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UCL Discovery reaches 30 million downloads!

Kirsty22 November 2021

UCL Publications Board and the Open Access Team are delighted to announce that on Friday 19 November UCL’s institutional repository, UCL Discovery, reached the milestone of 30 million downloads! UCL Discovery is UCL’s open access repository, showcasing and providing access to UCL research outputs from all UCL disciplines. UCL authors currently deposit around 1,750 outputs in the repository every month (average figure January-October 2021).

by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/gdTxVSAE5sk

Our 30 millionth download was of a journal article:
Huber, LR; Poser, BA; Bandettini, PA; Arora, K; Wagstyl, K; Cho, S; Goense, J; Nothnagel, N; Morgan, AT; van den Hurk, J; Müller, AK; Reynolds, RC; Glen, DR; Goebel, R; Gulban, OF; (2021) LayNii: A software suite for layer-fMRI. NeuroImage, 237, Article 118091. 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118091.

This article introduces a new software suite, LayNii, to support layer-specific functional magnetic resonance imaging: the measurement of brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow. The software itself, which is compatible with Linux, Windows and MacOS, is also open source via Zenodo, DockerHub, and GitHub. The authors also made a preprint version of the article available via BioRxiv in advance of formal publication in NeuroImage. This demonstrates the combined value of open source software and open access to research publications.

The author of the article based at UCL, Dr Konrad Wagstyl, deposited the article in UCL Discovery in May 2021. Dr Wagstyl is a Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellow at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL, and co-leads the Multicentre Epilepsy Lesion Detection project, an open science collaboration to develop machine learning algorithms to automatically subtle focal cortical dysplasias – areas of abnormal brain cell development which can cause epilepsy and seizures – in patients round the world.

The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship recommends that researchers make any software or code they use available to aid others in reproducing their research. The Research Data Management team maintain a guide on best practice for software sustainability, preservation and sharing, and can give further support to UCL researchers as required.

Open Access Week: UCL Press as eTextbook publisher

Kirsty17 November 2021

Thank you to everyone that attended the Open Access week session from UCL Press outlining their new project to develop Open Access eTextbooks!

The recording and the slides are available below as well as links from the speakers and the promised answers to the remaining questions from the audience!

Questions and Answers

Do the download stats account for partial views?

Dhara: For information on how we collect and record our data, https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/where-to-find-our-books-and-journals. Research has shown that, via the platforms that we work with the provide chapter downloads, most users download the single chapter that they require.

Did the project(s) around The Economy (etc) use an explicitly “Agile” method?

Luca: There were two parts to the project: a) the authoring and content development (CORE), and b) creating the platform over which the ebook is delivered (our partner EBW). For the a) part you could say we adopted some of the ‘agile’ principles, as we delivered some draft units early for piloting (to ‘users’ aka teachers) and then continuously deliver more units and rewritten older ones based on feedback. Also, it was all about the user and not the process, plans changed based on feedback etc. For the b) part this was more in line with the ‘agile’ method principles, as it was software development, but the biggest difference was that EBW couldn’t break down development into small increments because the final product was very tightly defined so there was a lot of initial planning as opposed to sprints.

Please could someone riff on things other than writing the words: editing for reading level, spot illustrations, internationalisation of terms. Would a UCL press book open doors to such services?

Dhara: We currently provide a full production service, including copyediting and typesetting for our books. Additionally, to ensure each new textbook is fit for purpose, we’ll engage with various relevant developmental services, depending on requirements of discipline and level of the intended audience. These many include developmental review, which ensures the writing style is appropriate for the reading/HE level of the audience, help source and check illustrations, review glossary and use of terminology and concepts (making sure they comply with relevant academic standards).

Are there any plans/resources available to produce UCL textbooks in other languages than English?

Dhara: This is an interesting suggestion, and we will continue to discuss as the programme develops, but, unfortunately, we do not have plans to do this at this time.

Resources

View recording on MediaCentral
Access the slides from the session
Information about the eTextbooks project
Access and view Economics textbooks and resources on CORE

Celebrating Open

Kirsty29 October 2021

Happy Birthday to us!

Birthday candles by synx508 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

To celebrate the first year of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship we decided to throw ourselves a virtual party, its been a year of milestones – take a look at our highlights video below!

