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Open Science monthly schedule outline – Academic year 21/22

Kirsty23 November 2021

New for the academic year 2021-22 the Office for Open Science and Scholarship is organising a monthly series of talks, showcases and training sessions across as many of the eight pillars as we can fit in for UCL colleagues and students at all levels.

All of the teams will be teaching their usual classes, keep watching your usual sources of training plus here and on Twitter for those, but these introductory sessions are intended to give a general overview of each subject area for a general audience with plenty of opportunities for discussion and questions. These introductory sessions will also be supplemented with ad hoc events throughout the year.

  • November
    Departmental UKRI Briefings – contact catherine.sharp@ucl.ac.uk to arrange a briefing for your team
  • December
    Introduction to the Office for Open Science & Scholarship – December 15th 2-3pm – Online
  • January 22
    Introduction to responsible metrics – January 27th 2-3pm – Online
  • February
    Introduction to Research Data Management – February 2nd 10-11am – Online
  • March
    Getting started with the RDR – Friday 4th Mar 10-11am – Online
  • April
    Open Science Conference (Dates TBC)
  • May
    Citizen Science project showcase (Details & Dates TBC)
  • June
    Citizen Science, Public Engagement & Research Impact (Dates TBC)
  • July
    ORCiD, DOI and beyond – Introduction to Persistent identifiers (Dates TBC)

If you are interested in any of the sessions above then please complete the MS form and the organisers will get back to you with calendar details and joining instructions for planned sessions. Any sessions without firm dates, we will contact you as soon as details are confirmed.

UCL Discovery reaches 30 million downloads!

Kirsty22 November 2021

UCL Publications Board and the Open Access Team are delighted to announce that on Friday 19 November UCL’s institutional repository, UCL Discovery, reached the milestone of 30 million downloads! 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 1,750 outputs in the repository every month (average figure January-October 2021).

by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/gdTxVSAE5sk

Our 30 millionth download was of a journal article:
Huber, LR; Poser, BA; Bandettini, PA; Arora, K; Wagstyl, K; Cho, S; Goense, J; Nothnagel, N; Morgan, AT; van den Hurk, J; Müller, AK; Reynolds, RC; Glen, DR; Goebel, R; Gulban, OF; (2021) LayNii: A software suite for layer-fMRI. NeuroImage, 237, Article 118091. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118091.

This article introduces a new software suite, LayNii, to support layer-specific functional magnetic resonance imaging: the measurement of brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. The software itself, which is compatible with Linux, Windows and MacOS, is also open source via Zenodo, DockerHub, and GitHub. The authors also made a preprint version of the article available via BioRxiv in advance of formal publication in NeuroImage. This demonstrates the combined value of open source software and open access to research publications.

The author of the article based at UCL, Dr Konrad Wagstyl, deposited the article in UCL Discovery in May 2021. Dr Wagstyl is a Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL, and co-leads the Multicentre Epilepsy Lesion Detection project, an open science collaboration to develop machine learning algorithms to automatically subtle focal cortical dysplasias – areas of abnormal brain cell development which can cause epilepsy and seizures – in patients round the world.

The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship recommends that researchers make any software or code they use available to aid others in reproducing their research. The Research Data Management team maintain a guide on best practice for software sustainability, preservation and sharing, and can give further support to UCL researchers as required.

Open Access Week: UCL Press as eTextbook publisher

Kirsty17 November 2021

Thank you to everyone that attended the Open Access week session from UCL Press outlining their new project to develop Open Access eTextbooks!

The recording and the slides are available below as well as links from the speakers and the promised answers to the remaining questions from the audience!

Questions and Answers

Do the download stats account for partial views?

Dhara: For information on how we collect and record our data, https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/where-to-find-our-books-and-journals. Research has shown that, via the platforms that we work with the provide chapter downloads, most users download the single chapter that they require.

Did the project(s) around The Economy (etc) use an explicitly “Agile” method?

Luca: There were two parts to the project: a) the authoring and content development (CORE), and b) creating the platform over which the ebook is delivered (our partner EBW). For the a) part you could say we adopted some of the ‘agile’ principles, as we delivered some draft units early for piloting (to ‘users’ aka teachers) and then continuously deliver more units and rewritten older ones based on feedback. Also, it was all about the user and not the process, plans changed based on feedback etc. For the b) part this was more in line with the ‘agile’ method principles, as it was software development, but the biggest difference was that EBW couldn’t break down development into small increments because the final product was very tightly defined so there was a lot of initial planning as opposed to sprints.

