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Getting a Handle on Third-Party Datasets: Researcher Needs and Challenges

By Rafael, on 16 February 2024

Guest post by Michelle Harricharan, Senior Research Data Steward, in celebration of International Love Data Week 2024.

ARC Data Stewards have completed the first phase of work on the third-party datasets project, aiming to help researchers better access and manage data provided to UCL by external organisations.

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The problem:

Modern research often requires access to large volumes of data generated outside of universities. These datasets, provided to UCL by third parties, are typically generated during routine service delivery or other activities and are used in research to identify patterns and make predictions. UCL research and teaching increasingly rely on access to these datasets to achieve their objectives, ranging from NHS data to large-scale commercial datasets such as those provided by ‘X’ (formerly known as Twitter).

Currently, there is no centrally supported process for research groups seeking to access third-party datasets. Researchers sometimes use departmental procedures to acquire personal or university-wide licenses for third-party datasets. They then transfer, store, document, extract, and undertake actions to minimize information risk before using the data for various analyses. The process to obtain third-party data involves significant overhead, including contracts, compliance (IG), and finance. Delays in acquiring access to data can be a significant barrier to research. Some UCL research teams also provide additional support services such as sharing, managing access to, licensing, and redistributing specialist third-party datasets for other research teams. These teams increasingly take on governance and training responsibilities for these specialist datasets. Concurrently, the e-resources team in the library negotiates access to third-party datasets for UCL staff and students following established library procedures.

It has long been recognized that UCL’s processes for acquiring and managing third-party data are uncoordinated and inefficient, leading to inadvertent duplication, unnecessary expense, and underutilisation of datasets that could support transformative research across multiple projects or research groups. This was recognised in the “Data First, 2019 UCL Research Data Strategy”.

What we did:

Last year, the ARC Data Stewards team reached out to UCL professional services staff and researchers to understand the processes and challenges they faced regarding accessing and using third-party research datasets. We hoped that insights from these conversations could be used to develop more streamlined support and services for researchers and make it easier for them to find and use data already provided to UCL by third parties (where this is within licensing conditions).

During this phase of work, we spoke with 14 members of staff:

  • 7 research teams that manage third-party datasets
  • 7 members of professional services that support or may support the process, including contracts, data protection, legal, Information Services Division (databases), information security, research ethics and integrity, and the library.

What we’ve learned:

An important aspect of this work involved capturing the existing processes researchers use when accessing, managing, storing, sharing, and deleting third-party research data at UCL. This enabled us to understand the range of processes involved in handling this type of data and identify the various stakeholders involved—or who potentially need to be involved. In practice, we found that researchers follow similar processes to access and manage third-party research data, depending on the security of the dataset. However, as there is no central, agreed procedure to support the management of third-party datasets in the organization, different parts of the process may be implemented differently by different teams using the methods and resources available to them. We turned the challenges researchers identified in accessing and managing this type of data into requirements for a suite of services to support the delivery and management of third-party datasets at UCL.

Next steps:

 We have been working on addressing some of the common challenges researchers identified. Researchers noted that getting contracts agreed and signed off takes too long, so we reached out to the RIS Contract Services Team, who are actively working to build additional capacity into the service as part of a wider transformation programme.

Also, information about accessing and managing third-party datasets is fragmented, and researchers often don’t know where to go for help, particularly for governance and technical advice. To counter this, we are bringing relevant professional services together to agree on a process for supporting access to third-party datasets.

Finally, respondents noted that there is too much duplication of data. The costs for data are high, and it’s not easy to know what’s already available internally to reuse. In response, we are building a searchable catalogue of third-party datasets already licensed to UCL researchers and available for others to request access to reuse.

Our progress will be reported to the Research Data Working Group, which acts as a central point of contact and a forum for discussion on aspects of research data support at UCL. The group advocates for continual improvement of research data governance.

If you would like to know more about any of these strands of work, please do not hesitate to reach out (email: researchdata-support@ucl.ac.uk). We are keen to work with researchers and other professional services to solve these shared challenges and accelerate research and collaboration using third-party datasets.

Get involved!

alt=""The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to contribute to the open science and scholarship movement. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be part of the conversation!

FAIR Data in Practice

By Rafael, on 15 February 2024

Guest post by Victor Olago, Senior Research Data Steward and Shipra Suman, Research Data Steward, in celebration of International Love Data Week 2024.

Image depicting the FAIR guiding principles for data resources: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Created by SangyaPundir.

Credit: Sangya Pundir, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The problem:

We all know sharing is caring, and so data needs to be shared to explore its full potential and usefulness. This makes it possible for researchers to answer questions that were not the primary research objective of the initial study. The shared data also allows other researchers to replicate the findings underpinning the manuscript, which is important in knowledge sharing. It also allows other researchers to integrate these datasets with other existing datasets, either already collected or which will be collected in the future.

There are several factors that can hamper research data sharing. These might include a lack of technical skill, inadequate funding, an absence of data sharing agreements, or ethical barriers. As Data Stewards we support appropriate ways of collecting, standardizing, using, sharing, and archiving research data. We are also responsible for advocating best practices and policies on data. One of such best practices and policies includes the promotion and the implementation of the FAIR data principles.

