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Office for Open Science and Scholarship – Launch events roundup!

By Kirsty, on 28 September 2020

The UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship is designed to create a virtual body which can work with academic colleagues, departments, and research groups to develop and publicise all our Open Science activities across the institution. The Office’s website has a section on Community and Support and this is the place where we hope to reach out to Open Science & Scholarship communities across the whole of UCL, to engage with them and to help create a UCL-wide community of Open Science Practice.

The Office for Open Science and Scholarship will be launched in two phases. The soft launch at the start of the academic year 2020-2021, and a full launch with a week of events timetabled for Open Access week, 19-23 October. The full schedule can be found with sign up links below! If you are planning something for Open Access week please let us know at openscience@ucl.ac.uk.

Launch week events

During the week of 19th October, we are going to be launching the Office for Open Science and Scholarship with a week of events celebrating all of the aspects of Open Science and coinciding with International Open Access week – events are open to UCL staff only.

There are no costs for attendance but we are asking people to sign up so that we can share the links and keep track of numbers for the Drop-in events.

Monday 19th October

  • UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship Launch – Lunchtime Webinar: 1-2pm

Join the Head of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship, Dr Paul Ayris, and a number of teams from across the university to celebrate the next steps in Open Science support at UCL. This webinar will tell you all you need to know about the new office, and what it can do to support you to embrace Open Science and Scholarship in your work.

Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session

  • ReproHack @ UCL – Introductory session 2-4pm

A ReproHack is a hands-on reproducibility hackathon where participants attempt to reproduce the results of a research paper from published code and data and share their experiences with the group and the papers authors. During this week you will learn how to implement better reproducibility practices into your research and appreciate the high value of sharing code for Open Science. This event is open to all domains, all we need is a published paper that has included some code with it. During this week we will try to reproduce papers you propose in small teams, supported by members of the Research Software Development Group and RITS. On Friday afternoon we will have a catch-up session to show how each team did and to share experiences.

Watch this space for a link to a website where you can propose papers to reproduce, and get more information on how to join in the fun!

Tuesday 20th October

  • Introduction to InCites – 11am-12noon
This session will give an overview of what is contained in InCites, and a demonstration of how to use it.
The InCites tool (https://incites.clarivate.com/) uses Web of Science data on publications to give a wider overview of research activity, with aggregated data and visualisations. We can use it to compare research output across different institutions, analyse publication data for UCL at the department and faculty levels, and understand activity in a research field as a whole.
It also gives us access to normalised citation metrics, which give more complex and informative information than the simple citation counts available through Web of Science or Scopus. These take account of the different citation practices in different fields, allowing more meaningful and responsible analysis to be made.

Sign up via Eventbrite to recieve a link to join the session

  • OA Week: Ask UCL’s Open Access Team – 2.30-3.30 pm

This event, for UCL researchers, is an opportunity to ask questions about the new open access funding arrangements, including transformative agreements, that UCL has introduced this year, and to make sure that you’re confident about the open access requirements that affect you. Researchers are encouraged to submit questions in advance.

Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session

Wednesday 21st October

  • Introduction to Citizen Science at UCL – Lunchtime Webinar: 1-2pm

One of the eight pillars of Open Science, Citizen Science is a rapidly developing area full of exciting opportunities to try something new with your research. Join us and find out more about Citizen Science, what you can use it for, and how to get started using it in your own research, as well as showcasing examples from across UCL. Featuring an introduction to Citizen Science and lightning talks from across the university, we aim to show you the breadth of possibilities and hope that you will be able to join the discussion, learn about Citizen Science, and get some ideas for your next project!

Sign up via Eventbrite to get a link to join the session

  • UCL Press: Open Access Books – Drop-in Q&A session: 3-4pm

This session will be an opportunity to meet with commissioning editors and other staff from UCL Press who will describe the benefits of publishing OA and the global reach that can be achieved through its extensive OA dissemination and marketing activities. Commissioning editors will also be on hand to discuss new book proposals and the submissions process.

Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session

Thursday 22nd October

  • OA Week: Research Data Management Team Drop-in Q&A session: 3-4pm

Join the Research Data Management team to get an overview of their work and ask all of your questions about how to manage, publish and archive all kinds of data, materials and other outputs of research projects.

Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session

Friday 23rd October

  • UCL Press Author Experiences – Lunchtime Webinar: 1-2pm
Join UCL Press authors to explore how their experiences of publishing have changed their perspective on open access books.
Sign up details TBC
  • ReproHack closing session – 3-4pm

See full details on Monday for how to get involved.

Deep Dive: DOIs

By Kirsty, on 8 September 2020

In our recent blog post, PIDs 101, we covered a wide range of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) and looked at how they link together, and what the future holds for them. This week we are drilling down to investigate Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) in more detail.

In the last post we discussed DOIs being a unique registration number for a Digital Object, and the fact that a digital object in this context could be an article or a dataset, but it could equally be any of a number of other item types, such as on this list defined by Crossref.

How do DOIs work?

Each publisher, funder or repository that is registered to provide DOIs is given a unique registration number. This number, along with the ‘10.’ common to all DOIs, forms the first part of a DOI, called the prefix – shown below. Each registered provider is then responsible for choosing their own suffix pattern.



This is where DOIs get extra clever. Each registered provider can construct the suffixes to their own design, and these can be as simple or as complex as needed. For example, the Wellcome trust uses DOIs for identifying grants as well as publications, and PLOS uses different suffixes to identify which articles come from which journal – for example:




In the three PLOS DOI examples above, the unique registration number is 1371. Each suffix starts by designating the item type: journal, and then follows with an acronym of the individual journals themselves, pbio (PLOS Biology), pone (PLOS one) and pgen (PLOS Genetics). Each journal then uses article numbers in a predetermined sequence for the final part of the DOI. These numbers match the article numbers shown in the article citations. Every registered provider needs a scheme like this that they use to generate their DOIs, as it is essential that each item receives a unique DOI.

For every DOI that is generated, it is the responsibility of the provider to send metadata and a link to the top level webpage for the item to their individual registration agency. In the UK this is most likely to be Crossref or Datacite. This metadata is then made openly available so it can be used to build overarching databases or added into other tools and services like the search interface at doi.org. Crossref and DataCite make the metadata and DOIs registered with them openly available via APIs so that it can be used in databases like Europe PubMed Central.

The different publishers, repositories, universities and funders all have a responsibility to keep the metadata of all of the DOIs they generate up to date. This is important in order for the DOI to be persistent. For example, if your chosen journal changes publisher after your article has been published, it is the responsibility of the publisher to facilitate updating the metadata of every article so that you will still be able to find your article using the DOI.

Why is having a DOI beneficial?

The purpose of a DOI is to accurately identify, link to and discriminate between online works. DOIs are unique to the work they identify and permanently link to it. This means that a DOI must link to the authoritative and authentic web presence for the work hosted on a sustainable platform.

So, having a DOI for your work (whatever it may be) means that it will always be findable: even if the journal where it was originally published no longer exists, there will always be a record of your work no matter how much time has passed. It also helps ensure that your work is cited properly, and that every mention of it is correctly attributed and easy to track. If your work has a DOI, it can be included in other tools like Altmetric or Plum Analytics. These tools track mentions of works in social media, news media, policy documents and other places.

How do I get a DOI for my work?

It is relatively unusual for journals to be unable to provide you with a DOI for your article. If your publisher does not have the facility to give you a DOI, or you wish to get a DOI for another type of material, the simplest way to go about getting one is to create a record in a repository that can provide a DOI for you.

At UCL we have the Research Data Repository (RDR) which can accept a wide range of outputs including data, figures, presentations, software, posters, even images and other media. There is the option in the record creation process to ‘Reserve’ a DOI which will become live once the record is checked and verified by the RDR team.

Outside UCL, there are also independent repositories that are able to give you a DOI. You can choose a subject repository appropriate for your data – there is lots of information available on the Research Data Management team website – or a generic one such as the UK Data Archive, Zenodo, Figshare or Dryad.

Introducing the new UCL bibliometrics policy

By Kirsty, on 26 August 2020

UCL has recently launched its new bibliometrics policy, which sets out principles for the use of citation metrics in research assessment across the university. It aims for sensible, fair, and balanced use of metrics in research assessment that values research and researchers on their own merits, moves away from some of the more inappropriate methods like focusing on the impact factor of journals or the h-index of authors, recognises diversity in research practice and outputs, and emphasises that the use of citation metrics is not mandatory.