Please could someone riff on things other than writing the words: editing for reading level, spot illustrations, internationalisation of terms. Would a UCL press book open doors to such services?

Dhara: We currently provide a full production service, including copyediting and typesetting for our books. Additionally, to ensure each new textbook is fit for purpose, we’ll engage with various relevant developmental services, depending on requirements of discipline and level of the intended audience. These many include developmental review, which ensures the writing style is appropriate for the reading/HE level of the audience, help source and check illustrations, review glossary and use of terminology and concepts (making sure they comply with relevant academic standards).

Are there any plans/resources available to produce UCL textbooks in other languages than English?

Dhara: This is an interesting suggestion, and we will continue to discuss as the programme develops, but, unfortunately, we do not have plans to do this at this time.

Resources

View recording on MediaCentral
Access the slides from the session
Information about the eTextbooks project
Access and view Economics textbooks and resources on CORE

Celebrating Open

Kirsty29 October 2021

Happy Birthday to us!

Birthday candles by synx508 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

To celebrate the first year of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship we decided to throw ourselves a virtual party, its been a year of milestones – take a look at our highlights video below!

This year over 20,000 records were uploaded to UCL Discovery and the combined number of theses hit 21,000! On top of that, UCL Discovery is about to hit 30 million lifetime downloads!

The smaller sibling to Discovery is UCL’s Research Data Repository, specialising in Open Access Research Data and code. It’s only 3 years old but it’s growing fast! This past year the number of downloads has increased by over 700% and the team that supports it is on track to double last year’s record for Data Management Plans assessed, and the year isn’t done yet!

And finally, our good friends at UCL Press hit a huge milestone of 5 million downloads across their 200+ books!

Its been a brilliant year for Open at UCL, and we hope that the office can grow and develop in years to come, and support our community to take Open Science from strength to strength. We hope you enjoy the video!

OA Week – A brief introduction to Creative Commons Licences

Kirsty28 October 2021

It is impossible to consider Open Licensing options without looking closely at Creative Commons. They are widely used in licensing scholarly papers and books, and are flexible enough to cover a wide range of works, such as photographs, music and even software. Among the advantages of Creative Commons licences are:

  • Easily recognisable symbols to show which licence has been applied
  • Each licence is explained briefly on the Creative Commons website but is also backed up by a full licence document which is likely to be recognised by a court of law.
  • Licences are updated and supported by the Creative Commons organisation.

The CC BY Licence (attribution licence)

The premise with all CC licences is that authors choose them because they want to make their work available for reuse with minimum formality or restrictions. The simplest and most generous Creative Commons licence is the CC BY or attribution licence.

The requirements are: Correct attribution of author (or authors) and title, reference to and a link to the licence and a link to the original source (where reasonably practicable). There are no restrictions on commercial reuse or derivative versions. The work can be used in a mash-up, translated into other languages for example or recreated in a different medium. You must however indicate where changes have been made.

It may seem that the author (generally the original copyright owner) is giving up a great deal of control by applying a CC BY licence to their work and the licence is certainly broad. On the other hand:

  • The author retains ownership of copyright. In traditional journal and book publishing the author is often asked to assign their copyright, leaving them with no control over the reuse of their paper. The author of a CC licensed work may go on to reuse it as they wish
  • The attribution requirement ensures that the author is recognised as such and credited using the wording of their choice.
  • Using the CC BY licence does more to maximise the possibilities for reusing the work than the more restrictive alternatives. That has advantages if you want your work to be as widely known as possible.

Other CC licences

The other licences offer more restrictive options for authors who are concerned about some possible reuses of their work.

  • The CC BY-NC Licence can be used by authors who don’t want their work to be used for commercial purposes, although they wish to encourage its reuse in a non-commercial environment.
  • The CC BY-ND Licence provides an alternative for authors who want their work to be reproduced only in its original form, not reworked, simplified, translated etc.
  • The CC BY-SA or “Share alike” licence stipulates that if their work is used to create a further derivative work, then if the new work is made available to the public, it must be made available under the same licence, CC BY-SA. This would appeal to those authors who see this as a way of furthering open access by ensuring any works which build upon their original work are similarly licensed for reuse. It can be compared to the “Copy left” licences which are commonly used to licence open source software.

