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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 A major achievement was the successful introduction of the new Profiles platform, replacing the outdated IRIS.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).

Open Access Week: A year in review

By Kirsty, on 25 October 2023

It has become somewhat of a tradition now for there to be a post during Open Access Week that reviews the previous year. While the middle of October may seem like a strange time to take stock, it is after all the anniversary of the Launch of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship and we like to stop and celebrate another year.

This year we celebrated another successful conference and our first back in person for us! We also had another first with a workshop taking place simultaneously online and in person on the topic of equity in authorship. This work has been fed into a UCL statement on Authorship that will be released in the coming months.

We also released a brand new page bringing together all of the training and support information across all the Open Science affiliated teams to make it easier to navigate and get your questions answered.

In the past year all of the teams that form part of the office have worked hard on developing new services and making improvements to existing ones.

The Open Access team have been working hard updating RPS and the new Profiles tool to replace IRIS. They also support both Gold and Green Open Access Activity across the university.

Over 18,500 items have been uploaded to UCL Discovery in the last 12 months, bringing the total to over 166,000! Of these, there are over 23,000 theses to be explored. They have also made 3,383 papers Gold OA, 2,700 of which were using our transformative agreements with publishers.

The Research Data Management team have been working hard behind the scenes doing an overhaul of their support materials, testing new materials for training and supporting the ever-growing Research Data Repository.

In the past 12 months we have had over 1000 new datasets from 226 users. Quite notably, we have had over 200,000 downloads which just goes to show the value of sharing your data as well as your other research outputs!

The Citizen Science support service has moved on in leaps and bounds since this time last year, creating content, liaising with colleagues across the university, collaborating to launch the UCL Citizen Science Academy and this week we were able to launch the brand new Citizen Science online community.

Hopefully that gives you a taste of what we have been up to and the numbers of the last year, scroll back through the blog for more information and to get an idea of the detail of what we have been up to. It’s been a great year and here’s to the next!

Happy Open Access Week!

Launching our new UCL Citizen Science Community on MS Teams!

By Kirsty, on 24 October 2023

Are you interested in citizen science?

Would you like to connect with others to share your stories about citizen science?

Are you wondering whether a citizen science approach might work for your project?

Would you like to collaborate with colleagues across UCL and exchange ideas or work together on participatory projects under a joint mission?

Do you want to hear about citizen science as an approach or would you just like to expand your network?

If so, please join our informal UCL citizen science community and get involved! Whether you are new to citizen science or whether you have run projects before, this is your community. We are bringing everyone together to share their knowledge, discuss good practices and talk about their experiences of citizen science.  The community is strictly for UCL members only but is open to all staff and students at all levels.

You might call it participatory research, community action, crowdsourcing, public engagement, or something else. UCL supports a broad approach to “citizen science”, recognising that there are different applications and functions of this approach in research, whether they are community-driven research projects or global investigations.

Through this community, we would really like to hear your feedback on what you would like to see from a potential citizen science support service at UCL including any ideas you might have for events, training, resources or anything else. Join here or search “UCL Citizen Science Community” on Teams.

We also have brand new and improved Citizen Science web pages on the UCL’s Office for Open Science and Scholarship website which includes an introduction to citizen science at UCL including definitions, history, types and levels, and information about the UCL Citizen Science Certificate, you can browse through the various types of citizen science projects at UCL and learn about what your colleagues are doing in this exciting area!

On our new citizen science support and training page, you will find links to relevant training courses currently delivered by different UCL teams both online and in person, a variety of useful resources about citizen science, links to interesting blogs/news and citizen science platforms and projects outside UCL. We will be improving and expanding this content within the coming months.

 If you have any questions, would like further information or would like to tell us what you need, please contact us!

How Creative Commons licences support open scholarship

By Kirsty, on 23 October 2023

Happy Open Access Week 2023!

