How understanding Copyright helps you open up your research
By Harry, on 14 March 2023
Guest post by Christine Daoutis, Copyright Support Officer
“Can use this image I found free online?”
“I’m not sure how much of a book or an article it’s OK to copy”.
“This is my article; surely I can post it anywhere I want?”
These questions, and quite a few others, often come up in everyday research practice. They are all related to copyright. Whether you are reusing others’ materials (documents, figures, photos, video, software, data) or creating and sharing your own, understanding copyright ensures not only that you can respect others’ rights and stay within the law, but also that you can open up your research.
But understanding copyright is much more than a legal compliance issue. It is also more than an academic integrity issue. In short, it’s not just about following the rules, but also about understanding your own rights and using the rules flexibly. You can use your copyright knowledge as a tool to open up, rather than restrict, your research. For example, relying on copyright exceptions, and knowing how to find, reuse and acknowledge openly licensed materials, can give you much more freedom in how you can reuse others’ works. Crucially, knowing your rights as authors also allows you to share your research openly and, through licensing, determine how others may reuse it. Open Science practices – open access to publications, open data, open source software and hardware, co-creation projects – rely on an understanding of copyright.
To help you increase your knowledge and confidence around copyright, you can do any of the following:
- Complete the 3-minute UCL copyright support survey to rate your confidence and tell us what support you need. If you are not sure what you need to know, the survey gives you some ideas to choose from. Currently open until 31 March 2023.
- Complete the 20-minute Copyright Essentials online module. You will learn the basics at your own pace, using quizzes, short videos and academic-based scenarios.
- Book a training session delivered the copyright support team. These can be in person or online, and offer you the chance to ask questions.
- Visit the UCL copyright website for guidance on specific copyright topics.
- Follow the copyright blog for topical articles and updates.
- Contact the UCL copyright support team if you have a specific question, or would like to arrange bespoke training.
UCL Open Science Conference 2023 – tickets now available!
By Kirsty, on 23 February 2023
We are pleased to announce that the annual UCL Open Science Conference is now Open for booking!
This year we are going fully hybrid and invite you to join us for free 10am – 4.00pm on 24th April, either on campus in Bloomsbury or online for a day-long conference with the theme: Open Science and the Case for Social Justice.
We are also going to use the theme to end the day with a facilitated citizen science workshop on the theme of authorship.
- Open Leaders – this session will highlight some of the state of the art in Open Science & Scholarship in the form of two keynotes that look at distinctly different large-scale projects that are led by communities, followed by a discussion on the topic of the future of Open Science.
- Sustainable futures – Openness comes with challenges. It’s one thing to share publications, code, and potentially very large datasets freely, but there are still costs associated with this sharing, and those costs grow over time. This session will consider these challenges from multiple angles, looking at who should bear these costs and how, with regards to equitability.
- Challenges of equity in Open Science – Open Science and Scholarship are new ways of looking at the world. This session sets the scene by looking at the issue of Equality in Open Science practice. Topics such as gender, language, authorship, and geographical differences will be covered in this session, which is designed to introduce these overarching themes and set the scene for the workshop.
- Co-production workshop – Often, participants in research projects do not get credit for their significant contributions in the process, from community leaders, patients, and citizen scientists; to academics, research assistants, technicians, or coders. But how to promote fairer practices? Join us in this interactive workshop, ‘Challenges of Equity in Authorship’, and have your say in setting the baseline for future developments and better practices towards authorship justice and beyond!
UCL Research Data Repository: Publishing research outputs for staff and PhD students across in 2022
By Harry, on 17 February 2023
Dr Christiana McMahon & Christine Buckley – Research Data Support Officers
At UCL, we have a dedicated Research Data Repository. This can be used by staff and research students to archive and preserve research outputs. This can be anything from your datasets to a poster you presented at a conference.
What have we published?
In total, we published 162 items!
Total number of views in 2022: 172059
Total number of downloads in 2022: 117830
What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?
By Harry, on 15 February 2023
Dr Christiana McMahon & Christine Buckley – Research Data Support Officers
A Data Management Plan or DMP is an essential part of research data management and is usually completed in the first stage of any research project. It can help you think clearly about what data you will collect and how to store, curate, back up, archive and share this data.
You’ll find that many funders include a DMP as part of their grant applications, and we are more than happy to help review these.
You can check our recently updated webpage to learn how to create your DMP.
How do I get support?
Just email us a copy of your plan to email@example.com, or you can create your plan in DMPonline and request feedback.
How many DMPs have we reviewed?
