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Upcoming webinar – E-Books: Scandal or Market Economics?

Kirsty9 February 2021

Are you concerned about the e-books crisis in higher education and public libraries? The #ebooksos campaign launched by Johanna Anderson has successfully highlighted via the BBC and the Guardian the issues faced by the education and research sectors in accessing and using e-Books.

Unaffordable prices, an inability to buy e-books due to a refusal to sell or bundling of titles in packages, and restrictions on research copying  are all affecting coursework and research in universities. Confidentiality clauses in contracts between publishers and universities are also making understanding how the e-Book market functions more challenging, and obscuring the level to which public money is being well-spent.

The issue is not only one being faced by universities. An international study by Monash University on the availability of e-books in the main five English language markets found public libraries in the UK to have “the least attractive licence terms, the highest prices, and the lowest availability.” The report found Hachette (one of the big 5 English language publishers) only had 8% of their list available for libraries to license as an eBook.

You are invited to attend the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship/Copyright for Knowledge E-books webinar on Monday 15th March 2021 from 2 pm to 3.30 pm. We will examine the acute difficulties for higher education and public libraries caused by publishers’ pricing and licensing practices and discuss possible solutions.

Our expert speakers are:

  • Dr. Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services & UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship)
  • Johanna Anderson, @hohojanna, Subject Librarian, University of Gloucestershire and founder of the #eBookSoS campaign
  • Benjamin White, Researcher, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, University of Bournemouth and Chair of the Copyright and Legal Working Group of  the European Research Library Association (LIBER).

There will be an opportunity to put your questions to the panel in a final Q and A session.

The webinar is free to attend but if you would like to join us please register via Eventbrite.

Embracing citizen science to answer: how can technologies help us age more easily?

Kirsty27 January 2021

Guest post by Alice Hardy, Institute of Healthcare Engineering


At the Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we wanted to create technological solutions that meet real people’s needs – but reaching our target users can sometimes be a bit tricky. We’re taking a ‘citizen science’ approach to engage with the users who need new health technology the most, and bring their ideas to life.

The ageing challenge

As a population we are living longer lives than ever before, with half the babies born in the UK today expected to reach their 100th birthday.

Longer life spans are cause for celebration, but growing older comes with downsides. Too often, people ageing are faced with problems like loneliness, loss of independence and avoidable years of disease.

Tackling these challenges is a strategic priority for the UK Government and funding bodies.

Across all faculties of UCL, researchers are developing technologies to help people live their extra years healthier and happier. However, to make these solutions as effective as possible, we need to engage with our end-users from the start. That’s where out citizen science approach comes in.

Crowdsourcing innovation

At the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we act as cross-faculty hub for anyone in healthcare engineering or digital health at UCL. Our is to nurture the ideas and partnerships that result in life-changing health technology.

We understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration when developing new technologies, and a key part of that is garnering fresh perspectives from groups that can be difficult for us to reach. We want to deconstruct the idea of what is means to be an ‘expert’ and open this up to everyone – we’re all experts in growing older!

That’s why we launched the Age Innovation Hub; an online platform where we ask the public how technology could help them. Their feedback will then go onto shape real-world projects at UCL, with citizen science integrated at every step of the way.

Using this crowdsourcing tool was a way for us to directly reach out to the public and involve them in the research going on at UCL. Not only is their insight important to improve the research, but a more open relationship with the public also helps to combat perceptions that universities can be slow-moving and out of touch with the public’s needs. This crowdsourcing tool also has great potential for use in other campaigns and across UCL.

How it works

To shape the discussion, we created ‘challenge areas’ based on the biggest challenges facing older people:

  • Supporting people with health concerns
  • Creating healthy environments
  • Building social communities
  • Staying independent at home for longer
  • Staying active

In these discussion areas, users are encouraged to post their ideas, share their feedback, and vote for ideas they support. Our team of moderators keep the conversation flowing with encouraging words and probing questions; we want to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming community where anyone in the UK can share their thoughts on healthy ageing, and feels heard.