This is an important step in supporting the use of Open Science and Scholarship across UCL. A key aspect of the open science movement has been in challenging traditional ways of disseminating research – whether that be through publishing in Open Access journals, opening up peer review, disseminating work at an early stage via preprints, or a range of other methods.

Many of these approaches, however, do not fit well with traditional methods of assigning credit using citation metrics.

For example, a relentless focus on the impact factor was a barrier to early adoption of open access journals. Newly created Open Access journals – which did not qualify for an impact factor – were seen as lower quality than the established journals, deterring authors from submitting to them. Similarly, megajournals, which did not cherry-pick papers for “significance”, had impact factors substantially lower than more selective titles – an author who was being judged on impact factors would be less keen to publish there.

In addition, limitations of the citation databases can penalise supporting material like data or code, which are often not indexed properly – if they are cited at all. This makes them appear less significant than they are. Similarly, preprints often get the majority of their citations before they are “published” – and these may not be tracked or credited accurately.

Factors like this mean that a focus on using traditional metrics can actively deter people from adopting Open Science approaches for their articles or their data. It is of vital importance that the ways we assess research do not discourage people from being able to conduct their research in the way that is best for them, and best for the wider research community.

Our new policy tries to move away from traditional uses of metrics, emphasising that citation-based metrics are not always appropriate and we do not have to use them if they’re not generally accepted in the field. Where they are used, we should avoid trying to impose a one-size-fits-all model, and consider all works in context.

Alongside the policy, we have provided detailed guidance for using alternative metrics, going beyond the impact factor or simple citation counts to assess citations in the context of other comparable work. We have also created the video below, and a Moodle module to walk you through the key elements.


RPS and ORCID – 3 ways to play! 

By Catherine Sharp, on 12 August 2020

We have written a number of posts recently about ORCID and other identifiers, and another introducing you to a new feature of RPS, but we could tell you wanted more!  

So, as we discussed in our last RPS blog post, you can now link your ORCID iD to RPS, and use it to send your publications from RPS into your ORCID record. Nearly 1,000 UCL researchers have started sending publications from RPS to ORCID in the last 3 months. It’s been possible to use your ORCID iD to find publications for RPS for some time, but there are several different options for how both these things are done, and how much data is sent and received by the two systems, so let’s take a look at them.  

When you link your ORCID iD to RPS in RPS > Menu > MyAccount > ORCID Settings, you’ll be given three options. The first is the most restrictive: Only use my ORCID to support automatic claimingIf you choose this option, RPS won’t access your ORCID record at all. It’ll simply use your ORCID iD to help verify your identity in the papers found in other sources. In essence RPS works exactly the same as it always has, finding publications in external sources like Web of Science and Scopus, but it has one more piece of data to use when it’s identifying your papers. It’ll then claim those papers automatically for you.    

The second option is similar but it does allow RPS to use your ORCID profile. Read data from my ORCID account looks at the content of your ORCID record to improve the accuracy of its searches when it looks for new papers in its usual sources.  

The final option is Read from and write publication data to my ORCID account. This is the best and most useful option, and it also gives you more choices! This option gives RPS permission to send publications to your ORCID record, so you don’t have to add them yourself. It also allows RPS to read the content of your ORCID record to improve the accuracy of its searches when it looks for new papers in its usual sources (as in option 2). 

Read from and write publication data to my ORCID account will send everything from RPS to your ORCID record, but you can select some restrictions as follows:  

  1. You can choose to only send Published journal articles to your ORCID. This means that articles that have the status of acceptedsubmitted, in preparation or no status won’t be sent. This will also apply to pre-prints where these have been added to RPS.  
  1. You can choose whether or not to send publications where your relationship to them has been marked as private. It won’t stop them ending up in a co-author’s ORCID record, but it will stop them appearing in yours.  
  1. You can choose to send only your favourite publications. This option is good if you want to curate your ORCID for use as a CVif you have a large number of papers coming into RPS and ORCID from different sources, such as pre-print servers, or if most of your publications are already in your ORCID record and you want to avoid duplicates. The downside of this option is that you need to remember to favourite each new paper as it goes into RPS – it’s not a big thing, but it will slow the process down. 

Whichever option you choose, make sure you add your ORCID to RPS, but it is equally important that you use it elsewhere – link it to other systems, and especially to your publications, grants, and even Je-S. The more you use your ORCID, the more reliable it becomes as an identifier, and as a representation of your work all in one place!  

