Promoting open access (OA) scientific publication practices to health sciences librarians, researchers and practitioners

The Network of Collaboration Between Europe & Latin American-Caribbean (NECOBELAC)  countries  is a project that aims to promote open access publishing in Europe and Latin America. The project is sponsored by six institutions; Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) in Spain, University of Nottingham in the UK, Biblioteca Virtual em Saúde (bvs) in Brasil, Universidad Nacional De Colombia  in Colombia, and Universidade do Minho in Portugal. In the past, these partners have developed a collaboration scheme and spurred enthusiasm and interest about the open access publishing options in the scientific community of both continents.

Due to the variety of the scientific writing practices in Europe and Latin America, the NECOBELAC project works in the two geographical areas and spreads the word about the publishing options enabled by the information and communication technologies (ICTs) in relation to open access. The project has established two different types of training activities; the first (T1) is a training course where the participants are expected to become trainers in their affiliated institutions and educate others on the available open access publication practices. The second (T2) includes workshops or meetings that aim to replicate activities and develop wide open access advocacy strategies. The success of the NECOBELAC project stems from the interrelation of the activities that take place in the two continents, and the bidirectional approach that is followed to spread best practices and strategies both in relation to the teaching styles and the implementation of advocacy plans for open access.

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Japan and UK in agreement

In January, I wrote a post about my visit to the Digital Repository Federation in Japan. We wanted to formally mark the visit as the beginning of an ongoing relationship for our mutual benefit. So we agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding – we also invited UKCoRR (United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories) to be a partner.

The Memorandum includes a commitment to

  • sharing experience and expertise
  • inviting and possibly sponsoring representatives from partners to participate in RSP and DRF events
  • joint efforts to seek funding and/or support

It is intended that forms the basis for future cooperation. The RSP and the DRF have submitted a joint poster proposal to Open Repositories 2012 about the visit and the memorandum.

A visit to the Digital Repository Federation in Japan

 

Sapporo from Mount Moiwa

Last week, I was at the University of Hokkaido, in Sapporo, Northern Japan at the invitation of the Digital Repository Federation. The DRF is a federation of universities and research institutions which have established institutional repositories. I met with them to share information about the work of the RSP and the DRF. It was a fantastic opportunity to forge links with colleagues working in digital repositories in Japan and my hosts made me very welcome. My thanks to the DRF and the University of Hokkaido for their hospitality and friendliness. Read more of this post

RSP Embedding Guide

This guide has been published by the Repositories Support Project and will help institutions to get the best value from their institutional repositories through integration with other university systems, particularly research management systems. This can bring advantages to institutions, by:

  • Helping in planning for the REF and reporting
  • Promoting the university’s research in a global context
  • Increasing engagement with businesses and the community
  • Widening access to the university’ research generally

It is aimed at repository staff but will be of interest to other groups such as academic librarians and research management staff.

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Murder at Miskin Manor



Well actually, it was the RSP Autumn School and there weren’t any murders. But I did see a trail of what looked like blood in the corridor outside the conference room! And the Manor is reputedly haunted – was anyone in the bar between 12 midnight and 1am?

I digress. The RSP Autumn School took place this week from 7th – 9th November at the said Miskin Manor near Cardiff. Over three days about 40 participants and speakers gathered to discuss the themes of the school: bringing the emphasis back to open access and demonstrating value to the institution. In the last year or so, repositories have become more embedded in their institutions, in particular with their contribution to research evaluation and reporting. The school focused on how we can continue to demonstrate the value of the repository to the institution without losing the impetus to make that research open access.