This year over 20,000 records were uploaded to UCL Discovery and the combined number of theses hit 21,000! On top of that, UCL Discovery is about to hit 30 million lifetime downloads!

The smaller sibling to Discovery is UCL’s Research Data Repository, specialising in Open Access Research Data and code. It’s only 3 years old but it’s growing fast! This past year the number of downloads has increased by over 700% and the team that supports it is on track to double last year’s record for Data Management Plans assessed, and the year isn’t done yet!

And finally, our good friends at UCL Press hit a huge milestone of 5 million downloads across their 200+ books!

Its been a brilliant year for Open at UCL, and we hope that the office can grow and develop in years to come, and support our community to take Open Science from strength to strength. We hope you enjoy the video!

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – Issue 4

Kirsty25 October 2021

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

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

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voiceJill Dando Research Institute Lab
  • Special FeatureUCL and LGA Net Zero Innovation Network
  • Deep Dive – Top posts from our blog
  • News and Events

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

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

To turn on Accessibility view:

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

Open Access week 2021 – Open in Practice

Kirsty6 October 2021

For Open Access week this year we are going to be focusing on the practical side of Open, not just Open Access, but Open Data, Code, Software, Licensing, you name it, we are aiming to talk about it!

We have three events lined up for our UCL audience, you can get full details about those below. They are all very different to each other and we are hoping to see you there! We also have daily blog posts in the pipeline and the latest edition of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter coming out during the week too. It’s going to be a busy one so make sure you follow us on twitter or subscribe to the blog for regular updates!

Tuesday 26th October 2-3pm – New UKRI Open Access Policy Briefing

The new UKRI open access policy announced in August 2020 affects academics publishing work that acknowledges UK Research Council funding. The policy requires open access on publication under the CC BY licence (or, exceptionally, CC BY-ND) for articles and conference papers submitted on or after 1 April 2022. It also requires open access no later than 12 months after publication for monographs, book chapters and edited collections resulting from a grant from one of the UK Research Councils, published on or after 1 January 2024. The UKRI policy will inform the open access policy for the next REF.

In this first UCL briefing session on the UKRI policy, Catherine Sharp (Head of Open Access Services) will set out the key policy points and compliant routes to publishing in journal articles and conference papers. Lara Speicher (Head of Publishing, UCL Press) will explore the details of the new UKRI monograph requirements, and their implications for authors. Professor Margot Finn (UCL History and immediate past President of the Royal Historical Society) will also join the session to discuss these changes and the implications for authors of monographs in the humanities and social sciences in particular.

Given the importance of the UKRI policy in shaping UK open access requirements, all researchers who publish are encouraged to attend a briefing on the UKRI policy, and to bring questions from their own disciplines.

Please register online.

Wednesday 27th October 2-3pm – UCL Press as eTextbook Publisher

The debate over access and affordability of eTextbooks is high on the agenda for many institutional libraries and publishers and many are calling for an open access solution.

In response, UCL Press is currently developing a new programme of open access textbooks, for undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules, across disciplines. The new textbook programme will be the first OA textbook list in the UK and builds on the success of the Press’s publishing output and the significant increase in requirements for digital resources, in a changing teaching and learning environment. The programme offers the Press an opportunity to showcase and promote teaching excellence across a broad range of fields and contribute to the open culture UCL is continuing to build.

In this webinar we will discuss in more depth, why and how UCL Press are creating their open access programme and the opportunities, practicalities, and benefits of committing to, publishing and disseminating home-grown textbooks.

We will also focus on other initiatives and projects from UCL and from around the world to provide a forum for lively discussion about open access textbooks and education resources more broadly.

We encourage you to join us to hearing more about this programme and other OA initiatives, please register online.

Thursday 28th October 4-5pm – Opening data & code: Who is your audience?

To achieve the potential impact of a particular research project in academia or in the wider world, research outputs need to be managed, shared and used effectively.

Open Research enables replicable tools to be accessible to a wide audience of users. The session will showcase three projects and discuss the potentials of reuse of data and software and how to adapt to different types of user.

Join our speakers and panel discussion to:

  • understand the potential of sharing your data and software
  • learn about how projects share their software and data with different audiences and how they tailored their open data & code to different audiences appreciate the needs of different types of user (e.g. industry based, policy maker, citizen scientists)

Please register online.