The restrictive elements NC, ND, and SA can be combined in the most restrictive Creative Commons licences, such as CC BY-NC-ND to offer alternatives for those with multiple concerns who nevertheless wish to encourage reuse of their work and make it available in an open access environment.

Choosing a CC Licence for your work

Deciding which of the licences to choose may not be entirely a matter of personal choice. If your research is being funded by an external organisation, the funder may specify which licence should be used when publishing the outcomes of that research. It is important to look closely at the terms of your funding agreement and the funder’s policies to ensure you are compliant. There is more information and links to funders’ policies on UCL’s open access webpages.

The more restrictive CC licences may provide an answer if for example you are concerned about your work being reused for profit, but the boundaries of “commercial” and “non-commercial” may not be obvious on every occasion. Similarly, people may hesitate over what is or is not a “derivative work.” You may be discouraging reuse unnecessarily.

Although one of the pluses of Creative Commons licences is the author’s clear retention of copyright, an important point to bear in mind is that you can’t retract a CC licence once offered. You can certainly take the work down from your website but you cannot prevent anyone reusing your work under the relevant licence once it has been made available under the licence. Failure to appreciate that has resulted in at least one court case concerned with reuse of an image.

The CC0 Licence

This is an alternative to the CC BY licence. The CC0 licence makes it clear that the licensed work can be reused without any attribution. It is sometimes described as placing your work in the “public domain,” comparable to works which are out of copyright. Using the term “licence” is a little misleading. It is not so much a licence to reuse a work, more a way of removing any copyright restrictions in your own work. This can be appropriate for datasets where the researchers wish to maximise the possibility of reusing their data, unhindered by copyright. For example, it may be thought that the attribution requirement of the CC BY licence would inhibit text and data exercises because it would be difficult to fulfil while carrying out Text and Data Mining (TDM).

Reusing CC licensed material

The CC licences are quite flexible. For example, there is usually more than one acceptable way of incorporating the attribution information. Although CC licensed works are available for reuse, it is important to bear in mind that you must make a reasonable effort to comply with the licence terms. Otherwise, you may be pursued by the copyright owner. One should take as much care as when reusing any other copyright-protected material.

New UKRI policy – overview

Kirsty27 October 2021

Catherine Sharp, Head of Open Access Services
Lara Speicher, Head of Publishing, UCL Press

Background

The new UKRI Policy that was announced in August 2020 affects academics who are publishing work that acknowledges funding from one of the seven UK Research Councils (AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC) or Innovate UK. The policy requires open access on publication under the CC BY licence (or, exceptionally, CC BY-ND) for articles and conference papers submitted on or after 1 April 2022. It also requires open access no later than 12 months after publication for monographs, book chapters and edited collections resulting from a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, published on or after 1 January 2024. The UKRI policy will inform the open access policy for the next REF, following the Future Research Assessment Programme.

In this post, we will outline the key policy points and compliant routes to publishing journal articles, conference papers and in-scope books. We also cover how the new policy will be funded. Some details are still awaited, and further information will be added to the Open Access pages as it becomes available.

Journal articles and conference proceedings

Key changes

The new UKRI policy applies to peer-reviewed research articles (including reviews) and conference proceedings submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022.

The policy permits two routes to publishing, the first covering fully open access journals and the second subscription journals. Like the Wellcome policy, both routes require immediate open access, on publication, under the CC BY licence. Embargoes on open access are no longer allowed.

UKRI will continue to fund open access, through UCL’s Open Access Team, for papers in fully open access journals and in journals in UCL’s transformative agreements. It will not fund open access for outputs in subscription (hybrid) journals except through transformative agreements.

How do I meet the requirements?

In practice, there are three ways to comply with the new policy:

  1. Publish in a fully open access journal or platform (see the Directory of Open Access Journals)
  2. Publish in a subscription (hybrid) journal that is in UCL’s transformative agreements
  3. Publish in a subscription (hybrid) journal that is not in UCL’s transformative agreements, and make the accepted available in an open access repository, under the CC BY licence, on publication.

In the first two methods, the paper is published open access under the CC BY licence. The publisher version of record is open access on the publisher’s website (Gold open access).