Over the course of 2022, we reviewed a total of 39 plans, most of which supported grant applications submitted by researchers here at UCL.
The most popular months for sharing plans for feedback with the Research Data Management team were… April, June and October!
Welcome to Love Data Week 2023 at UCL
By Harry, on 13 February 2023
Post by Dr. Christiana McMahon & Christine Buckley – Research Data Support Officers
For those of you who have never experienced Love Data Week before, let me introduce it to you.
This is an international celebration of data. Organisations across the globe host a whole range of events intended for speakers to highlight their own data or to showcase best practices in research data management.
You can learn more about what is happening internationally by visiting the Love Data Week website.
As with every year, there is a theme. For this year and the theme is Data: Agent of Change.
“The theme this year is Data: Agent of Change. Love Data Week is about inspiring your community to use data to bring about changes that matter. Policy change, environmental change, social change… we can move mountains with the right data guiding our decisions.”- Love Data Week website
How are we celebrating this week?
This week we will be keeping active on our blog posts and Twitter account. We have been reviewing our activities over the last year and have found some great stuff.
- We will be talking about Data Management Plans and how to get support with this.
- We will be showcasing the training available to our community all year round.
- We will be looking at interesting statistics from our Research Data Repository.
- Finally, we will be showcasing some of the work from our community.
We’d love to showcase more, so please feel free to comment below for a shoutout.
Love Data Week 2023 #LoveData23
By Harry, on 7 February 2023
Guest post by Christine Buckley, Research Data Support Officer
This year from Monday, 13 February – Friday, 17 February, we will be celebrating your data!
Here at UCL, we’ve been reviewing the year and loving what we’ve found. Follow us on Twitter and our blog to get your daily dose of heart-warming stats, our lovely training, and our blossoming repository.
This year the theme for Love Data Week is: “Data: Agent of Change”. Leave us a comment below if this describes your work.
Office for Open Science & Scholarship 2022 review
By Harry, on 18 January 2023
A new exciting year is starting, and what better way to give the initial kick than celebrating the achievements and milestones of the multiple teams linked to the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship (OOSS). We are proud to see how the OOSS kept growing and consolidating itself inside UCL’s institutional culture, supporting academic staff, researchers and students.
One of last year’s highlights was undoubtedly the UCL Open Science Conference, reuniting people from all over the world in sessions discussing Citizen Science, Open data and code, Open and the Global South and more. You can still watch the recordings of day one and day two on our blog! And get ready to participate in the 2023 version in late April. You will hear about it soon on our pages and social media. We are working to make the event hybrid to facilitate participation across territories, do not miss your spot!
After various months of revisions and collaborative work, we published new Open Science Resources for 2022-2023. The first is the video ‘Open Science and Scholarship as part of UCL Research Culture’ and ‘Open Science – a practical guide for PhD students’.
Our office connects to several other teams inside UCL that make an exquisite blend of services, skills and expertise, and we want to celebrate their achievements and news.
The UCL Open Access team has grown their range of transformative publisher agreements and upgraded Research Publications Services (RPS). Users will notice a refreshed look and feel, differences to the Homepage layout, and a new menu structure and navigation. Check the step-by-step guide if you missed it!
UCL Press has proven the importance of open-access scholarly publishers, reaching six million downloads last May (and close to seven million now!), reaching 246 countries and territories, and publishing 272 titles since its launch in 2015.
The Bibliometrics team now is able to support Altmetric, which will be useful for anyone interested in public engagement or research impact, as well as individual researchers looking at the response to their work online. Altmetrics are “alternative metrics” – measuring the impact of research beyond scholarly literature. Helping to get a wider sense of the impact of papers that might otherwise be missed were we to focus on traditional academic citations.
Our Research and Data Management team upgraded their webpages, reviewed dozens of data management plans, and created brand new online Data Management Plan Templates with DMP online. Their services and the Bibliometrics team were both classified as excellent regarding the user’s experience of our online support service. We are proud of such a hard-working and supportive team!
During the second half of 2022, the OOSS gained two additional members: a Citizen Science Coordinator and a Support Officer. Both new team members are currently working with the Office Coordinator on ambitious projects that will see the light later this year, aiming to diversify the support and resources of our virtual office for wider audiences.
Undoubtedly, the diversity of professionals, backgrounds and interests made our small office inside Library, Culture, Collections & Open Science (LCCOS) a prosperous place to develop services, ideas and projects for wonderful audiences inside and outside our university.
