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New Open Science Resources for 22-23

By Kirsty, on 21 September 2022

The team at the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship are pleased to be able to share two brand new resources for the 2022-23 academic year!

Open Science & Scholarship video

The first, a new video giving an overview of Open Science at UCL. Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice Provost for Library, Culture, Collections & Open Science (LCCOS) opens the discussion and outlines the context, before local experts delve into each of the core areas that we support. It is accompanied by a short quiz to affirm your new understanding of each area.

This video was created with the support of grants from Research England and Horizon 2020. It was produced by Scientific Knowledge Services (SKS).

After watching the video, you can take the quiz! If you are interested in learning more about anything you heard, visit the OOSS training and support pages for this and further resources.

Guide to Open Science for PhD students

The second resource is entitled Open Science – a practical guide for PhD students. This guide has been designed especially for UCL’s community of PhD students, aiming to introduce the principles of Open Science, but linking them directly to stages of the PhD journey and showing the benefits of embracing Open from the start of their academic journey.

This guide is developed from the original which was published by the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

This and other resources to help and support you in your Open Science journey can be found on our website.

 

Altmetric – now available at UCL!

By Kirsty, on 2 September 2022

Guest post by Andrew Gray (Bibliometrics Support Officer)

What is it? 

Altmetrics are the concept of “alternative metrics” – measuring the impact of research beyond scholarly literature. It encompasses a wide range of activity in diverse sources  social media (eg twitter, blogs), news publications, and grey literature (eg policy documents). This can help to get a wider sense of the impact of papers that might otherwise be missed were we to focus just on traditional academic citations. 

The primary commercial database for these is Altmetric (https://altmetric.com) – UCL has just taken out a one-year subscription to this service. We hope it will be useful for anyone interested in public engagement or research impact, as well as individual researchers looking at the response to their own work. 

It is open to everyone at UCL by visiting https://www.altmetric.com/explorer/login and entering your UCL email address. It will then authenticate through the UCL single-sign-on system. 

How does it work? 

Altmetric tracks a range of individual sources looking for DOIs, links to papers, or free-text descriptions of articles. It then matches these to the underlying paper and produces an index of the mentions. Here we can see the range of responses to a climate-change study. 

You will also sometimes see this coloured “doughnut” on publisher or repository sites – clicking through will get you to this same page. 

The most interesting part of the service, however, is the dashboard. This aggregates the results from all individual papers, and we can then filter down by subject area, date, publication venue, etc., to produce a more specific analysis. It is also possible to search for keywords to see the change in activity around a specific topic – one like “artificial intelligence” tends to show a steady level of interest, while one like “gravitational waves” shows very dramatic spikes connected with major discoveries. 

What can we do with it? 

The dashboard has been integrated with UCL’s RPS service, so it has a dataset of UCL papers since 2013, each linked to the faculty/department of the authors. This means we can do the same types of analysis for just UCL papers – or just those from a specific department or a specific author. 

The search can also be tweaked to identify specific topics. Here we can see policy documents published in 2022 which cite a Bartlett paper. 

Policy documents are one of the key strengths of Altmetric – they can be used as evidence of wider impact, especially for the social sciences. While they are formal documents, and very distinct from more ephemeral news or social media mentions, they are not indexed in most citation databases and so this impact can often be hard to trace. 

Altmetric data can also be exported – any set of results can be exported so that we can do detailed offline analysis of sets of papers, or at the individual mentions that make up the score. This data includes identifiers such as DOIs and ISBNs, meaning it can be linked up to other datasets easily 

What next? 

We are very keen to get this tool in the hands of as many people at UCL as possible and find how it can be used most effectively. Please have a go and let us know what you think! 

UCL-specific training and guidance is currently under development, and will be published in September 2022. Until then, please feel free to get in touch with the team (bibliometrics@ucl.ac.uk) with queries or requests for assistance. We are happy to arrange training as well. 

The tool is currently provided with a static dataset drawn from RPS, covering papers published 1 January 2013 up to 12 August 2022. We are working with the providers to improve the integration so that it will include “live” data, refreshed from RPS every night; until then, we plan to make periodic updates so that publications are added on a rolling basis. 

