X Close

Open Access

Home

Menu

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

By Kirsty, on 3 July 2020

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

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

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

So, what can be done?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do registered reports really work?

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

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

 

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

Finding journals in UCL’s transformative agreements

By Catherine L Sharp, on 25 June 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

Why transformative agreements?

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

We anticipate researchers that researchers will have to publish in:

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

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

Subscription and hybrid journals

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

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

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

Negotiating transformative agreements

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

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

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

New tool – journals by subject

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

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

Journals in UCL’s open access transformative agreements by subject

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

More information

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

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

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

By Kirsty, on 3 June 2020

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

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

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

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

Kudos pro

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

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

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

Free access to Kudos pro

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

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

Transforming publishing with new agreements?

By Catherine L Sharp, on 25 May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

What does this mean for me?

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

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

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

Using RPS to add publications to ORCID automatically

By Catherine L Sharp, on 19 May 2020

Green circular ORCID iD logo

Last week we wrote about how spending a few minutes setting up your ORCID record will repay you many times over, helping with grant applications, online profiles and the like. We talked about some of the nifty things you can do with ORCID, like creating a QR code to put in a poster or presentation. Most of you already know about “auto-claiming” publications containing your ORCID into RPS (and even “auto-rejecting” others), saving you having to review long lists of publications that match your name. A whopping 72% of UCL researchers, nearly 4,000 of you, have added your ORCID to RPS for auto-claiming.*

Even if you’re using your ORCID whenever you publish, until now it hasn’t been plain sailing getting publications into your ORCID record, especially since this was completely separate from adding them to RPS. There’s now a new tool in RPS that makes this much, much easier.

*By faculty, UCL Institute of Education researchers top the table at 81%.

The old way: using ORCID to record publications

Until now, you’d use “auto-update” in ORCID, from a third-party source like CrossRef, to import publications that contain your ORCID to your ORCID record. To add publications that don’t contain your ORCID, you’d select publications matched to your Scopus record and/or ResearcherID, add them manually, or upload a BibTeX file.

If this sounds like a lot of effort, read on.

The new way: send to ORCID from RPS

You’re already recording your publications in RPS so that you can make them open access, select them for REF, and include them in your IRIS profile. Now, you can send them to your ORCID record automatically. This gives you the added benefits of a permanent ORCID record of your publications, without any extra work.

Take a moment to enable send to ORCID in your RPS profile (see below); then make sure you’re using your ORCID, e-mail address, Scopus ID, arXiv ID and/or ResearcherID to auto-claim publications into your RPS record. Your auto-claimed publications from all of these sources, as well as any you claim yourself based on matches to your name, and any that you add to RPS manually will all be sent to your ORCID record. Job done.

How to do it

For privacy reasons, you need to authorise RPS to send to ORCID, even if you’ve already allowed RPS to talk to your ORCID record for auto-claiming. Even if you’ve forgotten your ORCID password, it should take no more than a minute.

  • Click on the Menu tab near the top of your RPS home screen. In the My Account column, choose ORCID Settings.
  • Click on Connect your ORCID iD.
  • If you’ve previously recorded an ORCID in RPS, you’ll be sent to an ORCID login screen. If you haven’t, but you have an ORCID account, click on Sign into ORCID. (If you don’t have an ORCID at all, you can set one up by choosing Register now).
  • Click Authorize to allow RPS to update your ORCID record.
  • When you’re sent back to RPS, choose the first option, “read from and write”.

Screenshot of RPS ORCID Settings page after ORCID authorisation.

Your existing and new publications will be sent to ORCID automatically within a day or two. Clicking “Run Sync” on this page (see the image in the next section) isn’t necessary, but will speed up the sending. Once publications been added to ORCID, you’ll see an option on this page to remove them; you can also combine, delete and edit them in ORCID.

Extra send to ORCID settings

After you set up send to ORCID, the ORCID Settings page will give you a few options. By default, RPS won’t send journal articles with a status other than “published” or “published online”, nor publications you’ve marked as private (by clicking the eye icon in your publications list). Untick the first box and RPS will send journal article records regardless of their publication status. Tick the second and it’ll send publications even if you’ve marked them as private.

If you want to select specific publications to send, you can tick the option “Only send favourite publications”. You’d use the heart icon in your publications list to select favourites.

We’d suggest that you click “Send affiliation” at the bottom of the page: this will add your UCL affiliation to your ORCID record.

Screenshot of options on RPS Search Settings page for sending publications to ORCID.

