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UCL Open Science Conference 2021 update – Keynotes and tickets!

By Kirsty, on 22 January 2021

As part of our Focus on Open Science programme, the team in the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship recently announced their Spring conference, taking place on the afternoons of the 26th and 27th April 2021 and we are pleased to open tickets for sale!

Don’t forget also that you can be a part of the conference by submitting a proposal to our call for papers, open until 28th February 2021. We welcome applications for lightning talks across a number of themes related to the 8 pillars of Open Science. The aim of the Open Science events is to add to a global community of practice in Open Science activity so please do share your insights into and use of Open Science policy and practice with the wider scholarly community.

We are also delighted to be able to confirm the Keynote speakers for each day:

Day 1: 

Jean-Claude Burgelman

Jean-Claude Burgelman is professor of Open Science Policies and Practices at the Free University of Brussels (Faculty of Social Science and Solvay Business School) He retired on 1-3-2020 from the EC as Open Access Envoy. Until 1-8-2019 he was the head of Unit Open Science at DG RTD and his team developed the EC’s polices on open science, the science cloud, open data and access.

He joined the European Commission in 1999 as a Visiting Scientist in the Joint Research Centre (the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies – IPTS), where he became Head of the Information Society Unit. In January 2008, he moved to the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (attached to the president of the EC) as adviser for innovation policy. Since 1-10-2008, he joined DG RTD, as advisor and then Head of Unit in charge of top level advisory boards like the European Research and Innovation Area Board, the Innovation for Growth Group and the European Forum for Forward Looking Activities.

Until 2000 he was full professor of communication technology policy at the Free University of Brussels, as well as director of its Centre for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication and was involved in science and technology assessment. He has been visiting professor at the University of Antwerp, the European College of Bruges and the University of South Africa and sits on several academic journals. He chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Innovation and was a member of its Science Advisory Committee. He recently joined the Board of Directors of DONA

Keynote title: Open Science – looking to the future.

Open Science is here to stay and will become the standard way of doing science this decade. Sooner than we thought (due to CORONA) and much more needed than we assumed (in view of the large issues we face as societies).

Dr Paul Ayris

Dr Ayris is Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship). He joined UCL in 1997.

Dr Ayris was the President of LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) 2010-14. He was Chair of the LERU (League of European Research Universities) INFO Community, finishing 10 years in office in December 2020. He is now the LERU observer in the EOSC Association and UCL’s Open Science Ambassador in the LERU Open Science Ambassadors Policy Group.

He also chairs the OAI Organizing Committee for the Cern-Unige Workshops on Innovations in Scholarly Communication. He is a member of the UUK High-Level Strategy Group on E-Resource purchasing for the Jisc community. On 1 August 2013, Dr Ayris became Chief Executive of UCL Press. He is a member of the Provost’s and President’s Senior Management Team in UCL. On 1 October 2020, Dr Ayris launched the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship, of which he is head.

He has a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History and publishes on English Reformation Studies. In 2019, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Keynote title: Open Science at UCL – looking to our future.

Dr Ayris will follow the opening keynote with a discussion of how the future of Open Science will directly affect universities and what the future of developments of Open Science will be at UCL.

Day 2: 

Dr Lizzie Gadd

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Gadd is a scholarly communications specialist working as a Research Policy Manager (Publications) at Loughborough University, UK.

She chairs the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Research Evaluation Working Group which has developed the ‘SCOPE’ model for responsible research evaluation and a set of principles and assessment tool for responsible University Rankings. In 2010 she co-founded and now chairs the LIS-Bibliometrics Forum for HE bibliometrics specialists. Under this umbrella she founded The Bibliomagician Blog which provides advice and guidance ‘by practitioners, for practitioners’. She also is co-Champion for the ARMA Research Evaluation SIG.  In 2020 she was the recipient of the INORMS Award for Excellence in Research Management Leadership.

She holds a PhD in copyright ownership and scholarly communication and regularly writes, researches and speaks on scholarly communication topics relating to copyright ownership, open access, bibliometrics and research evaluation.

Keynote title: Count-erproductive? The role of metrics in the advancement of open science.

Lizzie will present a discussion of the appropriate and inappropriate places for metrics and alternative forms of measurement and their uses to incentivise, monitor, promote and reward open research practice.