Opportunities for UCL researchers

In addition to allowing the public to share their thoughts, the Age Innovation Hub is an opportunity for UCL researchers to gain valuable feedback on their current research challenges. The Hub is open for you to get involved, so visit it now and join the conversation.

There are a number of ways for researchers to participate:

  • Submit challenges or questions from your own research areas that you’d like feedback on directly into one of the challenges
  • Write a blog to tell visitors more about existing research going on at UCL in healthy ageing or your experiences with citizen science
  • Engage in discussion on some of the ideas already posted, add your own comments and thoughts
  • Join a panel of experts that will help evaluate the needs and ideas submitted from the public (March/April 2021)

You can join the discussion now at ageinnovationhub.crowdicity.com

To find out more, you can contact the Institute of Healthcare Engineering team via ageinnovation@ucl.ac.uk

UCL Open Science Conference 2021 update – Keynotes and tickets!

Kirsty22 January 2021

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

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

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

Day 1: 

Jean-Claude Burgelman

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

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

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

Keynote title: Open Science – looking to the future.

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

Dr Paul Ayris

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2: 

Dr Lizzie Gadd

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

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

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

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

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

Gesche Huebner & Mike Fell

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

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

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

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

Wellcome Trust OA policy and DORA webinar – summary and links

Kirsty17 December 2020

On Wednesday 16th December the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship hosted a webinar focussing on the forthcoming Wellcome Trust Open Access policy, with particular reference to DORA, as well as how we are making progress towards fully being able to meet its terms.

Our first speaker was David Carr from the Wellcome trust who talked about the development of the Open Access focussed teams inside Wellcome Trust before outlining the new policy in full and describing in detail the elements which are distinct from the previous policy as shown in the image below.

David then moved on to describing the background to Wellcome’s commitment to responsible research evaluation, and the decision to include DORA in the new policy. He also described the feedback and redrafting process that it went through thanks to the feedback from the community.

Following on from David, we had a talk from Dr Ralitsa Madsen, who shared her experiences as a junior researcher around the issue of research evaluation and especially its relationship with transparency and Open Science.  She has worked with Chris Chambers of the UKRN to develop a policy template for funders to try and encourage more adoption, but also make it easier for them to adopt, by providing a ready-made solution!

We then turned to the Library Services contingent of the webinar speakers, starting out with Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost for Library Services and the Office for Open Science and Scholarship. Paul walked us through the development of the UCL responsible metrics policy and the ways that it is being implemented in HR, recruitment and promotions processes.

Catherine Sharp, Head of Open Access Services followed up with a whistle-stop tour of the changes that have been made to the Open Access processes in order to support academic staff to meet the terms of the new policy, including numerous transformative arrangements with different publishers.

At the end of the webinar we had one remaining question which we put to David after the session:

What do ‘appropriate sanctions’ look like?

David’s response: There’s actually no change on this – the sanctions are actually already in place, and will remain as are when the new policy comes into effect in January.

Essentially we monitor compliance at end-of-grant reporting stage and when researchers apply for new funding.  If a researcher has non-compliant papers, then we will not activate new grants or funding renewals until any non-compliant Wellcome papers have been made open access.  Where papers reported in an end of grant report are not compliant, we will also not accept any new grant applications from that researcher until this has been resolved.  In extreme cases, we also have the option to suspend funding to a whole organisation.  See: https://wellcome.org/grant-funding/guidance/open-access-guidance/complying-with-our-open-access-policy

The recording is available below and also on MediaCentral.

Introduction to Citizen Science at UCL event – a discussion

Kirsty3 December 2020

During Open Access Week 2020 we hosted a webinar called Introduction to Citizen Science at UCL. Although the week has been summarised and information shared on this blog before, the session was so interesting that it deserves another look.