In this post I want to highlight a number of key points that emerged over the three days:

  • David Prosser from RLUK, in the keynote address, showed how academic libraries have done an excellent job of providing seamless access to online subscription journals. Everything is now on the researcher’s desktop. However, this has hidden the costs and made it more difficult to demonstrate the need for open access. A suggestion was made that we have a “Closed Access” week just before Open Access week where access to subscription journals is turned off!
  • Universities have a real appetite for business intelligence about how they are doing in comparison to other institutions and about trend in research performance. We can provide this using bibliometric tools and repository statistics. Niamh Brennan demonstrated how Trinity College at the University of Dublin has done this using some really stunning visualisation tools. She also tested our knowledge of wizarding spells from Harry Potter! She’s kindly agreed to run an online RSP master class on this – keep an eye on the RSP events page for more details.
  • Cava, cakes and chocolate. These are not enough – well not enough to make sustainable changes in academics behaviour, although they can provide a short term incentive to deposit.
  • Open Access enhances the impact of research. “Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and economy” (RCUK). Josh Brown described some, as yet unpublished, findings from three studies commissioned by JISC on behalf of the Open Access Implementation Group which looked at the benefits of open access to the private sector, the public sector outside HE and the voluntary and community sector.
  • The importance of good narratives and anecdotes to demonstrate the value of open access generally and the repository’s role in particular. The studies that Josh described provide case studies which can be used by repository staff but many people have examples of how exposure by the repository has benefited the institution and individual academics e.g. through increased opportunities for collaborative research.
  • The need for sustainable support services for repositories. Edina at the University of Edinburgh have been commissioned by JISC to develop UK RepositoryNet, a socio-technical infrastructure to support repositories. Theo Andrew from Edina and Veronica Adamson from Glenaffric (via Skype) ran a workshop to gain input from the delegates as to what they wanted from such a service.
  • We all felt enthused about bringing the emphasis back to open access. The final sessions on Wednesday morning were devoted to this. Lots of original ideas were generated as to how we can make it happen. These will be the subject of a future blog post.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend three days with old and new colleagues discussing these very important issues. Thanks to all the speakers and participants for making it a really worthwhile event.

Slides and notes will be made available over the next week on the event page.

Focus on Open Access at the University of the West of England

As part of Open Access week, yesterday I presented at a lunchtime session at the University of Western England  (my slides are below) as part of a week of activies. The attendees were an even mix of academic and library staff which made for a lively discussion. I was very impressed by the high level of support for the repository and the engagement of the staff at UWE. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion – it’s a real treat to delve into the issues that are critical in making OA really work. So thanks to those who took part and to Anna Lawson and Alex Clarke (the repository team) for inviting me.

I’ve summarised the issues below:

  • The current system of academic reward based on publication in high impact journals supports the status quo. There is a need to widen this to include other impact measures such as engagement with business and influence on policy making. Although, the difficulty of measuring this was acknowledged.
  • The importance to societies of the income from journal subscriptions.
  • The repository or “Green route” was viewed favourably but it was important to make self deposit as streamlined as possible – rekeying of information is a real barrier.
  • There was a lot of interest in the costs of gold publishing and the likelihood of this business model becoming the norm.
  • One academic was reluctant to deposit their own final copy rather than the published version as it hadn’t been copy edited. Although for the end reader, they may not be too worried about a few mistakes if the alternative was a cost to view it. Another academic recounted an experience where the publisher’s editing had had the opposite effect and the author’s final version was the more correct one.
  • The cost of closed access was discussed – particularly its impact on library budgets.
  • Metrics on use need to include a full picture e.g. downloads from publishers sites plus downloads from the repository. The JISC funded PIRUS 2 project has been exploring just this scenario. There was some concern that downloads may detract from use of the published version but it was agreed that the repository downloads could well be in addition to the traditional subscription access.
  • Mandates which required staff to deposit their research in the repository were seen as a valued indication of institutional support but the most important thing was the enthusiasm among the academic community.
  • The curation of research data and the issues around making this open access were raised. UWE has recently been awarded JISC funding for a Managing Research data project.
Slides UWE_261011

Photo by Hopeless128

Two new toolkits to ‘Kultivate’ artistic research deposit

Guest Post by Marie-Therese Gramstadt, KULTIVATE Project Manager, VADS.

Funded through the JISC Information Environment programme 2009-11, the Kultivate project makes available two new toolkits for the UK Higher Education community: an advocacy for arts research toolkit aimed at repository managers; and a decision-making toolkit for artistic researchers. The Kultivate project has arisen out of the Kultur II Group, which consists of researchers and repository staff engaging with arts research deposit in institutional research repositories, and is led by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), a Research Centre of the University for the Creative Arts. Read more of this post