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Love Data Week – Sharing data? Your questions answered

Kirsty10 February 2021

Guest post by James Houghton, Research Data Support Officer


Dealing with research data, and the associated legal and administrative issues, can be confusing. This article responds to some of the frequent question and confusions people have regarding research data management.

Do I always have to share data?

Not always – but in general data sharing is required unless you have a very good reason not to and UCL expects research to be shared as widely as possible. Data sharing is possibly inappropriate in the following situations:

  • The project contains personal data which could compromise the privacy of individuals. In this case the Data Protection Act (2018) applies and the data cannot be shared.
  • There is a possibility that the research could be commercialised. In this case, data should not be shared before obtaining necessary patent protections.
  • Other ethical concerns for which a justification can be created. For example, data on an endangered species might be used by poachers so it would be reasonable not to share this data.

If you are ever unsure about releasing data, speak to someone before you proceed. The Library RDM team and the Data Protection Team can advise on this.

Does UCL have a data sharing policy?

Yes, and it specifies the expectations placed on all UCL staff and students on making data available.

Be aware that in addition to the UCL policy, funding agencies will have their own requirements. You need to be compliant with all policies that might apply!

So, I need to share my data. Does UCL have a platform for data sharing?

Yes, we do! UCL has its own data repository service, the UCL Research Data Repository

I don’t have any data.

The term “data” is used as a shorthand to cover all research outputs, so even if you think you don’t have data, you probably generate something during the course of your research that should be preserved and potentially shared. Even if your field uses a different term you are probably still bound by the data sharing policy.

Here’s is a wide-ranging list of what could be considered “research data”

  • Research notebooks, detailing progress of research and experiments
  • Responses to surveys and questionnaires
  • Software, code, algorithms, and models
  • Measurements from laboratory or field equipment
  • Images (such as photographs, films, scans of documents)
  • Methods, protocols, and experimental procedures
  • Databases of collected information
  • A corpus of writings
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Interview Transcripts
  • Physical samples and objects

If you have an output not included in this list, it could can still be classed as research data!

What on earth is metadata?

Metadata is simply data that describes other data. Here are a few examples:

  • A description of the inclusion criteria for enrolling participants in a study
  • The set of questions used in interviews
  • Any file naming conventions used to keep track of data
  • The parameters used by any equipment used to make measurements
  • The dates and times images were taken
  • Details of quality assurance steps to explain why some data points were deemed to be erroneous and unsuitable for analysis
  • Administrative information such as dates of interviews, experiments or visits to a location

This is not an exhaustive list by any means! Metadata can vary considerably between projects and research fields.

In the same way data might underpin the results of a project, metadata could be said to underpin the methods of a project. If you need to address the issue of metadata, think about what another researcher would need to know to replicate the data as closely as possible.

What resources can I access at UCL to store data safely?

All UCL IT managed storage services have automated backups in place to protect data and are recommended over using your own personal devices or individual cloud storage accounts. There are a few different options depending on your needs:

  • The personal N: drive or S: drives are fine for day-to-day storage of PDFs, office documents and non-sensitive materials.
  • The Research Data Storage Service supports high speed file transfer for large quantities of data and is extremely useful for anyone who want to work with the high-performance computing clusters.
  • The Data Safe Haven is specifically designed to store personal data covered by the Data Protection Act 2018. This secure service helps you meet legal obligations on data security when relevant.
  • Services such as SharePoint and OneDrive can be useful for collaboration with colleagues and allow for functionality such as simultaneous editing of documents.

Need more information?

We have extended guidance on research data management available on our website and the library research data management team can be contacted to discuss specific issues at: lib-researchsupport@ucl.ac.uk

Love Data Week – Research Data Management at UCL: 2020 in review

Kirsty8 February 2021

To celebrate Love Data Week, the Research Data Management team have prepared a review of 2020, looking back over the past 12 months and reflecting on progress made in a number of areas.