Speakers:

  • Prof Muki Haklay – History and development of Citizen Science at UCL
  • Rosie Brigham – Monument Monitor Project
  • Mayssa Jallad – Institute for Global Prosperity and the RELIEF Project
  • Prof Kate Jones – Bat Detective Project
  • Danielle Purkiss – Big Compost Experiment project

I was particularly interested in the growth of Citizen Science described in Muki’s part of the session, especially the wide variety of techniques that have grown out of developments in technology, as well as so many more people having access to the internet and mobile technology.

The growth and expansion of Citizen Science has led to the gradual development of the different definitions outlined in the image below (taken from the session).

Citizen Science gets divided into three broad categories, with a fair amount of crossover. The first is the least technological, and the most long-standing (possibly even predating the coining of the phrase ‘Citizen Science’), called ‘Long running Citizen Science’. These projects involve using members of the public in long term activities like weather observation, local archaeology, or surveying local ecological areas. Muki talked about Open Air Laboratories, and Prof Kate Jones’s lightning talk also touched on this by describing how a long running bat survey has been extended to use new technology.

The Community Science category mostly comprises science taking place in the community. This includes projects involving sensing in communities, such as noise or air pollution, even creating affordable DIY sensing kits or tools like Bento Lab, a cheap kit that makes it possible to do PCR testing at home. It also includes training based experiences, giving communities the chance to develop skills while taking part in projects.

The final category is the biggest. It’s this one that, in my opinion, has grown the fastest in recent years due to the rapid expansion of technology and the interconnected world we live in. These projects are very varied. For example, social media has facilitated projects like Monument Monitor, and tools like Zooniverse enable projects like Bat Detective to get members of the public to join in and enable research on a much larger scale. The sky is seriously the limit! Anyone can join in and get involved with some amazing research, and despite the name of the site, it’s not just animal related!

During the session we had a great Q&A discussion. Not a lot of it made it to the recording because our speakers had so much to share about their projects – so here’s a summary:

Muki highlighted an online Citizen Science course that’s run by the team at ExCiteS. It’s a self-paced course, and completely free! It’s even being revamped right now, with a new version due for release in January.

Rosie discussed choosing Scotland as the location for her Monument Monitor project, funding that came from Historic Environment Scotland and her plans to make the software Open Source. This will enable other heritage institutions to build on the work she has begun in Scotland.

Mayssa discussed recruiting Citizen Scientists in the Relief project, with the help of local initiatives or NGOs. The Citizen Scientists are from diverse nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, reflecting the communities in the area. There was also an interesting conversation about the term ‘Citizen Science’ itself, and Mayssa had an interesting point on this, and shared that her participants are not all citizens in Lebanon, some are Syrian or Palestinian, and in fact they translate Citizen Scientist to ‘Local Researcher’ in Arabic.

She also shared some of the challenges brought about by COVID-19, including the need to limit in-person workshops by moving the first phase of research online. After this first stage, when fieldwork began, it was important to give workshop and survey participants frequent reminders about health measures and social distancing. Events that had already been organized were transformed into webinars, or divided up into more events with smaller groups to allow for health measures.

We finished the session with a question about the benefits of Citizen Science projects. Participants get to learn new skills, while small scale projects can broaden their scope and become part of a larger goal, for example preventing biodiversity loss. It was also clear that a number of projects, including the Bat Monitor and Big Compost Project, allow people to satisfy their curiosity about what is in their own back garden!

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Launch week – summary, links and thanks!

Kirsty29 October 2020

Last week, 19-23rd October, saw the launch of the new Office for Open Science and Scholarship, coinciding with International Open Access Week. What a week it was!

As well as launching our Office Newsletter, the many and varied events we held last week were a huge undertaking for all involved. This post reflects the information shared in each session; it comes with huge thanks to everyone who took part and helped out behind the scenes with promotion and organisation.


The week started with the official launch of the Office – Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost for Library Services, and Head of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship, opened the first session with an overview of the development of the Office, and the current status of Open Science at UCL. This was followed by lightning talks highlighting just some of the teams that are linked to the Office and available for supporting researchers in a number of aspects of Open Science.

