23 January 2015

SHERPA/REF author survey

SHERPA/REF is a resource currently under development that is designed to help authors and institutions demonstrate compliance with the HEFCE open access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework. It is expected that the resource will be able to furnish authors and library staff with information about journal compliance with the HEFCE OA policy.

The author survey can be found here: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/SHERPAauthor/

Since the service is still very much in the development stage the team behind SHERPA/REF are looking to make sure that the resource develops in the right direction and includes all the functionality that the research community would like/expect.

The survey takes around 15 minutes to complete and there is a chance of winning a £50 shopping voucher.

The survey will close at midnight on 28 January 2015.

EThOS #ShareMyThesis competition now open!

Copyright © The British Library Board

The British Library EThOS service has started a Share My Thesis competition (in collaboration with Vitae and Research Councils UK).

How to enter:
Entry for the competition is through twitter using #ShareMyThesis. Entrants must explain in a single tweet why their doctoral research is important.

The fine print:
Entrants must have either completed their PhD degree or be currently studying for a PhD. Equivalent degrees such as DPhil are also allowed. Entrants must only tweet once, and also ensure that their tweet is understandable to a lay audience.The full terms and conditions can be found here.

The next stage of the competition will see the authors of the best 8 tweets write a short article elaborating on what they wrote previously, explaining in more detail why their research is important. This article will be in the style of a blog post no more than 600 words long.

First prize is a 15" retina display MacBook Pro! Second prize is an iPad, and third is a £200 Amazon voucher.

The closing date for entering your tweets is 9th February 2015 at 10am.

A bit about EThOS: The British Library EThOS service aims to increase visibility to UK doctoral research theses by compiling records of all UK doctoral theses in one database. It also offers free access to the full text of as many theses as possible either by links to institutional repositories (such as our own) or directly through the EThOS database. EThOS also offers a digitisation on demand facility where users can request that a thesis be scanned and uploaded to the database. EThOS will then contact the corresponding institution and request that a copy be sent for digitisation. Many St Andrews theses have undergone this process, and we have found that many older theses have found a new lease of life afforded by the greater degree of visibility. The benefits of the EThOS service were perfectly presented in a previous blog post by a postgraduate work experience student Maja, so rather than repeat her words, I'll simply suggest you have a read of her post.

19 January 2015

Digital Humanities and New Frontiers

At the end of November the University of St Andrews hosted the Open Access in the Humanities Roadshow. This event showcased some of the important work that is currently going on in the world of scholarly publishing, and in particular book publishing. The response to the Roadshow was overwhelmingly positive, showing that there is clearly a lot of interest in open access book publishing in the humanities. With this in mind, we wrote a blog post to highlight the work the library is doing to increase visibility and accessibility to open scholarly ebooks through our catalogue.

Copyright Quinn Dombrowski

We would like to turn back to journals with this post and point the spotlight on Frontiers, an open access publisher with a very innovative publishing platform (more on that below). Last month the publisher announced that it is making a push on humanities and social science disciplines by announcing a series of HSS journals. Frontiers in Digital Humanities is the first to be announced, and is already open for submission. Digital Humanities is a fascinating new field that exists at the point of intersection between computing and humanities disciplines, and it is great to see that Frontiers have recognised the need to develop and share exciting new research in this area. Here at St Andrews our Digital Humanities Research Librarian Dr Alice Crawford has been working to raise the Library’s profile in this field. She has developed an Islandora repository in which rare books and manuscripts from Special Collections can be digitally displayed, and is assisting staff in academic Schools with a number of other digital projects. A project to convert the University’s Biographical Register of alumni into database format is also underway. The Library is very pleased to be using a range of new digital technologies to make these historical texts and data available to the public and to be opening up new avenues for researchers to explore.  To find more information about Digital Humanities at St Andrews check out the webpage, or visit the blog.

