Scholarly Communications: New Developments in Open Access

On the first day of June, the Wren room, at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), was filled since early in the morning with librarians, repositories specialists, research officers and copyright consultants, who came to attend the Repositories Support Project (RSP) event on scholarly communications and open access.

Photo of the Wren room balcony during the tea/coffee break

During the event, a great number of delegates were active in Tweeting, producing a high traffic, as it is captured in David Clay’s story. All eight presentations explored issues related to scholarly communication and open access and demonstrated innovative projects and ways of disseminating research results.

For those who were not able to attend, all presentations were videotaped and can be viewed online. In addition, two excellent blog posts, one from Stuart Lawson and another one from Neil Steward provide more details about the speakers’ points. For a quick look on the event details and the recorded presentations you can also check our storify story.

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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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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.

JISC RIM Projects Event

On Tuesday, I attended the JISC Research Information Management (RIM) Projects Final Event at the Manchester Conference Centre. This showcased the work of the four Strand 2 projects:

  • Brunel Research Under a CERIF Environment (BRUCE) – Brunel University
  • CERIFy – UKOLN and Trinity College, Dublin
  • Measuring Impact under CERIF (MICE) – Centre for e-Research (CeRch), Kings College London
  • Integrated Research Input and Output System (IRIOS) – University of Sunderland

At the risk of stating the obvious, all the projects used CERIF as a means of improving the management of research information.

I really liked the format of the day where, after an introduction from Josh Brown (JISC Programme Manager) who outlined the importance of effective research management and the benefits of CERIF, the projects made a 10 minute pitch to entice us to attend a more in depth parallel session (delegates could attend two of four during the day).

After coffee, I went to CERIFy led by UKOLN and Trinity College, Dublin with the following partners: Aberystwyth University, University of Huddersfield, University of Bath, Queens’s University, Belfast and Thomson Reuters. The project started with the premise that people are not interested in standards but want effective and efficient processes that provide meaningful outputs – they will engage with the standard if it does this. The project began with getting each institution to identify the key RIM business processes and there was a clear consensus for:  pre-award management, benchmarking, measuring esteem and bibliographic data exchange (Incites from Thomson Reuters).  The presenters highlighted that the process of gathering this provided useful insights into the perspectives of different individuals and departments and is well worth any institution carrying out – all the documentation will be made available on the project website.

A decision was taken to focus on Incites and Measuring Impact. During the course of the project, CERIF was used to enable the exchange of information between an institution and Incites with the end result that information such as impact factors and citation data can be pulled into research management systems.

I then chose the IRIOS Project for my second workshop. This has developed a proof of concept demonstrator based on the Universities for the North East Information System (UNIS) platform for a CERIF compliant “grants on the web” system for Research Council (RC) funded projects. The UNIS system is well established and tracks community and business engagement for universities in the North East. The team saw similarities between the core concepts of CERIF and UNIS – Person, Project, Organisational Unit in CERIF and Contact, Project and Organisation in UNIS. The project has provided access to Research Council funded projects in CERIF format – linking grants to publications.

The day was rounded off by two non project presentations. Simon Kerridge from the University of Sunderland outlined the RMAS project which aims to set up a procurement process for cloud based research management and administration modules: Academic expertise, Funding Sourcing, Proposal Management, Costing and Pricing, Customer Relationship Management, Post Award Management. Outputs and Outcomes, Reporting/Submission/Interfaces.  Institutions will be able to source various modules to meet their own needs and complement their existing services and functionality.

The final presentation was by Dale Keenan from the Economic and Social research Council about a project to standardise RCUK reporting systems. The ESRC existing tool has been developed to provide the platform for four of the RCs and will be launched in Oct/Nov this year. RCUK has agreed in principle to move towards a standard system for all RCs within the next 3-5 years.

And why the cat picture? Have you tried looking for images relevant to research information management?

RSP event: repositories and CRIS – working smartly together

Conference Theme – the interaction of repositories and CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) and the dissemination of the findings of the JISC-funded RePOSIT project.

On Tuesday I attended the RSP conference and software exhibition ‘Repositories and CRIS – working smartly together’ which was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre, located on the University of Nottingham Campus. This event was well attended (more than 70 delegates) which is an indication of how important this topic is to our community.

 The keynote presenter was Simon Kerridge from the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) and his presentation provided an interesting insight into the role of research managers and administrators, and more importantly the internal and external drivers for research managers and administrators and what they want and require from a CRIS.

In his presentation Dr Mark Cox talked about the development of CRIS systems and open access repositories, the integration of the CRISes and open access repositories, euroCRIS, the benefits of using CERIF, and the REF.

Valerie McCutcheon from the University of Glasgow provided an overview of how repository and research system staff work collaboratively with great success.

 

 

The RePosit project facilitated interactive break-out discussion sessions covering the following topics:

  • Motivating and engaing academic staff
  • CRIS and repository advocacy
  • Branding
  • Legacy data and repository issues
  • Community and communications to support the CRIS model

The project team then shared some of their findings with a series of valuable presentations.

The event programme and all of the presentations for the event are all available here.