25 January 2016

Drop-in sessions for Open Access and Research Data Management

As part of the Library strategy to extend our support for open access and research data management we are organising a series of drop-in sessions open to University of St Andrews researchers from all Schools.  During the sessions, members of staff and research students will be able to drop-in at any point and ask any questions relating to funders’ requirements on open access and research data, how to upload manuscripts and data into Pure and general research data management queries.

With the new Open Access policy for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF) fully in force very soon and already adopted across the University, we need to ensure all researchers know the essential steps to ensure eligibility for the next REF. We also want to make sure researchers know how to gain all the benefits of Open Access. The increasing requirements to manage data as part of funded projects, and new policies on data sharing in place from funders such as EPSRC, mean we want to ensure our community knows how to get the support they need.

St Andrews researchers are welcome to drop in and ask any questions regarding:
-          Open Access for REF2020
-          Uploading your publications in Pure
-          Funding for ‘Gold’ Open Access
-          Open Access options for specific publishers
-          Funders’ requirements on research data and publications
-          Data Management Plans
-          Uploading your data in Pure
-          Sharing your data
-          Storing your data
-          General data management
-          Any other topic


The Library’s Open Access (OA) and Research Data Management (RDM) drop-in sessions are on:

•    Mon 1 February, 13:00 – 15:00, Buchanan Building Room 103
•    Fri 5 February, 12:00 – 14:00, Hebdomadar’s Room
•    Mon 22 February, 13:00 – 15:00, Buchanan Building Room 103
•    Fri 26 February, 12:00 – 14:00, Hebdomadar’s Room

Please do come and meet members of your OA and RDM support teams!

30 November 2015

Hail Caledonia!

To mark St Andrew's Day 2015 the Open Access Support team is pleased to publish a guest post by Janet Aucock, Head of Metadata and Content Acquisition.

St Andrew's Day is a good day to reflect on Scottish influences on the world. Perhaps it’s also a good day to consider alternative Caledonias and one in particular on the other side of the globe.

We are constantly looking to see how St Andrews research is used and reused across the world. Each month we get a usage report from EThOS the national thesis database for the UK, a service provided by the British Library. St Andrews open access full text theses are made available in EThOS as well as in our own institutional repository Research@StAndrews:FullText. The report from EThOS indicates how many theses have been viewed and downloaded and it gives us some limited information about the reader, chiefly their professional sector, if provided, and their geographical location. Most readers are involved in education and research and the majority are in Europe and North America. But we can see an increasing readership from all continents and our interest is particularly sparked by unusual new locations.

Our most recent report showed a number of thesis downloads from a small island nation some 9928 miles away (as the crow flies) in the Pacific Ocean:

Source: http://www.distancefromto.net/
Someone in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia was clearly interested in 3 of our social anthropology theses:

We couldn’t help but wonder who might this be? Was it one of New Caledonia's 268,767 inhabitants? Are they studying at L’Universit√© de la Nouvelle-Cal√©donie?

Do they do their research looking out over views like this and sitting on this pine fringed beach?

By Bahnfrend (Own work) 
Kanumera Bay, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, 2007
 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps there were some connections between St Andrews research interests and New Caledonia?

A quick search of the University website uncovered a remarkable relationship:

A University press release aptly entitled “When crows connect” had been issued on 4th November 2015. St Andrews researchers recently published an Open Access paper in Nature Communications that revealed evolution-environment interaction that might explain New Caledonian crows’ hooked tool making skill. Their experimental approach contrasts this with tool behaviours in primates to hypothesise about regional variations observed. The New Caledonian environment and the types of raw material available to make tools are critical. In fact those very pine trees in the image above are crucial to support the crows’ activities 

Detail from Figure 1. St Clair, J. J. H. et al. Experimental resource pulses influence social-network dynamics and the potential for information flow in tool-using crows. Nat. Commun. 6:7197 doi: 10.1038/ncomms8197 (2015). (Open Access)
A further search of Research@StAndrews:FullText revealed other publications on the same topic.

This highlights how Open Access, whether digital theses or articles, can stimulate open discussion among academics of research publications, increase their visibility and improve public understanding of research that is often funded by taxpayers.

We don't really need to know who in New Caledonian has been reading St Andrews research. The whole point of open access to our research is that it can easily be consumed by a global audience and that it can be of benefit and use without barriers to a variety of users. 

However in the meantime we have found out a lot about this other Caledonia....named by Captain James Cook in 1774 because part of the archipelago reminded him of the north of Scotland, perhaps the Isle of Pines. It took him 3 years to complete his voyage across the world to the South Pacific. It’s reassuring to know on St Andrew's Day 2015 that Caledonia and New Caledonia can communicate instantly in the digital age to carry on this international conversation.

24 November 2015

RCUK Open Access compliance report

The University of St Andrews has increased its compliance with the RCUK Open Access Policy for papers published in the year to 31 July 2015. We have reported 91% of RCUK-funded papers as open access, up from 71% in the period April 2013 - July 2014

RCUK require a report from all universities in receipt of an Open Access Block Grant, using a standard template. Our report shows that open access was split almost equally between gold and green routes. We itemise our spend on APCs, and outline other costs including staffing. The creation of 2 posts enabled us to support researchers effectively, and make this progress in implementing the policy.