FAIR is an acronym for Findable, Accessible Interoperable and Reusable [1]. FAIR is about making data discoverable to other researchers, but it does not translate exactly to Open Data. Some data can only be shared with others once security considerations have been addressed. For researchers to use the data, a concept-note or protocol must be in place to help gatekeepers of that data understand what each data request is meant for, how the data will be processed and expected outcomes of the study or sub study. Findability and Accessibility is ensured through metadata and enforcing the use of persistent identifiers for a given dataset. Interoperability relates to applying standards and encoding such as ICD-10, ICDO-3 [2] and, lastly, Reusability means making it possible for the data to be used by other researchers.

What we are doing:

We are currently supporting a data reuse project at the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU). This project enables the secondary analysis of clinical trial data. We use pseudonymisation techniques and prepare metadata that goes along with each data set.

Pseudonymisation helps process personal data in such a way that the data cannot be attributed to specific data subjects without the use of additional information [3]. This reduces the risks of reidentification of personal data. When data is pseudonymized direct identifiers are dropped while potentially identifiable information is coded. Data may also be aggregated. For example, age is transformed to age groups. There are instances where data is sampled from the original distribution, allowing only sharing of the sample data. Pseudonymised data is still personal data which must be protected with GDPR regulation [4].

The metadata makes it possible for other researchers to locate and request access to reuse clinical trials data at MRC CTU. With the extensive documentation that is attached, when access is approved, reanalysis and or integration with other datasets are made possible.  Pseudonymisation and metadata preparation helps in promoting FAIR data.

We have so far prepared one data-pack for RT01 studies which is ‘A randomized controlled trial of high dose versus standard dose conformal radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer’ which is currently in review phase and almost ready to share with requestors. Over the next few years, we hope to repeat and standardise the process for past, current and future studies of Cancer, HIV, and other trials.

References:    

  1. 8 Pillars of Open Science.
  2. Digital N: National Clinical Coding Standards ICD-10 5th Edition (2022), 5 edn; 2022.
  3. Anonymisation and Pseudonymisation.
  4. Complete guide to GDPR compliance.

Get involved!

alt=""The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to contribute to the open science and scholarship movement. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be part of the conversation!

Finding Data Management Tools for Your Research Discipline

By Rafael, on 14 February 2024

Guest post by Iona Preston, Research Data Support Officer, in celebration of International Love Data Week 2024.

Various gardening tools arranged on a dark wooden background

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash.

While there are a lot of general resources to support good research data management practices – for example UCL’s Research Data Management webpages – you might sometimes be looking for something a bit more specific. It’s good practice to store your data in a research data repository that is subject specific, where other people in your research discipline are most likely to search for data. However, you might not know where to begin your search. You could be looking for discipline-specific metadata standards, so your data is more easily reusable by academic colleagues in your subject area. This is where subject-specific research data management resources become valuable. Here are some resources for specific subject areas and disciplines that you might find useful: 

  • The Research Data Management Toolkit for Life Sciences
    This resource guides you through the entire process of managing research data, explaining which tools to use at each stage of the research data lifecycle. It includes sections on specific life science research areas, from plant sciences to rare disease data. These sections also cover research community-specific repositories and examples of metadata standards. 
  • Visual arts data skills for researchers: Toolkits
    This consists of two different tutorials covering an introduction to research data management in the visual arts and how to create an appropriate data management plan. 
  • Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives
    CESSDA brings together data archives from across Europe in a searchable catalogue. Their website includes various resources for social scientists to learn more about data management and sharing, along with an extensive training section and a Data Management Expert Guide to lead you through the data management process. 
  • Research Data Alliance for Disciplines (various subject areas)
    The Research Data Alliance is an international initiative to promote data sharing. They have a webpage with special interest groups in various academic research areas, including agriculture, biomedical sciences, chemistry, digital humanities, social science, and librarianship, with useful resource lists for each discipline. 
  • RDA Metadata Standards Catalogue (all subject areas)
    This directory helps you find a suitable metadata scheme to describe your data, organized by subject area, featuring specific schemes across a wide range of academic disciplines. 
  • Re3Data (all subject areas)
    When it comes to sharing data, we always recommend you check if there’s a subject specific repository first, as that’s the best place to share. If you don’t know where to start finding one, this is a great place to look with a convenient browse feature to explore available options within your discipline.

These are only some of the different discipline specific tools that are available. You can find more for your discipline on the Research Data Management webpages. If you need any help and advice on finding data management resources, please get in touch with the Research Data Management team on lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk 

Get involved!

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Research Data Stewardship at UCL

By Rafael, on 13 February 2024

Guest post by James A J Wilson, Head of Research Data in Advance Research Computing at UCL, in celebration of International Love Data Week 2024.

The image depicts a vibrant poster for International Love Data Week 2024. In the center of the poster, the main theme 'My Kind of Data' is displayed at the centre. Below it, the hashtag #lovedata2024 is displayed

A Research Data Steward is a relatively recent term for someone undertaking a range of jobs that have already been undertaken for some time, albeit sometimes without due appreciation. If you have helped researchers manage their data – helping with data management plans, adding metadata, providing services for data hosting, preparing datasets for analysis, scripting data transformations, readying data for sharing or publication, or engaging in long-term data preservation and curation – you may have unwittingly been a data steward.

As the importance of data for enabling research reproducibility and transparency becomes more widely recognized, so does the importance of good data stewardship.  In 2016, the European Commission’s publication ‘Realising the European Open Science Cloud’, estimated that, “on average, about 5% of research expenditure should be spent on properly managing and stewarding data”[1]. Whilst the world and UCL are not at that level yet, the importance of managing research data more effectively has not passed the university by.