Persistent Identifiers 101

By Kirsty, on 27 July 2020

You might have heard the phrase ‘Persistent Identifier or even PID in passing, but what does it actually mean 

A persistent identifier (PID) is a long-lasting reference to a resource. That resource might be a publication, dataset or person. Equally it could be a scientific sample, funding body, set of geographical coordinates, unpublished report or piece of software. Whatever it is, the primary purpose of the PID is to provide the information required to reliably identify, verify and locate it.” – OpenAIRE 

These identifiers either connect to a set of metadata describing an item, or link to the item itself.  

In 2018, the Tickell report was released. It presented independent advice about Open Access, which had implications for the world of PIDs. Adam Tickell recommended that Jisc lead a project to select and promote a range of unique identifiers for different purposes, to try and limit the amount of confusion and duplication in this area.  

The JISC project has been in progress for the last year. They are working on what they describe as ‘priority PIDs’ which cover the following categories:  

  • People 
  • Works 
  • Organisations 
  • Grants 
  • Projects 

So what are the PIDs we need to be aware of? 


The primary PID for people is one that you will already be familiar with if you are a regular reader of the blog. Even if you aren’t, you have probably heard of it – it’s ORCID.  

ORCID is an open identifier for individuals that allows you to secure accurate attribution for all of your outputs. It also functions quite nicely as an online bibliography, and can be used to automatically collect and record your papers in RPS. All in all, it’s pretty useful 

If you want to know more about what you can do with ORCID, have a look at our recent blog post ‘Getting the best out of your ORCID. All of the details about linking ORCID to RPS and vice versa, are available on the blog and the Open Access website 


The next identifier is for works. It’s another that you have probably seen, even if you don’t know a lot about themDOIDOI stands for Digital Object IdentifierIt’s a unique registration number for a Digital Object. This could be an article or a dataset, but it could equally be an image, a book, or even a chapter in a book. DOIs are unique and persistent which means that if your chosen journal changes publisher, you will still be able to find your article because the DOI is independent and will keep up to date.  

DOIs are most often acquired through a Registration Agency called Crossref, but you will also come across DataCiteBoth of these services do the same job, providing and tracking DOIs, but the underlying tools are slightly different.  

Did you know: if you have the DOI of a paper, an easy way to find that paper is to add https://doi.org/ to the front. The URL this creates will take you to the paper, no matter who published it. For example: 10.1080/08870446.2019.1679373 is DOI, and https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2019.1679373 will take you straight to the paper 


The Research Organisation Registry (ROR) is a new PID registry that is being created by key stakeholders, including Crossref and Jisc, to bring more detail and consistency to organisational identifiers. The definition of organisations goes beyond institutions like UCL to include any organisation that is involved in research production or management, so this can include funders, publishers, research institutes and scholarly societies.   


Crossref is key in the identification of individual funders and in creating identifiers for research grants. Grant IDs are DOI’s, but connected to grant-specific metadata such as award type, value and investigators. The intent is for funders to register each grant and provide a GrantID, which has the potential to make tracking papers and data linked to individual projects much simpler in the long run. Several hundred grants have been registered already, mostly via Wellcome (With thanks to Rachael Lammey for the clarification 03/08/2020)


The Jisc project is supporting Research Activity ID (RAiD), a project based in Australia which creates a unique identifier for a research project. The intent is for this to be the final part of a network of identifiers that will allow people, works, and institutions to be linked to their projects and funders. This will complete the chain and allow accurate attribution and accountability at every stage of the research process.   

How can I get involved? 

The work being undertaken to select and support individual PIDs at each stage of the research process is a good idea, and if it works then it will be a step towards a fully interconnected, open and transparent research process. The next stage of the Jisc project is currently underway, and they are surveying all sectors of the UK research community about awareness, use, and experience of PIDs. If you want to contribute, their survey is open and has just been extended until 21 August!  

PIDs diagram

PIDs environment – Click to enlarge

UUK/Jisc High Level Negotiation Strategy Group

By Catherine Sharp, on 13 July 2020

There are now more than 5,000 journals in UCL’s transformative agreements, where UCL researchers can now publish open access without additional costs. They cover all disciplines; departments have been using our subject-specific list to identify journals that are relevant to them.

We’re getting lots of questions about which publishers might introduce an agreement next. Today, Paul Ayris (Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services) writes about the UUK/Jisc High Level Negotiation Strategy Group that oversees negotiation of these agreements, and explains what the Group is hoping to achieve with current negotiations.