 

 

 

Sensitive data – where and how to archive

By Kirsty, on 16 August 2022

Guest post by James Houghton, Research Data Support Officer

It is always essential to protect the personal identity of participants or information that could jeopardise the safety of a building, an endangered species, or similar. Deleting data at the end of a project is often necessary to guarantee privacy and security. But this data is sometimes of immense value. The potential usefulness of data could be weighed against the likelihood of an accidental release and the risk of harm if an unintentional release did occur.

There are options for archiving data with access controls for researchers who feel strongly that their data should be preserved. Some repositories have built-in access controls that ensure sensitive data can only be accessed by specific persons who have undergone an application process. Only a few data repositories offer this feature and will still have a remit controlling what data they can accept. Here are some examples.

  • ReShare (UK Data Service) – This site is a social data research repository created to share data for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded projects but is open for submissions from other sources!
  • The European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA) – The EGA offers service for permanent archiving and sharing of personally identifiable clinical data generated for biomedical research projects or in the context of research-focused healthcare systems

The UK Data Service, which runs the ReShare archive, provides functional on-data access control and explains how to implement it.

If you are concerned about storing the data live, even with access controls, consider storing the raw data offline. The existence of the data can be advertised online by creating an entry in a repository that announces the data’s presence and explains how to access it. The repository record will also assign a DOI to cite the dataset properly. Making sure the offline information is stored securely can be challenging, however. There needs to be a specific process to ensure the data is secure and accessible on request.

Dealing with the long-term archiving of sensitive data is complicated. The UCL Research Data Management Team can assist with this. Get in touch if you need support!

Predatory publishers’ tricks, and how to avoid them

By Catherine Sharp, on 1 July 2022

Think Check Submit logoFully open access journals are on the rise. There are now nearly 18,000 of them listed in the trusted Directory of Open Access Journals. Many of these are so-called diamond open access journals – free of charge for authors and readers – but some of the most popular fully open access journals employ the gold model, where authors are charged a fee (otherwise known as an article processing charge) to publish. This fee may be paid through an agreement between the author’s university and the publisher, as with UCL’s transformative agreements, which include almost 600 reputable gold fully open access journals, or may be paid by the author or their funder.

Funders and universities support fully open access business models. They provide much greater cost transparency than the traditional subscription model (which is based on paying to read, rather than to publish). However, as most authors are aware, it has also opened the door to disreputable publishers who exploit gold open access by charging authors fees for publishing services that they don’t deliver. This is a particular problem for early career researchers, who may find themselves duped into paying a fee and signing away their copyright, only to find the research published in a shoddy journal, without peer-review, alongside poor-quality papers. Disreputable journals may charge authors not only to publish, but also to withdraw their research once they discover the hoax. At best, this is a frustrating and costly mistake; at worst, it damages careers.

How predatory publishers disguise themselves

It’s all too easy for early career researchers who are keen to be published to fall victim to flattering emails offering speedy publication, especially where there’s no mention of a charge up front. Some publishers have very sophisticted techniques for trapping the unwary. A case described by the University of Groningen Library, which UCL SLMS researchers have also spotted recently, is particularly clever and alarming. Here’s what to look out for.

  • You receive an email asking for a discussion about your research, or inviting you to publish in a special theme issue. The email is well-written, and refers to your previous research and/or publications.
  • The email gives the title of the theme issue as if it were the title of a reputable journal. This is designed to convince you that you are being invited to submit to the reputable journal, but in fact the email is hazy about the journal title. The UCL example read: ‘I am helping to plan a special theme issue on [our emphasis] Trends & Innovations in Public Health’; the Groningen one: ‘I am organizing a theme issue on [our emphasis] Trends in Immunology. Note the misleading capitals that make the special issue theme look like a journal title. The Trends journals are reputable journals, but this invitation is about a special issue on this topic, not a special issue in a Trends journal.
  • The publisher/society mentioned in the email has a convincing website, but is actually fake or disreputable. The society mentioned in this example was European Society of Medicine. A quick search for this organisation raises alarm bells: it has been accused of lots of predatory activity, including inviting researchers to submit to very poor-quality conferences.

This sort of sophisticated predatory activity, which has even convinced senior professors, is constantly evolving. Ultimately, authors may find themselves having paid to publish without peer-review or quality assessment in a journal with no academic merit – or to attend a conference promising top-quality delegates and sessions that turns out to be anything but.