This year’s theme is ‘community over commercialisation’. It is about adopting research and education practices that place priority on the interests of the public. In the context of scholarly communications, it is about making access to scholarly knowledge open and accessible to diverse communities, in transparent and sustainable ways.

For this to be achieved, the outcomes of academic research and education – research data, preprints, published articles, monographs, educational resources – must be open to access but also open to reuse: free access to an article, an online tutorial or a dataset has great benefits, but the potential for users of these materials to share them with others, adapt, add to and improve upon them is what makes innovation and creativity possible.

Creative Commons (CC licences) support open and reusable research by offering a standardised way in which authors can grant others certain permissions to reuse their works. In this post we highlight some key points about CC licences and discuss how they benefit both creators and users of copyright-protected materials.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons (CC) is “an international non-profit organisation dedicated to helping build and sustain a thriving commons of shared knowledge and culture”. The organisation is active in supporting, educating and advocating for a more open culture; but it is most known for its licences.

How do Creative Commons licences work?

If you are the author of pretty much any creative work – a journal article, an image, a music composition, a website, a book – making your work available under a CC licence helps you:

  • As the copyright owner of the work, give ‘blanket’ permission to others to copy and share your work, while requiring that they attribute you as the author.
  • Decide what further uses you give blanket permission for. Do you allow others to make adaptations(e.g. to translate your book, adapt a teaching resource for a new audience, or change your artwork)? Do you allow others to reuse for a commercial purpose?
  • Decide if you would like to ensure that future adaptations of your work (if you are allowing them) are also made available under the same licence, keeping them as ‘open’ as yours.

Image attribution: Barbara Klute und Jöran Muuß-Merholz für wb-web unter CC BY-SA 3.0. The English version is a translation and enhancement by Jöran Muuß-Merholz under the same license., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The combination of these criteria: attribution (a requirement for all licences), allowing/not allowing derivatives, allowing/not allowing commercial reuse, and requiring/not requiring sharing under the same licence (‘share-alike) creates a set of six licences creators can choose from.

How do Creative Commons licences support open scholarship and the needs of different communities?

There are numerous examples of how CC licences help free up research and education. CC licences applied to open access articles, conference proceedings, monographs and other scholarly works make it possible for readers of these works around the world – who may include academic researchers, lecturers, students but also health practitioners, innovators, artists and the general public – to benefit from these works and potentially create something new and innovative as a result. CC licences applied to research data enables data to be shared and reused across different organisations and countries. CC licences applied to preprints, study preregistrations and theses ensure openness in research that is not yet formally published. In the same way, particularly through allowing adaptations, CC licences support the development and success of Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Beyond traditional scholarship, CC licences help open up cultural collections and offer opportunities for publishers and the creative industries to adopt new business models that serve their audiences better.

How can I learn more about Creative Commons?

Image attribution: adapted from Martin Missfeldt https://www.bildersuche.org/ CC BY-SA

If you have made it so far in this post, you may have further questions including how to apply a CC licence, how to discover and reuse CC materials, how CC licences work alongside copyright and how they can support commercially sensitive works. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Drop-in any time between 12 pm and 2 pm on Teams on Tuesday 24 October, to hear more, ask questions and tell us about your experiences with CC licences. You can join for just a few minutes to ask a question or stay for longer to become a CC expert. Register for the CC licences drop-in session.
  • Take our 5-question fun personality quiz to discover which licence you are. You may not learn anything new about yourself, but you will hopefully get even more familiar with how the range of CC licences can be applied in different situations. Your responses will be anonymous.

Open Access Week activities

By Kirsty, on 13 October 2023

Open Access Week is almost upon us!

Keep your eyes open for a series of blog posts on Creative Commons, citizen science, the recent activities of UCL Press and an exciting review of a year in open access.