In the third method, the author uploads the final accepted manuscript to RPS, and (if the paper is MRC- or BBSRC-funded) to Europe PubMed Central, to be made open access on publication under the CC BY licence (Green open access).

Most journals require an embargo on Green open access, and do not allow the accepted manuscript to be made open access under CC BY. UKRI has provided the text below, which authors must include in the manuscript’s funding acknowledgements section when they submit, and in any cover letter or note accompanying the submission. This allows authors to use the third route. UCL recommends that from 1 April 2022 all UKRI-funded article submissions include this statement.

For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence* to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.

* UKRI may exceptionally permit authors to use the Creative Commons Attribution No-derivatives (CC BY-ND) licence. The Open Government Licence is permitted where the article falls under Crown Copyright.

From 1 April 2022, before submitting to a journal authors of UKRI-funded papers must establish which of these methods of complying to compliance applies to their chosen journals before submitting. We expect tools to be available to assist authors with this. You will need to know:

Fully open access journals are listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Details of UCL’s transformative agreements, including a list of journals included, and eligibility criteria for each agreement, are on our transformative agreements page. UCL currently has 27 transformative agreements, covering more than 8,000 journals.

Examples of compliance methods

To illustrate how these compliance methods work in practice, below are a few examples of journals from a variety of disciplines, sorted into their current compliance routes for UCL authors.

Method 1 –
fully open access journals
Method 2 –
transformative agreements
Method 3 –
Green open access
BioMed Central journals AIP subscription journals ACM journals (ACM allows immediate Green open access under CC BY)
Frontiers journals American Nineteenth Century History (Taylor & Francis) SPIE journals (SPIE allows immediate open access to the version of record under CC BY)
MDPI journals Brain (OUP) Cognition (Elsevier) – UKRI statement required
PLOS journals British Journal of Cancer (SpringerNature) Computers in Biology and Medicine (Elsevier) – UKRI statement required
BMJ Global Health (BMJ) Development and Change (Wiley) Journal of Neurosurgery (AANS) – UKRI statement required
Environment International (Elsevier) European Journal of Philosophy (Wiley) Journal of Philosophy (Elsevier) – UKRI statement required
Fascism (Brill) Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry (BMJ) Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS) – UKRI statement required
Lancet Digital Health (Elsevier) Lab on a Chip (RSC) Lancet (Elsevier) – UKRI statement required
Nature Communications (SpringerNature) Review of Political Economy (Taylor & Francis) Nature Medicine (SpringerNature) – UKRI statement required
Scientific Reports (SpringerNature) Science and Public Policy (OUP) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) – UKRI statement required
Wellcome Open Research Urban Studies (Sage) Science (AAAS allows immediate Green open access under CC BY where Plan S funders have adopted rights retention)

Monographs, book chapters and edited collections

Monographs, book chapters and edited collections are now included in the UKRI OA policy for the first time. The policy applies to books published as a result of a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, as listed above, and comes into effect for books published on or after 1 January 2024.

The key policy points are outlined below:

Definition

Monographs are defined in the policy as ‘a long-form publication which communicates an original contribution to academic scholarship on one topic or theme and is designed for a primarily academic audience… it may be written by one or more authors’. Detailed definitions of chapters and edited collections are also included in the policy. A trade book (see definitions below in ‘Out of scope long-form publications’) is only in scope of the policy where it is the only output from UKRI-funded research.

Out of scope long-form publications

UKRI’s open access policy does not apply to the following long-form outputs:

  • Trade books: The decision of whether a book should be considered a trade book or an academic monograph, is at the discretion of the author and publisher. Trade books are defined in the policy as ‘an academic monograph rooted in original scholarship that has a broad public audience’.
  • Scholarly editions. Defined as an edition of another author’s original work or body of works informed by critical evaluation of the sources (such as earlier manuscripts, texts, documents and letters), often with a scholarly introduction and explanatory notes or analysis on the text and/or original author
  • Exhibition catalogues
  • Scholarly illustrated catalogues
  • Textbooks
  • All types of fictional works and creative writing

Licensing requirements

UKRI requires the open access version of long-form outputs to be published under a Creative Commons licence. A Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence is preferred to maximise opportunities for sharing and reuse but other Creative Commons licences are permitted. This includes CC BY-NC and CC BY-ND. An Open Government Licence is also permitted when authors are subject to Crown Copyright.