Last year’s achievements were only possible due to the support of the university to embrace an open culture, thanks to the collaborative work between the teams, and always supporting each other and the office users. We will keep working together to democratise knowledge and keep UCL one of the Open Science & Scholarship leaders worldwide.
Open Access in Genealogy
By Harry, on 7 December 2022
Post by Marie Dewerpe, Open Access team. Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science.
This blog post relates to personal experiences I have had with open data and open access in genealogy. Besides working as an open access assistant, I am an amateur genealogist. Therefore, I asked myself: what about open access in genealogy?
Family history is bit like a detective work in the archives. You are looking for clues and proof of where your ancestors lived and who they were. To create your family tree, you need to access records. The main records genealogists use are the birth, marriage and death (BMD) and census records collected by the government. They are usually stored by the state at the national, regional or local level.
Depending on the country, the data is archived differently by the civil services. I will be writing about accessing records that do not concern living individuals protected by blanket policies such as the Data Protection Act in the UK.
The field of genealogy has a history of collaboration and volunteering. Fellow genealogists will search on your behalf in exchange for you helping other genealogists. Transcribers, translators and online forums are on hand to provide help. This kind of free support from other genealogists is quite common. But when I started looking into open data and open access in genealogy, I realised there is little information on the topic. From my experience of navigating archives in different countries (France, Estonia and the UK) I also noticed some similarities and disparities in gaining access to genealogical resources.
In France, many genealogical resources are free to access in the public archives. They can be reused under similar terms as the Creative Commons licence. For example, the Office Français De Protection Des Réfugiés Et Apatrides (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons) allows the user to reuse their public data with some restrictions, such as respecting the integrity of information. But these resources are not always easily searchable. When they are searchable you often need to use a private company’s database or a local group database. Furthermore, you must subscribe to the volunteer group or a private company in order to access the transcribed data and their searchable database.
In Estonia, documents like birth, marriage and death certificates are available freely. You can also ask the national archives to digitise their physical records for a small fee. After a while these digitised documents are shared on their website and are also freely available. As with France, it is not easy to navigate the resources when you are not literate in classification. But unlike France, some of the archival material is searchable on the National Archives website. Because France and Estonia are part of the European Union, their approach to public data is quite similar.
In the UK almost all “basic” records such as birth, marriage and death certificates are behind a pay wall. You must subscribe to private companies to access what is available freely to those based in other countries. The information includes census, birth, marriage and death records. Having to pay for these records no doubt affects who can access the genealogical resources. Local libraries facilitate access to family histories, but they also have to subscribe to databases that are originally stored by public entities like the National Archives, but are managed by private companies.
I found one initiative, FreeUKGenealogy, which supports free access to genealogy data without restrictions on its use. As explained on their website, they want to bypass pay walls and allow users to access public data.
To sum up this exploration of open data and open access in genealogy, there are differences in access levels from country to country. When in France and Estonia, the records are freely accessible, in the UK you need to subscribe to private companies. However, free access does not mean easy access. Indeed, it is difficult to use the material without proficiency in archiving. In France, you have the option to access searchable databases, but there are fees involved. These current limitations place financial and knowledgeable barriers on those who wish to consult and use the records. This is where initiatives like FreeUKGenealogy are extremely useful.
Here are some free resources on getting started in genealogy:
For more information on open data in France, here is a fascinating paper:
The open-access subject gap
By Harry, on 25 November 2022
Post by Dominic Allington-Smith & Damian Kalinowski, UCL Library, Culture, Collections & Open Science
A common criticism of the Open Science movement is that it is geared towards the needs of researchers in of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to the detriment of researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS). Not only does the phrase “Open Science” itself have connotations of a subject-based preference in English, hence UCL’s decision to specify “Open Science and Scholarship“, but funder and institutional requirements to make research outputs open access also prioritise certain publication types over others, leading to a potential inequality between disciplines.
For STEM subjects, as a general rule, journal articles and conference papers are the most important form of research output. The two routes to achieving open access: Gold – whereby the publisher makes the content freely available to read and reuse, usually in exchange for a fee – and Green – whereby a copy of the output is made openly available in the researcher’s institutional repository (in UCL’s case, this is UCL Discovery) – are most available to these two publication types: almost all major, international publishers of academic publishers have well-established mechanisms for the payment of Article Processing Charges to facilitate the Gold route, and standard policies for author self-archiving of content that can be followed to achieve the Green route.