  • Lara Speicher from UCL Press gave an overview of the work of the Press since its launch, and its current work publishing Open Access books, monographs and journals:
    uclpress.co.uk
  • Catherine Sharp from the Open Access Team outlined the service and policy support that her team provides. She also described UCL’s new range of transformative publisher agreements and new web pages on open access funding:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/open-access
  • James Houghton from the Research Data Management (RDM) Team talked about the RDM Team’s responsibilities and areas of support, including Data Management Planning, FAIR Data, and the UCL Research Data Repository:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/research-data-management
  • Andrew Gray from the Bibliometrics Team discussed the origins of responsible metrics and the principles behind the new Bibliometrics Policy recently launched at UCL:
    ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/bibliometrics
  • Grace Gottlieb from OVPR discussed definitions and the importance of Research Transparency, Integrity and Reproducibility and introduced the support and training available, as well as the institutional contacts for the UK Reproducibility Network:
    ucl.ac.uk/research/integrity

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral.

Later that afternoon, our colleagues in Research IT Services, led by David Perez-Suarez, kicked off UCL’s first ever ReproHack. This is a hands-on reproducibility hackathon where participants attempted to reproduce the results of a research paper from published code and data. The outcomes were then collated and shared with the group. These outcomes will also be fed back to the paper’s authors. David is going to be writing us a guest blog post about this event – so watch this space!

Tuesday saw the first of our sessions with the different teams, starting with a training session with the Bibliometrics Team entitled ‘Introduction to InCites’- a metrics tool that UCL subscribes to. This tool can be used to compare research output across different institutions, analyse publication data for UCL at department and faculty levels, and understand activity in a research field as a whole. This session was not recorded but there is a full range of Bibliometrics training including an InCites session available on the bibliometrics website. The Open Access Team also hosted an afternoon drop in session for UCL researchers in which they discussed transformative agreements, open access funding and the importance of UCL’s Bibliometrics Policy in freeing researchers to publish in a wider range of journals.

Wednesday was another exciting day, giving us the second of our three webinars of the week – this one focused on Citizen Science. This session began with an overview of the history and development of Citizen Science at UCL by Professor Muki Haklay, and included a wide range of examples of how the principles of Citizen Science can be used in practice. This was followed up by a series of lightning talks where colleagues from across the university shared their projects and experiences of working on vastly different Citizen Science projects:

  • First, Rosie Brigham shared with us the details of her PhD study, Monument Monitor. This project invites visitors to historic sites to share photographs of their visits using social media in order to monitor structural and visitor-related changes to the monuments.
  • Mayssa Jallad gave us an overview of the work of the Institute for Global Prosperity and the RELIEF Project that trains local people as Citizen Scientists in neighbourhoods in Hamra (Beirut) and Mina (Lebanon).
  • Kate Jones followed up with a completely different project, truly highlighting the variety of applications of Citizen Science. The Bat Detective Project used volunteers to collect and then later identify audio recordings of bat sonar, which was used to train a machine learning algorithm for the next stage of the project.
  • Danielle Purkiss was our final speaker, talking about the Big Compost Experiment, which is a truly massive undertaking, with numerous participants all contributing to a research experiment looking at compostable and biodegradable plastics in their own back gardens!

This event was recorded and it and all of the slides are available on MediaCentral

Wednesday afternoon and Thursday were dedicated to drop in sessions from both the UCL Press and Research Data Management teams. The teams had some good conversations with researchers. The UCL Press Q&A focused on prospective authors, and commissioning editors were available to answer questions about the benefits of publishing Open Access. The RDM Team was available to discuss data management planning and answer questions about managing, publishing and archiving all kinds of data and supporting evidence from research.

These sessions were not recorded but the teams are both available to answer questions by email. The RDM team also has FAQs and training available online.