Gesche Huebner & Mike Fell

Dr Gesche Huebner is a Lecturer at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Energy Institute. Her research is focused on understanding drivers of energy consumption and temperatures in home and on assessing links between the built environment, health, and wellbeing.

Dr Michael Fell is a Senior Research Fellow at UCL Energy Institute. His research (on home energy use) employs quantitative and qualitative methods, and includes both original data collection and systematic review approaches. He has previously worked on secondment in the Open Science Team at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Mike and Gesche are both working on promoting research practices for greater transparency, reproducibility and quality in applied energy research, and have given presented, published, and taught on this topic.

Keynote title: Toolkit for Transparency, Reproducibility & Quality in Energy Research

The talk will draw on a recent paper considering the use of open science approaches in applied, multidisciplinary research areas. It will set out some of the key barriers we have noted in the case of energy research, and then present our new “TReQlist” (or checklist for transparency, reproducibility and quality) covering tools that we suggest are applicable in multidisciplinary research areas. We also show at what stages those tools help to improve research practices. We focus on the benefits to researchers of employing these approaches, countering the narrative that following good practice on open science is either burdensome or in opposition to career progression incentives.

New Year open access reflections

By Catherine Sharp, on 11 January 2021

Fireworks over Eiffel Tower.Whether you were tucked up in bed early on New Year’s Eve 2020, or come midnight enjoyed what limited indulgences are available nowadays, there’s no doubt that many of us are keen to put 2020 firmly behind us. Here in UCL’s Office for Open Science and Scholarship (OOSS) 2021 appears bright, with lots of exciting developments in open research and open access coming up; but we wanted to spend our first post of the new year unfashionably looking back, and highlighting some of the great things that happened in open access in 2020.

Without further ado, here’s a rundown of some of UCL’s 2020 open access highlights.

Finally – not a number, but an achievement for the Open Access Team nonetheless – we overhauled our open access funding webpages, Wellcome and other funders webpages, and in fact most of our online guidance. Since open access continues to be rather complex, to say the least, we also added a glossary to the webpages. We’ll be making more improvements soon, but hope that you’ve found these ones useful so far.

I’d like to say a thank you to my magnificent colleagues, who’ve processed such huge numbers of papers and kept on top of the ever-growing numbers of enquiries about open access: hard to count, but probably up to a hundred questions every day, many of them very complicated. Thanks also to everyone in the UCL community who works with us to make open access happen. Look out for new transformative agreements coming soon, and very best wishes for a good 2021.

Wellcome Trust OA policy and DORA webinar – summary and links

By Kirsty, on 17 December 2020

On Wednesday 16th December the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship hosted a webinar focussing on the forthcoming Wellcome Trust Open Access policy, with particular reference to DORA, as well as how we are making progress towards fully being able to meet its terms.

Our first speaker was David Carr from the Wellcome trust who talked about the development of the Open Access focussed teams inside Wellcome Trust before outlining the new policy in full and describing in detail the elements which are distinct from the previous policy as shown in the image below.

David then moved on to describing the background to Wellcome’s commitment to responsible research evaluation, and the decision to include DORA in the new policy. He also described the feedback and redrafting process that it went through thanks to the feedback from the community.

Following on from David, we had a talk from Dr Ralitsa Madsen, who shared her experiences as a junior researcher around the issue of research evaluation and especially its relationship with transparency and Open Science.  She has worked with Chris Chambers of the UKRN to develop a policy template for funders to try and encourage more adoption, but also make it easier for them to adopt, by providing a ready-made solution!

We then turned to the Library Services contingent of the webinar speakers, starting out with Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost for Library Services and the Office for Open Science and Scholarship. Paul walked us through the development of the UCL responsible metrics policy and the ways that it is being implemented in HR, recruitment and promotions processes.

Catherine Sharp, Head of Open Access Services followed up with a whistle-stop tour of the changes that have been made to the Open Access processes in order to support academic staff to meet the terms of the new policy, including numerous transformative arrangements with different publishers.

At the end of the webinar we had one remaining question which we put to David after the session:

What do ‘appropriate sanctions’ look like?

David’s response: There’s actually no change on this – the sanctions are actually already in place, and will remain as are when the new policy comes into effect in January.