The benefits and barriers to code sharing as an Early Career Researcher

Kirsty14 September 2021

Guest post by Louise Mc Grath-Lone, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Health Informatics), Rachel Pearson, Research Assistant (UCL Institute of Child Health) and Ania Zylbersztejn, Research Fellow (UCL Institute of Child Health)

In July 2021, we held a session on code sharing as part of the UCL Festival of Code and were thrilled to have almost 90 attendees from 9 out of UCL’s 11 faculties – highlighting that researchers from across a wide range of disciplines are interested in sharing their code.

The aims of the session were to highlight the benefits of code sharing, to explore some of the barriers to code sharing that Early Carly Researchers may experience, and to offer some practical advice about establishing, maintaining and contributing to a code repository.

In this blog, we summarise the benefits and barriers to code sharing we discussed in the session taking into account the views that participants shared.

What is code sharing and what are the benefits?

Code sharing covers a range of activities, including sharing code privately (e.g., with your colleagues as part of internal code review) or publicly (e.g., as part of a journal article submission).

For Early Career Researchers in academia, there are many benefits to sharing code including:

Reducing duplication of effort: For activities such as data cleaning and preparation, code sharing is an important method of reducing duplication of effort among the research community.

Capturing the work you put into data management: The processes of managing large datasets are time-consuming, but this effort is often not apparent in traditional research outputs (such as journal articles). Sharing code is one way of demonstrating the work that goes into data management activities.

Improving the transparency and reproducibility of your work: Code sharing allows others to understand, validate and extend what you did in your research.

Enabling the continuity of your work: Many researchers spend the early years of their career on fixed-term contracts. Code sharing is a way to enable the continuity of your work after you’ve moved on by allowing others to build on it. This increases the chances of it reaching the publication stage and your efforts and inputs being recognised in the form of a journal article.

Building your reputation and networks: Code sharing is a way to build your reputation and grow your networks which can lead to opportunities for collaboration.

Providing opportunities for teaching and learning: By sharing code and by looking at code that others have shared, Early Career Researchers have opportunities to both teach and learn.

Demonstrating a commitment to Open Science principles: Code sharing is increasingly valued by research funders (e.g. the Wellcome Trust) and is a tangible way to show your commitment to Open Science principles which are part of UCL’s Academic Framework and important for career progression.

Despite the clear benefits to code sharing, at the start of our session just 1 in 4 participants (26%) said that they often or always share code. However, by the end of the session, almost all participants (90%) said that they definitely or probably will share their code in the future.

What are the barriers to code sharing as an Early Career Researcher and how we can overcome them?

We asked participants what has put them off sharing their code in the past. The most common responses were:

The time and effort required: Ideally, you would write perfectly formatted and commented code on the first go – however, in reality, it often does not work out like this. As you update code and encounter bugs, code can often become messy and considerable time/effort needed to get it to point it can be understood by someone outside the research project. We discussed the importance shifting your perception of ‘shareable’ code. Sharing any code, even if messy, is far more helpful than sharing nothing at all.

Lack of confidence and concerns about criticism: Many researchers who write code as part of their work have very little (or no!) formal training. This means that sharing code can be daunting. For example, researchers may be worried about others finding errors in their code; however, sharing code can help to catch bugs in code early on and can bolster your confidence and reassure you that your code is correct. In the session, we also discussed how getting involved with online coding communities that emphasize inclusivity and support (e.g., R Ladies, Tidy Tuesday or one of the UCL Coding Clubs) can help grow confidence and provide a kinder environment in which to share code publicly.

Not knowing how to share or who to share with: A lack of formal training means that many researchers are unsure about where or how to share code, including not knowing which license to use to enable appropriate reuse of code. We discussed the need for more training opportunities, encouraged setting up your own code review groups (like a journal club, but for sharing and discussing code).

Worry that code will be reused without permission: Some participants were worried about plagiarism and their hard work being re-used without their knowledge or permission. However, hosting your code in a repository like GitHub allows you to choose suitable licence for re-use of your code to prevent undesired use while still supporting open science! You can also see how many people have accessed your code.

How can Early Career Researchers get started with code sharing?