Furthermore, funder and institutional open access requirements are also framed with these two types of output in mind: journal articles and conference papers submitted to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) from 1 April 2016 onwards had to be made open access in order to be eligible; this requirement also continues for the post-2021 REF until further notice. In terms of funders, the current UKRI and Wellcome open access policies also have mandatory open access requirements for funded journal articles and journal articles.
In contrast, AHSS researchers are likely to consider books a comparatively more important class of research output, whether a monograph or a chapter contributed to an edited collection. The open access landscape for books is considerably less mature than for journal articles and conference papers: publishers are less likely to have mechanisms in place for the provision of Gold open access, and may have more restrictive policies (or no policies at all) that allow authors to pursue Green open access through self-archive. Elsevier, for example, do not permit book or chapter content to be made available in UCL Discovery at all.
This is reflected in the above-mentioned funder and institutional open access requirements as well: books and chapters are currently not subject to any open access requirements for the post-2021 REF, and the UKRI open access policy for this content does not come into effect until 1 January 2024; Wellcome is the only one of the three to currently mandate open access for funded books and chapters in some form. The disparity even extends to journal articles by extension: as books are important in AHSS fields, so in turn are the reviews of these books published in journals, but these may not be considered to be “original research” by funders and therefore may not be eligible for Gold open access funding, or not considered necessary to be made open access via the Green route in UCL Discovery.
With all this theoretical inequality in mind, the question to answer is: how is this reflected in the proportion of UCL research outputs that have been made open access across the different subjects represented by our schools and departments? We can attempt to answer this with some data from two example departments.
Two UCL departments, at the same level within the overall hierarchy, have been selected to typify the worlds of STEM and AHSS: the School of Pharmacy and the History department, respectively. The publications recorded in RPS from the period 2016-2020 (i.e. the period for which there was an open access requirement for the submission of journal articles and conference papers to REF 2021) are analysed:
|UCL Department||Total outputs (2016-2020)||Journal articles and conference papers||Books and chapters|
|School of Pharmacy||2348||1756 (74.79%)||94 (4.00%)|
|Dept of History||534||249 (46.63%)||219 (41.01%)|
The proportions are strikingly different: the School of Pharmacy’s research outputs are dominated by journal articles and conference papers, constituting almost three-quarters of the total recorded outputs, whereas books and chapters form a paltry four percent. In contrast, the two groups of publication have an almost equal share of the total within History.
The next step is to analyse the proportion of these outputs for which the author has uploaded the full text to make it open access in UCL Discovery, bearing in mind the fact that books and chapters from this period were not subject to any REF or funder requirements in this regard:
|UCL Department||Journal articles and conference papers||Books and chapters|
|School of Pharmacy||1756||1411 (80.35%)||94||12 (12.77%)|
|Dept of History||249||145 (58.23%)||219||105 (47.95%)|
Unsurprisingly, the combination of books and chapters not having to be made open access for REF or funder requirements, and journal articles and conference papers being more significant in disciplinary terms for the School of Pharmacy than for History, results in a markedly higher upload proportion for the former: across all four publication types, the overall upload proportion is 76.92% for the School of Pharmacy and 53.42% for History.
The final consideration is the proportion of uploaded publications that have actually been made open access in UCL Discovery, bearing in mind publisher limitations being more prevalent when it comes to books and chapters. A further analysis of the uploaded publications produces the following results:
|UCL Department||Journal articles and conference papers||Books and chapters|
|Uploaded||Open access||Uploaded||Open access|
|School of Pharmacy||1411||1405 (99.58%)||12||5 (41.67%)|
|Dept of History||145||142 (97.93%)||105||72 (68.57%)|
This indicates that if a journal article or conference paper was uploaded in RPS, it was almost always made open access in UCL Discovery, whereas the equivalent proportion for books and chapters was lower once again, even a minority in the case of the School of Pharmacy.
The incentives to make journal articles and conference papers open access, and the barriers against achieving open access for books and chapters, therefore result in a stark difference between not only the publication types, but also the departments. Only 24.60% of all books and chapters recorded in RPS during this period by both departments have been made open access, compared with a far more favourable 77.16% for journal articles and conference papers. The History department’s comparative focus on the former two types means that only 45.73% of recorded outputs have been made open access. If only the publications for which the full text was uploaded in RPS are counted, there is still a figure of just under 15% that could not be made open access due to publisher-imposed restrictions. In contrast, the typical STEM experience represented by the School of Pharmacy has resulted in 76.22% of all recorded publications of these types being made open access. Perhaps most stark is the fact that fewer than 1% of uploaded publications could not be made open access, illustrating that the vast majority of academic publishers in this field permit open access via self-archiving in an institutional repository.