Third-party materials

UKRI’s licensing requirements do not apply to any materials included within a long-form output that are provided by third-party copyright holders. Academic books published under a CC BY, or other Creative Commons licence, may include third-party materials (such as images, photographs, diagrams or maps) which are subject to a more restrictive licence. UKRI considers this approach compliant with its policy.

Exceptions to licensing policy

UKRI recognises that there may be some instances where permissions for reuse in an open access book cannot be obtained for all third-party images or other materials. Therefore, an exception to the policy may be applied when reuse permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative option available to enable open access publication.

Timing of implementation

The policy comes into effect for books published on or after 1 January 2024. Routes to compliance therefore need to be considered by authors now for any book that is already under contract or for which a contract will be signed for a book that will publish after 1 January 2024.

Routes to compliance

For in-scope monographs, book chapters and edited collections:

  1. The final Version of Record (Gold open access) or the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (Green open access, in an open access repository) must be free to view and download via an online publication platform, publishers’ website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication
  2. The open access version must have a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence or other licence permitted by UKRI (see ‘Licensing requirements’ above) and allows the reader to search for and reuse content, subject to proper attribution
  3. The open access version should include, where possible, any images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content (see ‘Licensing requirements’ above)
  4. Where an Author’s Accepted Manuscript is deposited, it should be clear that this is not the final published version

We are aware that authors will have questions about aspects of the new policy, and we await further guidance from UKRI and from publishers on monographs. As more information is received, it will be made available on UCL’s UKRI open access webpages.

Funding

UKRI funding will be available through UCL’s Open Access Team to allow some books to be made Gold open access and we await further information from UKRI about this.

What next?

We expect further clarification from UKRI on criteria for exceptions to the CC BY licence, funding and tools to help authors. In the meantime, we are providing briefings to all departments on the new policy, as well as open briefings for anyone to attend. Please contact us if you would like more information.

Open Access Archaeology: From Paperback, to Open in Practice, to Public Benefit

Kirsty26 October 2021

For Open Access Week 2021, Archaeology South-East is pleased to announce the Open Access release of eight books from their Spoilheap Publication back catalogue!

Alt text: A pile of books fills the frame, showing partial front covers. They include titles such as “The Horse Butchery Site”, “How Houses Evolved”, and “Alien Cities”. Their front covers have a uniform style and depict different archaeological finds, sites and buildings.Introduction

Archaeology South-East (ASE) is a professional archaeological unit operating within the Centre of Applied Archaeology at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. ASE is an accredited Registered Organisation of the Chartered Institute of Archaeology (CIfA) and our staff work across the historic environment and heritage sector providing a range of specialist research services to a diverse client base.

The bulk of our commercial work comprises planning-led, developer-funded projects, in which we are commissioned to carry out archaeological investigations ahead of building work on projects like housing developments and infrastructure. Current planning policy requires any development that could impact archaeological remains to either adapt its design to avoid potential archaeology, or fund ‘preservation by record’ – i.e. a full archaeological investigation (and therefore destruction) of any remains that will be impacted by development.

Archaeological investigations underway on the Isle of Grain-Shorne gas transmission pipeline, alongside preparation for the pipeline construction.

This process includes excavation of course, but also cleaning and conservation of finds, analysis of artefacts and environmental remains, archaeological illustration and photography, and interpretation of all this data. Our investigations form a research archive preserving all records and finds for future users, and can result in many different outputs including reports, blog posts, museum displays, and publications.

Open Access publication in archaeology is becoming more and more common. Unpublished archaeological site reports, data and some archaeology journals and monographs are available via the Archaeology Data Service, a digital repository for heritage data. Various publishers, including UCL Press, are making new archaeology books available in both digital Open Access and hard copy print options.

So how could we at ASE further increase our contribution to Open Access Archaeology?

From Paperback…

Since 2013, ASE has self-published major sites and research in a series of books under the SpoilHeap Publications imprint. These books were only available in hard copy paperback, but early this year a small team from ASE, with support from UCL colleagues, started working to make our back catalogue Open Access – and plan an Open Access future for our SpoilHeap books.

…to Open in Practice…

The practicalities of making our books Open Access was slightly more complex than sticking a pdf version on our website! Thankfully we could draw on the expertise of our UCL colleagues who have been embedded in the process for a lot longer than us.