Advanced Research Computing (ARC) has established four different Research Technology professions. Besides our Research Software Engineers (who already have more than a decade of experience behind them at UCL) there are now groups of Research Infrastructure Developers, Data Scientists, and Data Stewards. None of the roles that the teams take on are new, but there are advantages to treating the people who make up those professions as members of a profession, rather than assorted and frequently rather isolated postdocs. Firstly, we now have a pool of people who can exchange experiences, impart knowledge to one another, and lend each other a bit of moral support. Secondly, it enables the development of focused career paths. No longer do research technology professionals need to kick their heels working on barely recognized tasks until they get an opportunity to break into the research big time. Their importance is recognized and can be rewarded.

There are now more than a dozen professional research data stewards in ARC. Team members develop and support services, collaborate with research teams from other departments to ensure that their data is as well managed and as FAIR as possible (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable), and undertake research themselves. Examples of research projects include work with eChild; preparing data packs for the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (MRC CTU); supplying the MAESaM and CAAL archaeology projects with geospatial data and mapping software expertise and helping to prepare bids across a range of disciplines. Some projects are more infrastructure based, such as the EU-funded DICE project to establish services for data processing pipelines. Other work is focused on improving UCL’s services and their coordination, such as the ‘3rd-party data’ project, which seeks to help researchers obtain data from other organisations and enable broader awareness of and access to that data. We’re also working with departments, helping them migrate data to centrally managed storage.

The ARC Research Data Stewards are not the only people engaged in data stewardship at UCL. Many people across different projects and teams are involved in aspects of data stewardship. Most obviously, our close colleagues in UCL Library’s Research Data Management team, but also those working on services to provide particular datasets or metadata, plus all those on research contracts working away at polishing and processing data in labs, libraries, and offices across Bloomsbury and beyond. We will shortly begin forming a Data Stewardship Community of Practice, to create a forum where everyone involved in this important work can exchange ideas and start to form a sense of what really constitutes ‘best practice’.

If you are based at UCL and are potentially interested in working with us, drop us a line at researchdata-support@ucl.ac.uk.

Get involved!

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The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to contribute to the open science and scholarship movement. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be part of the conversation!

 

 

[1] European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Realising the European open science cloud – First report and recommendations of the Commission high level expert group on the European open science cloud, Publications Office, 2016, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/940154

Research Data Management: A year in review

By Rafael, on 12 February 2024

Guest post by Dr Christiana McMahon, Research Data Support Officer, in celebration of International Love Data Week 2024.

From that spark of an idea through to publishing research findings, the Research Data Management team have once again been on-hand to support staff and students.

What’s been happening?

A new version of the Research Data Repository is now available simplifying the process of archiving and preserving research outputs here at UCL for the longer-term.

In 2023 we published 200 items 151 of which were datasets.

Graph to show items published in the UCL Research Repository in 2023.

 

We had over 120,000 downloads and over 240,000 viewsOver the past year…

  • The most downloaded record was: Griffiths, David; Boehm, Jan (2019). SynthCity Dataset – Area 1. University College London. Dataset.
  • The most viewed record was: Heenan, Thomas; Jnawali, Anmol; Kok, Matt; Tranter, Thomas; Tan, Chun; Dimitrijevic, Alexander; et al. (2020). Lithium-ion Battery INR18650 MJ1 Data: 400 Electrochemical Cycles (EIL-015). University College London. Dataset.
  • The most cited record was: Manescu, Petru; Shaw, Mike; Elmi, Muna; Zajiczek, Lydia; Claveau, Remy; Pawar, Vijay; et al. (2020). Giemsa Stained Thick Blood Films for Clinical Microscopy Malaria Diagnosis with Deep Neural Networks Dataset. University College London. Dataset.

More information is available about the UCL Research Data Repository.  Alternatively, check our FAQs.

Data Management Plan Reviews

The RDM team can review data management plans providing researchers with feedback in-line with UCL’s expectations and funding agency requirements where these apply. In 2023, we reviewed 32 data management plans covering over 10 different funding agencies. More information is available in our website.

Mini-tutorial: Research data lifecycle

The RDM team often refer to the research data lifecycle, but what is it? Essentially, these are the different stages of the research process from planning and preparation through to archiving your research outputs, making them discoverable to the wider research community and members of the public.

The four stages:

1: Get ready – You’ve had an idea for a research study so it’s time to start making plans and getting prepared. Have you considered writing a data management plan?

  • Remember, if you are in receipt of external funding, there may be data management requirements to consider.
  • Feel free to reach out to Open Science and Research Support to assist you.

2: Let’s go – You are now actively researching putting all those research plans into action.

  • Don’t forget to revisit your data management plan and update it to reflect your latest decision making.
  • It’s also useful to consider documenting your research as you progress.

3: Ta-dah – The research is complete and it’s time to archive your research outputs to preserve them for the longer-term.

  • Aim to utilise subject-specific archives and repositories where possible.
  • Creating a metadata record in a public facing online catalogue with links to any related publications can be useful to building online networks of linked research outputs.
  • Consider making your research outputs as openly accessible as possible remembering that controlling or restricting access is fine as long as it is justified and there is a set data access protocol in place to facilitate a data access request.
  • Did you know you can archive most research outputs in the UCL Research Data Repository?

4: Wow! I think I can use thismaking your research discoverable to others for potential reuse can help to maximise research opportunities

And so the research data lifecycle begins again!

Get involved!

alt=""The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to contribute to the open science and scholarship movement. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be part of the conversation!

Join us for International Love Data Week!

By Rafael, on 7 February 2024

Guest post by Iona Preston, Research Data Support Officer.

