standard is established.
During the early part of 2021, ORCID officially started supporting CRediT. As part of the upgraded API, journals can share CRediT contributions with ORCID and include them in your ORCID record. For more information about ways to automate updates to your ORCID record, check out our blog post on the subject.
By Kirsty, on 2 June 2021
Welcome to the third issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!
This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter or by leaving a comment below.
In this issue:
- Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
- Community voice – Reliability and Reproducibility in Computational Science
- Special Feature – Open Science in Horizon Europe
- Deep Dive – Top posts from our blog
- News and Events
Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. If you use the version below, we recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button to get the full experience!
When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.
To turn on Accessibility view:
- If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.
- If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”
By Kirsty, on 1 June 2021
The UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship is collaborating with the University of Stockholm and Scientific Knowledge Services on organising an Open Science Webinar on 18 June.
Open Science started as a vision, aiming to address matters like research reproducibility and access to the results of publicly-funded research. The vision was generally welcomed by academic and research institutions and has benefited from a great advocacy movement. It’s high time now to build on practice and effective management.
It is generally accepted in Europe that research should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary. Finding the borderline between the two is one of the most important tasks for practitioners, whether they belong to funders, research organisations, their partners or researchers themselves. This borderline is not sufficiently explored. Guidelines based on feedback and learning from practice should be created, sooner rather than later. This innovative approach to research has further potential: to address existing inequalities and matters like inclusivity, ethics, better assessment or the missing links between science and society or to re-shape public-private partnerships.
Emphasizing research practices, we will discuss the role of research organisations to support this transition, both acting local and internationally.
The webinar is a part of the #FocusOpenScience series. The language of the presentations will be English.
Visit https://www.focusopenscience.org/book/21stockholm/ for further details, and to register.