By Kirsty, on 26 February 2021
Welcome to the second issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!
This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter.
In this issue:
- Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
- Community voice – Data for Policy: building a global community of interest with open science principles as default
- Special Feature – UCL Research Data Storage Service now open to external collaborators
- Deep Dive – Top posts from our blog
- News and Events
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By Kirsty, on 12 February 2021
Guest post by James Wilson, Head of Research Data Services
Over the last year we’ve been making a number of improvements to the Research Data Storage Service (RDSS) to help researchers store and access their data in a way that better corresponds to how they work.
The RDSS is a managed storage service that helps researchers comply with funders’ criteria for good data management. It provides a storage space for research projects so that anyone involved in that project has a secure area in which to store and share files with their collaborators. Projects in the RDSS do not need to be formal, externally funded projects – they can be for personal research, or small unfunded collaborations between colleagues – but the service is well adapted for large projects with compute and multi-terabyte storage requirements.
That said, the service has had some limitations in the past which we have been addressing. The foremost amongst these was that you needed to be a member of UCL in order to use it. Increasingly, however, research is undertaken with collaborators around the world or in partnership with industry. Covid-19 has only accelerated this trend. We have recently added external collaborator functionality, enabling PIs to add external project members via a simple email invitation from within the interface.
We have also integrated the RDSS with UCL’s Research Data Repository – a platform that enables data and other non-traditional research outputs to be published, cited, and preserved over the long term. Researchers with a project registered in the RDSS can now move files, including very large files, across to the repository, along with contextual information.
As the volume of data in the RDSS grows, so we extend our capacity. We added an additional 600 terabytes of capacity during 2020, and will be adding a further petabyte of storage this coming term. The first terabyte of storage for any project is provided free of charge, with larger projects charged at £50 per TB per year. This gets you two copies of your data on disk in two different physical data halls at UCL’s Slough Data centre. A third back-up copy is saved to tape, and there is a 30-day retention period to help protect against accidental deletion.
Further information about the RDSS can be found at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/isd/services/research-it-services
By Kirsty, on 10 February 2021
Guest post by James Houghton, Research Data Support Officer
Dealing with research data, and the associated legal and administrative issues, can be confusing. This article responds to some of the frequent question and confusions people have regarding research data management.
Do I always have to share data?
Not always – but in general data sharing is required unless you have a very good reason not to and UCL expects research to be shared as widely as possible. Data sharing is possibly inappropriate in the following situations:
- The project contains personal data which could compromise the privacy of individuals. In this case the Data Protection Act (2018) applies and the data cannot be shared.
- There is a possibility that the research could be commercialised. In this case, data should not be shared before obtaining necessary patent protections.
- Other ethical concerns for which a justification can be created. For example, data on an endangered species might be used by poachers so it would be reasonable not to share this data.
Does UCL have a data sharing policy?
Be aware that in addition to the UCL policy, funding agencies will have their own requirements. You need to be compliant with all policies that might apply!
So, I need to share my data. Does UCL have a platform for data sharing?
Yes, we do! UCL has its own data repository service, the UCL Research Data Repository
I don’t have any data.
The term “data” is used as a shorthand to cover all research outputs, so even if you think you don’t have data, you probably generate something during the course of your research that should be preserved and potentially shared. Even if your field uses a different term you are probably still bound by the data sharing policy.
Here’s is a wide-ranging list of what could be considered “research data”
- Research notebooks, detailing progress of research and experiments
- Responses to surveys and questionnaires
- Software, code, algorithms, and models
- Measurements from laboratory or field equipment
- Images (such as photographs, films, scans of documents)
- Methods, protocols, and experimental procedures
- Databases of collected information
- A corpus of writings
- Audio and video recordings
- Interview Transcripts
- Physical samples and objects
If you have an output not included in this list, it could can still be classed as research data!
What on earth is metadata?
Metadata is simply data that describes other data. Here are a few examples:
- A description of the inclusion criteria for enrolling participants in a study
- The set of questions used in interviews
- Any file naming conventions used to keep track of data
- The parameters used by any equipment used to make measurements
- The dates and times images were taken
- Details of quality assurance steps to explain why some data points were deemed to be erroneous and unsuitable for analysis
- Administrative information such as dates of interviews, experiments or visits to a location
This is not an exhaustive list by any means! Metadata can vary considerably between projects and research fields.
