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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 at UCL in numbers

Patrycja8 October 2020

This is the first in a new series of regular posts in which we plan to celebrate the huge numbers of research outputs that UCL academics are making open access, and the impact of this worldwide.

UCL Discovery in numbers

Despite this year’s unprecedented demands on academics, UCL authors have been depositing their papers at the same impressive rate as before COVID. Our team has continued to process 1,600 papers each month, on average, making them openly available in UCL Discovery, our institutional repository. As of October, the repository holds over 105,000 outputs that are currently openly available to download – this is a significant increase from over 83,000 that were available at the same time last year, and a testament to the success of the REF open access policy.

Research outputs in UCL Discovery have just reached over 22 million lifetime downloads, of which over 3 million are downloads of open access books published by UCL Press. Our global readership spans over 250 countries; the top five countries downloading from the repository are the US, UK, India, Canada and Germany.

This year alone, the repository had over 3,300,000 downloads. The most popular item so far in 2020, with over 11,000 downloads, is a journal article originally published in Nature, Mastering the game of Go without human knowledge. Other popular items include a recent publication from UCL Press, The Responsibility of Intellectuals: Reflections by Noam Chomsky and others after 50 years, with over 8,000 downloads (interestingly, this book is particularly popular in Canada). How the World Changed Social Media is also going strong this year, and kept its position in the top 10 most downloaded items (more than 88,000 lifetime downloads). Unsurprisingly, an article on COVID-19, The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health, is also one of the top downloaded items, with over 8,000 downloads so far.

RPS in numbers

We’ve written before about the new functionality that we introduced to UCL’s Research Publications Service this summer. It allows you to send publications recorded in RPS to your ORCID record automatically. 75% of research staff have added their ORCID record to RPS to enable autoclaiming. We’re very excited that 20% of those have also now given RPS permission to send publications to their ORCID record, so they don’t have to add them manually. It’s great that so many academics are linking and sharing information about research outputs in this way, and we hope that it soon becomes a time-saver for many more. You can find out more about the tool, and how easy it is to set it up, on our ORCID guide.

Doctoral theses in UCL Discovery

Of all the items that are available in UCL Discovery, over 18,000 are doctoral thesis. At UCL, the requirement to submit an electronic copy of your thesis as a condition of award has been in place since 2009. In addition to that, we have retrospectively digitised theses from earlier years, as a part of a collaborative project with ProQuest. Currently, over 8,000 retrospectively digitised thesis are available in the repository. The oldest digitised thesis dates as far back as 1933.

UCL theses are one of the most downloaded types of item in the repository, with over 7 million lifetime downloads. The most popular doctoral thesis, with over 3,600 downloads over the last twelve months, is a 1992 thesis, Fatigue and fracture mechanics analysis of threaded connections, available here.

Gold open access in numbers

So far, we’ve focused on the Green route to open access, where outputs are made available, usually as final accepted manuscripts, after the publisher’s embargo period. Plan S funders, of course, will soon require immediate open access, and Plan S’s Rights Retention Strategy will allow authors to make papers published in subscription journals open access without an embargo (option 2 in Plan S).

Many UCL academics publish via the Gold route to open access, either in fully open access journals (option 1 in Plan S), or under transformative agreements (option 3 in Plan S). This year to date UCL’s Open Access Team has arranged immediate open access for over 1,800 UCL papers.

There are more than 5,000 journals covered in UCL’s transformative agreements, including small and society publishers like Electrochemical Society, European Respiratory Journal, IWA Publishing, Microbiology Society, Portland Press Biochemical Society journals, Rockefeller University Press, Royal Society of Chemistry. This allows authors publishing in these journals to comply with their funders’ requirements and Plan S. Negotiations with other publishers are happening for 2021.

