Unlocking attitudes to Open Access – survey results

You may remember earlier this year that the RSP and UKCoRR invited UK repositories to carry out a survey of academic staff with a particular focus on informing advocacy plans and “joined up” institutional developments for Open Access in higher education institutions. The questions focused on attitudes toward open access and institutional repositories. The RSP blogged about this in March.

The results of this survey have now been collated and there are some interesting results. Unsurprisingly (other surveys have shown this), the majority of academics are in favour of open access:

85% strongly or mildly in favour of open access in principle

80% strongly or mildly in favour of open access repositories

69% strongly or mildly in favour of publishing in OA journals

However, rather less reported actually acting upon this: 59% make some of their publications available in the institutional repository but 41% don’t make any available. This is despite the fact that 73% were aware of their institution’s repository. Question 7a gave respondents the opportunity to give reasons why in their own words. The results of this were categorised and the most common reasons were:

Haven’t published yet/material not suitable (99)

Copyright concerns (94)

Lack of time/haven’t got round to doing it (58)

Lack of knowledge (48)

Use other method (28)

The questions on copyright and versions provided some encouraging results – the majority, 70%, thought that authors should own the copyright to the material and although we know that most authors sign away their copyright, it’s interesting to see that they don’t necessarily think that is a good thing.  The fact that 86% kept a copy of their own author, peer reviewed final version is also supportive to self archiving. In addition, 77% felt that this version was acceptable for deposit in the repository. These latter responses help to counter some commonly held beliefs that authors don’t keep a copy of their work and that only the publisher’s PDF is worthy of sharing.

Twenty institutions participated with a total of 1676 respondents. A summary of the results is attached here Attitudes to OA – Basic summary report. A fuller report is in progress which will be published in due course.


Attitudes to Open Access – survey update

You may remember that the RSP is encouraging UK repository staff tocarry out surveys of researchers in their institutions to gauge attitudes to open access and the repository. I blogged about this some weeks ago: Unlocking attitudes to open access. Currently there are 23 institutions who taking part in this which should create a substantial body of evidence. The first results came in this week from Sally Rumsey at the University of Oxford. We’ll be working over the summer to collate the responses and produce a report.

If you’ve been thinking about participating but haven’t got round to it, there’s still time to run it. We’ve extended the deadline for submitting results to the end of July. All the information you need to carry out the survey is here: Nationwide survey – Open Access and you can publicise it using our customisable poster/flyer Survey poster . Do contact me if you have any queries – jacqueline.wickham@nottingham.ac.uk.

Unlocking attitudes to open access in the UK


The United Kingdom Council for Research Repositories and the Repositories Support Project invite repository and library staff in the UK to participate in a nationwide initiative to guage researcher’s attitudes to open access generally, funding for open access publishing and the institutional repository specifically.

We are asking you to carry out a standardised survey of researchers in your institution between April and June 2011. This is based on a survey carried out at the University of Huddersfield during Open Access week 2010 which revealed some interesting results. There are benefits for participating institutions such as raising the profile of the repository and also nationally in creating a body of evidence about the researchers’ attitudes.

All the information you need to participate, including the survey questions,  is here:  Nationwide survey – Open Access

RSP Winter School

The latest RSP residential course has now come to a close, after three packed days in the beautiful setting of Armathwaite hall  in the Lake District.

Delegates were collected from Penrith and taken by coach to the Hall where we sat down to a delicious lunch in the restaurant overlooking Bassenthwaite lake and the standard was set for the three days of excellent food, wine and conversation.

After lunch and registration Jackie Wickham welcomed the delegates, and we broke the ice by filling out our ‘RSP Dance Card’. Delegates were up on their feet to take note of the names of the representatives from each institution and the repository software they used. Based on my own card the split was around 20 Eprints repositories to 10 D-Space repositories, an imprecise measure but interesting to see the increasing presence of D-Space among the UK Repository community. Many of the delegates exclaimed that they were surprised that there were so many D-Space users present.

We were lucky enough to have Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford, provide us with our keynote address. Martin spoke enthusiastically about Open Access and its power to drive knowledge. He pointed out that fundamentally what drives academics is giving away, and the measure of success for an academic, citation, is a measure of the extent to which they are able to give away their intellectual property.  He suggested that in the future the debate would focus more on whether we should have national IRs or institutional IRs, and also closer on the horizon: the long term curation of research data. He also put out a call to the community to develop credible studies that support our claims of the wider societal benefits of OA.  Similar arguments exist in related areas such as IBMs move to Open Software, and he suggested that in these increasingly difficult economic circumstances we find ourselves we need to strengthen this evidence base.  The question and answer session that followed was equally animated and saw Martin describe a possible future for commercial publishing in a world which is moving towards OA. Martin explained that he saw a very important role for publishers in supplying highly specialised value-added services such as bespoke bibliographic review services.