If some of your journal article records in RPS were created manually, they might not have a status. If you don’t want to change the default send to ORCID settings, you can add the “published” or “published online” status to individual records.

Image of RPS status field in manual book record

More about RPS and ORCID

You’ll find more on our ORCID webpages. For guides to auto-claiming using ORCID, e-mail address, Scopus ID, arXiv ID and/or ResearcherID, and information about how RPS selects publications it thinks are yours, see the section on our RPS training page called “Recording publications in RPS”.

Look out for future posts on RPS and ORCID. To get an alert when we post new articles, fill in the “Subscribe by Email” section on the right of this post (or below, if you’re reading on your phone).

Getting the best out of your ORCID

By Kirsty, on 13 May 2020

Green circular ORCID iD logoSo you have an ORCID – now what?

Of course taking the time to set up and populate your ORCID is a great first step, but there are so many things that you can use an ORCID for. Today we are going to talk about just a few:

1. Stand out from the crowd

Having and using your ORCID is a great way to distinguish yourself as a researcher. Using an ORCID makes sure that all of your works are correctly attributed and that no-one but you gets the credit for them.

2. Easily collect your work

Did you know that a lot of the work updating and maintaining your ORCID record can be done for you? Using ORCID’s in-built tools you can connect up your ORCID to a huge range of other tools and systems. We would recommend starting with CrossRef and DataCite as they supply DOIs to publishers and other providers. It might also be worth connecting other profiles such as Scopus and ResearcherID. All you need to do is spend some time linking the systems together at the start, and check on it occasionally, like when you have a new paper out.

Another way to collect your work together easily is to use your ORCID wherever possible when publishing works. A lot of publishers are using end-to-end workflows. This means that if you use your ORCID when submitting a paper, once the paper is published they will send it to CrossRef, which populates your ORCID record for you. PLOS, Hindawi and Springer are just a few examples of publishers who use this system.

In the next couple of weeks you will also be able to use RPS to update your ORCID record too – watch this space!!

3. Curate your online presence

Your ORCID record is very versatile. It allows you to list not only your articles and book chapters but any kind of output, be it data, a conference presentation or poster, or something less common like patents or publications written by students you have supervised.

More than that, you can also list employment, funding, memberships, awards, and even your peer review contributions if you want to share them.

Each item on your ORCID profile is completely controlled by you. Each individual item can be assigned one of three visibility settings.

  • The first is everyone. This means that information is public and anyone who looks up your ORCID record can see this, from a prospective collaborator to a funding body. For the most part, this is what you want to use. There is little point curating information that nobody can see!
  • The second is trusted parties. This means that you can give rights to individuals or systems to access that content. For example, if you link your ORCID to RPS (keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post about that!) you give RPS the right to edit your ORCID record for you.
  • The final one is only me. Ideally you would only use this to protect information not for the public domain, such as your personal email address (though you should consider displaying at least one) or details of a publication that isn’t ready yet.

4. Your online CV and bibliography

Ever been asked to populate a publication list for an online profile, role or funding bid? If your ORCID is up to date, you can use your ORCID instead!

Copying the full link from the box under your name in your profile allows you to share a permanent link to your ORCID record. There is even the option to create a QR code to put on a poster or in a presentation. There are so many different types of information that you can include in your ORCID, from publications and funding to awards, editorial board memberships and voluntary activity such as organising a conference. Everything you would want in one place.

5. Share your work far and wide

The great thing about using ORCID is that you have one number, one tiny URL that can be used to represent you and your work anywhere you want. You can use your ORCID in your email signature, in your social media accounts, and in your profiles on other services.

Curate your ORCID effectively, and it’ll be a great time-saver, avoiding your having to enter the same information over and over, and standing for you all through your professional life.

Send us your ORCID stories and find out more

If you like ORCID, or have stories about how ORCID helps with managing your research, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below or tweet us at @UCLopenaccess.

Look out for our post next week on sending publications to ORCID from RPS. To get an alert when we post new articles, fill in the “Subscribe by Email” section on the right of this post.

Open Access and your Research in a COVID-19 World

By Kirsty, on 6 May 2020

On 20 March, days after lockdown began, JISC and partners issued a statement calling for Publishers to help in the global effort to combat COVID-19 and support institutions and students to continue their education by making resources available where possible. Since that day, numerous publishers have made temporary changes to their policies, and have begun to make more content freely available online. The Library has been maintaining a list of these newly open resources on the website, along with other help and advice for finding and using resources remotely. There are also lists of resources available from the British Library as well as a brilliant collated list of data and computational resources from the National Institute of Health.