Lara Speicher, Head of Publishing at UCL Press, gave us an idea of the work we needed to do before we could hit the ‘upload’ button. On her recommendations our team picked through each of our books, hyperlinking tables of contents, figures and tables with their corresponding location in-text. We had to get our heads around new ISBN numbers, Creative Commons licenses, and seek new permissions for images from the copyright holders.

We’ve also been working closely with Open Access Publications Manager Dominic Allington-Smith, who has been teaching us how to use UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, where our books will be hosted. He’s also guided us through minting DOIs, and we’re really grateful for his help.

The result of this collaboration is that we now have EIGHT of our books published as open access and freely available in downloadable PDF format. They detail archaeological finds from a range of periods and sites including a Roman villa, an Anglo-Saxon cemetery, a medieval hospital, and much more, from across the south-east of England. You can view the full list at the end of this post.

More books will be released in the open access format in the next couple of months, and we’re delighted to say that in the future our SpoilHeap books will be released as hardcopies and digital Open Access at the same time. We’ll be using UCL Discovery to host the Open Access versions, which will also allow us to upload supplementary outputs like extended, in-depth specialist reports, 3D models and much more. We’ll also be using the UCL Research Data Repository to make our data readily available too.

…to Public Benefit

As well as making it easier for our fellow archaeologists to view and engage with our research and data, part of our remit for going Open Access is public benefit.

One of the core purposes of archaeological work, and arguably one of the easiest ways in which archaeology can provide public benefit, is through knowledge gain (CIfA 2021). Sharing the archaeological results from a site and making that accessible to the communities where our projects are located can enhance local community strength and identity (ibid.).

ASE geoarchaeologist Dr Matt Pope giving a public talk on archaeological investigations (2018).

We hope that by making our high-quality research outputs more accessible, alongside our program of digital outreach making our research more appealing to wider audiences, will allow as many people as possible to benefit from our research.

View our full list of publications on our website, where you can find links to purchase hard copies as well as download Open Access versions where available. The titles currently available are:

Keep up to date with our Open Access journey, along with news of archaeological discoveries and more, by following Archaeology South-East on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We also have a YouTube channel and a podcast series!

References

CIfA 2021 Professional Practice Paper: Delivering public benefit. https://www.archaeologists.net/sites/default/files/Delivering_public_benefit.pdf

Open Access Week – Open in Practice

Kirsty25 October 2021


For Open Access Week this year we are going to be focusing on the practical side of Open. More than just publications, it is important that we realise that Open applies to much more.
During the week we’ve got a series of blog posts coming up looking deeper at the new UKRI policy, at Open Licensing, at the decision to open up older content and culminating in a celebration of services that support Open at UCL. We also have three events coming up this week:

  • On Tuesday, our first event is all about the new UKRI policy, talking about how it affects you and the routes to remaining compliant across both articles and books.
  • The second event on Wednesday is all about the new e-Textbooks project from UCL Press. Back in March, we hosted an event discussing the e-books pricing crisis and this webinar will describe the steps UCL Press is taking to address these issues, initially for our academics, and then later, for the wider community.
  • Finally, we will be shifting the focus to Open Data and Open Code with a panel discussion hosted by colleagues in the eResearch domain. On Thursday there will be a discussion of Opening data & code with a focus on ‘Who is your audience?‘ featuring academics from across UCL, including Geography, Archaeology and the Energy Institute as well as internal experts on data and code management and sharing.

The practicalities behind making research open have always been second to advocacy and awareness, but we need to make sure that we share the practicalities too. In this post we are going to be collating advice from across the board and we hope that between the posts this week and our events you will get some new ideas, or have some new questions!

Open Access week 2021 – Open in Practice

Kirsty6 October 2021

For Open Access week this year we are going to be focusing on the practical side of Open, not just Open Access, but Open Data, Code, Software, Licensing, you name it, we are aiming to talk about it!

We have three events lined up for our UCL audience, you can get full details about those below. They are all very different to each other and we are hoping to see you there! We also have daily blog posts in the pipeline and the latest edition of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter coming out during the week too. It’s going to be a busy one so make sure you follow us on twitter or subscribe to the blog for regular updates!