Gareth Johnson gave an entertaining  perspective as a graduate of our Summer School, and a candid ‘warts and all’ view of the challenges he has faced in his repository.  We finished off day one with a light hearted debate – Green or Gold. Which route will turn out to be the most successful in increasing open access to research? – in which Emily Nimmo stepped into the breach in Bill’s absence and put forward the case for Green Open Access and Dominic Tate of Royal Holloway put forward the case for Gold Open Access. Following some very well argued points, including those from the floor, Green came out victorious.

Day two opened with an overview of the activities of RSP and three presentations which drew out themes running throughout the Winter School; CRIS systems, the REF and research data. Keith Jeffrey gave an excellent presentation on Institutional Repositories and CRIS taking in a huge amount of information and covering amongst others CERIF-CRIS and euroCRIS. Integration with CRIS systems was clearly a topic at the forefront of many delegates’ minds. Next came Mark Cox from the R4R: Readiness 4 Ref project who described the work they have been doing with euroCRIS in developing a schema, CERIF4REF, which will help eliminate the duplication of effort in producing the data necessary for the REF. He also highlighted that they are working with Southampton, Edinburgh and Kings to develop plug-ins for E-Prints, D-Space and Fedora. Bringing the morning activities to a close was Theo Andrew representing the Repository Junction project. He gave a very entertaining presentation based on a loose analogy between repositories and grain silos which had us all giggling.

The Repository Junction project is doing some very interesting work addressing the issue of multiple authored papers, mandated open access and the resultant multiple deposits.  Repository Junction puts forward a broker model which could simplify this process and provide one consistent deposit process, and based on the reaction to this among the delegates this is something that the community would enthusiastically adopt.

In the afternoon we heard from Balviar Notay who gave us an overview of the JISC take up and embedding programme and then we split into groups for an afternoon workshop which looked at four case studies of embedding repositories: Aberystwyth’s Cadair, Glasgow’s Enlighten, White Rose Consortium’s White Rose Research Online and Newcastle University’s My Impact. Each provided a very different route to embedding the repository in its institutional context and was an excellent catalyst for discussions in the groups on issues delegates were grappling with and the sharing of best practice. We closed the day with another excellent meal and discussions continued late into the evening over drinks.

Friday morning began with a workshop led by Ruth Murray-Webster, Lucidus Consulting, on measuring performance and demonstrating value and it was clear that while the repository can contribute to the aims of an institution in a number of ways proving the causal link between the repository and the result is a real challenge.

There were a number of really valuable suggestions and examples shared and it became clear that while measuring performance is vital to demonstrating value, in the absence of a national picture or benchmarking system to compare with this information is much less useful for evaluating performance.

The Winter School drew to a close with a case study on reaching researchers through their data: a DAF case study, from Miggie Pickton and an overview of the Research Communications Strategy from Amanda Hodgson which again drew out the themes evident throughout the event, advocacy and how to successfully reach out to your research community, how to and who should manage and curate research data and attitudes to Open Access.

The Winter School has yet again shown how valuable it is for repository practitioners to get together with sufficient time to really share experiences, developments and build a community. As one delegate put it:

This has to have been one of the best work-related courses I’ve attended. Not only do I feel that I have taken on board an enormous amount of information that is directly relevant to my job – and intellectually stimulating to boot – but I feel I have made contact with a supportive network of colleagues. All this, perfectly organised, and a faultless, fabulous environment, too. Outstanding. Thank you!”

Presentations from the event can be found here.

For an alternative take on the Winter School see Gareth Johnson’s blog.

DataShare at Edinburgh

Readers may be interested to have a look at the DataShare service at Edinburgh University. This repository allows researchers to “deposit, share, and license their data resources for online discovery and use by others, either openly or in a controlled way if requested”. It arose out of a JISC funded project in the Repositories and Preservation Programme.

I know from conversations that many repository managers are being approached by people in their institutions for help with storing datasets. It will be interesting to see how successful DataShare is in encouraging deposit. The survey on Scottish Witchcraft is intriguing! And for those working in/studying repositories the results of surveys of attitudes to open access and institutional repositories among academic authors, senior managers and technical staff would be useful.