Follow the link below to read the report and find out more about the Research Data Management and Sharing Plan review service, our new online training courses on writing data management plans and open science and scholarship and improved guidance about making research data FAIR – findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable – within the wider open science and scholarship context. You can also find out about the newly revised research data policy which includes updated advice for UCL staff and research students in managing their research outputs

Finally, you can find out about the number, amount and types of research outputs published using the UCL Research Data Repository, as well as the number and variety of views and downloads.

Download and explore the report on the UCL Research Data Repository,

 

UCL Open Science Conference 2021 update – Keynotes and tickets!

Kirsty22 January 2021

As part of the Focus on Open Science programme, jointly organised by SKS, UCL and LIBER, the team in the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship recently announced their Spring conference, taking place on the afternoons of the 26th and 27th April 2021 and we are pleased to announce tickets are available now!

Don’t forget also that you can be a part of the conference by submitting a proposal to our call for papers, open until 28th February 2021. We welcome applications for lightning talks across a number of themes related to the 8 pillars of Open Science. The aim of the Open Science events is to add to a global community of practice in Open Science activity so please do share your insights into and use of Open Science policy and practice with the wider scholarly community.

We are also delighted to be able to confirm the Keynote speakers for each day:

Day 1: 

Jean-Claude Burgelman

Jean-Claude Burgelman is professor of Open Science Policies and Practices at the Free University of Brussels (Faculty of Social Science and Solvay Business School) He retired on 1-3-2020 from the EC as Open Access Envoy. Until 1-8-2019 he was the head of Unit Open Science at DG RTD and his team developed the EC’s polices on open science, the science cloud, open data and access.

He joined the European Commission in 1999 as a Visiting Scientist in the Joint Research Centre (the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies – IPTS), where he became Head of the Information Society Unit. In January 2008, he moved to the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (attached to the president of the EC) as adviser for innovation policy. Since 1-10-2008, he joined DG RTD, as advisor and then Head of Unit in charge of top level advisory boards like the European Research and Innovation Area Board, the Innovation for Growth Group and the European Forum for Forward Looking Activities.

Until 2000 he was full professor of communication technology policy at the Free University of Brussels, as well as director of its Centre for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication and was involved in science and technology assessment. He has been visiting professor at the University of Antwerp, the European College of Bruges and the University of South Africa and sits on several academic journals. He chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Innovation and was a member of its Science Advisory Committee. He recently joined the Board of Directors of DONA

Keynote title: Open Science – looking to the future.

Open Science is here to stay and will become the standard way of doing science this decade. Sooner than we thought (due to CORONA) and much more needed than we assumed (in view of the large issues we face as societies).

Dr Paul Ayris

Dr Ayris is Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship). He joined UCL in 1997.

Dr Ayris was the President of LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) 2010-14. He was Chair of the LERU (League of European Research Universities) INFO Community, finishing 10 years in office in December 2020. He is now the LERU observer in the EOSC Association and UCL’s Open Science Ambassador in the LERU Open Science Ambassadors Policy Group.

He also chairs the OAI Organizing Committee for the Cern-Unige Workshops on Innovations in Scholarly Communication. He is a member of the UUK High-Level Strategy Group on E-Resource purchasing for the Jisc community. On 1 August 2013, Dr Ayris became Chief Executive of UCL Press. He is a member of the Provost’s and President’s Senior Management Team in UCL. On 1 October 2020, Dr Ayris launched the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship, of which he is head.

He has a Ph.D. in Ecclesiastical History and publishes on English Reformation Studies. In 2019, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Keynote title: Open Science at UCL – looking to our future.

Dr Ayris will follow the opening keynote with a discussion of how the future of Open Science will directly affect universities and what the future of developments of Open Science will be at UCL.

Day 2: 

Dr Lizzie Gadd

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Gadd is a scholarly communications specialist working as a Research Policy Manager (Publications) at Loughborough University, UK.

She chairs the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) Research Evaluation Working Group which has developed the ‘SCOPE’ model for responsible research evaluation and a set of principles and assessment tool for responsible University Rankings. In 2010 she co-founded and now chairs the LIS-Bibliometrics Forum for HE bibliometrics specialists. Under this umbrella she founded The Bibliomagician Blog which provides advice and guidance ‘by practitioners, for practitioners’. She also is co-Champion for the ARMA Research Evaluation SIG.  In 2020 she was the recipient of the INORMS Award for Excellence in Research Management Leadership.