It is to be hoped that the extension of funder open-access mandates to books and chapters, which may well also be reflected in revised open-access requirements for the post-2021 REF in due course, will help to close this discrepancy in outcome between publication types, and by extension, departments by subject area within UCL and other UK Higher Education Institutions.
Research Publications Service (RPS) upgrade: what’s changed?
By Harry, on 8 November 2022
Post by Alan Bracey, Open Access Compliance Manager.
RPS has been upgraded from version 5 to version 6. While most of the functionality is unchanged, users will notice a refreshed look and feel, differences to the Homepage layout, and a new menu structure and navigation.
The guides to RPS for researchers on the Open Access webpages will soon be updated. Our RPS videos will be updated soon!
The following changes are outlined in this post:
- Menu and shortcut icons
- Publications page
- File deposits turned off: preprints, data, software/code
- Reporting, exports and ‘collect later’ functionality
- Changes to administrator roles
The Homepage has a revamped ‘My Actions’ section, with new visuals and additional guidance to help researchers complete key tasks.
Menu and shortcut icons
The main menu structure has been redesigned. The icon in the top left now opens the Menu to navigate around RPS, and the icons at the side are shortcuts to Home, Profile and the Reporting Hub.The Menu used for navigating around RPS has been reorganised. Pages generally have the same names as currently, though, and users can find pages with the new ‘search’ functionality.
(The menu items depend on roles and permissions: not all of those in the screenshot will be available.)
The three icons at the top of the screen link to ‘Impersonate’ (for administrators who have been given this functionality), ‘Help’ (with links to UCL guides), and a notifications window (e.g. ‘There are 14 Publications for you to claim or reject’). Clicking on your name opens a sub-menu with key system settings.The System Search is now found at: Reporting > Search > System Search
The tabs containing information related to publications have been rearranged. There is a new ‘labels’ tab, and the display of metrics and relationships has been redesigned.The tabs show information relating to the publication as follows:
- Summary shows the basic bibliographic data and is displayed by default.
- Metrics displays the Times Cited and Altmetric data.
- Deposits displays details of uploaded files.
- Labels presents ontologies available to be associated with the publication.
- Relationships lists the other RPS users who are linked to the record.
- Sources shows a list of the data sources that comprise the publication.
- History is the log of all activities performed against the record.
To change the publication type, select the pen icon next to the article type when viewing the summary tab.A new ‘focus on’ feature allows you to show the same tab for all outputs, e.g. if you wanted to review whether files have been uploaded for all publications.
The upgrade to version 6 will introduce a new Preprints publication type. Previously, preprints came into the system as journal articles, and would be manually changed to ‘Working/Discussion paper’. Preprints will now come into the system under the new Preprint type. Preprints already in the system will keep their current publication type but can be changed manually (contact the Open Access Team for help if required).
Uploading files is now turned off for preprints (see below), but these can be uploaded by the OA Team on request.
Preprints should automatically link to articles, so that the system creates an ‘is preprint of’ relationship between the preprint and a published article (providing both outputs have Crossref identifiers). These links can also be created manually by researchers or administrators if desired.
Depositing files restricted for some publication types
The new version of RPS allows file deposit to be turned on and off for different publication types. We have taken advantage of this functionality to turn off deposits for preprints, datasets and software/code. This is to prevent researchers uploading a preprint instead of an accepted manuscript, which does not meet funders’ open access requirements. Preprint servers are also typically open access. Data, software and code should be uploaded to the Research Data Repository. Please contact the Open Access Team if you need to upload a preprint.
Reporting, exports and ‘collect later’ functionality
Reports and dashboards in version 6 are collected in the new Reporting Hub, accessed by using the bar graph icon on the left of the screen, or at Reporting > Reports & Dashboards > Reporting Hub. The ability to set ‘favourite’ reports has been introduced, and reports and dashboards should be easier to find.
The Reporting Hub includes some exports and reports formerly found on the Basic Reports page, but not all of them have been migrated. Basic Reports are still available at Reporting > Reports & Dashboards > Basic Reports. More reports will migrate from Basic Reports to the Reporting Hub in later upgrades.
If a report takes longer than ten seconds to show, then you will be offered the option to collect the report later. When the report file is ready to download you receive a notification and can collect the report file from the new Download Centre (Reporting > Reports & Dashboards > Download Centre).
Changes to administrator roles
Some roles will be renamed due to the upgrade. Access and permissions are expected to remain the same, but please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you experience any issues.