UCL Library Services makes tens of thousands of electronic journals, books and databases available to all UCL staff and students. Have you ever wondered how these materials are acquired and how the discussions with the publishers are conducted?

For e-journals, these discussions take place at a national level and are conducted by the Jisc on behalf of UK Higher Education. UK HE spends a lot of money each year with commercial publishers to acquire e-journals – over £100 million. It’s big business and the consortium of universities that Jisc can call together for a deal with an individual publisher can be both large and impressive. In summer 2019, I stood down after many years as chair of the Jisc Content Strategy Group, which oversaw Big Deal purchases for UK HE. I did this because both Jisc and I wanted to move oversight of these deals to a body chaired at Vice-Chancellor level and aligned with Universities UK (UUK). In this way the new UUK/Jisc High Level Negotiation Strategy Group was born.

The membership is diverse. There are University Librarians like me on the Group, and I am happy to say that my colleague Chris Banks (Assistant Provost, Space and Director of Library Services at Imperial) is also a member. There are representatives from other University Libraries with less spending power than UCL and Imperial. SCONUL and RLUK (Research Libraries UK) are also members, as are senior academic figures representing UUK members. The Group is chaired by Professor Stephen Decent, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University.

What are our core aims? These are:

  • Develop and advance strategy for cost-effective publication, acquisition and delivery of research output which takes account of the dynamic nature of the information marketplace and the changing needs of the community
  • Develop and advance strategy for the utilization of negotiations with publishers and societies to facilitate a quick, cost effective and financially sustainable transition to OA
  • Develop and advance strategy for the use of a broad range of innovative approaches in licensing and negotiation to facilitate the acquisition, dissemination and management of research outputs
  • Provide leadership for national negotiations
  • Act as a conduit between the negotiators and the sector (university leaders, researchers, administration and funders) for the agreement, communication, oversight and reporting on objectives, strategy, tactics and progress of negotiations
  • Facilitate debate and action to help implement long term solutions to challenges in publication and acquisition of research output
  • Oversee the conduct of the negotiations on behalf of the UK academic community
  • Provide a focal point for the provision of guidance on the range of institutional responses to a dynamic research, policy and research environment
  • Evaluate options in the event that negotiations do not proceed as planned and further action from the sector may be required to achieve an acceptable agreement
  • Seek transparency in deals with publishers especially in relation to cost and how institutional money is being spent

It’s an ambitious and very demanding role. We have already written to all major publishers, asking for substantial reductions in subscription costs as a result of the pressure on university finances caused by covid-19. We have also set ourselves the target of turning all current subscription deals into Open Access Read and Publish deals. This will allow the UK to be compliant with a growing number of research funder policies, such as the forthcoming UKRI OA policy, the OA policy of the Wellcome Trust and Plan S from Science Europe.

The stakes are high. UCL is committed to Open Science/Scholarship principles as key drivers in the global research and education landscape. The role of the High Level Strategy Group is to deliver that change in the publishing arena, achieving the goal of 100% Open Access as speedily as possible.

Paul Ayris
Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Everything you ever needed to know about Registered Reports (*even if you weren’t afraid to ask)

By Kirsty, on 3 July 2020

The concept of Registered Reports was developed in response to a vast range of meta-analysis over the past few years (1) that showed that a lot of research being published exhibited bias. Different papers analysed publication bias, hindsight bias, and selective reporting which demonstrated that published works overwhelmingly showed predominantly positive results. There were also significant issues with reproducibility and transparency as people were not sharing sufficient results or enough detail in methodologies to allow for the results stated to be replicated.

The nature of good research is to investigate, to take a hypothesis and test it dispassionately, discovering the results and presenting them as new or confirmed knowledge – whether the hypothesis is proven or not, it’s all knowledge! Unfortunately, this isn’t always the reality. The issue at the core of all of this is the research environment itself – good, objective practice is not always what gets rewarded.

Researchers are often given the message (intentionally or otherwise) by publishers, funders, institutions and colleagues that positive, world-changing, elegant and simple results are prized above all others. It’s these results that researchers and publishers want to publish. Since publishing is key to career advancement, this inevitably influences how researchers carry out their work. Leaving aside for now deliberate falsification of results, and the arguments about alternative ways of disseminating them, we can see how this leads to behaviours that produce at best selective and incomplete results, and at worst downright misleading ones. Behaviours like HARKing (Hypothesising After Results are Known) and P-hacking, testing variables until you find something significant, are particularly problematic. Since researches also tend to cite positive results more than negative ones, this positive publication bias continues to be amplified after publication, too.