She holds a PhD in copyright ownership and scholarly communication and regularly writes, researches and speaks on scholarly communication topics relating to copyright ownership, open access, bibliometrics and research evaluation.

Keynote title: Count-erproductive? The role of metrics in the advancement of open science.

Lizzie will talk about where metrics can be helpful and unhelpful, and what alternative forms of evaluation we might use to incentivise, monitor, promote and reward open research practice.

Gesche Huebner & Mike Fell

Dr Gesche Huebner is a Lecturer at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering and a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Energy Institute. Her research is focused on understanding drivers of energy consumption and temperatures in home and on assessing links between the built environment, health, and wellbeing.

Dr Michael Fell is a Senior Research Fellow at UCL Energy Institute. His research (on home energy use) employs quantitative and qualitative methods, and includes both original data collection and systematic review approaches. He has previously worked on secondment in the Open Science Team at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Mike and Gesche are both working on promoting research practices for greater transparency, reproducibility and quality in applied energy research, and have given presented, published, and taught on this topic.

Keynote title: Toolkit for Transparency, Reproducibility & Quality in Energy Research

The talk will draw on a recent paper considering the use of open science approaches in applied, multidisciplinary research areas. It will set out some of the key barriers we have noted in the case of energy research, and then present our new “TReQlist” (or checklist for transparency, reproducibility and quality) covering tools that we suggest are applicable in multidisciplinary research areas. We also show at what stages those tools help to improve research practices. We focus on the benefits to researchers of employing these approaches, countering the narrative that following good practice on open science is either burdensome or in opposition to career progression incentives.

Open Access Week: Why open access? Journals and articles

Kirsty20 October 2020

The open access landscape is ever-changing, and these days it seems as if authors, open access experts, funders and publishers spend a lot of time talking about policies. There’s good reason for that: they’re complicated, and right now lots of them are changing. Since Plan S was announced, funders have begun to introduce policies that’ll help make sure that research is open access as soon as it’s published. We’re going to talk more about policy developments on Thursday, but today we want to go back to basics and ask…

Why open access?

Funders want outputs to be open access on publication. More and more authors are thinking about open access options early on in the publication process – before they submit. They’re telling us that they consider which fully open access journals and journals in UCL’s transformative agreements are suitable, and failing that whether their journal will allow them to make their manuscript open access as soon as it’s published. Why are these changes happening?

Open access advocates, and many authors, have known for a while about the many advantages to making outputs open access, beyond compliance with funders’ policies. The citation-and-visibility advantage is one of the best-established findings in the scholarly communication literature. Open access papers receive more views than their closed counterparts, and they’re cited more often. It’s as simple as that. This applies to all types of open access, whether Gold (open access on publication) or Green – and even where a paper is made open access as long as 12 months after publication, as this recent preprint demonstrates.

This year, though, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in interest in open access, not only in the academic community but from people in all walks of life – and that’s because open access is so vital to combating, or at least helping us to live with, COVID-19. Open access accelerates the rate at which the shared knowledge can be applied, and that’s particularly important in any global health emergency. Previous crises like Ebola in 2014-15, and Zika in 2015-17, highlighted the role of preprints and immediate open access in rapidly developing fields. The WHO in September 2015 announced that timely and transparent pre-publication sharing of data and results during public health emergencies must become the norm across the world.

The new Wellcome open access policy covers preprints in public health emergencies like the current one. Preprints allow data and academic analysis about COVID-19 to be disseminated quickly, without delays caused by reviews and resubmission, and so they allow academics and public health experts to read, develop and challenge the data. Of course, preprints need to be treated with caution, particularly with journalists and politicians being wont to seize on any data that’ll make a headline.