How to protect yourself and your research

The ‘Think Check Submit’ initiative is designed to help researchers ensure that they publish in reputable journals. Its guidance, much of which can be applied to conferences, too, has been developed by trusted publishing industry groups and librarians. Below are the key questions that Think Check Submit recommends you ask yourself before submitting to any journal. Follow this guidance whenever you are considering submitting in response to an unsolicited email, even one originally sent to a senior colleague, or to a journal that you don’t know well.

Do you or your colleagues know the journal?

  • Have you read any articles in the journal before?
  • Is it easy to discover the latest papers in the journal?
  • Name of journal: is the journal name the same as or easily confused with that of another?
  • Can you cross check with information about the journal in the ISSN portal?

Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?

  • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
  • Can you contact the publisher by telephone, email, and post?

Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?

  • Does the website mention whether the process involves independent/external reviewers, how many reviewers per paper?
  • Is the publisher offering a review by an expert editorial board or by researchers in your subject area?
  • Does the journal guarantee acceptance or a very short peer review time?

Are articles indexed and/or archived in dedicated services?

  • Will your work be indexed/archived in an easily discoverable database?
  • Does the publisher ensure long term archiving and preservation of digital publications?
  • Does the publisher use permanent digital identifiers?

Is it clear what fees will be charged?

  • Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be charged?
  • Does the publisher explain on their website how they are financially supported?
  • Do they mention the currency and amount of any fees?
  • Does the publisher website explain whether or not waivers are available?

Are guidelines provided for authors on the publisher website?

  • For open access journals, does the publisher have a clear licence policy? Are there preferred licences? Are there exceptions permitted depending on the needs of the author? Are licence details included on all publications?
  • Does the publisher allow you to retain copyright of your work? Can you share your work via, for example, an institutional repository, and under what terms?
  • Does the publisher have a clear policy regarding potential conflicts of interest for authors, editors and reviewers?
  • Can you tell what formats your paper will be available in? (e.g. HTML, XML, PDF)
  • Does the journal provide any information about metrics of usage or citations?

Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?

UCL’s Open Access Team is keen to help UCL researchers avoid predatory publishers, and would like to hear from any researchers who have experienced predatory publishing activity. Contact us at openaccess@ucl.ac.uk.

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – Issue 6

By Kirsty, on 8 June 2022

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!

This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voice – Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and
    Visualisation (ECSAnVis) project
  • Special Feature – UCL Press Open Access eTextbooks project
  • Deep Dive – Highlights from the Blog
  • News and Events

Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. If you use the version below, we recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button to get the full experience!

When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.

To turn on Accessibility view:

  • If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.
  • If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”

How does Citizen Science Change us? Write up from the UCL Open Science Conference 2022

By Kirsty, on 26 May 2022

Guest post by Israel Amoah-Norman (IGP Research Intern)

The UCL Open Science Conference took place last month. Thanks to Covid, most of the sessions were online. However, on 6th April, the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invited the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) to host a hybrid discussion themed ‘How Does Citizen Science Change Us?’. The IGP bases its activities around citizen-led research. For example, it launched its first study in September 2021: where citizen scientists trained by the IGP in qualitative data collection explored the effects of regeneration on household prosperity. The session on 6th April invited members of the research team to discuss how the experience had impacted them. It also invited academic researchers outside of the IGP to present their research and discuss how citizen science (CS) had impacted them and the local communities where their studies had taken place.

A quick side note: open science is focused on inclusive approaches to producing and evaluating research i.e., it opens research beyond the realms of academia to the wider community.

Now, back to the event. The conference was split into three parts:

Dr Rita Campos began proceedings with a thought-provoking opening statement about the benefits of CS. She stated that CS provides an innovative and methodological framework for projects – a move from a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach, and helps to create opportunities for scientists and researchers to learn together.

