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OA Week – A brief introduction to Creative Commons Licences

Kirsty28 October 2021

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

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

The CC BY Licence (attribution licence)

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

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

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

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

Other CC licences

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

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

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

Choosing a CC Licence for your work

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

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

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

The CC0 Licence

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

Reusing CC licensed material

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

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

Kirsty26 October 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Paperback…

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

…to Open in Practice…

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

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

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

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

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

…to Public Benefit

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

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

Data journals and data reports – don’t miss out on this useful publishing format!

Kirsty17 August 2021

Guest post by James Houghton – Research Data Support Officer

Why not publish a data report article?

For a researcher who produces large amounts of data or works heavily with software and code for analysis, getting proper credit for their efforts can be a problem. Traditionally, an academic article is written in a format where a hypothesis is tested, results produced and analysed, and ends with a conclusion. This format increasingly is a poor fit for the work of many and data journals are one solution to this issue. The goal of this kind of journal is to publish a type of article usually referred to as a data report which focusses on announcing and describing the output of research projects which are resources, raw data, databases or similar and can be of use to the research community in general.

Publishing with a data journal offers several benefits. First, a data report article is more formal than a publication of data files in a repository and is a peer reviewed publication which then contributes to a researcher’s publication record which is important for CVs and advancement for many. Second, they allow a more detailed explanation of a dataset and any analysis or code related to it than is usually otherwise possible. Third, the appearance of an article in a recognised journal can help to drive visibility of a dataset for other researchers. In practice it my often be the case that a repository will be used to host material which is discussed at length in a paper.

For the research community more generally, data reports are a great way to discover and understand valuable contributions which they can re-use and build on. The data report guarantees there has been some level of peer-review applied to the data and, therefore, increases the confidence in the quality.

Data journals have flourished in recent years. Many publishers have introduced titles which specialise in data announcements and many other journals have begun to allow data articles as one of their accepted formats. Publishers will have their own specific guidelines for exactly what to include (or not include), but data articles will often have the following features:

  • Detailed description of the methodology of how the data was produced and processed, allowing for far more detail than generally appears in a “traditional” publication.
  • Documentation on structure and format of the data and details of how to retrieve it.
  • Comments on how the data could potentially be re-used.
  • Very limited or no results and conclusions.

The scope of a data journal varies greatly

  • Some journals publish a wide range of data reports that cover many research areas, such as Scientific Data published by Springer Nature.
  • Others are more subject specific such as Big Earth Data published by Taylor and Francis focussing on ecology and climate science, or Journal of Open Psychology Data published by the Open Access Ubiquity Press and specialising in psychology and anthropology data.

Of course, you must always check individual journal’s instruction for authors before preparing an article for submission.

Repositories and data journals should be seen as symbiotic, rather than needing to choose one or the other. An openly shared data set can be made available, and a data journal can be used as a way of announcing the existence of the resource to the community along with a detailed commentary which might not be easily supported by the repository itself. In fact, depending on the journal, hosting the data with a recognised external repository may even be a requirement for the publication process.

We won’t attempt to provide a comprehensive list of all journals that support this publication type here. There are many discipline specific and several more generalist options – but we would encourage you to investigate the options available in your subject area and tell us what you find!

Introduction to the CRediT taxonomy

Kirsty21 June 2021

The Contributor Roles Taxonomy (CRediT) describes 14 roles that represent the parts typically played by contributors to a scholarly output. The CRediT taxonomy has been adopted across a growing range of publishers to improve the visibility of the range of contributors to published research outputs. The established list of publishers and individual journals that use the roles is available online and also includes a few submission, peer review and research workflow tools.

The taxonomy also brings a number of additional practical benefits to the research environment, including:

  • Reduce the potential for author disputes.
  • Enable visibility and recognition of the different contributions of researchers, particularly in multi-authored works – across all aspects of the research being reported (including data curation, statistical analysis, etc.)
  • Support identification of peer reviewers and specific expertise.
  • ​Enable funders to more easily identify those responsible for specific research products, developments or breakthroughs.
  • Improve the ability to track the outputs and contributions of individual research specialists and grant recipients.
  • Easy identification of potential collaborators and opportunities for research networking.
  • Enable new indicators of research value, use and re-use, credit and attribution​.

We have recently added information about the CRediT taxonomy to the Open Access website, to make sure that you can get all information related to publishing your research in the same place, and as always, the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, and the Open Access team are available to answer any questions you may have on this or any other related topic.

CRediT updates

In April 2020 the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the formal launch of its work to develop the Contributor Role Taxonomy (CRediT) as a full ANSI/NISO standard.

Later in 2020, CRediT was awarded grant funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Wellcome Trust. The funds will be used to support implementations of the taxonomy across scholarly publishers, and within the scholarly research ecosystem more broadly once the standard is established.

During the early part of 2021, ORCID officially started supporting CRediT. As part of the upgraded API, journals can share CRediT contributions with ORCID and include them in your ORCID record. For more information about ways to automate updates to your ORCID record, check out our blog post on the subject.

Open Access theses

Kirsty31 March 2021

Among the many things that can be made Open Access; publications, data, software, and so many more, it is now increasingly more common for PhD theses to be made Open Access. This can be a great resource when you are undertaking your own PhD to get an idea of scope, structure and can be a great source of ideas.

Finding Open Access theses

UCL Library Services manages the DART-Europe service, the premier European portal for the discovery of open access research theses.  At the time of writing, this service provides access to over one million research theses from 564 Universities in 29 European countries.  It was founded in 2005 as a partnership of national and university libraries and consortia to improve global access to European research theses.  It does this by harvesting data from thesis repositories at contributing institutions, including from UCL Discovery (see below), and providing a link to at least one open access electronic copy of each thesis.  The theses themselves are located on the websites of the contributing institutions.

Users of the DART-Europe portal can search this vast database by keyword, or browse by country or institution, and view the research theses in full, without charge.  New theses are added every day, from doctoral and research masters programmes in every academic discipline.  For more information about the service, please contact the DART-Europe team.  Institutions not currently represented in the portal can view information on how to contribute to DART-Europe.

In normal times, the digitisation of doctoral theses can also be requested on an individual basis through the British Library’s e-theses online service (EThOS).  This is a database of all UK doctoral theses held in university library collections, with links to open access copies in institutional repositories, and hosted directly in EThOS, where available.  If an electronic copy is not available, you can create an account with the service to request digitisation of the print copy: this prompts the institution where the thesis is held to find and check the print thesis, and then send it to the British Library’s facility at Boston Spa for digitisation.  Please note that this process incurs a charge (which is indicated during the requesting process) and is currently suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Your thesis – UCL Discovery

Since the 2008-09 academic year, UCL students studying for doctoral and research master’s degrees have been required to submit an electronic copy of their thesis to the Library as a mandatory condition of the award of their degree.  Students are encouraged to make their theses openly available in UCL Discovery, our open access institutional repository, although in practice access can be restricted for a number of reasons if necessary.  A citation of the thesis appears in UCL Discovery even if access to the full text is restricted.

Older theses have also been digitised and added to UCL Discovery retrospectively.  The bulk of this work has been carried out as part of a specific project covering over 10,000 theses from 1990 to 2008.  This project is ongoing but mostly complete: over 7,000 digitised theses have been added to UCL Discovery during the last twelve months alone by Library Services staff who have not been able to carry out their normal work due to COVID-19 restrictions.

If you cannot access a UCL thesis which is listed online through these methods, please contact the Open Access Team, who will be able to provide advice on options for obtaining access.

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.