It’s no accident that one of the first things that publishers did in lockdown was to respond to the Wellcome Trust’s call to make temporary changes to their policies to make COVID-19 outputs open access. This has significant health benefits and can impact policies, and we wrote about it here. UCL also launched its COVID-19 research platform that brings together all UCL’s research on the pandemic into one place. The platform currently holds over 700 outputs.

Academics in the Global South are in some ways ahead of the open access game. Access gaps exist between institutions, because of the huge cost of subscriptions. They’re worse still in the Global South. As Peter Suber demonstrates in his 2012 monograph on open access, in 2008, Harvard subscribed to 98,900 serials and Yale to 73,900. At the same time, the best- funded research library in India, at the Indian Institute of Science, subscribed to 10,600. Thus, open access also reduces global inequity and empowers the world’s poorest people to transform their own lives.

As COVID is showing, it’s not just academics and policy-makers who benefit from open access. Open access allows research to be read also by journalists, citizen scientists, patients, health advocates, local government, medical professionals, prospective students – and everyone who needs it.

Why isn’t everything open access by now?

Academic promotion and advancement relies on publications. That’s also how we assess quality, and funding – as part of the REF exercise, and in applications for funding. We know that in the past there’s been too much of an emphasis on where you publish, and not enough on what you publish. That’s gradually changing. UCL has recently launched its new bibliometrics policy, to help academics move away from traditional metrics. It is an important step in supporting the use of Open Science and Scholarship across UCL. This new focus will help researchers to conduct their research in the way that is best for them, and best for the wider research community. Related to this, open access is now part of the promotion process at UCL and is required in applications for research posts.

There’s a long way to go before these new principles, and open access itself, become embedded across disciplines. We haven’t talked much about non-journal outputs, but our colleagues in UCL Press will attest that they’re even more challenging. The landscape is changing, though, and we’re excited to be a part of that change.

Tune in for the rest of the week, especially on Thursday when we’ll talk about how Plan S’s Rights Retention Strategy could give researchers the power to disseminate their research widely, effectively and quickly.

Open Access at UCL in numbers

Patrycja8 October 2020

This is the first in a new series of regular posts in which we plan to celebrate the huge numbers of research outputs that UCL academics are making open access, and the impact of this worldwide.

UCL Discovery in numbers

Despite this year’s unprecedented demands on academics, UCL authors have been depositing their papers at the same impressive rate as before COVID. Our team has continued to process 1,600 papers each month, on average, making them openly available in UCL Discovery, our institutional repository. As of October, the repository holds over 105,000 outputs that are currently openly available to download – this is a significant increase from over 83,000 that were available at the same time last year, and a testament to the success of the REF open access policy.

Research outputs in UCL Discovery have just reached over 22 million lifetime downloads, of which over 3 million are downloads of open access books published by UCL Press. Our global readership spans over 250 countries; the top five countries downloading from the repository are the US, UK, India, Canada and Germany.

This year alone, the repository had over 3,300,000 downloads. The most popular item so far in 2020, with over 11,000 downloads, is a journal article originally published in Nature, Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge. Other popular items include a recent publication from UCL Press, The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Reflections by Noam Chomsky and others after 50 years, with over 8,000 downloads (interestingly, this book is particularly popular in Canada). How the World Changed Social Media is also going strong this year, and kept its position in the top 10 most downloaded items (more than 88,000 lifetime downloads). Unsurprisingly, an article on COVID-19, The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health, is also one of the top downloaded items, with over 8,000 downloads so far.

RPS in numbers

We’ve written before about the new functionality that we introduced to UCL’s Research Publications Service this summer. It allows you to send publications recorded in RPS to your ORCID record automatically. 75% of research staff have added their ORCID record to RPS to enable autoclaiming. We’re very excited that 20% of those have also now given RPS permission to send publications to their ORCID record, so they don’t have to add them manually. It’s great that so many academics are linking and sharing information about research outputs in this way, and we hope that it soon becomes a time-saver for many more. You can find out more about the tool, and how easy it is to set it up, on our ORCID guide.

