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20 million downloads from UCL Discovery

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 13 May 2019

UCL Publications Board and the Open Access Team are delighted to announce that UCL’s institutional repository, UCL Discovery, reached the milestone of 20 million downloads on 5 April 2019. UCL Discovery is UCL’s open access repository, showcasing and providing access to UCL research outputs from all UCL disciplines. UCL authors currently deposit around 1,700 outputs in the repository every month. 

Our 20 millionth download was of a dataset: Aldridge, R; (2019) Causes of death among homeless people: a population-based cross-sectional study of linked hospitalisation and mortality data in England. [Dataset]. Wellcome Open: London, UK, which supports an article on causes of death among homeless people in Wellcome Open Research, a platform that allows rapid publication and transparent peer-review. This demonstrates the combined value of open research data, open peer review and open access to research publications.

The article’s corresponding author, Dr Robert Aldridge, deposited the dataset in UCL Discovery at the end of February 2019. Dr Aldridge is a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellow at UCL’s Institute of Health Informatics. He uses data and digital technologies to investigate and improve the health of the public, with a particular focus on the burden of disease marginalised communities. The article and accompanying dataset, analysing the causes of death of homeless people across England and concluding that almost a third of them were due to treatable illnesses, rather than hypothermia or alcohol and drug overdoses, typifies this line of research. See UCL News for more information about the article.

UCL is committed to supporting researchers with making research data open access, and will officially be launching its new Research Data Repository on Wednesday, 5th June. The service will enable UCL authors to publish their research data, make it discoverable and citable, meet funder requirements and preserve their data long-term. The launch event will take place from 5-7pm in room W3.01 IOE, 20 Bedford Way. David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research), will introduce this event and Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services), will present an update on how UCL is supporting Open Science, with a demonstration of the repository from Figshare as well as a user case study.  Wine, nibbles and soft drinks will be provided. Please register for a ticket here.

UCL Open Science Day 2019

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 9 May 2019

Last year in June UCL held the first Open Science Day, attended by over sixty people. This one day workshop provided an opportunity to ask for practical advice and to discuss different aspects of Open Science in a greater detail. Following its success, booking is now open for the second Open Science Day that takes place on Thursday 23rd May, at UCL Institute of Education (Logan Hall).

This one day workshop will explore the facets of Open Science and how these are, or could be, pursued by UCL researchers. In the morning speakers will discuss different aspects of and perspectives on Open Science. Afternoon workshops will offer practical advice on Software Carpentry, Citizen Science, GDPR and Open Education. There will also be opportunity to discuss the steps UCL should take to support Open Science.

Morning sessions include:

  • Open Pharma – Prof. Matt Todd, UCL School of Pharmacy
  • Research Evaluation and DORA – Prof. Steven Curry, Imperial College
  • Reproducible Research Oxford – Dr. Laura Fortunato, University of Oxford
  • Digital Science – Speaker TBC

The afternoon workshops will cover:

  • Scholarly Communication: megajournals and measuring impact – The recently-launched UCL Press megajournal is an an example of how new models of publishing can be used to support open science. This workshop will outline the work done by the megajournal and some of the issues around measuring the impact of open publications, with contributions from members of the editorial board.
  • Software Carpentry. Taster session – Software Carpentry is a project dedicated to teaching researchers basic computing skills such as like program design, version control, testing, and task automation. This is a short taster session to introduce the program and give an idea of what is available.
  • Citizen Science discussion – Citizen Science is a fundamental element of many open science programs, and is part of a broader move to link research with wider society. Universities are having to develop new ways to support this work, with new processes and services.
  • GDPR and opening data – One of the biggest issues surrounding making research data openly available is the protection of personal information. This workshop, delivered by the UK Data Archive, will discuss how the goal of openness can be balanced with the need for protection, particularly in the light of new and more stringent regulations.
  • On the Trail of Open Education Policy Co-creation – This workshop looks at developing policies which can be used to support open education and open science, considering different issues and contexts, and the various interested parties.

And close with a discussion on building open science communities, with UCL researchers Isabelle Van Der Vegt, Dr. Sandy Schumann, Dr. Ben Thomas, and Dr. Vaughan Bell.

This free event is open to all and is delivered by UCL Library Services with support from UCL Organisational Development.