Until the end of this year, papers funded by the Wellcome Trust that are submitted to  subscription journals can still use UCL’s Wellcome funds. Papers submitted from 1 January 2021 will need to follow the requirements of the new Wellcome open access policy [link], which means that funds will only be available for open access in fully open access journals and subscription journals that are part of UCL’s transformative agreements. Other papers will need to follow the Wellcome’s second route to open access, depositing their manuscript in Europe PubMed Central, to be made open access immediately, under the Rights Retention Strategy. We expect the current arrangements for papers funded by one of the UK Research Councils to continue until a new UKRI open access policy is introduced next year.

During OA Week we have a Q&A session on open access. This event, for UCL researchers, is an opportunity to ask questions about the new open access funding arrangements, transformative agreements, Plan S, depositing your research in UCL Discovery, and more. Sign up via Eventbrite to receive a link to join the session.

Transforming publishing with new agreements?

Catherine Sharp25 May 2020

When Plan S was announced 18 months ago, requiring all publications from participating funders to be made open access from 2021, a new term – transformative agreement – entered the open access lexicon. The idea is to transform or transition journal publishing away from subscriptions towards full open access.

The Wellcome open access policy from 2021, and Plan S, allow authors to publish in three different types of journal. After their consultation on a new policy finishes, the UK Research Councils (UKRI) might well say something similar. Here are the three routes:

  1. Fully open access journals. All papers in these journals are published open access, often for a fee. Examples are the PLOS and BMC journals, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports, SageOpen, Wellcome Open Research, and UCL’s own UCL Open: Environment and UCL Child Health Open Research.
  2. Journals that aren’t open access, but that allow authors to make their manuscripts open access in a repository like UCL Discovery, on publication, under the CC BY licence. Royal Society journals are an example.
  3. Journals that are part of transformative agreements, or are themselves transformative journals, until 2024.

Most publishers still don’t allow immediate open access in a repository, and most that do don’t allow CC BY. Transformative agreements are increasing, though.

Jisc, which negotiates our subscription agreements, has some complex criteria for transformative agreements. Publishers must offer 100% UK open access publishing that’s affordable, sustainable and transparent. Large commercial publishers, as well as society publishers like Microbiology Society and Electrochemical Society, all have agreements.

What does this mean for me?

UCL is trialling lots of transformative agreements this year. These include our long-standing SpringerCompact, RSC and IOP agreements, smaller offers from Brill, Thieme, European Respiratory Journal and the societies we’ve already mentioned, and larger agreements with Wiley and Sage.

These agreements are restricted to UCL corresponding authors. Make sure you give your UCL e-mail address and affiliation when you submit to a journal; you should be recognised as eligible if we have a transformative agreement. See our step-by-step guide to open access funding for more information both about these agreements and about other open access funding arrangements.

Contact us if you’d like to arrange a virtual department visit from us to discuss these agreements.

UCL researchers respond to COVID-19 pandemic

Patrycja21 April 2020

UCL researchers are accustomed to working across disciplines, with colleagues from many different institutions, to help address the biggest challenges facing the world today. It’s no different with the COVID-19 crisis – though now their work is in the public eye as perhaps never before.

UCL clinical academics have joined frontline medical staff in fighting the outbreak and UCL is providing resources for NHS medical staff. Our researchers are developing rapid tests and tracking systems for COVID-19 and are taking a prominent role in advancing public knowledge about the virus.

Many UCL academics are already releasing papers analysing the outbreak, case studies, predictions about the course of the pandemic and assessments of its economic, health and social implications. In a global crisis, public access to high-quality scientific information is critical. Some publishers have introduced special arrangements to make COVID-19 publications openly available during the pandemic. UCL authors also make their papers openly available UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository, where they are curated and kept open access in perpetuity.

In the first of what we hope will be a series of regular posts, we are featuring the latest outputs by UCL academics available in the repository.