Doctoral theses in UCL Discovery

Of all the items that are available in UCL Discovery, over 18,000 are doctoral thesis. At UCL, the requirement to submit an electronic copy of your thesis as a condition of award has been in place since 2009. In addition to that, we have retrospectively digitised theses from earlier years, as a part of a collaborative project with ProQuest. Currently, over 8,000 retrospectively digitised thesis are available in the repository. The oldest digitised thesis dates as far back as 1933.

UCL theses are one of the most downloaded types of item in the repository, with over 7 million lifetime downloads. The most popular doctoral thesis, with over 3,600 downloads over the last twelve months, is a 1992 thesis, Fatigue and fracture mechanics analysis of threaded connections, available here.

Gold open access in numbers

So far, we’ve focused on the Green route to open access, where outputs are made available, usually as final accepted manuscripts, after the publisher’s embargo period. Plan S funders, of course, will soon require immediate open access, and Plan S’s Rights Retention Strategy will allow authors to make papers published in subscription journals open access without an embargo (option 2 in Plan S).

Many UCL academics publish via the Gold route to open access, either in fully open access journals (option 1 in Plan S), or under transformative agreements (option 3 in Plan S). This year to date UCL’s Open Access Team has arranged immediate open access for over 1,800 UCL papers.

There are more than 5,000 journals covered in UCL’s transformative agreements, including small and society publishers like Electrochemical Society, European Respiratory Journal, IWA Publishing, Microbiology Society, Portland Press Biochemical Society journals, Rockefeller University Press, Royal Society of Chemistry. This allows authors publishing in these journals to comply with their funders’ requirements and Plan S. Negotiations with other publishers are happening for 2021.

Until the end of this year, papers funded by the Wellcome Trust that are submitted to  subscription journals can still use UCL’s Wellcome funds. Papers submitted from 1 January 2021 will need to follow the requirements of the new Wellcome open access policy [link], which means that funds will only be available for open access in fully open access journals and subscription journals that are part of UCL’s transformative agreements. Other papers will need to follow the Wellcome’s second route to open access, depositing their manuscript in Europe PubMed Central, to be made open access immediately, under the Rights Retention Strategy. We expect the current arrangements for papers funded by one of the UK Research Councils to continue until a new UKRI open access policy is introduced next year.

During OA Week we have a Q&A session on open access. This event, for UCL researchers, is an opportunity to ask questions about the new open access funding arrangements, transformative agreements, Plan S, depositing your research in UCL Discovery, and more. Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session.

Transforming publishing with new agreements?

Catherine Sharp25 May 2020

When Plan S was announced 18 months ago, requiring all publications from participating funders to be made open access from 2021, a new term – transformative agreement – entered the open access lexicon. The idea is to transform or transition journal publishing away from subscriptions towards full open access.

The Wellcome open access policy from 2021, and Plan S, allow authors to publish in three different types of journal. After their consultation on a new policy finishes, the UK Research Councils (UKRI) might well say something similar. Here are the three routes:

  1. Fully open access journals. All papers in these journals are published open access, often for a fee. Examples are the PLOS and BMC journals, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, SageOpen, Wellcome Open Research, and UCL’s own UCL Open: Environment and UCL Child Health Open Research.
  2. Journals that aren’t open access, but that allow authors to make their manuscripts open access in a repository like UCL Discovery, on publication, under the CC BY licence. Royal Society journals are an example.
  3. Journals that are part of transformative agreements, or are themselves transformative journals, until 2024.

Most publishers still don’t allow immediate open access in a repository, and most that do don’t allow CC BY. Transformative agreements are increasing, though.

Jisc, which negotiates our subscription agreements, has some complex criteria for transformative agreements. Publishers must offer 100% UK open access publishing that’s affordable, sustainable and transparent. Large commercial publishers, as well as society publishers like Microbiology Society and Electrochemical Society, all have agreements.

What does this mean for me?

UCL is trialling lots of transformative agreements this year. These include our long-standing SpringerCompact, RSC and IOP agreements, smaller offers from Brill, Thieme, European Respiratory Journal and the societies we’ve already mentioned, and larger agreements with Wiley and Sage.