Essentially we monitor compliance at end-of-grant reporting stage and when researchers apply for new funding.  If a researcher has non-compliant papers, then we will not activate new grants or funding renewals until any non-compliant Wellcome papers have been made open access.  Where papers reported in an end of grant report are not compliant, we will also not accept any new grant applications from that researcher until this has been resolved.  In extreme cases, we also have the option to suspend funding to a whole organisation.  See: https://wellcome.org/grant-funding/guidance/open-access-guidance/complying-with-our-open-access-policy

The recording is available below and also on MediaCentral.

Announcement: UCL Open Science Conference 2021

By Kirsty, on 11 December 2020

As part of our Focus on Open Science programme, the team in the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship is pleased to announce their Spring conference, taking place on the afternoons of the 26th and 27th April 2021.

We invite responses to a call for papers, open until 28th Feb 2021. We welcome applications for lightning talks across a number of themes related to the 8 pillars of Open Science. The aim of the Open Science events is to add to a global community of practice in Open Science activity so please do share your insights into and use of Open Science policy and practice with the wider scholarly community.

The call for papers is open to all interested parties, both inside UCL and from the wider community, but priority will be given to internal applications from UCL members and we particularly welcome applications from Research Students and Early Career Researchers.

Our themes are as follows:

  • The future of Open Science
  • Technical solutions
  • FAIR Data
  • Reproducibility and Transparency
  • Citizen Science
  • Responsible metrics

Call for papers closes: Feb 28 2021.

Successful papers notified: week beginning 15th March 2021

Introduction to Citizen Science at UCL event – a discussion

By Kirsty, on 3 December 2020

During Open Access Week 2020 we hosted a webinar called Introduction to Citizen Science at UCL. Although the week has been summarised and information shared on this blog before, the session was so interesting that it deserves another look.

Speakers:

  • Prof Muki Haklay – History and development of Citizen Science at UCL
  • Rosie Brigham – Monument Monitor Project
  • Mayssa Jallad – Institute for Global Prosperity and the RELIEF Project
  • Prof Kate Jones – Bat Detective Project
  • Danielle Purkiss – Big Compost Experiment project

I was particularly interested in the growth of Citizen Science described in Muki’s part of the session, especially the wide variety of techniques that have grown out of developments in technology, as well as so many more people having access to the internet and mobile technology.

The growth and expansion of Citizen Science has led to the gradual development of the different definitions outlined in the image below (taken from the session).

Citizen Science gets divided into three broad categories, with a fair amount of crossover. The first is the least technological, and the most long-standing (possibly even predating the coining of the phrase ‘Citizen Science’), called ‘Long running Citizen Science’. These projects involve using members of the public in long term activities like weather observation, local archaeology, or surveying local ecological areas. Muki talked about Open Air Laboratories, and Prof Kate Jones’s lightning talk also touched on this by describing how a long running bat survey has been extended to use new technology.

The Community Science category mostly comprises science taking place in the community. This includes projects involving sensing in communities, such as noise or air pollution, even creating affordable DIY sensing kits or tools like Bento Lab, a cheap kit that makes it possible to do PCR testing at home. It also includes training based experiences, giving communities the chance to develop skills while taking part in projects.

The final category is the biggest. It’s this one that, in my opinion, has grown the fastest in recent years due to the rapid expansion of technology and the interconnected world we live in. These projects are very varied. For example, social media has facilitated projects like Monument Monitor, and tools like Zooniverse enable projects like Bat Detective to get members of the public to join in and enable research on a much larger scale. The sky is seriously the limit! Anyone can join in and get involved with some amazing research, and despite the name of the site, it’s not just animal related!

During the session we had a great Q&A discussion. Not a lot of it made it to the recording because our speakers had so much to share about their projects – so here’s a summary:

Muki highlighted an online Citizen Science course that’s run by the team at ExCiteS. It’s a self-paced course, and completely free! It’s even being revamped right now, with a new version due for release in January.

Rosie discussed choosing Scotland as the location for her Monument Monitor project, funding that came from Historic Environment Scotland and her plans to make the software Open Source. This will enable other heritage institutions to build on the work she has begun in Scotland.

Mayssa discussed recruiting Citizen Scientists in the Relief project, with the help of local initiatives or NGOs. The Citizen Scientists are from diverse nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, reflecting the communities in the area. There was also an interesting conversation about the term ‘Citizen Science’ itself, and Mayssa had an interesting point on this, and shared that her participants are not all citizens in Lebanon, some are Syrian or Palestinian, and in fact they translate Citizen Scientist to ‘Local Researcher’ in Arabic.