The Copyright Licensing Agency has also made some temporary adjustments to the licence that allows books to be scanned and shared. Please contact the Teaching & Learning Services team for more information.

In addition, there are now tools that allow you to search the web for trustworthy Open Access versions of content from inside your web browser. Just searching Google can bring up not only illegal copies of material, but also inadvertently support predatory and fake journals. The recommended tool is called Open Access Button. More information about Open Access Button is available here

Open Access choices

Just because publishers are making things open for the time being, doesn’t mean they will stay that way. Be careful about the choices you make for your research – in the long term, will the publisher of your chosen journal stop access to your paper? When you are choosing the journal to submit your research to, take a look at the guidance provided by the Open Access team, and also check Sherpa/Romeo to find out whether you are allowed to share your work on RPS, or even on a pre-print service to get it out there even faster!

Don’t forget that you can use the Research Publications Service (RPS) as well as the Research Data Repository (RDR) to take advantage of Open Access to share all of your research outputs to get them out to the rest of the research community.

Understanding Preprints

By Patrycja, on 29 April 2020

A preprint is a draft version of a research paper that’s posted on a public server, often at the same time as it’s sent for peer review. By definition a preprint is not peer-reviewed, but some open access journals, including UCL’s own megajournal, UCL Open: Environment, UCL Child Health Open Research and Wellcome Open Research publish preprints as part of an open peer-review process. You can post your manuscript as a preprint instantly, allowing you to communicate new research and share results quickly without having to wait for the peer-review process to be completed.

Preprints can be critical in public health emergencies like the COVID-19 and Ebola pandemics. That’s why the Wellcome Trust’s new open access policy requires preprints to be published where there’s a “significant public health benefit”.

UCL encourages authors to use disciplinary preprint servers. Then, once your manuscript has been accepted for publication in a journal, upload it to RPS: that’ll mean that it’s made available in UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, and can be submitted to the REF.

Have a look at this short video by ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology), explaining the origins and history of preprints, and how they work:

Benefits

Uploading your work to a preprint server allows you to make it available and get your results out there as quickly as possible, accelerating the communication process. It helps you get evaluation and feedback, and establish new collaborations. Preprints can help you build your portfolio and showcase your work: even if the paper isn’t subsequently accepted, the research has still been shared. Many funders, including the Wellcome Trust, now encourage researchers to cite preprints in grant applications and reports, so their effort isn’t wasted. Danny Kingsley, former Head of the Office of Scholarly Communications at Cambridge has written a brilliant overview of how preprints are being used in the COVID-19 world, and what you should watch out for.

It’s pretty rare now for a journal to refuse to accept a submission that’s been published as a preprint, but you can check, either with the journal themselves or using Sherpa Romeo, which is a service that collates and outlines the policies of each journal. The Sherpa services are run by Jisc, and are frequently updated with the latest policies.

Some journals have embraced preprints as it makes it easier to build on early feedback and avoid resubmissions. Others have gone further and offer open peer-review, which is a great way to benefit from speedy publication as well as peer-review. If you can make your data open too, so your research is fully reproducible, that’s even better!

There are a wide range of preprint repositories out there including:

The Centre for Open Science hosts an aggregated collection of preprints from a range of verified services. If you are interested in using preprints for your work, have a look here first.

UCL researchers respond to COVID-19 pandemic

By Patrycja, on 21 April 2020

UCL researchers are accustomed to working across disciplines, with colleagues from many different institutions, to help address the biggest challenges facing the world today. It’s no different with the COVID-19 crisis – though now their work is in the public eye as perhaps never before.

UCL clinical academics have joined frontline medical staff in fighting the outbreak and UCL is providing resources for NHS medical staff. Our researchers are developing rapid tests and tracking systems for COVID-19 and are taking a prominent role in advancing public knowledge about the virus.

Many UCL academics are already releasing papers analysing the outbreak, case studies, predictions about the course of the pandemic and assessments of its economic, health and social implications. In a global crisis, public access to high-quality scientific information is critical. Some publishers have introduced special arrangements to make COVID-19 publications openly available during the pandemic. UCL authors also make their papers openly available UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, where they are curated and kept open access in perpetuity.

In the first of what we hope will be a series of regular posts, we are featuring the latest outputs by UCL academics available in the repository.