So, what can be done?

Registered reports are a new way of getting your work accepted for publication. The idea is that you submit only part of a study, like the first half of an article, and the peer review is conducted on your idea and study design, before any data is collected. If you are successful, you receive an Acceptance in Principle, do your research and write it up. If the research hypothesis and methods section that has already been accepted hasn’t changed significantly, the final acceptance is based on a peer review of the remaining parts of the article. This second round of peer review focuses on how complete and robust your work is, completely uninfluenced by the results of the study.

If I want to use Registered Reports for my next project, where do I go?

There is a list of journals that are supporting Registered Reports on the Center for Open Science website.

Naturally, if you aren’t working in a hypothesis-driven subject area, Registered Reports might not be for you, but there are other options to consider. They are a little less well known, but still have their own benefits:

Results Blind Peer Review is very similar to registered reports. The article is submitted and reviewed as normal, but the results are withheld until after the first peer review stage.

Exploratory reports are the newest method and lean more towards supporting exploratory research in less hypothesis-driven subject areas. This allows meta-analysis and confirmatory research, and more flexibility in the flow of the research from design to results.

Do registered reports really work?

The logic behind Registered Reports has already proven its worth: compared with papers published in the traditional way, a much higher percentage of Registered Reports have ‘null’ results. This suggests they really do reduce publication bias. And they’re still cited at similar rates to conventional articles.

These forays into addressing bias are just a beginning. The issue isn’t going to go away overnight but these journals, with the support of researchers, can start to redress the balance and make sure that results that disprove hypotheses get as much air-time as those that prove them. These journals show that there is a way for researchers and publishers to work together to address the problems of publication bias. Meanwhile, institutions are changing their promotion and assessment criteria to ensure that the research quality, rather than where the work is published, is taken more into account. A similar path is being taken by funders and even the REF. We all need to support these journals and together commit to an open research culture.


(1) Chambers, C. D. and Tzavella, L. (2020) Registered Reports: Past, Present and Future. MetaArXiv. doi: 10.31222/osf.io/43298.

Finding journals in UCL’s transformative agreements

By Catherine Sharp, on 25 June 2020

“Planet Transformers” by pavlinajane is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Over the last few weeks we’ve been writing about UCL’s transformative agreements and introducing more researchers to them. These agreements give UCL corresponding authors a way to publish open access in subscription journals. They meet the requirements of the new Wellcome open access policy, which applies to research articles submitted from 1 January 2021, and we anticipate that they’ll also satisfy the new UK Research Councils/UKRI open access policy that’s due to be announced next year.

We’ve put together a list of journals in our transformative agreements (more than 5,000!) by subject. They include Modern Law Review, British Educational Research Journal, Annals of Neurology, Geo: Geography and Environment, and Human Brain Mapping (published by Wiley); Gender & Society (Sage); Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Climatic Change, and European Journal of Nutrition (Springer); Physics in Medicine and Biology (Institute of Physics); Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C (Royal Society of Chemistry); Art & Perception, and Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions (Brill).

If you aren’t very familiar with these agreements, read on to find out more about why they’ve developed and how they work. We’ve also explained a bit of confusing open access terminology – ‘hybrid’ journals – into the bargain.

If you know about transformative agreements already, feel free to go straight to the list: it’s below, and on our transformative agreements webpage. For more information about what’s in the list, scroll down to the “New tool – journals by subject” section below. Make sure that you check the relevant publisher terms and conditions on the transformative agreements webpage before submitting to one of these journals.

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

Why transformative agreements?

Funders increasingly want to ensure immediate open access to journal articles. Delayed open access after the publisher’s embargo period (usually between 6 and 24 months) isn’t enough; and paying for open access in subscription journals, without the journal committing to becoming fully open access, isn’t going to be acceptable either.

We anticipate researchers that researchers will have to publish in:

  1. fully open access journals (listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals) – e.g. the PLOS and BioMed Central journals, Nature Communications and Scientific Reports (Gold open access);
  2. subscription journals that allow the accepted manuscript to be made open access in a repository (Green open access), with the CC BY licence, on publication (e.g. Royal Society and Emerald journals); or
  3. subscription journals that are part of transformative agreements (or that have “transformative status”) – also Gold open access – for as long as this third option is permitted.