You can register via Eventbrite here.

For any questions please contact lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk

Spring dates for RPS and the REF open access policy training sessions

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 26 March 2019

Booking is now open for training on RPS and the REF open access policy in April. Last term’s training sessions proved very popular, and feedback received was extremely positive: respondents found sessions very useful (65%) or useful (35%).

All UCL authors are required to maintain a list of their publications in UCL’s Research Publication Service (RPS). To comply with the REF open access policy, they must also upload the final accepted manuscript version of their research articles and conference proceedings to RPS. This needs to be done no later than three months after first online publication. The Open Access Team review the manuscript and make it open access through UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository.

Our training sessions will explain the REF open access policy and what to do to comply with its requirements. They will also show you how to, in RPS:

  • set up name-based search settings
  • use all the advantages of RPS’s automated claiming tool (including linking RPS to your ORCID ID)
  • record a publication
  • upload a file

The sessions will be a good opportunity to ask questions about RPS and the REF open access policy, and they are open to all UCL staff and interested research students. New members of staff, and anyone who is unsure about any of the features mentioned above, are strongly encouraged to attend. Regular reports on compliance with the REF open access policy, and on academics’ use of RPS, are sent to Faculty Deans and Heads of Department. 

Upcoming sessions

Thursday, 4th April, 14:00 – 15:00
Foster Court, room 132

Tuesday, 30th April, 11:00 – 12:00
Foster Court, room 235

To book, and if you have any questions, please email: open-access@ucl.ac.uk
Also let us know if you would like to organise group training or drop-in sessions in your department.

RPS and the REF open access policy training sessions in February and March

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 4 February 2019

Booking is now open for training on RPS and the REF open access policy in February and March. Last term’s training sessions were very popular, and feedback received was extremely positive: all respondents found sessions very useful (65%) and useful (35%).

All UCL authors are required to maintain a list of their publications in UCL’s Research Publication Service (RPS). To comply with the REF open access policy, they must also upload the final accepted manuscript version of their research articles and conference proceedings to RPS. This needs to be done no later than three months after first online publication. The Open Access Team review the manuscript and make it open access through UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository.

Our training sessions will explain the REF open access policy and what to do to comply with its requirements. They will also show you how to, in RPS:

  • set up name-based search settings
  • use all the advantages of RPS’s automated claiming tool (including linking RPS to your ORCID ID)
  • record a publication
  • upload a file

The sessions will be a good opportunity to ask questions about RPS and the REF open access policy, and they are open to all UCL staff and interested research students. New members of staff, and anyone who is unsure about any of the features mentioned above, are strongly encouraged to attend. Regular reports on compliance with the REF open access policy, and on academics’ use of RPS, are sent to Faculty Deans and Heads of Department. 

Upcoming sessions

Thursday, 14th February, 11:00 – 12:00
Foster Court, room 235

Thursday, 14th March, 11:00 – 12:00
Engineering Front Building, room 104

To book, and if you have any questions, please email: open-access@ucl.ac.uk
Also let us know if you would like to organise group training or drop-in sessions in your department.

A response from Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at the Wellcome Trust, to UCL’s “Response to Plan S”

By Catherine L Sharp, on 30 January 2019

UCL is pleased to post Robert Kiley’s response to the UCL Town Hall meeting and UCL’s Plan S consultation response as a contribution to the ongoing consultation over Plan S.

As the cOAlition S representative at the UCL Town Hall meeting I’d like to thank UCL for their response to the Plan S guidance document and for giving me the opportunity to respond to some of the points raised.

Firstly, I’d like to commend UCL for the principled stand it has taken on open access and open science more generally.  This stand has been supported by concrete actions as seen in the development of UCL Press – where all content is made freely available – and the fact that UCL were one of the first UK universities to sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and implement this through its academic career framework.

With this pedigree and background, I was disappointed by the UCL response to Plan S which calls for a “wholescale rethink of the strategy and timelines for moving to 100% Open Access”.