A commentary by Diana Margot Rosenthal, Marcella Ucci, Michelle Heys, Andrew Hayward, Monica Lakhanpaul that analyses impact of COVID-19 on families experiencing homelessness: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

Ali Zumla, from UCL Department of Infection, co-authored a paper that analyses imaging findings of the first two patients identified in Italy with COVID-19 infection: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10094977

Andrew Hayward from the Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Sarah Beale from Institute of Health Informatics and Anne M. Johnson from the Institute of Global Health analyse the implications of social distancing to control the pandemic: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009 This article is also available on Wellcome Open Research –  a megajournal platform with open peer-review. 

Another article by Andrew Hayward, Sarah Beale and Anne M. Johnson on seasonality seasonality and immunity to laboratory-confirmed seasonal coronavirus is also available for open peer-review on Wellcome Open Research platform. The dataset supporting this article is available in UCL Discovery: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093909/

Jayant Vaidya, Professor of Surgery & Oncology, has co-authored an article describing methods of reducing infection and rationalising workloads. It’s available in UCL Discovery here: discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1009

For more on COVID-19 research at UCL, please see our webpages here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/covid-19-research/

Doctoral theses in UCL’s repository

Patrycja25 October 2018

At UCL, candidates for research degrees are required to deposit an electronic copy of their final thesis in UCL’s Research Publications Service (RPS), to be made open access in UCL’s institutional repository, UCL Discovery. Students can choose to restric public access to their thesis, for a variety of reasons like future publication, copyright restriction or sensitive data, but most are made open access immediately, or after a delay period no longer than 12 months.

The requirement to submit an electronic copy of your thesis as a condition of award has been in place at UCL since 2009. In addition to that, we have retrospectively digitised theses from earlier years, as a part of a collaborative project with ProQuest. So far, about 3,500 theses have been made available in UCL Discovery as a part of this collaboration. Theses are also digitised through the British Library’s e-Theses Online Service (EThOS), upon request.

In total, there are over 10,500 theses available in UCL’s institutional repository, dating as far back as 1933. UCL theses are amongst our most-downloaded items! The most popular is a 1990 thesis, Marketing theories and concepts for the international construction industry, available here. Amongst the theses available there are some completed by notable UCL alumni:

Julian Baggini, philosopher and author of popular books on philosophy, including A Short History of Truth, The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other thought experiments, and most recently How the World Thinks. Baggini completed his PhD in 1996, and his thesis on philopsphy of idnetity was recently made available here: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10057733/

Adam Rutherford, geneticist and author, has produced several science documentaries, and hosts the BBC 4 radio programme Inside Science. He completed his PhD at UCL in 2002, and his thesis on the role of a specific gene (CHX10) on eye development was recently made available in UCL Discovery: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/10057801/

Chris Van Tulleken, together with his twin brother and fellow doctor Xand, makes programmes on various aspects of health, most recently Operation Ouch for CBBC. He is also an infectious diseases doctor and MRC Clinical Research Fellow at University College London Hospital, and completed his PhD in 2017. Chris’ thesis is available here: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1567969/

UCL Discovery success stories – part 3

Patrycja27 October 2017

This year’s Open Access week runs from 23-29 October under the theme “Open in order to…” This is an invitation to reflect on many benefits of making research publications openly available. We are excited to present a series of blog posts demonstrating the benefits of making publications open access via UCL Discovery.

Access to research outside universities is often very restricted. Open access extends the audience for research – to academics without subscriptions (including in developing countries), professionals, businesses, civil servants, politicians in local and national government, doctors and patients, teachers and schoolchildren, amateur scholars and other interested laypeople.

UCL Discovery is a long established repository and authors depositing their papers in there benefit from increased visibility of their work. Articles available there are downloaded hundreds of times in many countries across the globe. Today, in the last post in the series, we present some of the highly-downloaded papers from three faculties in UCL’s School of Life and Medical Sciences.

Publication title: Attachment and Personality Disorders: A Short Review
UCL authors: Peter Fonagy, Nicolas Lorenzini
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry
Publication year: 2013
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1430370/
Downloads since deposit: 4,487
Downloads last 12 months: 3,033

This paper examines the relationship between attachment and personality disorders. The final accepted manuscript was made available in May 2014, after the delay period required by the journal.

