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UCL Open Science & Scholarship Conference 2024: Programme Now Available!

By Rafael, on 13 June 2024

Image of UCL Front Quad and Portico over spring. With less than a week until this year’s UCL Open Science Conference, anticipation is building! We are thrilled to announce that the programme for the UCL Open Science & Scholarship Conference 2024 is now ready. Scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2024, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm BST, both onsite at UCL and online, this year’s conference promises to be an exciting opportunity to explore how the UCL community is leading Open Science and Scholarship initiatives across the university and beyond.

Programme Outline:

1:00-1:05 pm
Welcome and Introductions
Join us as we kick off the conference with a warm welcome and set the stage for the afternoon.

1:05-1:45 pm
Session 1: Celebrating our Open Researchers
Learn about the outstanding contributions of our Open Science champions and their work recognised at the UCL Open Science & Scholarship Awards last year.

1:45-2:45 pm
Session 2: Policies and Practice
Explore discussions on policy development and ethical considerations in Open Science, including talks on collaborative policy-making and the role of Open Source Programme Offices (OSPOs).

2:45-3:15 pm
Coffee Break
Network and engage with our fellow attendees over coffee, tea, and biscuits.

3:15-4:00 pm
Session 3: Enabling Open Science and Scholarship at UCL
Check out services and initiatives that empower UCL researchers to embrace Open Science, including updates on UCL Profiles, UCL Citizen Science Academy, and Open Science Case Studies.

4:00-4:45 pm
Session 4: Research Projects and Collaborations
Discover cutting-edge research projects and collaborations across UCL, including case studies involving the transition to Open Access publishing, reproducible research using medicinal plants, and social and cultural barriers to data sharing.

" "4:45-5:00 pm
Summary and Close of Main Conference
Reflect on key insights from the day’s discussions and wrap up the main conference.

5:00-6:30 pm
Evening Session: Poster Viewing and Networking Event
Engage with our presenters and attendees over drinks and nibbles, while exploring posters showcasing research and discussions in Open Science and Scholarship through diverse perspectives.

For the complete programme details, please access the full document uploaded on the UCL Research Data Repository, or access the QR code.

Join us – Tickets are still available!
Whether you’re attending in person or joining us virtually, we invite you to participate in discussions that shape the future of Open Science and Scholarship at UCL. Sales will close on Monday. Secure your spot now! Register here.

Thank you!
Thank you once more to everyone who submitted their ideas to the Call for Papers and Posters. We received brilliant contributions and are grateful for our packed programme of insightful discussions and projects from our community.

We look forward to welcoming you to the UCL Open Science & Scholarship Conference 2024!

Get involved!

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

 

Text and Data Mining (TDM) and Your Research: Copyright Implications and New Website Guidance

By Rafael, on 13 May 2024

This the second blog post of our collaborative series between the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship and the UCL Copyright team. Here, we continue our exploration of important aspects of copyright and its implications for open research and scholarship. In this instalment, we examine Text and Data Mining (TDM) and its impact on research along with the associated copyright considerations.

Data processing concept illustration

Image by storyset on Freepik.

The development of advanced computational tools and techniques for analysing large amounts of data has opened up new possibilities for researchers. Text and Data Mining (TDM) is a broad term referring to a range of ‘automated analytical techniques to analyse text and data for patterns, trends, and useful information’ (Intellectual Property Office definition). TDM has many applications in academic research across disciplines (Intellectual Property Office definition). TDM has many applications in academic research across disciplines.

In an academic context, the most common sources of data for TDM include journal articles, books, datasets, images, and websites. TDM involves accessing, analysing, and often reusing (parts of) these materials. As these materials are, by default, protected by copyright, there are limitations around what you can do as part of TDM. In the UK, you may rely on section 29A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, a copyright exception for making copies for text and data analysis for non-commercial research. You must have lawful access to the materials (for example via a UCL subscription or via an open license). However, there are often technological barriers imposed by publishers preventing you from copying large amounts of materials for TDM purposes – measures that you must not try to circumvent. Understanding what you can do with copyright materials, what may be more problematic and where to get support if in doubt, should help you manage these barriers when you use TDM in your research.