Following her opening remarks, citizen scientists and academic researchers discussed their research projects. In total, we had the pleasure of listening to 7 presentations. It was clear that from a societal angle, CS allows the examination of issues that really matter in local communities. It also builds stronger connections between members of communities who might not have otherwise spoken to each other. In terms of the individual impacts of CS, one of the presenters who was researching air quality in a community in Liverpool realised that a data-only approach would not help mobilise communities to make a difference. A former citizen scientist trained by the IGP who is now a local council candidate expressed how CS had built her confidence in public speaking.The final part of the conference invited Pye Nyunt (left) (Former Head of Insight & Innovation at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham) and Dominic Murphy (right) (Principal Participation Officer from the London Borough of Camden) to discuss how CS work had impacted them and policy processes in their boroughs.

Dominic discussed his involvement in the Good Life Euston program and explained how the initiative made him realise that there is a route in understanding the issues of planning and regeneration based upon the experiences of Camden citizens. He also made a comedic analogy to citizens being like the councils’ nervous system (I enjoyed that). CS work also gave him the desire to replace public consultants with citizen scientists to survey local people about their experiences in Camden.

Pye explained that CS had taught him the importance of qualitative research. Realising that in his council, a qualitative data team was non-existent, he hired service designers to fix this.  He also noted that CS initiatives such as the Community Food Club created in his borough not only help local people but indirectly relieves the financial burden on the council.

The final segment opened the floor to members of the audience – other citizen scientists and researchers asked important questions about CS. Methods for assuring that CS is inclusive, whether CS training should be standardised, and the benefits and potential drawbacks of CS were topics of discussion.

Apart from the technical difficulties of the hybrid event, it went incredibly well. I had never heard of citizen science until January of this year. I always thought of scientific research as an area which could not be accessed by local people. This event made me realise how important it is for citizens to be included in research.

Catch up on the session in full below, or on UCL MediaCentral.

Using games to engage with Open Access (and beyond!)

By Kirsty, on 18 May 2022

Guest post by Petra Zahnhausen-Stuber, Open Access Team, UCL Library (LCCOS)

In recent years, ‘Gamification’, the use of game elements in non-gaming settings to improve user experience, has been embraced by Research Support Services at Higher Education Institutes. Research Support Games cover various topics including research data management, copyright and/or open access and address an audience ranging from early career researchers and academics to support staff.

For the organisers of the Research Support Games Days (RSGD), games can be an effective tool to communicate with scholars about often complex concepts. In its third instalment since 2019, this event promotes the use of game-based learning among Research Support Services by presenting games, online tools and platforms that could be beneficial for training purposes. Here it was also highlighted, that most of these games were designed to be played in person. However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 was a catalyst for developing more virtual games as a way of continuing the engagement with researchers when face-to-face training was not possible. Despite any the challenges of creating digital games, their advantage of reaching a wider audience outside the physical environment of research institutions becomes apparent in the following examples of Open Access themed online games.

The Publishing Trap (UK Copyright Literacy), this game about scholarly communication focuses on helping researchers understand the effect of different publishing models, copyright and finances on the dissemination of their research. First launched as a board game in 2017, in response to the pandemic a digital version was created in 2020. In both versions participants form up to 4 teams representing four scholars in different career scenarios and make decisions about how to best publish their research. Retaining most of the original features, the online version uses interactive PowerPoint slides and can be played via any virtual classroom software with a break-out room functionality, so that the element of team discussions from the board game is being replicated.

A group of people doing a jigsaw puzzle on the floor

Open Access Escape Room in action at the 2022 EARMA conference

Similarly, in 2020, the role-playing Open Access Mystery game developed by Katrine Sundsbo uses downloadable slides. It was also designed for online platforms (i.e. Zoom) to allow for immediate verbal interaction between players who are tasked with finding the culprit responsible for a global lockdown of all research. The Open Access Escape Room, also by the same author, was originally created in 2018 as a physical game and digitally adapted in 2020 under the name The Puzzling Hunt for Open Access. Both versions follow the narrative of all research being locked away by a villain and are aimed at academic staff to gain an understanding of the concepts of Open Access. The players have to find clues and solve various Open Access themed puzzles in order to unlock research. Despite not replicating the original escape room format, where participants interact with each other in teams, the online game offers more flexibility as the mixed media-based puzzles can be completed by a single player at their own pace. Like most Research Support Games, all materials are published under a CC BY licence resulting in both versions having been played and adapted further in and outside the UK.