A bit about Frontiers:
Frontiers is a publisher with a twist, since it functions on a community-driven editorial model, with over 40,000 scientists and researchers as editors. Frontiers also uses an interactive open peer review system whereby review editors and authors engage in a discussion in order to seek agreement about the review outcome. This results in a peer-review system that is transparent and quick (Frontiers has an average time of 3 months between submission and publication). All Frontiers journals are also fully Open Access.

12 January 2015

Physics publisher to offset open access costs

The University Library is delighted to announce St Andrews participation in the Institute of Physics 3-year pilot offsetting Open Access costs against Library journal subscriptions. This means that in the long term the Library can use subscription rebates from IOP hybrid journal titles of up to 90% of Open Access costs (known as Article Processing Charges or APCs) to fund more OA. Twenty-two university libraries are taking part and the scheme has the support of Research Libraries UK. It is hoped that the pilot will help institutions and authors manage the transition from subscription to author pays publication and demonstrate to the research community that efficient, sustainable Open Access publication models can be agreed that work for researchers, universities and publishers.



Key facts
  • The agreement will help the Library to release money to fund future open access publications from the Library budget and will help supplement the block grants being provided by the Research Councils.
  • You can publish in IOP journals included in the pilot and be compliant with open access policies from major funders.
  • If you wish to choose the paid route to achieve open access you will need to select ‘open access publication’ when you submit a paper to an IOP subscription journal.
  • You will need to liaise with the Open Access support team to check on the availability of APC funds from the Library. Contact open-access-support@st-andrews.ac.uk
  • All submissions will go through the normal editorial and peer review process and only articles of sufficient quality will be accepted for publication by IOP.
  • Forty five of IOP’s subscription journals are included in the pilot. The full list of journals is available here: http://iopscience.iop.org/info/page/UK-open-access-pilot#journals
  • Article charges paid on fully open access journals like New Journal of Physics (NJP) will not be rebated as these journals do not have a subscription charge.
  • More information on the pilot is available from http://iopscience.iop.org/info/page/UK-open-access-pilot

Instructions for St Andrews researchers.

If you need help with this or any other aspect of Open Access research publication please contact open-access-support@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Image: © 2015 IOP Publishing

16 December 2014

Looking ahead to the next REF

The results for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) are due in this week, but work is already well under way to prepare for the next one!

What is the REF?
The REF is a system for assessing the quality and impact of research outputs by UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The reasoning being that there needs to be an impartial method for evaluating public investment in research. The results will also be used to inform the distribution of future public investment in HEIs. The 2014 REF assessed research outputs produced between 2008 and 2013 (inclusive).

©h_pampel via Flickr
So what's going to be different?
The rules for the next REF include a specific policy on open access which states that in order to be eligible for submission, articles and conference proceedings are to be deposited in a repository as soon as possible after the acceptance date. The version to be deposited must be the accepted manuscript, which has been peer-reviewed, but not copy-edited. The new policy is led by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and supported by all four UK higher education funding bodies. And, although the policy will come into effect in April 2016; HEFCE strongly urges institutions and researchers to follow the requirements as soon as possible in order to ensure all outputs are eligible for the next REF.

The Open Access team have already started contacting researchers by email in order to advise on the use of PURE to comply with the policy. We have also been going out to Schools directly to deliver presentations on the new HEFCE policy, most recently at the School of Chemistry. So far, we have been delighted with reaction we have received, one researcher even reported a time of 2 minutes 30 seconds for creating a Pure record and depositing his accepted manuscript!

If you want to know more about making your research compliant with the HEFCE Open Access policy please email the Open Access team openaccess@st-andrews.ac.uk. We also have a new website which offers guidance and useful links.

5 December 2014

Open Access Books: “Books fall open, you fall in”

"Books fall open, you fall in, delighted where, you've never been." 
David T. W. McCord

With this post we want to highlight the importance of open access books. When people think of open access, their minds might naturally think of journal articles and conference papers. But, there are a growing number of Open Access book publishers as well. Recently, we were lucky enough to have representatives from OAPEN and DOAB (Directory of Open Access Books), and Open Book Publishers speak at a roadshow event in the University. Judging by the energy of the presenters and the enthusiasm of the attendees, there is growing momentum behind open access book publishing at the moment.