The copyright support team works with e-resources, the Library Skills librarians, and the Office for Open Science and Scholarship to support the TDM activities of UCL staff and students. New guidance is available on the copyright website. TDM libguide and addresses questions that often arise during TDM, including:

  • Can you copy journal articles, books, images, and other materials? What conditions apply?
  • What do you need to consider when sharing the outcomes of a TDM analysis?
  • What do publishers and other suppliers of the TDM sources expect you to do?

To learn more about copyright (including how it applies to TDM):

Get involved!

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

 

 

How understanding copyright can help you as a researcher

By Rafael, on 4 April 2024

Guest post by Christine Daoutis, Copyright Support Officer

Welcome to the inaugural blog post of a collaborative series between the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship and the UCL Copyright team. In this series, we will explore important aspects of copyright and its implications for open research and scholarship.

Research ideas, projects, and their outcomes often involve using and producing materials that may be protected by copyright. Copyright protects a range of creative works, whether we are talking about a couple of notes in a notebook, a draft thesis chapter, the rough write-up of a data, a full monograph and the content of this very blog. While a basic knowledge of copyright is essential, particularly to stay within the law, there is much more to copyright than compliance. Understanding certain aspects of copyright can help you use copyright materials with more confidence, make use of your own rights and overall, enhance the openness of your research.

Two stick figures are facing each other. A large red copyright symbol is behind the first one. The first person is holding a document and says: ‘Ah, copyright! I have the right to copy!’. The second person is rubbing their chin and saying: ‘Err…’.

Image attribution: Patrick Hochstenbach, 2014. Available under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

This first post in our series is dedicated to exploring common questions that arise during research projects. In future posts, we will explore some of these questions further, providing guidance, linking to new resources, and signposting relevant workshops. Copyright-related enquiries often arise in the following areas:

Reusing other people’s materials: How do you GET permission to reuse someone else’s images, figures, software, questionnaires, or research data? Do you always need permission? Is use for ‘non-commercial, research’ purposes always permitted, or are there other factors to consider? How do licenses work, and what can you do when a license does not cover your use? It’s easy to be overconfident when using others’ materials, for example, by assuming that images found on the internet can be reused without permission. It’s equally easy to be too cautious, ending up not making use of valuable resources for fear of infringing someone’s rights. Understanding permissions, licenses, and copyright exceptions – what may be within your rights to do as a user – can help you.

Disseminating your research throughout the research cycle: There are open access options for your publications and theses, supporting access to and often, reuse of your work. How do you license your work for reuse? What do the different licenses mean, and which one is most suitable? What about materials produced early on in your research: study preregistrations, research data, preprints? How can you make data FAIR through licensing? What do you need to consider when making software and other materials open source?

Is your work protected in the first place? Documents, images, video and other materials are usually protected by copyright. Facts are not. For a work to be protected it needs to be ‘original’. What does ‘original’ mean in this context? Are data protected by copyright? What other rights may apply to a work?

Who owns your research? We are raising questions about licensing and disseminating your research, but is it yours to license? What does the law say, and what is the default position for staff and students at UCL? How do contracts, including publisher copyright transfer agreements and data sharing agreements, affect how you can share your research?

‘Text and data mining’. Many research projects involve computational analysis of large amounts of data. This involves copying and processing materials protected by copyright, and often publishing the outcomes of this analysis. In which cases is this lawful? How do licences permit you to do, exactly, and what can you do under exceptions to copyright? How are your text and data mining activities limited if you are collaborating with others, across institutions and countries?

The use of AI. Speaking of accessing large amounts of data, what is the current situation on intellectual property and generative AI? What do you need to know about legal implications where use of AI is involved?

These questions are not here to overwhelm you but to highlight areas where we can offer you support, training, and opportunities for discussion. To know more:

Get involved!