In the same way data might underpin the results of a project, metadata could be said to underpin the methods of a project. If you need to address the issue of metadata, think about what another researcher would need to know to replicate the data as closely as possible.
What resources can I access at UCL to store data safely?
All UCL IT managed storage services have automated backups in place to protect data and are recommended over using your own personal devices or individual cloud storage accounts. There are a few different options depending on your needs:
- The personal N: drive or S: drives are fine for day-to-day storage of PDFs, office documents and non-sensitive materials.
- The Research Data Storage Service supports high speed file transfer for large quantities of data and is extremely useful for anyone who want to work with the high-performance computing clusters.
- The Data Safe Haven is specifically designed to store personal data covered by the Data Protection Act 2018. This secure service helps you meet legal obligations on data security when relevant.
- Services such as SharePoint and OneDrive can be useful for collaboration with colleagues and allow for functionality such as simultaneous editing of documents.
Need more information?
We have extended guidance on research data management available on our website and the library research data management team can be contacted to discuss specific issues at: email@example.com
By Kirsty, on 9 February 2021
Are you concerned about the e-books crisis in higher education and public libraries? The #ebooksos campaign launched by Johanna Anderson has successfully highlighted via the BBC and the Guardian the issues faced by the education and research sectors in accessing and using e-Books.
Unaffordable prices, an inability to buy e-books due to a refusal to sell or bundling of titles in packages, and restrictions on research copying are all affecting coursework and research in universities. Confidentiality clauses in contracts between publishers and universities are also making understanding how the e-Book market functions more challenging, and obscuring the level to which public money is being well-spent.
The issue is not only one being faced by universities. An international study by Monash University on the availability of e-books in the main five English language markets found public libraries in the UK to have “the least attractive licence terms, the highest prices, and the lowest availability.” The report found Hachette (one of the big 5 English language publishers) only had 8% of their list available for libraries to license as an eBook.
You are invited to attend the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship/Copyright for Knowledge E-books webinar on Monday 15th March 2021 from 2 pm to 3.30 pm. We will examine the acute difficulties for higher education and public libraries caused by publishers’ pricing and licensing practices and discuss possible solutions.
Our expert speakers are:
- Dr. Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship)
- Johanna Anderson, @hohojanna, Subject Librarian, University of Gloucestershire and founder of the #eBookSoS campaign
- Benjamin White, Researcher, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, University of Bournemouth and Chair of the Copyright and Legal Working Group of the European Research Library Association (LIBER).
There will be an opportunity to put your questions to the panel in a final Q and A session.
The webinar is free to attend but if you would like to join us please register via Eventbrite.
By Kirsty, on 8 February 2021
Follow the link below to read the report and find out more about the Research Data Management and Sharing Plan review service, our new online training courses on writing data management plans and open science and scholarship and improved guidance about making research data FAIR – findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable – within the wider open science and scholarship context. You can also find out about the newly revised research data policy which includes updated advice for UCL staff and research students in managing their research outputs
Finally, you can find out about the number, amount and types of research outputs published using the UCL Research Data Repository, as well as the number and variety of views and downloads.
Download and explore the report on the UCL Research Data Repository,
By Kirsty, on 27 January 2021
Guest post by Alice Hardy, Institute of Healthcare Engineering
At the Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we wanted to create technological solutions that meet real people’s needs – but reaching our target users can sometimes be a bit tricky. We’re taking a ‘citizen science’ approach to engage with the users who need new health technology the most, and bring their ideas to life.
The ageing challenge
As a population we are living longer lives than ever before, with half the babies born in the UK today expected to reach their 100th birthday.
Longer life spans are cause for celebration, but growing older comes with downsides. Too often, people ageing are faced with problems like loneliness, loss of independence and avoidable years of disease.
Tackling these challenges is a strategic priority for the UK Government and funding bodies.
Across all faculties of UCL, researchers are developing technologies to help people live their extra years healthier and happier. However, to make these solutions as effective as possible, we need to engage with our end-users from the start. That’s where out citizen science approach comes in.
