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Open Access and your Research in a COVID-19 World

Kirsty6 May 2020

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

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

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

Open Access choices

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

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

The work of UCL’s Open Access Team

Patrycja6 February 2018

UCL’s Open Access Team is part of UCL Library Services. We provide advice on open access issues to all UCL researchers. This includes answering enquires from academics and advising on the most appropriate open access options, taking into account the journal type, authorship and funding that contributed to the article.

Green open access and the REF Policy

Much of our work involves supporting academics in using UCL’s Research Publications Service (RPS), and helping them to comply with the REF open access policy. We answer RPS- and REF-related enquires, provide individual and group training sessions, and compile regular compliance and engagement reports for departments. We also check every new article or conference proceeding record in RPS to ensure that acceptance, online publication and print publication dates are recorded correctly. Where an accepted manuscript is available on the journal’s website, or the journal’s copyright policy allows us to use the published PDF, we upload a file to RPS on the author’s behalf. If the article is published as Gold open access with a licence that allows re-use, it falls under an exception in the REF open access policy, so we add the exception to the article record and make the published PDF openly available in UCL Discovery.

In most cases, in order to comply with the REF policy and benefit from open access, the author needs to upload the accepted manuscript version of their paper to RPS. When we receive a new manuscript through RPS, the Open Access Team checks the publisher’s policy and applies any required delay period before making the manuscript openly available in UCL Discovery. If the author has uploaded a version that cannot be made open access, we contact them to request the accepted manuscript.

Separately, we manage open access for research theses. At present, there are more than 9,000 theses openly available in UCL Discovery.

Gold open access

UCL encourages Green open access. However, in some cases funds are available for Gold open access: where papers are funded by one of the UK Research Councils or the COAF medical charities, or where the article is published in a fully open access journal (where open access charges are mandatory and all papers are made openly available). We check whether papers are eligible for funding, and arrange payment – either by an invoice or via one of our prepayment agreements. Where we have paid for open access, we ensure that the paper is made openly available with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence when it’s published. We also report regularly to RCUK and COAF.

Getting in touch

The Open Access Team is based in the Main and Science Libraries. We can be contacted via e-mail, by phone (020 3108 1336 (internal 51336)), and via our web form here.