Next week (February 12-16), we’re excited to be celebrating International Love Data Week. We’ll be looking at how data is shared and reused within our UCL and academic community, highlighting the support available across UCL for these initiatives. This year’s theme, “My Kind of Data,” focuses on data equity, inclusion, and disciplinary communities. We’ll be blogging and posting on X throughout the week, so please join us to learn more.

International Love Data Week 2024 poster

Here’s a sneak preview of what’s coming up:

  • Did you know the Research Data Management team can review your data management plan and support you in publishing your data in our Research Data Repository? Find out more about our last year in review with Christiana McMahon, Research Data Support Officer.
  • Have you met any members of our Data Stewards team? James Wilson, Head of Research Data Services, will be explaining how you can collaborate with them to streamline the process of managing and preserving your data, thereby supporting reproducibility and transparency in your research.
  • Are you seeking tools to support best practices in data management for your specific discipline? We have some suggestions from Iona Preston, Research Data Support Officer.
  • You may have heard of FAIR data – but what does that mean in practice? Join Research Data Steward Shipra Suman and Senior Research Data Steward Victor Olago as they discuss projects where they’ve supported making data FAIR.
  • And, finally, to round off the week, Senior Research Data Steward Michelle Harricharan will talk about a project the Data Stewards are carrying out to better support UCL researchers in accessing and managing external datasets.

We look forward to engaging with you throughout the week and hope you enjoy learning more about research data at UCL.

And get involved!

alt=""The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to contribute to the open science and scholarship movement. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be part of the conversation!

Shaping the Future: OOSS Initiatives and Goals for 2024

By Rafael, on 26 January 2024

Following our blog post last week, where we reflected on the achievements of 2023, this week we wanted to look forward and share our plans for 2024. From championing open research practices to fostering inclusivity, transparency, and collaboration, the UCL Office for Open Science Scholarship (OOSS) teams are gearing up for an exciting new year!

OOSS 2024 Initiatives:Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik. Top view of hand holding a pen on spiral notebook with new year writing and drawings decoration accessories on black background.

Annual Conference: Anticipate the return of the UCL Open Science Conference after Easter, promising an exciting and engaging program. Stay tuned for details as we continue to drive conversations on open science, sustainability, and inclusivity in research practices.

Authorship Overview: Building on the success of the 2023 conference, OOSS is preparing to release an overview of best practices in authorship. The focus on equity in authorship during a dedicated workshop last year has further contributed to the development of a UCL statement on Authorship, showcasing our commitment to fostering fair and inclusive authorship practices.

UCL Open Research Train the Trainer Course: OOSS proudly supports the UCL Open Research Train the Trainer course, a key part of the UKRN Open Research Programme. This course aims to empower participants with the knowledge and skills needed to champion open research practices, contributing to the broader mission of advancing openness in academia and beyond.

Open Science Website Overhaul: Over the summer, the office has ambitious plans for an overhaul of the Open Science website. This initiative aims to enhance user experience and engagement. As part of this revamp, case studies from the community will be gathered, providing an opportunity for voices within UCL to contribute to the narrative of open science. Watch out this space!

Research Data Team:

Poster of International Love Data Week 2024 (February 12-16, 2024)Love Data Week 2024: In February 2024, the Research Data Team will celebrate Love Data Week, a dedicated time to showcase impactful data from the academic community underscoring the team’s commitment to recognising the value of open data practices and promoting its significance in research. Join us!

Training and Review Services: The Research Data Team is dedicated to enhancing accessibility in 2024. One of the key initiatives involves the redesign of online training for Writing Data Management Plan providing a more user-friendly experience for researchers to access resources and guidance efficiently. Additionally, throughout the year, the team will offer training sessions and review services on data management plans. This ongoing support ensures that researchers align with funders’ criteria and best practices, contributing to the overall improvement of data management within the UCL community.

Best Practice Guidance for Metadata Records: An important focus next year will be the development of best practice guidance for creating high-quality metadata records. These records play an essential role in enhancing the findability and reusability of research data. To facilitate this, the team is creating user-friendly video guides, making it easier for researchers to grasp the essentials of metadata creation and promoting adherence to best practices.

Citizen Science Team:

Community Building: The Citizen Science Team at OOSS is committed to community building in 2024. The focus is on expanding the UCL Citizen Science community, fostering connections among researchers and communities passionate about citizen science initiatives. A landmark initiative will be the hosting of the inaugural UCL Citizen Science Community event. This event provides a platform for community members to come together, share experiences, and explore collaborative opportunities. Stay tuned and participate!

Principles for UCL Citizen Science Projects: The Citizen Science Team recognizes the importance of establishing clear principles for UCL Citizen Science projects. In 2024, efforts are underway to articulate these principles, providing a framework that ensures the ethical, inclusive, and impactful execution of citizen science initiatives. These principles aim to guide project leaders, participants, and collaborators in creating meaningful contributions to both research and public engagement.

Establishing a Citizen Science Support Service: To further support the UCL community’s engagement with citizen science, the team is working on establishing a dedicated Citizen Science Support Service. This service will serve as a central hub for resources, guidance, and assistance related to citizen science projects. The team is also compiling an enhanced list of support resources for citizen science. This will include a diverse range of materials, from guidelines and toolkits to success stories and best practice examples. By consolidating these resources, the team intends to provide a valuable repository to guide researchers and community members involved in citizen science projects. While this is underway, we encourage you to explore the available resources and training materials on our website!