Friday gave us our third and final webinar, this time hosted by UCL Press and entitled ‘Author Experiences of Publishing Open Access books’. This session featured in-depth interviews of two authors who have published with UCL Press, Prof Eleanor Robson and Prof Bob Shiel. Their publications with the press were distinctly different but both were able to share insights from the process and give a brilliant behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the press. The entire discussion provided a really positive look at the importance of Open Access presses, and challenged lots of this misconceptions people have about them.

This event was recorded and is available on MediaCentral.

We’re delighted that so many colleagues from inside the university and from around the world were able to join us at these events. We’re also looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts on how the Office for Open Science and Scholarship can support researchers, colleagues and students here at UCL. All of your feedback will be used to develop the next events that we plan, so please do get in touch with us here by commenting below, by email, or on Twitter.

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – October 2020

Kirsty26 October 2020

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter! This newsletter will be coming to you termly with updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, with 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.

The development of the Office for Open Science and Scholarship has been an exciting adventure during a time when making research open has been shown to be increasingly important. The newsletter will be just a part of the communication from this new office. We also have the Open@UCL blog, which you can sign up to for updates, we have included some highlights from the last few months below, and also our twitter account for you to follow!

Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. We recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button.

Open Access Week: Finding and using Open Access resources

Kirsty23 October 2020

With all of the focus this week having been on the why and the how of making research Open Access, in our last post this Open Access Week we want to turn the tables and help you with finding open access content and deciding whether you can trust it. In other words:

What use is it for others to make things Open if you can’t get the benefits of using them?! What use is being able to find them if you don’t know whether they’re trustworthy?

The following tools and techniques will help you find verified Open Access content and check that it’s of good quality. Spoiler alert: scroll down to find the one simple tool that surpasses all others!

Finding Reliable Open Access Content

There are a number of helpful registries that collate and verify Open Access content:

  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) lists over 30,000 Academic peer-reviewed books from 404 publishers. All publishers in DOAB are screened for their peer review procedures and licensing policies.
  • The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a registry of over 12,000 journals that fulfil a stringent list of conditions for open access, transparency, preservation and reuse. Being listed in the Directory is a positive sign that the journal is of good quality, as they have made recognised commitments to longevity and maintenance of their content.
  • COnnecting REpositories (CORE) lists content from university, research institute and public institution repositories from all over the world. To find out more about how UCL supports Open Access and what goes into our repository, have a look at Tuesday’s blog post! Repositories can also get an additional level of accreditation with CoreTrustSeal.
  • The Registry of Research Data Repositories, better known as Re3data, is a great place to go to find out what data repositories are available. These repositories cover a wide range of subject areas and specialisms, and you should easily be able to identify a suitable repository to find what you need.

Open Access content is also listed on a number sites that pull from these sources. For example, books from our own UCL Press can be found on UCL Explore but also on databases like JStor.

But there is a simpler way!

Back in March we wrote a post about a tool called Open Access Button. It’s worth another mention in Open Access Week. It’s a browser extension that can look for openly available versions of exactly which articles and books you want, in all of the sources above! It will even send requests for an Open version of something if one isn’t available.

Assessing Open Access Publications

What if you haven’t been using the sources we’ve mentioned? We all know that there is a lot of bad information out there on the internet. Fake news has taught us to always check and verify information before using it, and academic information is no different. A common concern for researchers preparing to share their data or publications is whether the journals and platforms are trustworthy. We’ve discussed that in posts earlier in the week. It is the same when using content – the first question you need to ask is: can I trust this?

There are checklists available which can help you determine if a source of information is reliable. These work equally well on any sort of information, Open Access or otherwise. UCL Library Services recommends a couple of checklists and have a lot of guidance on finding and assessing information on LibGuides. One technique that is popular is called the CRAAP test:

  • C: Currency: When was the source published? Is it appropriate in the context to use older material, or is it important that it is current?
  • R: Relevance: Is the information relevant to your studies or research? And is it at the right academic level?
  • A: Authority: Who is the author and/or publisher? Are they a trustworthy source?
  • A: Accuracy: Where does the information come from? Is there evidence? Can it be verified?
  • P: Purpose: Why was the information produced? Is the purpose clear and are there any biases?