The fundamental aim of Plan S is to ensure that research outputs are made openly available, for the benefit of all.  As a species we are facing huge problems – climate change, epidemic preparedness etc. – and to begin to address these we need to ensure that the research we fund is fully accessible and usable.  At the UCL Town Hall meeting, Professor David Shanks gave the example of the Liberian government being unaware of research which talked about the potential impact of an Ebola outbreak within their country.  Had this research been openly available – and the Liberian government acted upon it – then some of the 4810 deaths may have been prevented.

To bring about this change, we need to move to a world where no research is behind a paywall: this is why we are no longer supporting the hybrid OA model.  However, we recognise that publishers may not be able to change their business model immediately.  For this reason, the Plan S implementation guidance makes clear that, for a time-limited period, we will continue to support subscription publishers who develop transformative models to move to OA.  And we are already starting to see some publishers move in this direction, as witnessed by the recent Wiley agreement with Projekt DEAL.

In your response you point out that, as of today, many journals do not offer a Plan S-compliant option.  This is true.  But, if these journals wish to continue to publish the outputs of researchers funded by cOAlition S funders, they will need to develop alternative publishing models.  A journal which can no longer publish research funded by cOAlition S funders is, in the long term, a less impactful journal.

And, even if some journals do refuse to change their model, given that many funders and institutions have signed DORA (including UCL) does this really matter?  If you are assessing researchers based on the research they have conducted and its societal impact, the venue of publication should have no bearing on funding, promotion and hiring decisions.

Within the Plan S leadership team we fully appreciate that the changes we are seeking to bring about will be challenging and that a number of learned societies – many of whom rely on publishing revenues to support their other activities – may face particular difficulties.  To address this issue, Wellcome has joined with UKRI and the ALPSP to fund a study to explore how learned societies can adapt and thrive in a Plan S world.  In reviewing the submissions for this piece of work it is interesting to see a number of new initiatives being trialled, such as the Electrochemical Society’s “Free the Science” initiative, the “Subscribe to Open” model being implemented by the not-for-profit publisher Annual Reviews and various other consortia models.

Ultimately, for Plan S to be successful we need the initiative to be supported globally.  The UCL response correctly points out that Europe alone is too small a player to bring about this change.  That is why significant effort is being deployed to encourage other funders to align their policies with Plan S.  At the recent Berlin OA2020 meeting the Chinese delegation indicated that they support the ambition of Plan S.  More recently the African Academy of Sciences signalled its support, and discussions are ongoing with colleagues in many other parts of the work including the US, Canada, Japan and India.

Of course, it is not just funders who need to support this initiative.  As your observations indicate, engagement between many stakeholders is required, and cOAlition S members are keen to foster this dialogue.  Specifically, institutions – like UCL – can play a significant role in bringing about the change we all seek. At one level this can be supporting academics, making it clear that venue of publication will not be used when undertaking researcher evaluation.  At another level this might take the form of making a public commitment that library journal subscription budgets will, at some future date, be used to meet the publishing costs incurred by researchers at your institutions.  If publishers understand that the subscription revenues for “read access” are time-limited, the flip to open access will surely happen more quickly.

Working together we can bring about this change to ensure that research outputs are made openly available, for the benefit of all.  Now is the time to act.

UCL response to Plan S consultation

By Catherine L Sharp, on 21 January 2019

UCL has submitted an institutional response to the Plan S consultation. This response was shaped by the UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting that was held on 8 January (and also takes into account subsequent feedback received from UCL academics). The response, and the supporting document (notes from the Town Hall meeting) are available below.

UCL response
UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting notes

UCL Plan S Town Hall meeting

By Catherine L Sharp, on 10 January 2019

Plan S requires that, from 2020, scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms.

Plan S is an initiative for open access publishing that was launched in September 2018. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. This group currently comprises 13 national research funding organisations (including UK Research and Innovation/UK Research Councils) and three charitable foundations (including the Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) from 13 countries. Together with the European Commission and the ERC, they have agreed to implement the 10 principles of Plan S in a coordinated way.

UCL held a Town Hall meeting on 8 January to discuss the principles of Plan S, as well as what its implementation will mean for researchers. Around 115 staff from across UCL attended. The Open Access Team would like to thank everyone who shared their views and questions.

Presentations from the meeting are now available:

cOAlition S is running a consultation on the Plan until 8 February 2019. You can contribute to the consultation directly. To arrange a meeting in your department to discuss the implications of Plan S, contact the Open Access Team at open-access@ucl.ac.uk.