Open Access:

Support and Funding for Long-Form Outputs: In 2024, the Open Access Team is committed to extending support and funding to authors working on long-form outputs, such as monographs, book chapters, and edited collections. Recognizing the importance of diverse and open scholarly contributions, this initiative aims to facilitate open access publishing for a broader range of academic works. UCL authors are encouraged to apply for funding to cover the associated publishing costs, promoting accessibility and dissemination of scholarly knowledge.

Improving Profiles and RPS for Enhanced Accessibility: The Open Access Team is dedicated to enhancing the Profiles platform and Research Publications Service (RPS) in 2024. Plans include the development of department and group pages within these platforms, fostering a more comprehensive and accessible presentation of academic profiles, publications, and collaborative efforts. These enhancements contribute to the overall visibility of UCL research outputs and strengthen the university’s commitment to showcasing the diverse impactful work of its academic community.

Safeguarding Authors’ Rights for Open Availability: An active investigation into a UCL Rights Retention policy is underway, reflecting the Open Access Team’s commitment to safeguarding authors’ rights. This policy aims to support authors by allowing them to retain the rights to make their outputs openly available. By exploring and implementing this policy, the team seeks to align UCL with practices that prioritise authors’ control over the accessibility of their scholarly works. This initiative is an important step towards ensuring that the academic community retains agency in sharing their contributions openly.

Research Bibliometrics Team:

Journal Citation Report Visualisation New LibGuide for Metrics Tools: In 2024, the Research Bibliometrics Team is focused on supporting researchers with the knowledge and tools needed to navigate the landscape of research impact metrics. A new LibGuides is underway, focusing on key metrics tools, including InCites, Altmetric, and Overton. This comprehensive resource will serve as a guide for researchers, offering in-depth information on harnessing these tools to assess the impact and visibility of their scholarly work.

Training for Overton: As part of the team’s commitment to enhancing research impact assessment, special attention will be given to Overton. The Research Bibliometrics Team plans to roll out further training sessions specifically designed to harness the potential of the platform as a discovery and research metrics tool. This will provide researchers with skills and understanding enabling them to use Overton effectively for evaluating the broader impact of their research in the academic landscape.

Get Involved! alt=""

As we embark on 2024, the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invites you to be a part of the open science and scholarship movement. Whether you are a researcher, student, or simply curious about the future of academia, your engagement can contribute to a more transparent, collaborative, and innovative research landscape. Stay connected for updates, events, and opportunities. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, and join our mailing list to be a part of the open science and scholarship conversation at UCL!

 

OOSS Annual Recap 2023

By Rafael, on 17 January 2024

As we step into a new year, let’s reflect on the collective achievements and milestones of the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship (OOSS) and our associated teams in 2023. This year witnessed the growth and integration of OOSS within the institutional culture of UCL, offering pivotal support to academic staff, researchers, and students. From the successful return to in-person events with our annual conference to pioneering initiatives and awards, let’s revisit the highlights that shaped our work last year!

Annual Conference & Open Access Celebrations

Poster for the Open Science Conference: 'The Case for Social Justice'

In April 2023, we successfully organized our annual conference, marking our first return to in-person events. Themed Open Science and the Case for Social Justice, the conference fostered important discussions on sustainability in research practices, addressing critical issues such as gender, language, authorship, and geographical disparities. Recordings of these insightful discussions are available. Notably, a workshop during the conference addressed equity in authorship, contributing to a forthcoming UCL statement on Authorship. Additionally, October saw the celebration of our Open Access week, themed Community over Commercialisation. This included a series of blog posts, activities, and discussions, emphasizing equitable access to a wide range of works.

Honouring Excellence: Inaugural Open Science and Scholarship Awards:Group photo of the 12 Winners of the inaugural Open Science and Scholarship Awards standing together in front of a white wall.

Another highlight was the inaugural Open Science and Scholarship Awards at UCL in collaboration with the UK Reproducibility Network. These awards aimed to recognize and celebrate the efforts of UCL students and staff who champion open science practices. Learn more about the winners and their innovative work!

Open Access: Profiles & Transformative Agreements

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The Open Access Team played a pivotal role in ensuring the open availability of UCL academics’ research outputs throughout 2023. A major achievement was the successful introduction of the new Profiles platform, replacing the outdated IRIS. Profiles acts as UCL’s public search and discovery tool, significantly improving the visibility of academic profiles, publication lists, research and teaching activities, and collaborations with UCL colleagues. The team also facilitated the Gold open access publication of 3,383 papers in 2023, contributing to the thriving UCL Discovery with over 44 million downloads. The repository now boasts over 166,000 open access items, including 23,400 theses, with over 18,500 uploads in the preceding twelve months.

Aligned with the UKRI and Wellcome open access policies, the Open Access Team provided robust support for UCL researchers. This included facilitating compliance through publishing in fully open access journals, making use of transformative agreements with publishers encompassing over 12,000 journals, and using funders’ language to secure the right to make accepted manuscripts freely accessible upon publication under the CC BY license.

Research Data: Enhancing Support to Researchers

The Research Data team introduced a more user-friendly version of the UCL Research Data Repository, incorporating enhanced features and a comprehensive user manual. The repository saw a significant influx of 193 new items, including data sets, media items, and software applications. Engaging with researchers, the team provided substantial assistance, reviewing 32 data management plans and conducting successful training sessions for 61 researchers. Additionally, the team expanded and refined frequently asked questions (FAQs) for better user support.