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

 

(Update: Deadline Extended!) Call for Papers & Posters – UCL Open Science Conference 2024 

By Rafael, on 21 March 2024

Theme: Open Science & Scholarship in Practice 
Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2024 1-5pm, followed by Poster display and networking
Location: UCL Institute of Advanced Studies, IAS Common Ground room (G11), South Wing, Wilkins Building 

We are delighted to announce the forthcoming UCL Open Science Conference 2024, scheduled for June 20, 2024. We are inviting submissions for papers and posters showcasing innovative practices, research, and initiatives at UCL that exemplify the application of Open Science and Scholarship principles. This internally focused event aims to showcase the dynamic landscape of Open Science at UCL and explore its practical applications in scholarship and research, including Open Access Publishing, Open Data and Software, Transparency, Reproducibility, Open Educational Resources, Citizen Science, Co-Production, Public Engagement, and other open practices and methodologies. Early career researchers and PhD students from all disciplines are particularly encouraged to participate.

A group of attendees gathered around four rectangular tables engaging in discussions. In the middle of the room, a screen displays the text: "What are the challenges and opportunities that need to be addressed to create equitable conditions in relation to authorship?"

Attendees of the UCL Open Science Conference 2023 participating in a workshop

Conference Format: 

Our conference will adopt a hybrid format, offering both in-person and online participation options, with a preference for in-person attendance. The afternoon will feature approximately four thematic sessions, followed by a poster session and networking opportunities. Session recordings will be available for viewing after the conference. 

Call for papers

Submission Guidelines: 

We invite all colleagues at UCL to submit paper proposals related to Open Science and Scholarship in Practice, some example themes are below. Papers could include original research, case studies, practical implementations, and reflections on Open Science initiatives. Submissions should adhere to the following guidelines: 

  • Abstracts: Maximum 300 words
  • Presentation Length: 15 minutes (including time for questions)
  • Deadline for Abstract Submission: F̶r̶i̶d̶a̶y̶, A̶p̶r̶i̶l̶ 2̶6̶  Friday, May 3. (Deadline Extended!) 

Please submit your abstract proposals using this form.  

Potential Subthemes: 

  • Case Studies and Best Practices in Open Science and Scholarship
  • Open Methodologies, Transparency, and Reproducibility in Research Practices
  • Open Science Supporting Career Development and Progression
  • Innovative Open Data and Software Initiatives
  • Promoting and Advancing Open Access Publishing within UCL
  • Citizen Science, Co-Production, and Public Engagement Case Studies
  • Open Educational Resources to Support Teaching and Learning Experiences

Call for Posters

Session Format: 

The poster session will take place in person during the evening following the afternoon conference. Posters will be displayed for networking and engagement opportunities. Additionally, posters will be published online after the conference, potentially through the Research Data Repository. All attendees are encouraged to participate in the poster session, offering a platform to present their work and engage in interdisciplinary discussions. 

Submission Guidelines: 

All attendees are invited to propose posters showcasing their work related to Open Science and Scholarship in Practice. Posters may include research findings, project summaries, methodological approaches, and initiatives pertaining to Open Science and Scholarship. 

Deadline: Friday, May 24 

Please submit your poster proposals using this form.

Next Steps

A neon colourful sign that says 'Watch this Space'

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unplash

Notifications of acceptance will be sent in the week ending May 10th for Papers and June 7th for Posters. 

Recordings of the UCL Open Science Conference 2023, are available on this blog post from May 2023.

For additional information about the conference or the calls, feel free to reach out to us at openscience@ucl.ac.uk. 

Watch this space for more news and information about the upcoming UCL Open Science Conference 2024!  

FAIR Data in Practice

By Rafael, on 15 February 2024

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

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

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

The problem:

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

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

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

What we are doing:

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

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

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

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

References:    

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

Get involved!

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

Research Data Stewardship at UCL

By Rafael, on 13 February 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get involved!

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

 

 

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

Join us for International Love Data Week!