CRAAP test – Information on the CRAAP test from the Meriam Library at California State University, Chico, who developed the tool.

Assessing Open Access Data

The best way to analyse Open Access data, aside from the above technique which also applies, is to look at both the reference in any papers that cite it, and the associated documents provided. Look for a ReadMe file or examine the Data Management Plan if one is provided: you’re looking for a good description of how the data was generated and processed. These files should have all of the information you need to know if you wanted to reproduce the data yourself.

And finally…

With that, we’ve come full circle – from making your research Open, to finding and using others’ Open research. From UCL’s new Office for Open Science and Scholarship, officially launched in Open Access Week 2020, happy Open Access Weekend!

Open Access Week: Policies to free your research

Kirsty22 October 2020

What’s new in Open Access?

2020 has been a bumper year in open access. There have been policy developments, new opportunities for Gold open access and more open access outputs than ever – and there’s even more to come in 2021. This week we’ve launched completely updated funding and REF sections of our website to support authors with all these changes, and there will be more new guidance soon. For now, though, we’d like to share a roundup of what’s been going on in open access recently, and to make a special request to SLMS researchers (scroll to the bottom) for advice on a new transformative agreement for PLOS journals.

Policies: Wellcome and Rights Retention

We’ve been talking about Plan S for a couple of years now, since it was announced in September 2018. Now, though, we’re preparing for the first Plan S policy to come into effect. Wellcome Trust-funded research papers submitted from New Year’s Day 2021 need to be made open access as soon as they’re published. 

If you have Wellcome funding, this won’t be news to you. Read on, though, for something that is completely new: Rights Retention, allowing you to publish in any journal and make your papers open access straight away.

As a reminder, from 2021 Wellcome authors can publish in:

  1. fully open access journals or platforms (such as Wellcome Open Research).
  2. subscription journals that allow them to make their final accepted manuscript open access in Europe PubMed Central at the time of publication.
  3. subscription journals that are included in UCL’s transformative agreements – more on these below.

Wellcome will provide a Journal Checker Tool (coming shortly) to help authors work out where and how to publish. We’ll support Wellcome researchers with our new Wellcome webpages, payments for journals in categories 1 and 3 above, and advice on individual papers and journals. The big change, though, is…

Rights Retention

This might not sound exciting, but it could be a hugely important shift that’ll enable researchers to keep control of their work, and make it open access when it’s published. The Wellcome is the first funder to adopt it. Here’s how it works.

  1. A Plan S funder like Wellcome changes its grant conditions to include a new provision that grantholders automatically grant a CC BY public copyright licence to their accepted manuscripts.
  2. The funder notifies key publishers (Wellcome has contacted 150 publishers) asking them to allow all authors to make their manuscripts available on publication with a CC BY licence. Even if a publisher doesn’t do that, the letter gives them notice of the funder’s open access requirements. This means that the CC BY licence on the accepted manuscript takes legal precedence over any later licence to publish or copyright transfer agreement that an author signs.
  3. The funder requires authors to include a statement in all submissions that notifies the publisher about the funding. Here’s the statement that Wellcome authors must now use:

Wellcome statement required on submissionThis allows Wellcome authors to publish in any journal, even if it’s not a fully open access journal and there’s no transformative agreement. There’s more information about this on the Wellcome’s webpages, and on Plan S’s Rights Retention page.

Other open access and open data policies

Other funders’ open access policies are likely to change in the near future. We’re expecting a new UKRI open access policy next year, and a new REF policy after that. Cancer Research UK has said that it’ll require immediate open access from January 2022. Plan S members, including the EC as part of Horizon Europe, are implementing Rights Retention. So stay up to date with your funder’s requirements – there’s a tool called Sherpa Juliet that helps with this – and check our webpages for all the latest information.