Citizen Science: New website and initiatives

Word cloud image featuring key terms related to citizen science

The Citizen Science Team expanded its reach and impact in 2023 through new Citizen Science website pages and an enhanced list of citizen science projects at UCL, fostering a greater understanding of the breadth of such initiatives across the university. The creation of a unifying definition of citizen science at UCL, accompanied by an inclusive word cloud, provided clarity on the diverse subject areas and disciplines covered by citizen science projects.

The development of the UCL Citizen Science Certificate, in collaboration with the UCL Citizen Science Academy, marked a significant milestone and underscored our commitment to fostering collaborative initiatives. A new Citizen Science community on MS Teams was launched, providing a dedicated space for discussions and updates. Get involved!

Bibliometrics: Measuring Research Impact

The Bibliometrics Team, in collaboration with the Open Access Team, played a crucial role in implementing the new Profiles system. Their research confirmed the citation advantage associated with open access practices. After a detailed analysis of UCL publications over recent years, the study demonstrated that open access materials are utilised and cited more extensively, and confirmed the place of the institution as leading organisation in making material available in open access.

Additionally, the team introduced new courses, including an introduction to altmetrics and the Overton database, aiming to assess the broader impact of published research in the wider world and cover policy documents and official documents. Another training provided an overview of understanding and demonstrating research impact, further supporting UCL’s researchers. The Bibliometrics Team’s dedication to understanding and demonstrating research impact through various courses and collaborations reinforced UCL’s position as a leader in research output accessibility.

Stay connected and Informed

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The combined efforts of OOSS teams in 2023 exemplify UCL’s commitment to open and accessible research practices across diverse disciplines. As we move forward, the OOSS remains dedicated to fostering an inclusive culture of open science and scholarship, shaping a transformative academic environment at UCL.

Join us in 2024 for updates and insights, and follow us on X, formerly Twitter, to find out more about open science and scholarship at UCL!

UCL Advent Calendar of Research Support!

By Kirsty, on 1 December 2023

This year we are pleased to be able to share with you our Advent Calendar of Research Support! We will be posting every day over on our Twitter/X account but for those of you that aren’t using Twitter/X we have posted it below, and you can visit it online in your own time. We will also be updating this post throughout the month with accessible version of the content.

Day 1A Christmas tree with white lights at night in front of columns lit with colours of the rainbow.

The Office for Open Science and Scholarship is your one stop shop for advice and support for all things openness. Find out more on our website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/ucl-office-open-science-and-scholarship #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez “alperucho” on UCL imagestore. A Christmas tree with white lights at night in front of columns lit with colours of the rainbow.

Day 2. A girl with dark hair and wire rimmed glasses wearing a yellow jumper sits at a laptop. In the background can be seen colourful book stacks.

Profiles is UCL’s new public search and discovery tool showcasing the UCL community. Use it to find UCL academics, their activities, collaborations, industry partnerships, publications and more. Profiles replaces the previous IRIS system: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/ucl-profiles #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Mat Wright on UCL imagestore. A girl with dark hair and wire rimmed glasses wearing a yellow jumper sits at a laptop. In the background can be seen colourful book stacks.

Day 3Six people in office attire facing a bright yellow wall covered in postit notes

If you need a more controlled way of sharing your research data, check out the UK Data Service and its granular controls for accessing data. https://ukdataservice.ac.uk/learning-hub/research-data-management/data-protection/access-control/ #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Alejandro Walter Salinas Lopez on UCL imagestore. Six people in office attire facing a bright yellow wall covered in postit notes

Day 4 A mixed group of people around a table working at laptops.

Our final UCL Profiles training session of the year will be held on 7 December at 12pm. Come along to find out how to update your profile and manage your professional and teaching activities in RPS. https://library-calendars.ucl.ac.uk/calendar/libraryskillsUCL?t=g&q=profiles&cid=6984&cal=6984&inc=0

If you can’t make the session, have a look at our Getting started with Profiles page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/ucl-profiles #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. A mixed group of people around a table working at laptops.

Day 5A group of three women in warm clothing toasting with cups of coffee at night.

Are you interested in citizen science or participatory research? Ever wondered whether such an approach might work for your project? Whether you are new to citizen science or if you’ve run projects including participants before, come and join our informal UCL Citizen Science community to exchange ideas, ask for advice or share your stories! #ResearchSupportAdvent https://teams.microsoft.com/l/team/19%3aEU3Ia83bPWRqzrGpqQ1KkqlQ0AC5f4Ip8Y-zclJ-PHc1%40thread.tacv2/conversations?groupId=54f252f7-db72-40df-8faf-20e618d9a977&tenantId=1faf88fe-a998-4c5b-93c9-210a11d9a5c2

Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez “alperucho” on UCL imagestore. A group of three women in warm clothing toasting with cups of coffee at night.

Day 6A plate of mince pies.

Ever hit a paywall when trying to access scholarly publications? Get the popcorn ready, and be prepared to have your eyes opened by watching this documentary ‘Paywall: the Business of Scholarship’ at https://paywallthemovie.com/ #OpenAccess #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez “alperucho” on UCL imagestore. A plate of mince pies.

Day 7Image from ThinkCheckSubmit. Traffic lights containing the words Think, Check, Submit

Have you ever received an unsolicited email from a publisher inviting you to publish your research in their journal? Think, Check, before you submit. https://thinkchecksubmit.org/ #ThinkCheckSubmit #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image from ThinkCheckSubmit. Traffic lights containing the words Think, Check, Submit.

