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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Green mandates and gold choices

My doctoral degree arrived by mail this past week in my office at the Centre for Research Communications, where I have been working for two months now as an Open Access Adviser for the Repositories Support Project (RSP).  Thinking back of the whole PhD process I believe that one word describes every part of it well, the adverb “amazingly”! When you are a PhD student, first, you are amazingly poor; second, amazingly enough, you can survive without sleeping; and, third, conducting research and writing a dissertation about open access is amazingly interesting.

I started my PhD in September 2007 at the Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, a prestigious library school with a long history. My plan was to study the open-access movement with Associate Professor Robin Peek, an open-access advocate and one of the first signatories of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI).

The title of my dissertation is, “The Influence of the National Institutes of Health Public-Access Policy on the Publishing Habits of Principal Investigators“. The mandatory National Institutes of Health (NIH) public-access policy requires that the NIH-funded principal investigators (PIs) submit to PubMed Central (PMC) immediately upon publication the peer-reviewed copy of their article, which will then become available for public access through PMC no later than after a twelve-month embargo period. The policy has been effective since April 7th, 2008 (Division G, Title II, Section 218 of PL 110-161 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008).

The purpose of this dissertation was to investigate the effect of the NIH public-access policy on the NIH-funded principal investigators’ publishing decisions.

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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

Free Workshops: How to make your Repository OpenAIRE compliant

Interested in learning more about making your repository compliant with the OpenAIRE infrastructure to support and monitor the implementation of the FP7 Open Access pilot?

Want to help your faculty members comply with the Open Access requirements of the European Commission (EC)?

Want to add EC project data to your repository records and use OpenAIRE value-added functionality (post authoring tools, monitoring tools through analysis of document and usage statistics)?

Register for a free online workshop on Monday, January 23, or Tuesday, January 24: How to make your repository OpenAIRE compliant.
Event dates and duration: Monday, January 23
10:00 – 11:00 CET (proprietary platforms);
11:30 – 12:30 CET (DSpace repository platform);
14:00 – 15:00 CET (EPrints repository platform);

or Tuesday, January 24
11:30 – 12:30 CET (EPrints repository platform);
14:00 – 15:00 CET (proprietary platforms);
15:30 – 16:30 CET (DSpace repository platform);
(please choose the date most convenient for you)

A draft agenda and more information can be found here.

Registration is free, but required. RSVP by Friday, January 20, to  stating your name, email address, job title, repository name and URL, repository platform and country.

And/or Book an individual consultation with the OpenAIRE team members on Wednesday, January 25, Thursday, January 26, or Friday, January 27. Contact person: Pedro Príncipe, Open Access Projects, University of Minho,

More information about January as OpenAIRE compliance month is here:

New RSP Team member

This month, Nancy Pontika (on the right) joined the team. Nancy has a thorough background in Open Access information, having worked as an Assistant Editor and Project Manager with the Open Access Directory. Nancy has taught on courses for information professionals, as well as providing workshops and one-to-one consultancy services. Nancy recently gained a PhD in Information Science with a specialism in Open Access and the effects of public access policies, from Simmons College, Boston MA.

The rest of the team from left to right are: Laurian Williamson, Open Access Adviser with responsibility for the JISC Repositories Take Up and Embedding Projects; Jackie Wickham, RSP Project Coordinator and Bill Hubbard, RSP Project Director.

RSP support is available for all HEIs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Consultancy visits are available to institutions with long-standing repositories as well as to those institutions in the start-up phase through our programme of repository health-checks. Please contact or 0845 257 6860 for more information.

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.

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.