New Year open access reflections
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.