This year’s theme is Community over Commercialisation. Creative Commons licences sit at the heart of this discussion. To this end, we invite you to a drop-in session on Tuesday the 24th of October to address questions around creating and using Creative Commons materials. The session is on Teams and you can join at any time. Bring along your questions or just join to discuss how CC supports equitable access to a wide range of works, from scholarly publications to open and FAIR data to images and music.

We have already announced our wonderful winners of the Open Science and Scholarship awards. UCL colleagues can also join us on Wednesday to celebrate and network with the winners, tickets are still available!

We will be posting and tweeting regularly throughout the week about the services and support available to researchers and I hope that we can get some good discussions going!

See you there!

Announcing: UCL Open Science & Scholarship Award winners!!

By Kirsty, on 11 October 2023

On behalf of the UCL Office for Open Science and the UKRN local leads we would like to thank everyone that engaged with the nominations and showed us how amazing the research community at UCL is. We were overwhelmed with the support for this process and the judging panel had a really hard job in selecting just a few winners from the over 50 applications and nominations that we received!

We will be presenting the awards in a small ceremony during Open Access week: 2-3.30pm, Wednesday 25th October. A selection of winners and honourable mentions will be presenting their work, and there will be a small drinks reception afterwards sponsored by UCL Press.

We have limited tickets available because it is a small venue but tickets are available on Eventbrite for UCL staff and students.

Full information about all of these projects will be available the day of the awards so watch this space!

Category: Academic Staff Activities

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

Honourable mentions:

  • Smita Salunke, School of Pharmacy
  • Henrik Singmann, Brain Sciences

Category: Student Activities

Winner: Seán Kavanagh, Chemistry

Honourable mentions:

  • Yukun Zhou, Centre for Medical Image Computing
  • Maxime Beau, Division of Medicine
  • Julie Fabre, Department of Neuromuscular Diseases

Category: Professional Services Staff Activities

Winner: Miguel Xochicale, Advanced Research Computing Centre (ARC) and Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences (WEISS).

Honourable mention: Marcus Pedersen, PHS

Category: Open resources, publishing, and textbooks

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

Honourable mentions:

  • Talya Greene, Brain Sciences
  • Prof Michael Heinrich & Dr Banaz Jalil, School of Pharmacy

Have you seen our new UCL Citizen Science website pages?

By Harry, on 15 August 2023

Guest post by Sheetal Saujani, Citizen Science Coordinator

We are pleased to launch our new and improved Citizen Science web pages on UCL’s Office for Open Science and Scholarship website. You can now access the updated content and browse what UCL is doing in this fast-growing and exciting area!

Citizen science includes a wide range of activities, and it is gaining increasing recognition among the public and within the area of research. UCL recognises citizen science as a diverse practice, encompassing various forms, depths and aims of collaboration between academic and community researchers and various disciplines.

workshop meeting
Check out our new website pages:

  • Defining Citizen Science: whether you call it participatory research, community action, crowdsourcing, public engagement, or anything else, have a look at our word cloud showing various activities and practices falling under one umbrella. UCL teams are collaborating on different projects and working together under a joint mission to strengthen UCL’s activities. This fosters stronger connections and more collaborative solutions.
  • Citizen Science projects: discover the broad range of innovative projects at UCL (grouped by discipline) showcasing various ways to use a citizen science approach in research. If you have a citizen science project to feature or have any questions, please contact us.
  • History of Citizen Science: explore the exciting history of citizen science, early definitions, and three relevant periods in modern science. Learn about one of the longest-running citizen science projects!
  • Types and levels of Citizen Science: read about the growth of citizen science, which has led to the development of three broad categories: ‘long-running citizen science’, ‘citizen cyberscience’, and ‘community science’. Citizen science practices can be categorised into a continuum using the ‘Doing It Together Science’ escalator model. This model focuses on individual participation levels, allowing individuals to choose the best level for their needs, interests, and free time.
  • UCL Citizen Science Certificate: find out about this high-quality, non-academic certification awarded to individuals who complete a training programme as part of the UCL Citizen Science Academy. The Certificate recognises research abilities through participation in active projects, enabling citizen scientists to influence local decisions.