This is a highly popular paper, and the article downloads are increasing, with rarely being below 100 per month and reaching peak of 668 downloads in July this year. With almost 3,000 downloads it became one the 50 most-downloaded items in last 12 months. During this period the manuscript was downloaded in 97 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (1,080), United States (759), and Australia (127).

Publication title: Premanifest and early Huntington’s disease
UCL author: Sarah Tabrizi, Edward Wild
Publication type: Book chapter
Book title: Huntington’s Disease
Publication year: 2014
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1447184/
Downloads since deposit: 966
Downloads last 12 months: 881

This is the final accepted manuscript of a chapter in a book dedicated to Huntington’s Disease. The publisher, Oxford University Press, allows authors to make their accepted manuscript available in institutional repositories after a delay period.

The manuscript for this book chapter is available in UCL Discovery from February 2016, and since then the downloads umber have been consistently increasing – from 18 in November 2016 to 115 in October this year. In last 12 months the paper was downloaded in 44 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from United States (305), the United Kingdom (261), and Australia (64).

Publication title: The sacral autonomic outflow is sympathetic
UCL author: William Richardson
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: Science
Publication year: 2016
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1530734/
Downloads since deposit: 1,108
Downloads last 12 months: 1,108

This is one of the most recent papers from the Faculty of Medical Sciences that is openly available in UCL Discovery; the author’s accepted manuscript has been available from the end of January 2017 and since then has been downloaded over 1,000 times, with peak downloads in February (249) and May (297). With so many downloads it is the top 5th paper in the faculty for past year.

The article was downloaded in 47 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from United States (280), Japan (196) and Italy (157).

UCL Discovery success stories – part 2

Patrycja26 October 2017

This year’s Open Access week runs from 23-29 October under the theme “Open in order to…” This is an invitation to reflect on many benefits of making research publications openly available. We are excited to present a series of blog posts demonstrating the benefits of making publications open access via UCL Discovery.

Access to research outside universities is often very restricted. Open access extends the audience for research – to academics without subscriptions (including in developing countries), professionals, businesses, civil servants, politicians in local and national government, doctors and patients, teachers and schoolchildren, amateur scholars and other interested laypeople.

UCL Discovery is a long established repository and authors depositing their papers in there benefit from increased visibility of their work. Articles available there are downloaded hundreds of times in many countries across the globe. Today we present some of the highly-downloaded papers from three faculties in UCL’s School of Laws, Arts and Humanities, and Social and Historical Sciences.

Publication title: The Rule in Wilkinson v Downton: Conduct, Intention, and Justifiability
UCL author: Ying Liew
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: Modern Law Review
Publication year: 2015
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1460156/
Downloads since deposit: 1,214
Downloads last 12 months: 1,119

Wilkinson v Downtown is a famous English tort law decision from 1897 that recognised the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. This paper is in top 10 papers downloaded last month in the Faculty of Laws.

The version that is available in UCL Discovery is the author’s accepted manuscript, and this version of the article is also available in SSRN database, from where it was downloaded over 300 times. Over last 12 months the manuscript in UCL Disocvery was downloaded in 58 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (414), Australia (72) and United States (53).

Publication title: Brexit
UCL author: Veronique Munoz-Dardé
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: The Philosophers’ Magazine
Publication year: 2016
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1527367/
Downloads since deposit: 827
Downloads last 12 months: 827

The author’s accepted manuscript of this essay is available from November 2016, and since then it was downloaded over 800 times, with peak downloads in March (150), at the time when the Article 50 was triggered. There is also a free version of this paper available on The Philosopher’s Magazine website.

In last 12 months, the article was downloaded in 48 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (377), United States (72), and Germany (55).