The single-player Open Axis: The Open Access Video Game (UCLA) was always designed for a remote learning environment intending to reach a worldwide audience of graduates and undergraduates. Created in 2020, this “choose your own adventure” can be played in a web browser, is predominantly text based but features classic 8-bit video games. The player chooses between several characters portraying scholars of various backgrounds. Following a non-linear narrative, the player’s decision impact the course of the in-game stories around themes of open access, scholarly publishing and research practices.

Choosing another approach of getting scholars interested in Open Access, the team at Robert Gordon University developed five online puzzles in 2021, including memory, crosswords and a scavenger hunt. Since puzzles can be played quicker than games, it makes them suitable for bite-sized learning during icebreakers or coffee breaks.
These games form by no means an exhaustive list and it is worth delving into the manifold resources of the Research Support Games Day Proceedings (below), where the benefits and challenges involved in taking games online are further explored.

For more information on Research Support Games Days and Gamification:

Adaptions of the “Open Access Escape Room”:

New Elsevier transformative agreement

By Catherine Sharp, on 25 April 2022

Following a two year negotiation between Jisc, on behalf of UK institutions, and Elsevier, the UK has reached a transformative agreement that allows UK corresponding authors to publish open access in most Elsevier subscription journals. This is the largest UK transformative agreement yet negotiated.

UCL has a number of other new transformative agreements this year, including with society and not for profit publishers, across a wide range of disciplines. These include Cambridge University Press, Royal Society, Bristol University Press and John Benjamins. Details of UCL’s 32 agreements are on our transformative agreements webpage.

The negotiations

In 2021, the UK’s total spend with Elsevier totalled more than £50m, but only 25% of UK-authored articles were published Gold open access. The negotiations focused on reducing costs to sustainable levels, and providing immediate open access (on publication) to UK research. The new agreement has achieved significant savings, while allowing 80% of UK research in Elsevier journals to be published Gold open access at no additional cost, thus raising the visibility and impact of UK research. This also provides UKRI- and Wellcome-funded papers in most Elsevier journals with a publishing route that complies with their funder’s open access policy.

Using the agreement

To use the agreement, your paper must be of an eligible type, your journal must be covered by the agreement, and the submitting corresponding author must be affiliated with UCL or another UK institution.

The agreement covers most Elsevier subscription journals, including Lancet and Cell Press titles. There is a list of journals in UCL’s agreements on our transformative agreements webpage. Research and review papers are eligible (along with certain other types – see the same webpage).

The submitting corresponding author should use their UCL affiliation and email address in the manuscript and in Elsevier’s submission system. After acceptance, they will receive a link to Elsevier’s ‘post-acceptance author journey’, where they will be given the option to choose Gold open access under the agreement. Research funders require the CC BY licence, so this option should be chosen as appropriate.

We look forward to supporting UCL academics with this agreement.

UCL Open Science Conference 2022 – Day 2 Recordings

By Kirsty, on 11 April 2022

Thank you to everyone that attended the UCL Open Science conference last week. We had a great time and hope you did too. We have sent all of the left over questions to our speakers but we wanted to share the recordings right away! If you missed the day 1 recordings, they are already available.

UKRI Town Hall

Host: David Price
Panellists: Duncan Wingham, Rachel Bruce, Margot Finn, Jonathan Butterworth.

Open and the Global South

Host: James Houghton
Panellists: Katie Foxall, Wouter Schallier, Sally Rumsay, Ernesto Priego.

Don’t forget, you can get full details of all of the speakers in the programme.

UCL Open Science Conference 2022 – Day 1 Recordings

By Kirsty, on 11 April 2022

Thank you to everyone that attended the UCL Open Science conference last week. We had a great time and hope you did too. We have sent all of the left over questions to our speakers but we wanted to share the recordings right away!

Day 2 recordings are also available!

What does Open Science mean to me?

Host: Christiana McMahon
Panellists: James Hetherington, Aida Sanchez, Sasha Roseneil, Steven Gray.

Kickstart your research: Open Data and Code

Host: James Houghton
Panellists: Anastasis Georgoulas, Ralitsa Madsen, Oliver Duke-Williams

How does Citizen Science change us?

Host: Hannah Sender, Alex Albert, Saffron Woodcraft

Don’t forget, you can get full details of all of the speakers in the programme.