These agreements are restricted to UCL corresponding authors. Make sure you give your UCL e-mail address and affiliation when you submit to a journal; you should be recognised as eligible if we have a transformative agreement. See our step-by-step guide to open access funding for more information both about these agreements and about other open access funding arrangements.

Contact us if you’d like to arrange a virtual department visit from us to discuss these agreements.

Getting the best out of your ORCID

Kirsty13 May 2020

Green circular ORCID iD logoSo you have an ORCID – now what?

Of course taking the time to set up and populate your ORCID is a great first step, but there are so many things that you can use an ORCID for. Today we are going to talk about just a few:

1. Stand out from the crowd

Having and using your ORCID is a great way to distinguish yourself as a researcher. Using an ORCID makes sure that all of your works are correctly attributed and that no-one but you gets the credit for them.

2. Easily collect your work

Did you know that a lot of the work updating and maintaining your ORCID record can be done for you? Using ORCID’s in-built tools you can connect up your ORCID to a huge range of other tools and systems. We would recommend starting with CrossRef and DataCite as they supply DOIs to publishers and other providers. It might also be worth connecting other profiles such as Scopus and ResearcherID. All you need to do is spend some time linking the systems together at the start, and check on it occasionally, like when you have a new paper out.

Another way to collect your work together easily is to use your ORCID wherever possible when publishing works. A lot of publishers are using end-to-end workflows. This means that if you use your ORCID when submitting a paper, once the paper is published they will send it to CrossRef, which populates your ORCID record for you. PLOS, Hindawi and Springer are just a few examples of publishers who use this system.

In the next couple of weeks you will also be able to use RPS to update your ORCID record too – watch this space!!

3. Curate your online presence

Your ORCID record is very versatile. It allows you to list not only your articles and book chapters but any kind of output, be it data, a conference presentation or poster, or something less common like patents or publications written by students you have supervised.

More than that, you can also list employment, funding, memberships, awards, and even your peer review contributions if you want to share them.

Each item on your ORCID profile is completely controlled by you. Each individual item can be assigned one of three visibility settings.

  • The first is everyone. This means that information is public and anyone who looks up your ORCID record can see this, from a prospective collaborator to a funding body. For the most part, this is what you want to use. There is little point curating information that nobody can see!
  • The second is trusted parties. This means that you can give rights to individuals or systems to access that content. For example, if you link your ORCID to RPS (keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post about that!) you give RPS the right to edit your ORCID record for you.
  • The final one is only me. Ideally you would only use this to protect information not for the public domain, such as your personal email address (though you should consider displaying at least one) or details of a publication that isn’t ready yet.

4. Your online CV and bibliography

Ever been asked to populate a publication list for an online profile, role or funding bid? If your ORCID is up to date, you can use your ORCID instead!

Copying the full link from the box under your name in your profile allows you to share a permanent link to your ORCID record. There is even the option to create a QR code to put on a poster or in a presentation. There are so many different types of information that you can include in your ORCID, from publications and funding to awards, editorial board memberships and voluntary activity such as organising a conference. Everything you would want in one place.

5. Share your work far and wide

The great thing about using ORCID is that you have one number, one tiny URL that can be used to represent you and your work anywhere you want. You can use your ORCID in your email signature, in your social media accounts, and in your profiles on other services.

Curate your ORCID effectively, and it’ll be a great time-saver, avoiding your having to enter the same information over and over, and standing for you all through your professional life.

Send us your ORCID stories and find out more

If you like ORCID, or have stories about how ORCID helps with managing your research, we’d love to hear from you. Comment below or tweet us at @UCLopenaccess.

Look out for our post next week on sending publications to ORCID from RPS. To get an alert when we post new articles, fill in the “Subscribe by Email” section on the right of this post.

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.

Understanding Preprints

Patrycja29 April 2020

A preprint is a draft version of a research paper that’s posted on a public server, often at the same time as it’s sent for peer review. By definition a preprint is not peer-reviewed, but some open access journals, including UCL’s own megajournal, UCL Open: Environment, UCL Child Health Open Research and Wellcome Open Research publish preprints as part of an open peer-review process. You can post your manuscript as a preprint instantly, allowing you to communicate new research and share results quickly without having to wait for the peer-review process to be completed.