By Rafael, on 7 February 2024

Guest post by Iona Preston, Research Data Support Officer.

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

International Love Data Week 2024 poster

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

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

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

And get involved!

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

OOSS Annual Recap 2023

By Rafael, on 17 January 2024

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

Annual Conference & Open Access Celebrations

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

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

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

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

Open Access: Profiles & Transformative Agreements

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

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

Research Data: Enhancing Support to Researchers

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

Citizen Science: New website and initiatives

Word cloud image featuring key terms related to citizen science

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

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

Bibliometrics: Measuring Research Impact

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

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

Stay connected and Informed

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

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

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

By Kirsty, on 27 October 2023

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

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

-adapted from openaccessweek.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Science & Scholarship Awards Winners!

By Kirsty, on 26 October 2023

A huge congratulations to all of the prize winners and a huge thanks to everyone that came to our celebration yesterday! It was lovely to hear from a selection of the winning projects and celebrate together. The OOSS team and the UKRN Local leads Sandy and Jessie had a lovely time networking with everyone.

Just in case you weren’t able to join us to hear the prize winners talk about their projects, Sandy has written short profiles of all of the winning projects below.

Category: Academic staff

Winner: Gesche Huebner and Mike Fells, BSEER, Built Environment

Gesche and Mike were nominated for the wide range of activities that they have undertaken to promote open science principles and activities in the energy research community. Among other things, they have authored a paper on improving energy research, which includes a checklist for authors, delivered teaching sessions on open, reproducible research to their department’s PhD students as well as staff at the Centre for Research Into Energy Demand Solutions, which inspired several colleagues to implement the practices, they created guidance on different open science practices aimed at energy researchers, including professionally filmed videos, as well as developed a toolkit for improving the quality, transparency, and replicability of energy research (i.e., TReQ), which they presented at multiple conferences. Gesche and Mike also regularly publish pre-analysis plans of their own research, make data and code openly available when possible, publish preprints, and use standard reporting guidelines.

Honourable mention: Henrik Singmann, Brain Sciences

Henrik was nominated for their consistent and impactful contribution to the development of free and open-source software packages, mostly for the statistical programming language R. The most popular software tool he developed is afex, which provides a user-friendly interface for estimating one of the most commonly used statistical methods, analysis of variance (ANOVA). afex, first released in 2012 and actively maintained since, has been cited over 1800 times. afex is also integrated into other open-source software tools, such as JASP and JAMOVI, as well as teaching materials. With Quentin Gronau, Henrik also developed bridgesampling, a package for principled hypothesis testing in a Bayesian statistical framework. Since its first release in 2017, bridgesampling has already been cited over 270 times. Other examples of packages for which they are the lead developer or key contributor are acss, which calculates the algorithmic complexity for short strings, MPTinR and MPTmultiverse, as well as rtdists and (together with their PhD student Kendal Foster) fddm. Further promoting the adoption of open-source software, Henrik also provides statistics consultation sessions at his department and uses open-source software for teaching the Master’s level statistics course.

Honourable mention: Smita Salunke, School of Pharmacy

Smita is recognised for their role in the development of the The Safety and Toxicity of Excipients for Paediatrics (STEP) database, an open-access resource compiling comprehensive toxicity information of excipients. The database was established in partnership with European and the United States Paediatric Formulation Initiative. To create the database, numerous researchers shared their data. To date, STEP has circa 3000 registered users across 44 countries and 6 continents. The STEP database has also been recognised as a Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 impact case study. Additionally, the European Medicines Agency frequently refer to the database in their communications; the Chinese Centre for Drug Evaluation have also cited the database in their recent guidelines. Furthermore, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have provided funds to support a further 10 excipients for inclusion in STEP. The development and evaluation of the STEP database have been documented in three open-access research papers. Last but not least, the database has been integrated into teaching materials, especially in paediatric pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences.