A commentary by Diana Margot Rosenthal, Marcella Ucci, Michelle Heys, Andrew Hayward, Monica Lakhanpaul that analyses impact of COVID-19 on families experiencing homelessness: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

Ali Zumla, from UCL Department of Infection, co-authored a paper that analyses imaging findings of the first two patients identified in Italy with COVID-19 infection: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094977

Andrew Hayward from the Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Sarah Beale from Institute of Health Informatics and Anne M. Johnson from the Institute of Global Health analyse the implications of social distancing to control the pandemic: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009 This article is also available on Wellcome Open Research –  a megajournal platform with open peer-review. 

Another article by Andrew Hayward, Sarah Beale and Anne M. Johnson on seasonality seasonality and immunity to laboratory-confirmed seasonal coronavirus is also available for open peer-review on Wellcome Open Research platform. The dataset supporting this article is available in UCL Discovery: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093909/

Jayant Vaidya, Professor of Surgery & Oncology, has co-authored an article describing methods of reducing infection and rationalising workloads. It’s available in UCL Discovery here: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

For more on COVID-19 research at UCL, please see our webpages here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/covid-19-research/

Open Access Button

By Kirsty, on 26 March 2020

One of the most frustrating aspects of doing research is when you come up against an article you can’t get at without paying. Even with the wide range of databases and journals that the library subscribes to, coverage is not complete. JISC, SPARC, Open Society Foundations, the Centre for Open Science and many others have worked together to create a solution to this problem called the Open Access Button.

What does it do?

The Open Access Button tool tells you if there are free (and legally available) copies of articles available as you go along – without you having to search them out. The tool, once installed, searches an extensive collection of existing repositories and aggregators in the background of your browser and indicates when it finds an Open Access version of something using a discrete icon on your screen.

They also provide another option – a button that you can install on your browser to run a quick search for Open Access versions of something.

Why do I need it?

The Open Access Button team support the Open Access movement and believe that outputs of publicly funded and supported research should be openly and freely available for use by the public and by other researchers.

There has been a lot of work in the last few years to increase the amounts of Open Access content available online. The number of works which are available open access is growing every day, but many are still only available to those that can pay subscriptions.  Not only does this mean that only rich institutions can have access to the results of research, but also, public resources that could be used to develop research are spent just to read the work that has already been undertaken.

The role of the Open Access Button is to make it easier to access works already freely available by allowing a single point of search for the numerous repositories out there, assuring what you find is legal and from a reliable source. At the same time, it is identifying restricted works and working with researchers to release their full potential for the public good by allowing you to request copies of works that are not yet Open Access.

How does it work?

When you find an article, the Open Access Button tool uses the information on the page (the bibliographic metadata) to search its approved sources for an open Access copy of the work. Sources include most of the major global aggregated repositories. Such as:

  • OA DOI which provides the data behind Unpaywall, an app that leads straight to legitimate author uploaded versions of the publisher’s articles like the OA Button.
  • SHARE, a US service developed by the Association of Research Libraries in partnership with the Center for Open Science
  • CORE which offers “seamless access to millions of open access research papers, enrich the collected data for text-mining and provide unique services to the research community.”
  • OpenAIRE, a European resource that offers an OA search engine and a campaign platform driving Open Access development and policy.
  • Dissemin, a French resource with a slightly different approach: “ Dissemin searches for copies of your papers in a large collection of open repositories and tells you which ones cannot be accessed”
  • Europe PMC which specialises in life sciences research
  • BASE a Germany based aggregator.

In addition, if you ask the Open Access Button to search for an article that is not available openly, a request is sent to the author asking them to share. The service is able to support the authors in sharing the article quickly and legally.

Is it legal?

The Open Access Button will only show you legal, freely available copies.  Your assurance of this comes from the sources they use and the supporters of the initiative.  These include:

How can I get it?

Check your Browser

Open Access Button works with Chrome, FireFox and Safari.  It is less successful with Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge.

Ways to use the Open Access Button

  1. Use the Search Engine: On the homepage, enter any part of a bibliographic citation and the search engine will seek out an open access copy – if one exists.
  2. Use the Button: Add the Open Access Button extension for unpaywall to your browser.  Whenever you land on a journal abstract page for a work or find a reference in Google scholar the icon on the right-hand-side of your screen will tell you if the work is available and why.  If the work was self-archived on an institutional, funder or subject repository, then the icon will be green, if it is open access on the publisher pages, the icon will be Gold-coloured. If it doesn’t automatically identify the status, you can click the button to do a search manually.