Preparing code to share can take time and, as they work to secure their future within academia, many Early Career Researchers may already feel overloaded and pulled in different directions (e.g., teaching, institutional citizenship, engagement work, producing publications, attending conferences, research management, etc.). However, code sharing is hugely beneficial for a career in academia and so we would encourage all Early Career Researchers to try to find the time to share code by viewing it as an opportunity to invest in your future self. For example, you could:

  • Adopt a coding style guide to help produce clear and uniform code with good comments from the outset. This will reduce effort end when you come to share code (and help your future self when you look at your code many years later and have inevitably forgotten what it all does!
  • Join a UCL Coding Clubs or online community to learn tips from others about coding and sharing code.
  • Learn to use a code repository like GitHub. As part of our session, we delivered an introductory tutorial on how to use GitHub with links to other useful resources (available here).

How can UCL support Early Career Researchers to share code?

We ended the session by asking the participants how UCL could better support them to share their code. Some of the ideas suggested by Early Career Researchers were:

More training on writing and sharing code: For example, one suggestion was that UCL could create a Moodle training course for code sharing. Training about best practice in coding (across several languages) to help Early Career Researchers to write code right the first time would also be helpful.

Simple, accessible guidance about code sharing: This might include checklists or 1-to-1 advice sessions, in particular, to help Early Career Researchers to select the right licenses.

Embed code sharing as best practice at all levels: Encouraging and supporting senior researchers to share code so that it becomes embedded as good practice at all levels would provide a good example for and encourage more junior members of staff. It would also help to ensure that the time and training required to prepare code for sharing is built into grant applications.

Knowledge sharing opportunities: More events and opportunities to discuss how research groups share code to share best practice across faculties throughout UCL.

 

We would like to thank everyone who attended our session – “Code sharing for Early Career Researchers: the good the bad and the ugly!” – at the UCL Festival of Code for their time and contributions to the lively discussions. All the materials from the session are available here, including an introductory tutorial to getting started with code sharing using GitHub. We would also like to thank the organisers of the UCL Festival of Code for their help and support.

Open Science & Scholarship – the name debate

Kirsty3 September 2021

The phrase ‘Open Science’ originated in Europe, but when used in English gives us a slight issue. To most English speakers, the word Science conjures a specific image to most people – of scientists in labs, chemistry, physics… not the all-encompassing view that Open Science actually represents.

The word ‘science’ here actually draws on the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge, which is why outside the UK is it much more easily accepted for what it represents. Which is opening up what we know, the data we used to learn it and how we got there, across all areas of research, not just Natural Sciences but Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities.

To combat the misunderstanding about the word science, a whole host of alternatives are used across academic institutions in the UK, there is a great article on the UKCORR blog by Nick Shepherd which touches on this and lists other universities choices and position statements.

Here at UCL, back in October 2020 we launched the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship, fully embracing the term Open Science and its connection to Europe, building on the LERU 8 Pillars of Open Science but also including Open Scholarship in an effort to make the name sound more inclusive here in the UK, pushing back against that instinctive image that is conjured by the word science.

We have recently released a full discussion of the principles behind the Office for Open Science & Scholarship, our name, and our commitments: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/open-science/defining-open-science-scholarship

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 Science & Scholarship Newsletter – June 2021

Kirsty2 June 2021

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

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

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voice – Reliability and Reproducibility in Computational Science
  • Special Feature – Open Science in Horizon Europe
  • Deep Dive – Top posts from our blog
  • News and Events

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

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

To turn on Accessibility view:

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

Upcoming webinar: Focus on Open Science

Kirsty1 June 2021

The UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship is collaborating with the University of Stockholm and Scientific Knowledge Services on organising an Open Science Webinar on 18 June.

Open Science started as a vision, aiming to address matters like research reproducibility and access to the results of publicly-funded research. The vision was generally welcomed by academic and research institutions and has benefited from a great advocacy movement. It’s high time now to build on practice and effective management.

It is generally accepted in Europe that research should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary. Finding the borderline between the two is one of the most important tasks for practitioners, whether they belong to funders, research organisations, their partners or researchers themselves. This borderline is not sufficiently explored. Guidelines based on feedback and learning from practice should be created, sooner rather than later. This innovative approach to research has further potential: to address existing inequalities and matters like inclusivity, ethics, better assessment or the missing links between science and society or to re-shape public-private partnerships.

Emphasizing research practices, we will discuss the role of research organisations to support this transition, both acting local and internationally.

The webinar is a part of the #FocusOpenScience series. The language of the presentations will be English.

Visit https://www.focusopenscience.org/book/21stockholm/ for further details, and to register.