Day 8• Image by UCL Media Services on UCL imagestore. A close up of a bright purple bauble on a tree with some blue lights

If you’re sharing your data using the UCL Research Data Repository, reserve your DOI when you create the item. Then when you submit a paper for publication you can include it in the data access statement and readers will be able to find your data more easily once the data is published. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/research-data-management/ucl-research-data-repository #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by UCL Media Services on UCL imagestore. A close up of a bright purple bauble on a tree with some blue lights.

Day 9• Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik. Blue headphones surrounded by christmas decorations, stockings, candles, tree lights and pine cones

Are festive songs, recipes and party activities protected by copyright? How does this relate to your research? Answers in our latest copyright blog post: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/copyright/#ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik. Blue headphones surrounded by christmas decorations, stockings, candles, tree lights and pine cones.

Day 10• Image by UCL Press. Image is a red band on a white background. On the red band, white writing reads, ‘An introduction to Waste management and circular economy. Read and download free from uclpress.co.uk/waste'

UCL Press has launched the first #openaccess textbook in its new programme today. Take a look here: https://www.uclpress.co.uk/products/215121. Interested in publishing an #openaccess textbook with us? Find out more: https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/textbooks

Image by UCL Press. Image is a red band on a white background. On the red band, white writing reads, ‘An introduction to Waste management and circular economy. Read and download free from uclpress.co.uk/waste.

Day 11• Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. A close up of a Christmas tree covered in yellow lights and small silver leaves. In the background can be seen a grey building, some leafless trees and a dark grey statue of a man.

If you’ve encountered a paywall when trying to read research online, Unpaywall (https://unpaywall.org/) and the Open Access Button (https://openaccessbutton.org/) are two free browser extensions which search the internet for copies that you can access. #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. A close up of a Christmas tree covered in yellow lights and small silver leaves. In the background can be seen a grey building, some leafless trees and a dark grey statue of a man.

Day 12Image by John Moloney on UCL imagestore. A group of people in business attire socialising with drinks. Picture is taken from a distance and slightly above.

Do you have a namesake in the world of research? To ensure that other researchers and publishers are not confusing you with someone else, sign up for an ORCID ID at https://orcid.org/ ORCID brings all your scholarly output together in one place. Read more here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/open-access/orcid-ucl-researchers #ResearcherIDs #ORCID #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by John Moloney on UCL imagestore. A group of people in business attire socialising with drinks. Picture is taken from a distance and slightly above.

Day 13Image by Irrum Ali on UCL imagestore. A white table covered in books and pamphlets of various sizes.

Grey literature is produced and published by non-commercial private or public entities, including pressure groups, charities and organisations. Researchers often use grey literature in their reviews to bring in other ‘voices’ into their research. We have listed some useful sources on our guide: https://library-guides.ucl.ac.uk/planning-search/grey-literature #literaturereview #greyliterature #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Irrum Ali on UCL imagestore. A white table covered in books and pamphlets of various sizes.

Day 14Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. Two large and several small icicles against a wintery sky.

Are you working with personal data and need more advice on the difference between anonymisation and pseudonymisation? Check out the data protection team’s guide or get in touch with them for more advice. #ResearchSupportAdvent https://www.ucl.ac.uk/data-protection/guidance-staff-students-and-researchers/practical-data-protection-guidance-notices/anonymisation-and

Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. Two large and several small icicles against a wintery sky.

Day 15Image by Mat Wright on UCL imagestore. A student with long blonde hair studies in the foreground. Behind her are rows of wooden desks and book stacks in arches sit further back.

Historical Inquiry is an important part of the research process. A place to begin this is by understanding the etymology of words. Raymond Williams began this by collating keywords of the most used terms. However, the meanings of words change over time, depending on context. The University of Pittsburgh has continued this project: https://keywords.pitt.edu/, and we have their publication in the Library. #HistoricalInquiry #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Mat Wright on UCL imagestore. A student with long blonde hair studies in the foreground. Behind her are rows of wooden desks and book stacks in arches sit further back.

Day 16Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. UCL front quad at twilight. In front of the portico is a Christmas tree decorated with yellow lights. To the right of the image is a leafless tree decorated with purple and pink lights which can be seen reflecting off the white building beyond.

Did you know the Research Data Management team can review your Data Management Plan and provide feedback, including to make sure you adhere to funder guidance on data management? Get in touch to send us a plan or find out more. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/research-data-management #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Mary Hinkley on UCL imagestore. UCL front quad at twilight. In front of the portico is a Christmas tree decorated with yellow lights. To the right of the image is a leafless tree decorated with purple and pink lights which can be seen reflecting off the white building beyond.

Day 17Image by James Tye on UCL imagestore. Image shows a view through a gap in books to a woman with light brown hair holding the books open and appearing to be searching the shelf.

From 2024, UKRI funded long-form outputs must be open access within 12 months of publication under CC BY or another Creative Commons licence. UCL’s Open Access Team has info. including funding & exceptions, and offers support: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/open-access/research-funders/new-wellcome-and-ukri-policies/ukri #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by James Tye on UCL imagestore. Image shows a view through a gap in books to a woman with light brown hair holding the books open and appearing to be searching the shelf.

Day 18Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez "alperucho" on UCL imagestore. Image shows a Christmas garland over and arch with people walking through, slightly out of focus. The garland is threaded with yellow lights and the words Happy Holiday Season are written in pink lights.