The Office for Open Science and Scholarship is working to raise awareness of citizen science approaches and activities to build a support service and a community around citizen science.  We are bringing together colleagues who have run or are currently running citizen science projects, to share experiences and encourage others to do the same.

If you are interested in citizen science, we would like to hear from you, so please get in touch by email openscience@ucl.ac.uk and tell us what you need.

‘Challenges of Equity in Authorship’ co-production workshop initial discussions

By Harry, on 4 August 2023

Post by Kirsty Wallis, OOSS Coordinator/ Harry Ortiz Venegas, OOSS Support Officer

Those of us that actively support Open Science initiatives often recognise that there is a way to go and in some places there are big changes that may need to be made in order to succeed. Being UCL, a research-intensive university, we recognise and embrace the role of higher education institutions within this transformation and commit to facilitating the necessary dialogues inside the academic field, our student and staff body, and the wider community.

The Office for Open Science & Scholarship (OOSS) team, part of the Library, Culture, Collections and Open Science (LCCOS) department, is one of the crucial actors inside our institution in embracing Open Science values and promoting and advocating for these complex transitions to happen.

We propose that one of the changes that needs to happen is around the concept of authorship and what it means to all of the actors involved in research. We recognise that there are already a number of changes happening in this area, with initiatives like CRedIT, and rights retention for authors, but we wanted to look at it from a different angle. In the OOSS, we focus very heavily on the diversity and inclusiveness of our support services and the research we have at UCL, and so we work hard to allow the participation of diverse stakeholders in the design of open, accessible and inclusive research practices.

Resonating with the UCL Open Science Conference 2023 theme ‘Open Science and the Case for Social Justice’, the team proposed facilitating a workshop at the end of the day to discuss some of the long-standing issues concerning credit and authorship in research practice.

As the invitation to the final activity from the conference said, ‘Often, participants in research projects do not get credit for their significant contributions in the process, but what role should they have? People involved in a research project can hold a plethora of roles, from community leaders, patients, and citizen scientists outside the academy, to academics, research assistants, technicians, librarians, data stewards and coders within. How can we promote fairer practices and encompass all of these roles in our research outputs?’

With a clear idea in mind, it was necessary to design a participatory workshop that included researchers, but also the less-heard voices and collaborators who do not often figure in academic reports. In this session, two outstanding teams from UCL joined the adventure, the Co-Production Collective, a diverse and growing community of people from various backgrounds who come together to learn, connect, and champion co-production for lasting change. Providing consultancy, delivering training and presentations, and participating in the design and implementation of research projects, all with community members involved. And The Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP), part of The Bartlett, UCL Faculty for the Built Environment. Focused on redesigning prosperity for the 21st century, changing how we conceive and run our economies, and reworking our relationship with the planet. IGP’s vision is to build a prosperous, sustainable, global future, underpinned by the principles of fairness and justice, and allied to a realistic, long-term vision of humanity’s place in the world. As they both state on their web pages.

All teams circulated the invitation with their networks to ensure participation from a range of people, not only from academic backgrounds. Ending up in a hybrid event with around 60 participants. To promote the discussion, the workshop team prepared the ground with the case study ‘Co-Producing Prosperity Research in Informal Settlements in Tanzania’, an IGP project. Raising questions around how crucial it is to acknowledge all the contributions to knowledge production and language barriers in current publishing models. Followed by lived experience cases presented in first person by three members of the Co-Production Collective. Involving diverse perspectives, engagement levels, and roles in research projects.

The facilitators divided the in-person assistants around circular tables and the online people into break-out rooms to discuss ‘What challenges and opportunities need to be addressed to create equitable conditions in relation to authorship?’.

Each table were asked to summarise their conversations, sharing some of their ideas at the end of the session. People from the conference committee took notes to share with the OOSS team and report the workshop’s principal outcomes. These outcomes will be folded into the wider work being undertaken at UCL currently around preparing a statement on authorship for our community.