To offer a publishing option that meets these requirements, a journal can become fully open access (option 1), remove its embargo on Green open access and allow CC BY (option 2), or offer a transformative agreement (option 3).

Subscription and hybrid journals

Most journals require a subscription – either institutional or personal – for access. Journals that are accessible through UCL’s subscriptions appear in the E-journals link on our E-resources webpages. Some subscription journals (e.g. the Nature journals, and Science) have a Green open access option, but don’t offer Gold (paid) open access. If you upload the accepted manuscript of a Nature journal to UCL’s Research Publications Service, we’ll make it open access in UCL’s open access repository, UCL Discovery, at the end of the embargo period: six months, for those journals. You can use Sherpa Romeo to check journals’ embargo periods.

Many subscription journals offer an open access option to make specific papers openly available. They’re known as hybrid journals. These journals are in a position to offer transformative agreements that meet the requirements of option 3 above, provided they are serious about transitioning to becoming fully open access. Most journals are hybrid journals.

We’ve already mentioned some high-profile journals that are in our transformative agreements. Most are hybrid journals: Modern Law Review, British Educational Research Journal and Annals of Neurology (published by Wiley); Gender & Society (Sage); Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, Climatic Change and European Journal of Nutrition (Springer); Physics in Medicine and Biology (Institute of Physics); Journal of Materials Chemistry A, B and C (Royal Society of Chemistry); Art & Perception, and Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions (Brill). There are also some fully open access journals in our Wiley agreement: examples are Geo: Geography and Environment, and Human Brain Mapping.

Negotiating transformative agreements

These new agreements replace UCL’s subscription agreements with publishers. An additional sum is paid for the (open access) publishing element, funded by UCL’s UKRI, Wellcome and institutional open access budgets. Over the course of the agreement (sometimes several years), an increasing proportion of the cost is directed towards publishing instead of access (subscriptions).

Jisc Collections negotiates transformative agreements on behalf of all UK institutions. These agreements are transitional: Plan S (to which UKRI and the Wellcome are signatories) and the new Wellcome policy allow costs of transformative agreements to be funded until the end of 2024. Like other universities, we’re monitoring the overall costs of these agreements, takeup, and researchers’ views of them, very closely.

We currently have agreements with Brill, Electrochemical Society, European Respiratory Journal, IMechE, Institute of Physics, IWA Publishing, Microbiology Society, Portland Press (Biochemical Society), Rockefeller University Press, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Medicine, Sage, Springer, Thieme and Wiley. Jisc is actively negotiating with other publishers, including Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and many others. Agreements are for calendar years. What’s really critical is that agreements should cover 100% of outputs by UCL corresponding authors, and be affordable.

New tool – journals by subject

We’ve had lots of positive reaction to these transformative agreements, as well as questions about journals that aren’t currently covered (see the section above). One of the things we’ve been asked to do is to provide information about which subjects each journal covers.

We’ve used Scopus and Web of Science to put together a list of journals in the current agreements with different subject granularity. The list below shows broad Scopus categories, narrower Web of Science and Scopus ones, and lastly very specific Scopus categories. In the same file, we’ve included a separate list of the detailed Scopus categories, which might help with interpreting the main list.

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

We know that only researchers can decide where best to submit their work; but we hope that by providing this information we can help more researchers to publish open access. Make sure that you check the relevant publisher terms and conditions on our transformative agreements page before submitting to these journals.

More information

If you’d like to receive updates on open access and transformative agreements, please use the Subscribe by Email option to sign up for an alert when we publish a new post. You’ll find it to the right of this post, or at the bottom if you’re reading this on a mobile device. Alternatively, or as well, follow us on Twitter!

If you’d like to arrange a department briefing on anything covered in this post, or on open access more generally, contact catherine.sharp@ucl.ac.uk

Spotlight on: Kudos – helping people find, read, understand and cite your research

By Kirsty, on 3 June 2020

Kudos (growkudos.com) is not a social networking site, or yet another profile – it’s a toolkit. Kudos is a free service which exists to help you manage your profiles and social media posts more effectively to maximize visibility of your work.