Update: UCL’s response to the Plan S consultation is available in a separate post.

RPS and the REF open access policy training sessions

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 3 January 2019

In the new year we are back with our programme of regular training sessions on RPS and the REF open access policy.

All UCL authors are required to maintain a list of their publications in UCL’s Research Publication Service (RPS). To comply with the REF open access policy, they must also upload the final accepted manuscript version of their research articles and conference proceedings to RPS. This needs to be done no later than three months after first online publication. The Open Access Team review the manuscript and make it open access through UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository.

Our training sessions will explain the REF open access policy and what to do to comply with its requirements. They will also show you how to, in RPS:

  • set up name-based search settings
  • use all the advantages of RPS’s automated claiming tool (including linking RPS to your ORCID ID)
  • record a publication
  • upload a file

The sessions will be a good opportunity to ask questions about RPS and the REF open access policy, and they are open to all UCL staff and interested research students. New members of staff, and anyone who is unsure about any of the features mentioned above, are strongly encouraged to attend. Regular reports on compliance with the REF open access policy, and on academics’ use of RPS, are sent to Faculty Deans and Heads of Department. 

Upcoming sessions

Tuesday, 8th January, 11:00 – 12:00
Gordon House, room 309

Thursday, 24th January, 11:00 – 12:00
Engineering Front Building, room 104

To book, and if you have any questions, please email: open-access@ucl.ac.uk
Also let us know if you would like to organise group training or drop-in sessions in your department.

How to Share your FAIR Data – 25th October 2018

By Catherine L Sharp, on 26 October 2018

This week UCL hosted a series of events to coincide with International Open Access Week (22nd -28th October). The Research Data Management team were on hand to deliver a session on data sharing and the role it currently plays in the Open Science agenda. The session was divided into two parts. The first half introduced researchers to the importance and practical considerations of sharing data in keeping with the FAIR data principles. This was followed by a talk from Dr. Ben Thomas from the Institute of Nuclear Medicine who spoke of his experiences of using the EU-funded Zenodo repository to add a working example of data sharing to the session.

Many thanks to all those that attended and hopefully the session provided some useful information for researchers to further explore the merits of sharing research data.

The slides from the FAIR Data session can also be found on UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository and in SlideShare here.

Doctoral theses in UCL’s repository

By Patrycja A Barczynska, on 25 October 2018

At UCL, candidates for research degrees are required to deposit an electronic copy of their final thesis in UCL’s Research Publications Service (RPS), to be made open access in UCL’s institutional repository, UCL Discovery. Students can choose to restric public access to their thesis, for a variety of reasons like future publication, copyright restriction or sensitive data, but most are made open access immediately, or after a delay period no longer than 12 months.

The requirement to submit an electronic copy of your thesis as a condition of award has been in place at UCL since 2009. In addition to that, we have retrospectively digitised theses from earlier years, as a part of a collaborative project with ProQuest. So far, about 3,500 theses have been made available in UCL Discovery as a part of this collaboration. Theses are also digitised through the British Library’s e-Theses Online Service (EThOS), upon request.

In total, there are over 10,500 theses available in UCL’s institutional repository, dating as far back as 1933. UCL theses are amongst our most-downloaded items! The most popular is a 1990 thesis, Marketing theories and concepts for the international construction industry, available here. Amongst the theses available there are some completed by notable UCL alumni:

Julian Baggini, philosopher and author of popular books on philosophy, including A Short History of Truth, The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments, and most recently How the World Thinks. Baggini completed his PhD in 1996, and his thesis on philopsphy of idnetity was recently made available here: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10057733/

Adam Rutherford, geneticist and author, has produced several science documentaries, and hosts the BBC 4 radio programme Inside Science. He completed his PhD at UCL in 2002, and his thesis on the role of a specific gene (CHX10) on eye development was recently made available in UCL Discovery: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10057801/

Chris Van Tulleken, together with his twin brother and fellow doctor Xand, makes programmes on various aspects of health, most recently Operation Ouch for CBBC. He is also an infectious diseases doctor and MRC Clinical Research Fellow at University College London Hospital, and completed his PhD in 2017. Chris’ thesis is available here: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1567969/