Publication title: Culture and health
UCL authors: Beverly Butler, Joseph Calabrese, Angel Chater, Helen Chatterjee, Francois Guesnet, Robert Horne, Sushrut Jadhav, David Napier, Sonu Shamdasani, Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Linda Thomson, Amanda Williams, Christopher Willott, James Wilson, Katherine Wolf
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: Lancet
Publication year: 2014
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1452529/
Downloads since deposit: 1,092
Downloads last 12 months: 674

This paper reviews health and health practices as they relate to culture, and the authors show how inseparable health is from culturally affected perceptions of wellbeing. The version available in UCL Discovery is the author’s accepted manuscript, and Google Scholar provides a link to the UCL Discovery record of the paper.

The manuscript in UCL Discovery is available from May 2015, and since then it was downloaded over 1,000 times. In last 12 months the article was downloaded in 59 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from United States (217), the United Kingdom (97), and Australia (41).

UCL Discovery success stories – part 1

Patrycja25 October 2017

This year’s Open Access Week runs from 23-29 October under the theme “Open in order to…” This is an invitation to reflect on many benefits of making research publications openly available. We are excited to present a series of blog posts demonstrating the benefits of making publications open access via UCL Discovery.

Access to research outside universities is often very restricted. Open access extends the audience for research – to academics without subscriptions (including in developing countries), professionals, businesses, civil servants, politicians in local and national government, doctors and patients, teachers and schoolchildren, amateur scholars and other interested laypeople.

UCL Discovery is a long established repository and authors depositing their papers in there benefit from increased visibility of their work. Articles available there are downloaded hundreds of times in many countries across the globe. Today we present some of the highly-downloaded papers from three faculties in UCL’s School of the Built Environment, Engineering and Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

Publication title: King’s Cross: renaissance for whom?
UCL author: Michael Edwards
Publication type: Book chapter
Book title: Urban Design, Urban Renaissance and British Cities
Publication year: 2009
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/14020/
Downloads since deposit: 7,193
Downloads last 12 months: 1,026

This book chapter has been downloaded over 7,000 times since the author deposited it. With more than 1,000 downloads over the last 12 months, and being one the 50 most-downloaded items this year, it is still one of UCL Discovery’s most popular publications from the Faculty of the Built Environment. Wikipedia article on King’s Cross Central links to the UCL Discovery record of the paper. This has no doubt added to the popularity of this publication.

The version that is available in UCL Discovery is the author’s accepted manuscript, and this is the only version of this publication available online. In last 12 months, the chapter has been downloaded in 41 countries in total, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (467), United States (221), and Germany (182).

Publication title: Bayesian hierarchical model for the prediction of football results
UCL author: Gianluca Baio
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: Journal of Applied Statistics
Publication year: 2010
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/16040/
Downloads since deposit: 8,501
Downloads last 12 months: 454

This article deals with statistical modelling of sports data, a popular topic amongst both statisticians and sports fans. The version available in UCL Discovery is the author’s accepted manuscript, and it was downloaded over 8,500 times since deposit, with 454 downloads over last 12 months.

The paper was cited by numerous blogs on football and statistics, with some of the blogs linking to the UCL Discovery version of the paper, for example here. In last 12 months the manuscript was downloaded in 53 countries in total, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (103), United States (38), and China (32). The accepted manuscript is openly available in other repositories too.

Come the next World Cup in 2018 we expect another spike of interest in the paper!

Publication title: The Lone Actor Terrorist and the TRAP-18
UCL author: Paul Gill
Publication type: Journal article
Journal title: Journal of Threat Assessment and Management
Publication year: 2016
Discovery URL: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1477463/
Downloads since deposit: 1,288
Downloads last 12 months: 940

Articles in UCL Discovery are made available according to publisher’s embargo periods. This means that there may be a delay of 6, 12 or 24 months before they can be made openly available. Fortunately, there is no embargo period on this paper, which has been open access since it was published in April 2016.

This is one of the most recent papers from the Faculty of Engineering that is openly available in UCL Discovery. In last 12 months the manuscript was downloaded in 60 countries, and the highest number of downloads came from the United Kingdom (211), United States (180), and Germany (87).