Preprints can be critical in public health emergencies like the COVID-19 and Ebola pandemics. That’s why the Wellcome Trust’s new open access policy requires preprints to be published where there’s a “significant public health benefit”.

UCL encourages authors to use disciplinary preprint servers. Then, once your manuscript has been accepted for publication in a journal, upload it to RPS: that’ll mean that it’s made available in UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, and can be submitted to the REF.

Have a look at this short video by ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology), explaining the origins and history of preprints, and how they work:

Benefits

Uploading your work to a preprint server allows you to make it available and get your results out there as quickly as possible, accelerating the communication process. It helps you get evaluation and feedback, and establish new collaborations. Preprints can help you build your portfolio and showcase your work: even if the paper isn’t subsequently accepted, the research has still been shared. Many funders, including the Wellcome Trust, now encourage researchers to cite preprints in grant applications and reports, so their effort isn’t wasted. Danny Kingsley, former Head of the Office of Scholarly Communications at Cambridge has written a brilliant overview of how preprints are being used in the COVID-19 world, and what you should watch out for.

It’s pretty rare now for a journal to refuse to accept a submission that’s been published as a preprint, but you can check, either with the journal themselves or using Sherpa Romeo, which is a service that collates and outlines the policies of each journal. The Sherpa services are run by Jisc, and are frequently updated with the latest policies.

Some journals have embraced preprints as it makes it easier to build on early feedback and avoid resubmissions. Others have gone further and offer open peer-review, which is a great way to benefit from speedy publication as well as peer-review. If you can make your data open too, so your research is fully reproducible, that’s even better!

There are a wide range of preprint repositories out there including:

The Centre for Open Science hosts an aggregated collection of preprints from a range of verified services. If you are interested in using preprints for your work, have a look here first.

UCL researchers respond to COVID-19 pandemic

Patrycja21 April 2020

UCL researchers are accustomed to working across disciplines, with colleagues from many different institutions, to help address the biggest challenges facing the world today. It’s no different with the COVID-19 crisis – though now their work is in the public eye as perhaps never before.

UCL clinical academics have joined frontline medical staff in fighting the outbreak and UCL is providing resources for NHS medical staff. Our researchers are developing rapid tests and tracking systems for COVID-19 and are taking a prominent role in advancing public knowledge about the virus.

Many UCL academics are already releasing papers analysing the outbreak, case studies, predictions about the course of the pandemic and assessments of its economic, health and social implications. In a global crisis, public access to high-quality scientific information is critical. Some publishers have introduced special arrangements to make COVID-19 publications openly available during the pandemic. UCL authors also make their papers openly available UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, where they are curated and kept open access in perpetuity.

In the first of what we hope will be a series of regular posts, we are featuring the latest outputs by UCL academics available in the repository.

A commentary by Diana Margot Rosenthal, Marcella Ucci, Michelle Heys, Andrew Hayward, Monica Lakhanpaul that analyses impact of COVID-19 on families experiencing homelessness: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

Ali Zumla, from UCL Department of Infection, co-authored a paper that analyses imaging findings of the first two patients identified in Italy with COVID-19 infection: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094977

Andrew Hayward from the Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Sarah Beale from Institute of Health Informatics and Anne M. Johnson from the Institute of Global Health analyse the implications of social distancing to control the pandemic: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009 This article is also available on Wellcome Open Research –  a megajournal platform with open peer-review. 

Another article by Andrew Hayward, Sarah Beale and Anne M. Johnson on seasonality seasonality and immunity to laboratory-confirmed seasonal coronavirus is also available for open peer-review on Wellcome Open Research platform. The dataset supporting this article is available in UCL Discovery: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093909/

Jayant Vaidya, Professor of Surgery & Oncology, has co-authored an article describing methods of reducing infection and rationalising workloads. It’s available in UCL Discovery here: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

For more on COVID-19 research at UCL, please see our webpages here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/covid-19-research/