Category: Professional Services staff

Winner: Miguel Xochicale, Engineering Sciences and Mathematical & Physical Sciences

Miguel hosted the “Open-source software for surgical technologies” workshop at the 2023 Hamlyn symposium on Medical Robotics, a half-day session that brought together experts from software engineering in medical imagining, academics specialising in surgical data science, and researchers at the forefront of surgical technology development. During the workshop, speakers discussed the utilisation of cutting-edge hardware; fast prototyping and validation of new algorithms; maintaining fragmented source code for heterogenous systems; developing high performance of medical image computing and visualisation in the operating room; and benchmarks of data quality and data privacy. Miguel subsequently convened a panel discussion, underscoring the pressing need of additional open-source guidelines and platforms that ensure that open-source software libraries are not only sustainable but also receive long-term support and are seamlessly translatable to clinic settings. Miguel made recording of the talks and presentations, along with a work-in-progress white paper that is curated by them, and links to forums for inviting others to join their community available on Github.

Honourable mention: Marcus Pedersen, PHS

The Global Business School for Health (GSBH) introduced changes to its teaching style, notably, a flipped classroom. Marcus taught academics at their department how to use several mostly freely available learning technologies, such as student-created podcasts, Mentimeter, or Microsoft Sway, to create an interactive flipped classroom. Marcus further collected feedback from students documenting their learning journey and experiences with flipped teaching to evaluate the use of  the tools. Those insights have been presented in a book chapter (Betts, T. & Oprandi, P. (Eds.). (2022). 100 Ideas for Active Learning. OpenPress @ University of Sussex) and in talks for UCL MBA and Master’s students as well as at various conferences. The Association of Learning Technology also awarded Marcus the ELESIG Scholar Scheme 23/24 to continue their research.

Category: Students

Winner: Seán Kavanagh, Chemistry

Séan was nominated for his noteworthy contribution to developing user-friendly open-source software for the computational chemistry/physics research community. They have developed several codes during their PhD, such as doped, ShakeNBreak and vaspup2.0 for which they are the lead developer, as well as PyTASER and easyunfold for which they are a co-lead developer. Séan not only focuses on efficient implementation but also on user-friendliness along with comprehensive documentation and tutorials. They have produced comprehensive video walkthroughs of the codes and the associated theories, amassing over 20,000 views on YouTube and SpeakerDeck. It is important to note that software development is not the primary goal of Séan’s PhD research (which focuses on characterizing solar cell materials), and so their dedication to top-quality open-source software development is truly commendable. Additionally, Séan has consistently shared the data of all his publications and actively encourages open-access practices in his collaborations/mentorship roles, having assisted others in making their data available online and building functionality in their codes to save outputs in transferable and interoperable formats for data.

Honourable mention: Julie Fabre, Department of Neuromuscular Diseases

Julie is recognized for developing the open-source toolbox bombcell, that automatically assesses large amounts of data that are collected simultaneously from hundreds of neurons (i.e., groups of spikes). This tool considerably reduces labour per experiment and enables long-term neuron recording, which was previously intractable. As bombcell has been released under the open-source copyleft GNU General Public License 3, all future derived work will also be free and open source. Bombcell has already been used in another open-source toolbox with the same licence, UnitMatch. The toolbox’s code is extensively documented, and Julie adopted the Open Neurophysiology Environment, a standardised data format that enables quick understanding and loading of data files. In 2022, Julie presented bombcell in a free online-course. This course was attended by over 180 people, and the recorded video has since been viewed over 800 times online. Bombcell is currently regularly used in a dozen labs in Europe and the United States. It has already been used in two peer-reviewed publications, and in two manuscripts that are being submitted for publication with more studies underway.