Both funding agencies and publishers also have open data policies setting out expectations, and in many cases requirements, for researchers. It’s a good idea to be aware of these when submitting a paper, or a grant proposal. These policies have the general theme of ensuring that when research is published all of the raw data which underpins the main results and conclusions is made available to as great an extent as possible.  Funding agencies and publishers want to ensure that data is open in order to maintain high standards of reproducibility and transparency. Open data allows published results to be confirmed and tested by others, a much more stringent check of research quality than can realistically be offered by the peer review process. For a publisher this can also help to uphold their reputation and avoid scandals or high-profile retractions. Funding agencies also have an interest in ensuring maximum return on their investment, and encourage data sharing partly so that the output of the research they funded can be re-used as widely as possible by other researchers and beyond academia.

When you publish with a particular journal or submit a funding application to a particular agency always check their specific policies carefully to avoid any problems or delays. Information on funding agency policies is available on our webpages.

Transformative agreements

We’ve written about them before, but we make no apology for repeating ourselves. These new agreements are designed to help with the transition to full open access that funders want. UCL’s agreements currently cover just over 5,000 journals; they enable all, or most, research papers in those journals with a UCL corresponding author to be made open access on publication.

In these agreements, upfront payments fund publishing as well as access to content, helping universities and publishers move away from the old subscription model. The rub is that most agreements still cost more than subscriptions did, but funders are supporting them for a transitional period. We’re currently assessing new agreements for 2021. Can we afford these agreements long-term? Will they lead to journals becoming fully open access? We’ll see.

SLMS researchers: can you help us to help you?

By and large, researchers like the opportunities for open access publishing that transformative agreements provide. However, the agreements tend to favour traditional subscription publishers. The latest development, though, is a new model that might redress the balance a bit: PLOS’s Community Action Model for publishing in PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology. This is a collective, potentially more sustainable way of funding two highly-selective open access journals without individual open access payments (APCs). We need to decide whether to be part of it, and we need your help. If you publish in biomedicine or medicine, please tell us: if we support this new model, and guarantee funding to publish in PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology, would you be more likely to submit there? Get in touch with us to tell us your view, or to find out more.

Open Access Week: Open Data – the future treasures of the past

Kirsty21 October 2020

Here at UCL you are very often told 

Of the benefits associated with publishing via green or gold, 

But what of Research Data and saving them for later? 

What is this new thing you have stumbled across?  

Preserving research outputs and protecting them against loss. 

 

It’s Open Data of course!  

They’re freely available online  

To download and unwind  

With good quality metadata assigned.    

Open data are nestled within Open Science and Scholarship 

without barriers rooted in design.  

 

Open data with DOIs so FAIR,  

The trophies of your commitment to access and to share 

So enhancthe potential for reuse  

and reduce wasted efforts  

of those who seek to uncover new knowledgenew inference,  

Let us discover.   

 

So what is the issue? Where is the harm? 

What is the problem? Why the alarm? 

 

Too expensive they said 

Too much time they said 

Little reward for my efforts and for any of the dread.  

How are we to ascend the ladder? 

For making our data openwe’re not getting any gladder.  

  

Research Integrity, Transparency and Reproducibility 

these are your prized rewards. 

Repurpose and explore,   

To maximise the return, just what is in store?  

So take down the university wall  

Bring in the citizens,  

Address the balance so all stand equally as tall. 

 

Now, with help and support and cups of on-screen tea at the ready,  

The Research Data Management team are on-hand to keep you steady! 

We cheer those pursuing a place for research data  

in need of archiving and preserving and just plain keeping safe. 

We can talk for hours about the research data lifecycle and all that it can entail, 

open data – we shall prevail! 

Here’s to the UCL Research Data policy 

and to all those wishing to make their funders smile,  

With the UCL Research Data Repository, we can help you do it in style! 

 

So to all my fellow disruptive thinkers,  

now is the time for us all to give open data a trial  

and catch up to those who have been open a while. 

Embrace open practices and make fast  

open data – the future treasures of the past.   

By Dr Christiana McMahon | Research Data Support Officer