Mike Lee, CC-BY 2.0
A search of the St Andrews library catalogue reveals the efforts we have taken to deliver open access monographic material. For instance recently the cataloguing team have created records for the entire Open Book Publishers catalogue. Open Book Publishers was started in 2008 by a small group of academics at the University of Cambridge. It is now an international enterprise that publishes books in hardback, paperback, ebook, and free online formats. Elizabeth Cuthill, a member of the cataloguing team here at St Andrews, has been adding value to the catalogue by creating high quality MARC records for the OBP content. These MARC records can then be harvested and re-used by other libraries, ensuring maximum discoverability. Elizabeth commented on the rich variety of material published by OBP:

"There are some very interesting and unusual titles on this publisher’s list of around fifty so far. For example, I’ve just completed cataloguing several titles on Quechan folklore (Quechan is a native American language spoken by a tribe living in southern California and in Arizona south of the Colorado River). It is a language and culture so rare that there are only around 700 native speakers left. One of the titles can be found at this link http://library.st-andrews.ac.uk/record=b2106224~S5. This work documents the tribe’s creation myths. I’m assuming this work must be quite unique in that it is a written document from what is primarily an oral tradition. The book is part of Open Book Publishers’ World Oral Literature series, published  in conjunction with the World Oral Literature Project, a collaborative project which describes itself as "An urgent global initiative to document and make accessible endangered oral literatures before they disappear without record." It’s becoming apparent as I work through cataloguing this material that the vision of a not-for-profit venture such as Open Book Publishers provides a fantastic outlet for freely distributing material which is very specialised and does not conform readily to existing publishing models." Elizabeth Cuthill

We also have records for all of the books created as part of the Knowledge Unlatched project. This unique publishing platform has been covered in the blog before. In the catalogue there are currently records for 28 books produced as a result of the project covering a wide range of subject areas. In total we have 173 open access books on our catalogue, but there are many more to be discovered. Using resources like OAPEN and DOAB you can find thousands of fully open access books, which can be downloaded onto your computer, phone, tablet, or e-reader.

Open access books offer a different way of interacting with subjects, for instance Diderot's 'Rameau's Nephew': A Multi-Media Edition published by Open Book Publishers contains mp3 recordings of contemporary music by the Paris Conservatoire embedded into the book. Why not give the book a read and a listen!

Publishers like Open Book Publishers are developing new means of expressing scholarly research through e-books. And, in recent years new e-reader technologies have emerged making reading electronic books more comfortable for longer periods. Now really is a great time to discover the possibilities of electronic open access books.

2 December 2014

Nature takes steps towards wider access

Nature Publishing Group has announced today that research papers in Nature, and other journals published by NPG, will be free_to_read via links that can be shared by subscribers. Using these special links, content going back to 1869 will be available to view using special software that allows reading on screen through a browser, but not downloading, printing or other re-use.


This is an interesting development in the transition towards open access, though perhaps not as well-received as Nature might have hoped. Open Access advocate John Wilbanks has commented on the limitations of this approach, comparing it to the technological protection imposed by Apple's iTunes. The free research papers will still reside only on Nature's website, and not be available under Creative Commons licences or for depositing into institutional repositories.

This model, being run as a trial, appears to go some way to legitimise a practice of sharing that is already common through informal mechanisms. Nature Publishing has also made efforts to help researchers share their work through options such as their Manuscript Deposition service, available for research supported by certain funders. Both options do however leave control over re-use in the hands of the publisher, with the underlying business model remaining based on subscriptions. Meanwhile, Nature Communications has become fully open access, so NPG are definitely making moves to see what works best in the changing realities of scientific publishing.