There were a number of themes that came out of the discussions and what was the most interesting for the facilitators was the extent of the consensus on many of the core points.

There was widespread agreement that all contributors to research should be acknowledged, and that they should be credited in any publications they take an active part in. There was also agreement that decisions about roles in the project and its outputs should be discussed and agreed at the outset of the project, with non-academic participants such as technicians, librarians, citizen scientists and other types of participants being given enough information to make an informed decision about what role they would like to take in publications and if that takes place, if and how they would like to be credited.

As we described at the outset of this post, we realise that this is not easy to unpick and the real value in these discussions will come from the challenges identified and opportunities we can pursue. It is easy to see the benefits that creating more equitable conditions in authorship can provide, allowing knowledge to be more granular and diversifying the opinions that can be represented, but the workshop also allowed us to dig into some real practical issues, some of which are presented below.

One major theme that emerged was in relation to research culture and the institutional inertia with regards to publishing. The lingering ‘publish or perish’ attitude in some subject areas leads to a very rapid turnaround on papers, and a perceived unwillingness to dilute credit with other names, especially in subject areas where positionality in the author list has value. There were also issues raised around the power dynamics associated with authorship and where control lies over this process, with the people who wrote the article, or the PI/research team leader who has ultimate control.

Another theme was more practical in nature and was related to systems and affiliations. In many cases it is very difficult to include an unaffiliated author, both in some publisher systems and even in some metadata schema. Also being able to give access to institutional systems and tools is also often associated with an affiliated email address. Lastly, in many cases, it is assumed all authors of a paper are able to take equal responsibility for it (CReDiT is changing this, by allowing people to be associated with the role they played, but it is early days), but in the case of a controversial topic, an unaffiliated author may be at risk as they are unable to access the support that the university will provide for its community, such as access to legal support or a press office.

The final significant theme was around language, style and terminology. Some groups pointed out that some of the understanding inherent to academia has very little meaning outside of the bubble of the university, and while external team members associated with a project will be trained to work to the integrity and ethical standards of the project, they may not be able to commit to the academic language, theoretical structures or terminology required to be involved in publications.

The good news is that all of these themes (and a lot of the other points we weren’t able to cover here) can be turned into opportunities. The first theme around research culture I think we are already addressing by starting this conversation and committing to including these findings in UCL statements and associated guidance on authorship. We will be consulting widely among the academic community and beyond throughout the process and hopefully this will allow us to challenge some of the issues raised about power dynamics and point out where people can and should be opening up their author lists to new individuals.

Another opportunity that came up in the sessions was around other types of publication. The discussion was framed around the traditional article/book, but the point was raised that there are a wide range of outputs that can come out of a project that can acknowledge different individuals, from the technical such as data, software or code, to presentations and posters, giving new individuals the chance to represent the research they have done in a new environment, and even media such as videos or exhibitions. There are definitely opportunities outside the traditional and this needs to be reflected and tied into the wider Open Science movement where we are shifting the focus onto new forms of output. It is also important that in this, space is given to the participants and citizen scientists to express what would be the most effective way of communicating the research results back to the community they effect.

This is just a very short summary of what was an intense and very nuanced conversation across around ten separate breakout groups and we were immensely grateful to the whole community for engaging with the workshop and being so open and honest about their experiences to allow us such insight to take forward into our explorations of authorship in the OOSS. The Co-Production Collective shared some interesting reflections about the workshop discussions on their webpage, exposing how participants contributing from the live-experience field are commonly left out in credits, authorship and contribution acknowledgements.

The April 24th conference resonated among members of their collective to take take a step forward, telling, one of them commented that “it made me pluck up the courage to ask to be an author on a project I set up and did the initial work on, and the professor received it really well and said well done for getting in touch and rightfully asking as these things can be daunting and missed…”