Tuesday 26th October 2-3pm – New UKRI Open Access Policy Briefing

The new UKRI open access policy announced in August 2020 affects academics publishing work that acknowledges UK Research Council funding. The policy requires open access on publication under the CC BY licence (or, exceptionally, CC BY-ND) for articles and conference papers submitted on or after 1 April 2022. It also requires open access no later than 12 months after publication for monographs, book chapters and edited collections resulting from a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, published on or after 1 January 2024. The UKRI policy will inform the open access policy for the next REF.

In this first UCL briefing session on the UKRI policy, Catherine Sharp (Head of Open Access Services) will set out the key policy points and compliant routes to publishing in journal articles and conference papers. Lara Speicher (Head of Publishing, UCL Press) will explore the details of the new UKRI monograph requirements, and their implications for authors. Professor Margot Finn (UCL History and immediate past President of the Royal Historical Society) will also join the session to discuss these changes and the implications for authors of monographs in the humanities and social sciences in particular.

Given the importance of the UKRI policy in shaping UK open access requirements, all researchers who publish are encouraged to attend a briefing on the UKRI policy, and to bring questions from their own disciplines.

Please register online.

Wednesday 27th October 2-3pm – UCL Press as eTextbook Publisher

The debate over access and affordability of eTextbooks is high on the agenda for many institutional libraries and publishers and many are calling for an open access solution.

In response, UCL Press is currently developing a new programme of open access textbooks, for undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules, across disciplines. The new textbook programme will be the first OA textbook list in the UK and builds on the success of the Press’s publishing output and the significant increase in requirements for digital resources, in a changing teaching and learning environment. The programme offers the Press an opportunity to showcase and promote teaching excellence across a broad range of fields and contribute to the open culture UCL is continuing to build.

In this webinar we will discuss in more depth, why and how UCL Press are creating their open access programme and the opportunities, practicalities, and benefits of committing to, publishing and disseminating home-grown textbooks.

We will also focus on other initiatives and projects from UCL and from around the world to provide a forum for lively discussion about open access textbooks and education resources more broadly.

We encourage you to join us to hearing more about this programme and other OA initiatives, please register online.

Thursday 28th October 4-5pm – Opening data & code: Who is your audience?

To achieve the potential impact of a particular research project in academia or in the wider world, research outputs need to be managed, shared and used effectively.

Open Research enables replicable tools to be accessible to a wide audience of users. The session will showcase three projects and discuss the potentials of reuse of data and software and how to adapt to different types of user.

Join our speakers and panel discussion to:

  • understand the potential of sharing your data and software
  • learn about how projects share their software and data with different audiences and how they tailored their open data & code to different audiences appreciate the needs of different types of user (e.g. industry based, policy maker, citizen scientists)

Please register online.

The benefits and barriers to code sharing as an Early Career Researcher

Kirsty14 September 2021

Guest post by Louise Mc Grath-Lone, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Health Informatics), Rachel Pearson, Research Assistant (UCL Institute of Child Health) and Ania Zylbersztejn, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Child Health)

In July 2021, we held a session on code sharing as part of the UCL Festival of Code and were thrilled to have almost 90 attendees from 9 out of UCL’s 11 faculties – highlighting that researchers from across a wide range of disciplines are interested in sharing their code.

The aims of the session were to highlight the benefits of code sharing, to explore some of the barriers to code sharing that Early Carly Researchers may experience, and to offer some practical advice about establishing, maintaining and contributing to a code repository.

In this blog, we summarise the benefits and barriers to code sharing we discussed in the session taking into account the views that participants shared.

What is code sharing and what are the benefits?

Code sharing covers a range of activities, including sharing code privately (e.g., with your colleagues as part of internal code review) or publicly (e.g., as part of a journal article submission).

For Early Career Researchers in academia, there are many benefits to sharing code including:

Reducing duplication of effort: For activities such as data cleaning and preparation, code sharing is an important method of reducing duplication of effort among the research community.

Capturing the work you put into data management: The processes of managing large datasets are time-consuming, but this effort is often not apparent in traditional research outputs (such as journal articles). Sharing code is one way of demonstrating the work that goes into data management activities.

Improving the transparency and reproducibility of your work: Code sharing allows others to understand, validate and extend what you did in your research.

Enabling the continuity of your work: Many researchers spend the early years of their career on fixed-term contracts. Code sharing is a way to enable the continuity of your work after you’ve moved on by allowing others to build on it. This increases the chances of it reaching the publication stage and your efforts and inputs being recognised in the form of a journal article.