Honourable mention: Maxime Beau, Division of Medicine

Maxime is recognized for leading the development of NeuroPyxels, the first open-source library to analyze Neuropixels data in Python. NeuroPyxels, hosted on a GitHub public repository and licensed under the GNU general public license, is actively used across several neuroscience labs in Europe and the United States (18 users have already forked the repository). Furthermore, NeuroPyxels relies on a widely accepted neural data format; this built-in compatibility with community standards ensures that users can easily borrow parts of NeuroPyxels and seamlessly integrate them with their application. NeuroPyxels has been a great teaching medium in several summer schools. Maxime has been a teaching assistant at the “Paris Spring School of Imaging and Electrophysiology” for three years, the FENS course “Interacting with Neural Circuits” at Champalimaud for two years, and the UCL Neuropixels course for three years where NeuroPyxels has been an invaluable tool to get students started with analysing neural data in Python.

Honourable mention: Yukun Zhou, Centre for Medical Image Computing

Yukun was nominated for developing open-source software for analysing images of the retina. The algorithm, termed AutoMorph, consists of an entire pipeline from image quality assessment to image segmentation to feature extraction in tabular form. A strength of AutoMorph is that it was developed using openly available data and so its underlying code can be easily reproduced and audited by other research groups.Although only published 1 year ago, AutoMorph has already been used by research groups from four continents and led to three new collaborations with Yukun’s research group at UCL. Moreover, AutoMorph has been run on the entire retinal picture dataset in the UK Biobank study with the features soon being made available for the global research community. Yukun has been complimented on the ease with which any researcher can immediately download the AutoMorph tools and deploy on their own datasets. Moreover, the availability of AutoMorph has encouraged other research groups, who are conducting similar work, to make their own proprietary systems openly available.

Category: Open resources, publishing, and textbooks 

Winner: Talia Isaacs, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society

Talia is recognized for their diverse and continuous contributions to open access publishing. As Co-Editor of the journal Language Testing, they spearheaded SAGE’s CRediT pilot scheme, requiring standardized author contribution statements; they approved and supported Special Issue Editors’ piloting of transparent review for a special issue on “Open science in Language Testing”, encouraged authors to submit pre-prints, and championed open science in Editor workshops and podcasts. Additionally, in 2016, Multilingual Matters published Talia’s edited volume as their first open access monograph. Talia also discussed benefits of open access book publication in the publisher’s blog. As a result, the publisher launched an open access funding model, matching funding for at least one open access book a year. Further showcasing their dedication to open science, Talia archived the first corpus of patient informed consent documents for clinical trials on UK Data Service and UCL’s research repository, and delivered a plenary on “reducing research waste” at the British Association for Applied Linguistics event. They have also advocated for the adoption of registered reports at various speaking events, Editorial Board presentation, in a forthcoming article, editorial, and social media campaign. 

Honourable mention: Michael Heinrich and Banaz Jalil, School of Pharmacy

Banaz and Michael were nominated for co-leading the development of the ConPhyMP-Guidelines. Ethnopharmacology is a flourishing field of medical/pharmaceutical research. However, results are often non-reproducible. The ConPhyMP-Guidelines are a new tool that defines how to report the chemical characteristics of medicinal plant extracts used in clinical, pharmacological, and toxicological research. The paper in which the guidelines are presented is widely used (1613 downloads / 8,621 views since Sept 2022). An online tool, launched in August 2023 and accessible via the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) website, facilitates the completion of the checklist. Specifically, the tool guides the researchers in selecting the most relevant checklists for conducting and reporting research accurately and completely.

Honourable mention: Talya Greene, Brain Sciences 

Talya is recognized for leading the creation of a toolkit that enables traumatic stress researchers to move toward more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data practices. This project is part of the FAIR theme within the Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress. Two main milestones have so far been achieved: 1) In collaboration with Bryce Hruska, Talya has collated existing resources that are relevant to the traumatic stress research community to learn about and improve their FAIR data practices. 2) Talya also collaborated with Nancy Kassam-Adams to conduct an international survey with traumatic stress researchers about their attitudes and practices regarding FAIR data in order to identify barriers and facilitators of data sharing and reuse. The study findings have been accepted for publication in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology. Talya has also presented the FAIR toolkit and the findings of the survey at international conferences (e.g., the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies annual conference, the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Biennial Conference).