Kudos allows you to claim and describe your work for a variety of audiences, from your colleagues, to potential multi-disciplinary collaborators, to the general public. It also allows each contributor to put a personal statement onto a paper, describing your part in the work and putting your own personal spin on it. For example this publication, chosen at random, has been annotated with a short summary, had an image added, and each of the contributors has added a short personal comment.

Then all you have to do is use the inbuilt tools to share to multiple sources at once. You can even generate trackable links in Kudos for items without DOIs, so that however you do share your work – via email, social media, posters, discussion groups, scholarly networks etc – you can track which of those is really helping you maximize readership.

The metrics generated by these links include the number of people you have reached, the number of views, a global breakdown (which countries is your work attracting attention in), the Altmetric score (how is your work being discussed online), citation counts for publications, and a granular breakdown of the different ways you have communicated and which of these have been most effective. A recent study has shown that explaining and sharing via Kudos takes on average 10 minutes and leads to over 20% more downloads.

Kudos pro

Kudos have recently launched a pro version of their free to use platform, which extends their service beyond publications into the rest of your research, called Kudos Pro. This new service allows you to create profile pages for your work – whether for a specific project, or a general overview of your body of work. These pages are quick and easy to set up using a template. For example, this project, chosen at random, includes links to the profiles of the contributors and institutions, some publications as well as images and an extensive background to the project.

You can link from these pages to relevant materials and outputs, from links to surveys, code, data, images, to links to pre-prints/publications in your institutional repository, publisher website, pre-print server or even Kudos itself – this helps you provide a single ‘entry point’ to which you can direct people looking for more info about your work – while also enabling you to post outputs on other appropriate sites as you normally would.

Kudos Pro also includes a planning tool which can guide you through creating a communication, engagement and impact plan, helping you to identify target audiences, impact goals, and different activities that will help you achieve those goals with your project. You can also gather evidence of engagement and impact within this tool and download the plan and results for reporting, or to submit as part of a grant application to demonstrate the rigour with which you will plan and manage impact of your project.

Free access to Kudos pro

Given that many of the usual ways researchers communicate their work are currently off limits due to the current situation (e.g. conferences, workshops, meetings with stakeholders etc) Kudos have opened up the pro platform so that researchers can use it for free – people can claim their free access by signing up at https://growkudos.com/hub/projects

Kudos are also maintaining a project of their own collating Covid-19 research that has been annotated.

Transforming publishing with new agreements?

By Catherine Sharp, on 25 May 2020

When Plan S was announced 18 months ago, requiring all publications from participating funders to be made open access from 2021, a new term – transformative agreement – entered the open access lexicon. The idea is to transform or transition journal publishing away from subscriptions towards full open access.

The Wellcome open access policy from 2021, and Plan S, allow authors to publish in three different types of journal. After their consultation on a new policy finishes, the UK Research Councils (UKRI) might well say something similar. Here are the three routes:

  1. Fully open access journals. All papers in these journals are published open access, often for a fee. Examples are the PLOS and BMC journals, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, SageOpen, Wellcome Open Research, and UCL’s own UCL Open: Environment and UCL Child Health Open Research.
  2. Journals that aren’t open access, but that allow authors to make their manuscripts open access in a repository like UCL Discovery, on publication, under the CC BY licence. Royal Society journals are an example.
  3. Journals that are part of transformative agreements, or are themselves transformative journals, until 2024.

Most publishers still don’t allow immediate open access in a repository, and most that do don’t allow CC BY. Transformative agreements are increasing, though.

Jisc, which negotiates our subscription agreements, has some complex criteria for transformative agreements. Publishers must offer 100% UK open access publishing that’s affordable, sustainable and transparent. Large commercial publishers, as well as society publishers like Microbiology Society and Electrochemical Society, all have agreements.

What does this mean for me?

UCL is trialling lots of transformative agreements this year. These include our long-standing SpringerCompact, RSC and IOP agreements, smaller offers from Brill, Thieme, European Respiratory Journal and the societies we’ve already mentioned, and larger agreements with Wiley and Sage.

These agreements are restricted to UCL corresponding authors. Make sure you give your UCL e-mail address and affiliation when you submit to a journal; you should be recognised as eligible if we have a transformative agreement. See our step-by-step guide to open access funding for more information both about these agreements and about other open access funding arrangements.

Contact us if you’d like to arrange a virtual department visit from us to discuss these agreements.