At the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we act as cross-faculty hub for anyone in healthcare engineering or digital health at UCL. Our is to nurture the ideas and partnerships that result in life-changing health technology.
We understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration when developing new technologies, and a key part of that is garnering fresh perspectives from groups that can be difficult for us to reach. We want to deconstruct the idea of what is means to be an ‘expert’ and open this up to everyone – we’re all experts in growing older!
That’s why we launched the Age Innovation Hub; an online platform where we ask the public how technology could help them. Their feedback will then go onto shape real-world projects at UCL, with citizen science integrated at every step of the way.
Using this crowdsourcing tool was a way for us to directly reach out to the public and involve them in the research going on at UCL. Not only is their insight important to improve the research, but a more open relationship with the public also helps to combat perceptions that universities can be slow-moving and out of touch with the public’s needs. This crowdsourcing tool also has great potential for use in other campaigns and across UCL.
How it works
To shape the discussion, we created ‘challenge areas’ based on the biggest challenges facing older people:
- Supporting people with health concerns
- Creating healthy environments
- Building social communities
- Staying independent at home for longer
- Staying active
In these discussion areas, users are encouraged to post their ideas, share their feedback, and vote for ideas they support. Our team of moderators keep the conversation flowing with encouraging words and probing questions; we want to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming community where anyone in the UK can share their thoughts on healthy ageing, and feels heard.
Opportunities for UCL researchers
In addition to allowing the public to share their thoughts, the Age Innovation Hub is an opportunity for UCL researchers to gain valuable feedback on their current research challenges. The Hub is open for you to get involved, so visit it now and join the conversation.
There are a number of ways for researchers to participate:
- Submit challenges or questions from your own research areas that you’d like feedback on directly into one of the challenges
- Write a blog to tell visitors more about existing research going on at UCL in healthy ageing or your experiences with citizen science
- Engage in discussion on some of the ideas already posted, add your own comments and thoughts
- Join a panel of experts that will help evaluate the needs and ideas submitted from the public (March/April 2021)
You can join the discussion now at ageinnovationhub.crowdicity.com
To find out more, you can contact the Institute of Healthcare Engineering team via firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kirsty, on 22 January 2021
As part of the Focus on Open Science programme, jointly organised by SKS, UCL and LIBER, 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 announce tickets are available now!
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:
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.
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 talk about where metrics can be helpful and unhelpful, and what alternative forms of evaluation we might use 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.
By Catherine Sharp, on 11 January 2021
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.
- A whopping 16,204 articles and conference papers were uploaded to RPS, to be made (green) open access in UCL Discovery after publisher embargoes.
- 2,003 articles were made gold open access (immediate open access on the publisher’s website), 833 of them through UCL’s transformative agreements. Of the total, 759 were in fully open access journals.
- Transformative agreements made it possible for UCL authors to publish gold open access in more than 5,000 journals (this number will go up as new agreements are signed in the coming weeks), in addition to arrangements for funding papers in fully open access journals.
- The number of open access outputs in UCL Discovery grew by 28%, from 87,672 in January 2020 to 112,506 today.
- UCL’s tremendous contribution to COVID-19 research meant that our colleagues in UCL Press collected 1,032 publications in UCL’s COVID-19 open access collection. At the time of writing, these papers have had 23,505 views.
- 22% of REF-submitted staff started to use our new write to ORCID functionality in RPS to send publications data to their ORCID records.
- All faculties reached – and many far exceeded – 80% compliance with the REF open access policy, measured against all articles and conference proceedings in RPS. Most can report total engagement with open access, for articles and conference papers, of more than 95%.
- Last but by no means least, there were 4,955,892 downloads from UCL Discovery. The top-downloaded outputs were:
- Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge – 15,300 downloads
- Fabricate 2020 – 11,007 downloads
- The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Reflections by Noam Chomsky and others after 50 years – 10,732 downloads
- The Cultural Evolution of Neolithic Europe. EUROEVOL Dataset – 10,352 downloads
- The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health — The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China – 8,906 downloads
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.
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.
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