To coincide with the new UKRI open access policy for monographs, UCL Library Services has new funding to support all UCL REF-eligible staff who would like to make their monographs, book chapters and edited collections Gold open access. Find out about this funding and how to contact us: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/open-science-research-support/open-access/open-access-funding-and-agreements/open-access-funding #ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez “alperucho” on UCL imagestore. Image shows a Christmas garland over and arch with people walking through, slightly out of focus. The garland is threaded with yellow lights and the words Happy Holiday Season are written in pink lights.

Day 19Image by Tony Slade from UCL imagestore. A top-down photograph of four students working individually at wooden desks. To the right of the image are wooden bookcases full of colourful books.

Interested in adding grey literature into your research? Have a look at Overton – a database of 10m+ official and policy documents http://libproxy.ucl.ac.uk/login?url=https://app.overton.io/dashboard.php#ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Tony Slade from UCL imagestore. A top-down photograph of four students working individually at wooden desks. To the right of the image are wooden bookcases full of colourful books.

Day 20A screenshot from the UCL Copyright Essentials module. Includes information on the topics covered, some text from the module and an image of a group of stormtroopers marching in the street. Includes image by Michael Neel via Wikimedia Commons.

Have time in your hands this holiday? Complete our short, fun, Jedi-friendly copyright online tutorial and be copyright-savvy before the new year begins! Access at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/forms/articulate/copyright-essentials/#/ #ResearchSupportAdvent

A screenshot from the UCL Copyright Essentials module. Includes information on the topics covered, some text from the module and an image of a group of stormtroopers marching in the street. Includes image by Michael Neel via Wikimedia Commons.

Day 21Image by Tony Slade on UCL imagestore. A close-up perspective shot of a bookcase. Black books with gold writing are in the foreground and red, orange and blue volumes are further back.

Beat the cold with #openaccess reading! UCL Press have more than 300 open access books and 15 journals for you to read and download- for free! Available from: uclpress.co.uk

Image by Tony Slade on UCL imagestore. A close-up perspective shot of a bookcase. Black books with gold writing are in the foreground and red, orange and blue volumes are further back.

Day 22Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik. Top view of hand holding a pen on spiral notebook with new year writing and drawings decoration accessories on black background.

Have you made your New Year resolutions yet? Start by developing your copyright knowledge. Register for one of our 2024 workshops to learn how copyright supports your research and learning. #ResearchSupportAdvent https://library-calendars.ucl.ac.uk/calendar/libraryskillsUCL/?cid=-1&t=g&d=0000-00-00&cal=-1&ct=32648&inc=0

Image by KamranAydinov on Freepik. Top view of hand holding a pen on spiral notebook with new year writing and drawings decoration accessories on black background.

Day 23Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez "alperucho" on UCL imagestore. An arm and hand in profile holds up a mobile phone with the camera open. The phone shows the UCL portico and Christmas tree. The background is out of focus but appears to show Christmas lights.

Curious to see who’s talking about your research? You can see a dashboard for all your RPS publications in the Altmetric tool – search by “verified author”. https://www.altmetric.com/explorer/#ResearchSupportAdvent

Image by Alejandro Salinas Lopez “alperucho” on UCL imagestore. An arm and hand in profile holds up a mobile phone with the camera open. The phone shows the UCL portico and Christmas tree. The background is out of focus but appears to show Christmas lights.

Day 24

The final day of our #ResearchSupportAdvent is upon us and we want to use it to say thank you to everyone that has supported us, come to our events, training or shared with us. Also our colleagues and friends from other institutions. All of us here in the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship and beyond across all of the teams represented wish you a great break and look forward to 2024!

Citizen science community at UCL – a discussion and call to contribute

By Kirsty, on 27 October 2023

Community over Commercialization was the theme for this year’s International Open Access Week. The organisers aim for this theme was to encourage a candid conversation about which approaches to openness prioritise the best interests of the public and the academic community—and which do not.

This is related to the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which highlights the need to prioritize community in its calls for the prevention of “inequitable extraction of profit from publicly funded scientific activities” and support for “non-commercial publishing models and collaborative publishing models with no article processing charges.” By focusing on these areas, we can achieve the original vision outlined when open access was first defined: “an old tradition and a new technology have converged to make possible an unprecedented public good.”

-adapted from openaccessweek.org

This week, in support of this theme we have launched our Citizen Science community for anyone at UCL that wants to get involved, staff, students, anyone! It’s the culmination of a lot of work from the team in the Office for Open Science and Scholarship and I wanted to close out the week with a discussion of how we have been approaching Citizen Science at UCL and what we are going to be doing next.

One of the core values of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, and therefore the team behind the Citizen Science community, is to make everything we do as inclusive as possible of as many of the UCL subject areas as we can.

We use Citizen Science as a title, because it is a commonly used and recognised term, but as we want to create a broad community we have worked hard to create a unifying definition that we want to work to, and this is where this word cloud comes in! This is a work in progress where we are trying to collect as many terms for what we would consider to be a part of Citizen Science as possible and we are hoping that the new community will help us to develop this more and make it as comprehensive as possible!

So, what else have we been doing and what are we working on?

As well as the launch of the UCL Citizen Science Academy, over the past year or so, the team has been talking to a number of colleagues that have been working on citizen science projects to get insights into the projects happening at UCL (which we have added to our website), but also the skills and support that people would recommend for new starters. This will all feed into us recommending, commissioning or developing training and support for you, our community. The aim is to keep building up our existing citizen science related community and enable new, interested parties to get involved, supported by both us and the community as a whole.

We are always asking for information about new projects, feedback on how we can make our community more inclusive and looking for new words for our word cloud so please get in touch by email or by commenting below, we love to hear from you!