Building your reputation and networks: Code sharing is a way to build your reputation and grow your networks which can lead to opportunities for collaboration.

Providing opportunities for teaching and learning: By sharing code and by looking at code that others have shared, Early Career Researchers have opportunities to both teach and learn.

Demonstrating a commitment to Open Science principles: Code sharing is increasingly valued by research funders (e.g. the Wellcome Trust) and is a tangible way to show your commitment to Open Science principles which are part of UCL’s Academic Framework and important for career progression.

Despite the clear benefits to code sharing, at the start of our session just 1 in 4 participants (26%) said that they often or always share code. However, by the end of the session, almost all participants (90%) said that they definitely or probably will share their code in the future.

What are the barriers to code sharing as an Early Career Researcher and how we can overcome them?

We asked participants what has put them off sharing their code in the past. The most common responses were:

The time and effort required: Ideally, you would write perfectly formatted and commented code on the first go – however, in reality, it often does not work out like this. As you update code and encounter bugs, code can often become messy and considerable time/effort needed to get it to point it can be understood by someone outside the research project. We discussed the importance shifting your perception of ‘shareable’ code. Sharing any code, even if messy, is far more helpful than sharing nothing at all.

Lack of confidence and concerns about criticism: Many researchers who write code as part of their work have very little (or no!) formal training. This means that sharing code can be daunting. For example, researchers may be worried about others finding errors in their code; however, sharing code can help to catch bugs in code early on and can bolster your confidence and reassure you that your code is correct. In the session, we also discussed how getting involved with online coding communities that emphasize inclusivity and support (e.g., R Ladies, Tidy Tuesday or one of the UCL Coding Clubs) can help grow confidence and provide a kinder environment in which to share code publicly.

Not knowing how to share or who to share with: A lack of formal training means that many researchers are unsure about where or how to share code, including not knowing which license to use to enable appropriate reuse of code. We discussed the need for more training opportunities, encouraged setting up your own code review groups (like a journal club, but for sharing and discussing code).

Worry that code will be reused without permission: Some participants were worried about plagiarism and their hard work being re-used without their knowledge or permission. However, hosting your code in a repository like GitHub allows you to choose suitable licence for re-use of your code to prevent undesired use while still supporting open science! You can also see how many people have accessed your code.

How can Early Career Researchers get started with code sharing?

Preparing code to share can take time and, as they work to secure their future within academia, many Early Career Researchers may already feel overloaded and pulled in different directions (e.g., teaching, institutional citizenship, engagement work, producing publications, attending conferences, research management, etc.). However, code sharing is hugely beneficial for a career in academia and so we would encourage all Early Career Researchers to try to find the time to share code by viewing it as an opportunity to invest in your future self. For example, you could:

  • Adopt a coding style guide to help produce clear and uniform code with good comments from the outset. This will reduce effort end when you come to share code (and help your future self when you look at your code many years later and have inevitably forgotten what it all does!
  • Join a UCL Coding Clubs or online community to learn tips from others about coding and sharing code.
  • Learn to use a code repository like GitHub. As part of our session, we delivered an introductory tutorial on how to use GitHub with links to other useful resources (available here).

How can UCL support Early Career Researchers to share code?

We ended the session by asking the participants how UCL could better support them to share their code. Some of the ideas suggested by Early Career Researchers were:

More training on writing and sharing code: For example, one suggestion was that UCL could create a Moodle training course for code sharing. Training about best practice in coding (across several languages) to help Early Career Researchers to write code right the first time would also be helpful.

Simple, accessible guidance about code sharing: This might include checklists or 1-to-1 advice sessions, in particular, to help Early Career Researchers to select the right licenses.

Embed code sharing as best practice at all levels: Encouraging and supporting senior researchers to share code so that it becomes embedded as good practice at all levels would provide a good example for and encourage more junior members of staff. It would also help to ensure that the time and training required to prepare code for sharing is built into grant applications.

Knowledge sharing opportunities: More events and opportunities to discuss how research groups share code to share best practice across faculties throughout UCL.

 

We would like to thank everyone who attended our session – “Code sharing for Early Career Researchers: the good the bad and the ugly!” – at the UCL Festival of Code for their time and contributions to the lively discussions. All the materials from the session are available here, including an introductory tutorial to getting started with code sharing using GitHub. We would also like to thank the organisers of the UCL Festival of Code for their help and support.