She also shared some of the challenges brought about by COVID-19, including the need to limit in-person workshops by moving the first phase of research online. After this first stage, when fieldwork began, it was important to give workshop and survey participants frequent reminders about health measures and social distancing. Events that had already been organized were transformed into webinars, or divided up into more events with smaller groups to allow for health measures.

We finished the session with a question about the benefits of Citizen Science projects. Participants get to learn new skills, while small scale projects can broaden their scope and become part of a larger goal, for example preventing biodiversity loss. It was also clear that a number of projects, including the Bat Monitor and Big Compost Project, allow people to satisfy their curiosity about what is in their own back garden!

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral

The new Wellcome Trust OA policy and DORA: a UCL webinar

By Kirsty, on 18 November 2020

Here at the Office for Open Science and Scholarship we are pleased to announce another webinar!

This time we have David Carr from the Wellcome Trust leading this fascinating webinar based around their new Open Access policy which comes into force in January.

  • David Carr: New Wellcome Trust OA policy outline and overview of changes
  • Ralitsa Madsen: Proposal on DORA alignment across multiple funders
  • Dr Paul Ayris & Catherine Sharp: How we are implementing the new policy at UCL

Join us on Wednesday 16th December at 12 noon for a lunchtime webinar, and plenty of time to ask all of your questions!

Sign up on Eventbrite to get your link to join the session


Full event description:

In their new Open Access policy, which will come into force in January 2021, the Wellcome Trust has introduced a requirement that organisations receiving funding must commit to the core principles set out by DORA.

In this webinar we will be hearing from David Carr, the Programme Manager for Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, who will be outlining this policy and sharing his thoughts on these changes. Following that we will be hearing from Dr Ralitsa Madsen, Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow at the UCL Cancer Institute about her proposal to develop a protocol on DORA alignment that all research funders should follow. The final speakers of the session will be our own Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice Provost for UCL Library Services and the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, and Catherine Sharp, Head of Open Access Services with an outline of how UCL is implementing both the DORA principles, and the Wellcome policy in general.

We will have plenty of time for discussion among our speakers and for them to answer your questions so please join us for an interesting session before the policy comes into force

Open Access Week: the first ReproHack ♻ @ UCL

By Kirsty, on 17 November 2020

The Research Software Development Group hosted the first ReproHack at UCL as part of the Open Access Week events run this year by the Office for Open Science and Scholarship. This was not only the first event of this type at UCL, but the first time a reprohack ran for a full week.

What’s a Reprohack?

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.

As it normally happens on hackathons, this is also a learning experience! During a Reprohack the participants, besides contributing to measure the reproducibility of published papers, also learn how to implement better reproducibility practices into their research and appreciate the high value of sharing code for Open Science.

An important aspect of the Reprohacks is that the authors themselves are the ones who put forward their papers to be tested. If you’ve published a paper and provided code and data with it, you can submit your papers for future editions of Reprohack! Your paper may be chosen by future reprohackers and provide you with feedback about the reproducibility of your paper! The feedback form is well designed so you get a complete overview of what went well and what could be improved.

Reprohacks are open to all domains! Any programming language used in the papers are accepted, however papers with code using open source programming languages are more likely to be to chosen by the participants as it may be easier to install it on their computers.

In this particular edition, the UCL Research Software Development Group was available throughout the week to provide support to the reprohackers.

What did I miss?

This was the first Reprohack at UCL! You missed all the excitement that first-time events bring with them! But do not worry, there will be more Reprohacks!

This event was particularly challenging with the same difficulties we have been fighting for the last nine months trying to run events online, but we had gain some experience already with other workshops and training sessions we run so everything went smoothly!

The event started with a brief introduction of what the event was going to be like, an ice-breaker to get the participants talking and a wonderful keynote by Daniela Ballari entitled “Why computational reproducibility is important?”. Daniela provided a great introduction to the event (did you know that only a ~20% of the published literature has only the “potential” of being computationally reproduced? and that most of it can’t be because either the software is not free, the data provided is incomplete, or it misses which version of the software was used? [Culina, 2020]), linking to resources like The Turing Way and providing five selfish reasons to work on reproducibility. She put these reasons in context of our circles of influences like how these practices benefits the author, their team, the reviewers and the overall community. The questions and answers that followed the talk were also very insightful! Daniela is a researcher in Geoinformation and Geostatics and never trained as a software developer, so she had to learn her way to make her research reproducible and her efforts in that front were highlighted in the selfish reasons she proposed in her talk.