Collecting data for the report was done using our Research Information System, Pure. The total of 400 RCUK-funded papers includes those linked directly to Projects in Pure, as well as papers where external RCUK grants were identified in acknowledgements.

Included with our report is a short statement outlining our approach, and highlighting some of the remaining challenges in the transition towards open access publishing.

The report has been published in the University of St Andrews research repository, and is available here: http://hdl.handle.net/10023/7810

19 November 2015

The Open Science Prize: enabling discoveries for health

The Open Science Prize has been launched by the Wellcome Trust, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to unleash the power of open content and data to advance biomedical research and its application for health benefit.

The Prize encourages technology experts and inventive researchers to submit innovative ideas for services, tools, and platforms that will make it easier for scientists, innovators and the wider public to discover, access and re-use the digital information being generated through health research. The aim of the Open Science Prize is also that of promoting international collaborations for the development of solutions that can benefit the global research community.

The competition consists of two phases and the opportunity to receive a prize of $230,000.

The deadline for entries is 29 February 2016.

For more information visit https://www.openscienceprize.org/.

Federica Fina
(Research Data Management)

13 November 2015

Taylor & Francis and EIFL sign deal on open access charges


Taylor & Francis have this week announced that they are going to offer substantially reduced article processing charges (APCs) for developing and transition countries, and in some cases waive charges entirely. The 12 month deal covers 45 countries that are part of the EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) network. EIFL is a not for profit organisation that aims to provide access to scholarly material for developing and transition countries. They help libraries gain access to knowledge by providing training resources, as well a brokering deals with publishers to provide access to databases at substantially reduced prices (a full list of EIFL licensed e-resources can be found here http://www.eifl.net/e-resources). This new deal with Taylor & Francis is the first time that EIFL have brokered a deal to help authors pay APCs. EIFL Director Rima Kuprytehad this to say of the deal:
“EIFL is excited about the article publishing charge agreement with Taylor & Francis. It is the first time we have signed an agreement like this, so it will be interesting to see how authors from our network will react. We’ve already received some positive feedback.” Rima Kypryte, Published in a Taylor and Francis press release.
The deal covers 66 Taylor & Francis Open, Routledge Open, and CogentOA fully open access journals, a full list of participating journals can be found here. The 66 journals all either charge APCs at $250 or the fees are completely waived. A list of the 45 EIFL countries that are part of the deal and their corresponding APC rate can be found in this document.

4 November 2015

University of California open access policy

The University of California recently announced that they are issuing a Presidential Open Access Policy that will cover all future scholarly articles published by UC employees.

The Presidential Open Access Policy extends the previous institutional open access policy which was adopted in 2013. The Presidential policy extends the 2013 Academic Senate Open Access Policy by covering all UC authors, including non-senate members. The new policy allows all UC authors to maintain legal control of their research outputs and also commits all UC authors to deposit their works in a repository for free public dissemination.
"The Presidential OA Policy represents the culmination of significant effort among UC faculty and staff to support increased access to their research publications, from the adoption of the first UC senate OA policy (UCSF) in 2012, to the establishment of the more comprehensive UC-wide Academic Senate policy in 2013." University of California Office of Scholarly Communication. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 licence.
Christopher Kelty, professor of Information Studies and Anthropology at UCLA explains the need for the new policy:
"Until now, tenure-track faculty have had the privilege of passing such policies to govern themselves, but at most universities, such faculty are a fraction of the people who do research and publish articles[...]Extending the same rights to those who aren’t part of a faculty governance system is an important and difficult step–I’m thrilled we have accomplished it.” University of California Office of Scholarly Communication. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 licence.
The UC's Open access policy creates a contract between the University and its authors that is prior to any contracts signed between authors and publishers. This means that UC authors can make their research open access via the University's repository, eScholarship, whilst also publishing in journals as normal. Authors are also granted rights of reuse under the UC open access policy that might otherwise be given over to publishers.

The University of California is a huge institution with nearly 200,000 employees and is responsible for over 2% of the world's research publications. UC clearly casts a large shadow, so this move represents a significant step in the evolution of scholarly research to open access.

Quotes are taken from University of California Office of Scholarly Communication Press release which was licensed under a CC BY 4.0 Licence. The press release can be found here: http://osc.universityofcalifornia.edu/2015/10/groundbreaking-presidential-oa-policy-covers-all-employees/

29 October 2015

Reflections from an intern: research data, open access, and etheses

Earlier this year we welcomed a postgraduate student to the University Library to carry out an Erasmus internship. This guest blog post by Juan Mosquera Ramallo provides a flavour of his time spent working with research data, open access publications and e-theses:

A whole summer has passed after my two-month internship at St Andrews’ University Library and I think the time has come to reflect on what this experience has taught me. As a mature Postgraduate student (I am in my forties) at the Erasmus Mundus Masters programme ‘Crossways in Cultural Narratives’, supervised by the Modern Languages Department, I believed that St Andrews’ University Library was an interesting place to learn about academic information and resources. Working in the library is an excellent way to learn about the problems and issues of organizing, cataloguing and disseminating those data. I learned a lot during these two months about these issues but if there is a word which has been emphasized through all the tasks I had to perform there is this (and I write it in capital letters): ACCESSIBILITY. I was amazed at how all the staff in the library are committed not only to preserving and storing knowledge, but also to finding new ways to make that knowledge easily and freely accessible. All this was done in accordance to the policy shift towards Open Access (OA) which is being promoted by the British government in an effort to make all new knowledge available to the general public as soon as possible. In a certain way, the main lesson I have learnt is to avoid becoming “selfish” with the knowledge I will produce (in my hypothetical future academic career), but trying to spread it as much as I can using all the tools at my disposal.

During my internship, all the different tasks I was assigned were related to OA policy; therefore I will describe how my performance was contributing to the development of OA.


1.    As the Open Access policy involves not just free access to articles that are the result of researches funded by public bodies, but also free access to the data used in these researches, it is important to check whether this access is actually free or not. Therefore, part of my task in collaboration with the Head of Research Data and Information Service was to introduce myself into the online journals to examine the articles produced by researchers from the University of St Andrews.  Though the articles were freely available on these websites, it was necessary to observe whether the relevant data used in the research were available as well. This meant verifying whether or not the supplementary information related to the articles included figures, diagrams, statistics, materials, etc. which constituted both the primary data from which the research was based, and the results which were the product of the specific research addressed in the article. This supplementary information could be included as an appendix to the article itself in the form of a file which contained all this data information, as a link to another website where this data information was stored, or in the form of a statement within the article explaining how to access this information. This verification was not only a matter of seeing whether this information was freely accessible or not, but also a matter of how easy it was to reach, if the accessibility was clear and straightforward.

2.    This is a moment of transition in the implementation of the Open Access policy, so the different institutions linked to research supported by public funding are still organizing their own protocols and ways to access research articles. As a result of this policy, an increasing number of educational institutions and public bodies are setting up repositories as a way to make the research outcomes funded with public resources freely accessible; this is concomitant with, rather than a replacement of the traditional publishing through academic journals. My task was to examine different online repositories established by diverse institutions (mainly universities) and to see how these repositories were organized in terms of the accessibility of articles and data, the different identifiers used to classify the stored items and the available links to additional information. In this way it would be easier to identify the strengths and weaknesses of repositories regarding the successful application of the Open Access policy and to take this into account in the re-design of the University of St Andrews’ repository.

3.    Under the supervision of the Head of Metadata and Content Acquisition, I had the opportunity to work with the theses produced at University of St Andrews that, in accordance with the University Postgraduate Code of Practice, have to be deposited in electronic format.  This accessibility implies not only the possibility of having printed theses at the public’s disposal but also the inclusion of the theses in the St Andrews’ repository where everybody can read them in a digital version, facilitating the  diffusion of knowledge originating from the University’s PhD research. Since 2007, the University of St Andrews’ PhD theses have been produced both in paper and digitized versions. Due to the huge number of pre-2007 PhD theses which are still only in paper versions, these theses, in collaboration with the British Library’s EThOS service, are digitized on request of the individuals who want to access them. My task involved the inclusion of these digitized versions in the University’s repository after downloading the theses files from the Ethos database. At the same time, it is necessary to create metadata records in the repository that provide information about the content of the diverse theses and allow an easier identification and labelling of the topics addressed in them. The inclusion of this metadata in the interface of the University’s library was an essential part of my work as well.

4.    The RCUK (Research Councils UK) is a strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils and invests millions of pounds every year in research. Different institutions carrying out research receive funding from the RCUK in order to make the result of their works available through the application of the Open Access policy, which asks for Open Access immediately at the time of the on-line publication when payment is made to a publisher. Due to the funding support, the RCUK monitors how institutions use this money and asks from them evidence to observe how the Open Access policy is working. St Andrews University Library manages the grant assigned by the RCUK and checks the compliance of all the requirements for the Open Access documents published. My task was the compilation in a standard spreadsheet of the relevant data asked by the RCUK so that it can serve as evidence of the implementation of the Open Access policy and of the rational use of the grant. Eventually this data will be made public so that the whole University sector and UK funding bodies will see what is being spent (and the compliance rates) from as many institutions as possible.

In conclusion, my work placement was a very interesting experience which made me reflect on the relationship between researching, publishing and accessibility, and how institutions like university libraries play a relevant role in these activities. In a certain way, I have changed my mind: prior to this experience, the research ended for me at the moment the paper with the results were written; now I consider that the researcher has to work to make that paper visible and accessible, not just for professional reasons, but also to share this new knowledge with others. Researchers working at universities have an ally in the libraries that can help them to do this. I really enjoyed my internship there and I would like to thank the library staff who helped me during my whole stay, being patient with me and introducing me to a whole new area linked to the dissemination of new knowledge. Their professionalism and kindness created a friendly atmosphere which contributed to a very pleasant and stimulating experience, and to change my mind regarding university libraries: there is so much happening behind those quiet rooms!