The rest of the event consisted on ReproHacking-hacking-hacking! We separated into groups and started to choose papers. We then disconnected from the call and each participant or team worked as they preferred over the next days to try to reproduce the paper(s) they chose. At the end of the week we reconvened together to share how far we’d got and what we learned on the way.

In total we reviewed four papers, only one participant managed to reproduce the whole paper, the rest (me included) were stuck on the process. We found that full reproducibility is not easy! If the version of a software is not mentioned, then it becomes very difficult to find why something is not working as it should. But we also had a lot of fun and the participants were happy that there is a community at UCL that fights for reproducibility!

This ReproHack also counted with Peter Schmidt interviewing various participants for Code for thought, a podcast that will be published soon! Right now he’s the person running RSE Stories on this side of the Atlantic, a podcast hosted by Vanessa Sochat.

What’s next?

We will run this again! When? Not sure. We would like to run it twice a year, maybe again during the Open Access week and another session sometime between March-April. Are you interested in helping to organise it? Give me a shout! We can make a ReproHack that fits better for our needs (and our researchers!)

Thanks

Million thanks to Daniela Ballari, her talk was very illustrative and helpful to set the goals of the event!

Million thanks to Anna Krystalli too, a fellow Research Software Engineer at the University of Sheffield as she was the creator of this event and provided a lot of help to get us ready! She’s a Software Sustainability Institute Fellow and the SSI gave the initial push for this to exist. We also want to thank the RSE group at Sheffield as we were using some of their resources to run the event!

I also want to thank the organisers of ReproHack in LatinR (thanks Florencia!) as their event was just weeks before ours and seeing how they organised was super helpful!

Reproducibility events and initiatives from the UKRN

By Kirsty, on 11 November 2020

Improve your workflow for reproducible science: We recently hosted this workshop on reproducible data analysis in R Markdown and Git, led by data scientist Mine Cetinkaya-Rundel. The recording can be found here and the materials here.

Open science in covid-19 research, ReproducibiliTea journal club (Dec 2nd):Dr Lonni Besançon will present his paper ‘Open Science Saves Lives: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’. Further details and registration can be found here.

Funding for activities to develop data skills/software: UCL are offering £3000 for projects (£600 each) that support community-based activities which either contribute to the development of software and data skills, foster interdisciplinary research through the reuse of tools and resources (e.g. algorithms, data and software) or strengthen positive attributes of the community. The aim is also to provide PhD students, research and professional service staff opportunities to develop their leadership and advocacy skills. Deadline to apply is the 23 November 2020 (noon). Further details can be found here. 

 

Case study: Disseminating early research findings to influence decision makers

By Nazlin Bhimani, on 6 November 2020

A classroom in Uganda

Photograph by Dr Simone Datzberger

Recently a researcher asked for our advice on the best way to disseminate her preliminary findings from a cross-disciplinary research project on COVID-19. She wanted to ensure policy makers in East Africa had immediate access to the findings so that they could make informed decisions. The researcher was aware that traditional models of publishing were not appropriate, not simply because of the length of time it generally takes for an article to be peer-reviewed and published, but because the findings would, most likely, be inaccessible to her intended audience in a subscription-based journal.

The Research Support and Open Access team advised the researcher to take a two-pronged approach which would require her to: (1) upload the working paper with the preliminary findings in a subject-specific open-access preprint service; and (2) to publicise the research findings in an online platform that is both credible and open access. We suggested she use SocArXiv and publish a summary of her findings in The Conversation Africa, which has a special section on COVID-19. The Conversation has several country-specific editions for Australia, Canada English, Canada French, France, Global Perspectives, Indonesia, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States, and is a useful vehicle to get academic research read by decision makers and the members of the public. We also suggested that the researcher publicise the research on the IOE London Blog.

What are ‘working papers’ & ‘preprint services’?

UCL’s Institute of Education has a long-standing tradition of publishing working papers to signal work-in-progress, share initial findings, and elicit feedback from other researchers working in the same area. The preprint service used thus far at the IOE is RePEc (Research Papers in Economics), which includes papers in education and the related social sciences). RePEc is indexed by the database publisher EBSCO (in EconLit) and by Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search. Commercial platforms such as ResearchGate also trawl through RePEc and index content. Until it was purchased by Elsevier in May 2016, the Social Science Research Network or SSRN was the other popular preprint repository used by IOE researchers although its content is indexed mainly for its conference proceedings. The sale of SSRN to Elsevier resulted in a fallout between authors and the publisher, and this resulted in SocArXiv entering the scene. SocArXiv is an open access, open source preprint server for the social sciences which accepts text files, data and code. It is the brainchild of the non-profit Centre for Open Science (COS) whose mission is to increase openness, integrity and reproducibility of research – values that are shared by UCL and are promoted on this blog and by the newly formed Office of Open Science and Scholarship (for more information see also the Pillars of Open Science). In the spirit of openness, most papers on SocArXiv use the creative commons license CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivatives 4.0 International, which safeguards the rights of the author. As papers on SocArXiv are automatically assigned Digital Object Identifiers (DOI), they discoverable on the web, particularly as Scholar indexes SocArXiv content.

What are the benefits of using preprint servers?

Whilst research repositories such as UCL Discovery are curtailed by publisher policies on what research can be made open access, this is not always the case for papers submitted on preprint subject repositories. Without wanting to repeat what my colleague Patrycja Barczymska has already written in her post on preprints I can confirm that in addition to signalling the research findings and eliciting feedback, other benefits to depositing in preprint servers include the enhanced discoverability as most will automatically generate DOIs at the time a paper is uploaded, the possibility of obtaining early citations and the alternative metrics that indicate interest (e.g. the number of downloads, mentions, etc.)  that services such as SocArXiv provide. Researchers can also list open-access working papers in funding applications.

Does uploading a working paper in a pre-print server hinder the publication of the final paper?

Researchers are concerned, and rightly so, that publishers may not publish their final research output if preliminary findings are deposited in preprint servers as working papers. However, more often than not, working papers are exactly that – work in progress. They are not the final article that gets submitted for publication.  It is also likely that the preliminary findings and conclusions in the working paper will be somewhat different from the final version of the paper. It is worth knowing that some of the key social sciences publishers, such as SageSpringer, and Taylor and Francis / Routledge and Wiley, explicitly state that they will accept content that has been deposited on a preprint server, as long as it is a non-commercial preprint service. In other words, researchers must not upload the working papers on platforms such as academia.edu and ResearchGate.

These ‘preprint-friendly’ publishers simply ask that the author informs them of the existence of a preprint and provides the DOI of the working paper at the time of submitting their article. Some ask that authors update the preprint to include the bibliographic details, including the new DOI, when their article is published, and that authors add a statement requesting readers to cite the published article rather than the preprint publication. Although a definitive list of individual journal policies does not exist, submission guidelines generally clarify issues related to preprints. Researchers may want to use the Sherpa Romeo service (and Sherpa Juliet for key funder policies) to obtain additional information.

More than a success story

The above case demonstrates how preliminary research findings can be shared expeditiously and in an open environment to aid the decision-making process.  It also demonstrates that open-access subject-specific preprint services can be beneficial to promoting both the research and the researcher, and that there is now wider acceptance among publishers that the traditional models of publishing are not always viable. This is especially true where cutting-edge research is required as in the case of research on COVID-19.

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Launch week – summary, links and thanks!

By Kirsty, on 29 October 2020

Last week, 19-23rd October, saw the launch of the new Office for Open Science and Scholarship, coinciding with International Open Access Week. What a week it was!

As well as launching our Office Newsletter, the many and varied events we held last week were a huge undertaking for all involved. This post reflects the information shared in each session; it comes with huge thanks to everyone who took part and helped out behind the scenes with promotion and organisation.


The week started with the official launch of the Office – Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost for Library Services, and Head of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship, opened the first session with an overview of the development of the Office, and the current status of Open Science at UCL. This was followed by lightning talks highlighting just some of the teams that are linked to the Office and available for supporting researchers in a number of aspects of Open Science.

  • Lara Speicher from UCL Press gave an overview of the work of the Press since its launch, and its current work publishing Open Access books, monographs and journals:
    uclpress.co.uk
  • Catherine Sharp from the Open Access Team outlined the service and policy support that her team provides. She also described UCL’s new range of transformative publisher agreements and new web pages on open access funding:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/open-access
  • James Houghton from the Research Data Management (RDM) Team talked about the RDM Team’s responsibilities and areas of support, including Data Management Planning, FAIR Data, and the UCL Research Data Repository:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/research-data-management
  • Andrew Gray from the Bibliometrics Team discussed the origins of responsible metrics and the principles behind the new Bibliometrics Policy recently launched at UCL:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/bibliometrics
  • Grace Gottlieb from OVPR discussed definitions and the importance of Research Transparency, Integrity and Reproducibility and introduced the support and training available, as well as the institutional contacts for the UK Reproducibility Network:
    ucl.ac.uk/research/integrity

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral.

Later that afternoon, our colleagues in Research IT Services, led by David Perez-Suarez, kicked off UCL’s first ever ReproHack. This is a hands-on reproducibility hackathon where participants attempted to reproduce the results of a research paper from published code and data. The outcomes were then collated and shared with the group. These outcomes will also be fed back to the paper’s authors. David is going to be writing us a guest blog post about this event – so watch this space!

Tuesday saw the first of our sessions with the different teams, starting with a training session with the Bibliometrics Team entitled ‘Introduction to InCites’- a metrics tool that UCL subscribes to. This tool can be used to compare research output across different institutions, analyse publication data for UCL at department and faculty levels, and understand activity in a research field as a whole. This session was not recorded but there is a full range of Bibliometrics training including an InCites session available on the bibliometrics website. The Open Access Team also hosted an afternoon drop in session for UCL researchers in which they discussed transformative agreements, open access funding and the importance of UCL’s Bibliometrics Policy in freeing researchers to publish in a wider range of journals.

Wednesday was another exciting day, giving us the second of our three webinars of the week – this one focused on Citizen Science. This session began with an overview of the history and development of Citizen Science at UCL by Professor Muki Haklay, and included a wide range of examples of how the principles of Citizen Science can be used in practice. This was followed up by a series of lightning talks where colleagues from across the university shared their projects and experiences of working on vastly different Citizen Science projects:

  • First, Rosie Brigham shared with us the details of her PhD study, Monument Monitor. This project invites visitors to historic sites to share photographs of their visits using social media in order to monitor structural and visitor-related changes to the monuments.
  • Mayssa Jallad gave us an overview of the work of the Institute for Global Prosperity and the RELIEF Project that trains local people as Citizen Scientists in neighbourhoods in Hamra (Beirut) and Mina (Lebanon).
  • Kate Jones followed up with a completely different project, truly highlighting the variety of applications of Citizen Science. The Bat Detective Project used volunteers to collect and then later identify audio recordings of bat sonar, which was used to train a machine learning algorithm for the next stage of the project.
  • Danielle Purkiss was our final speaker, talking about the Big Compost Experiment, which is a truly massive undertaking, with numerous participants all contributing to a research experiment looking at compostable and biodegradable plastics in their own back gardens!

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday were dedicated to drop in sessions from both the UCL Press and Research Data Management teams. The teams had some good conversations with researchers. The UCL Press Q&A focused on prospective authors, and commissioning editors were available to answer questions about the benefits of publishing Open Access. The RDM Team was available to discuss data management planning and answer questions about managing, publishing and archiving all kinds of data and supporting evidence from research.

These sessions were not recorded but the teams are both available to answer questions by email. The RDM team also has FAQs and training available online.

Friday gave us our third and final webinar, this time hosted by UCL Press and entitled ‘Author Experiences of Publishing Open Access books’. This session featured in-depth interviews of two authors who have published with UCL Press, Prof Eleanor Robson and Prof Bob Shiel. Their publications with the press were distinctly different but both were able to share insights from the process and give a brilliant behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the press. The entire discussion provided a really positive look at the importance of Open Access presses, and challenged lots of this misconceptions people have about them.

This event was recorded and is available on MediaCentral.

We’re delighted that so many colleagues from inside the university and from around the world were able to join us at these events. We’re also looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on how the Office for Open Science and Scholarship can support researchers, colleagues and students here at UCL. All of your feedback will be used to develop the next events that we plan, so please do get in touch with us here by commenting below, by email, or on Twitter.