18 August 2014

Open Access in Scottish Universities

During March 2014 our colleagues in University of Edinburgh Library produced a video of interviews with well-regarded, pro-Open Access academics from a range of universities in Scotland. It is hoped the interviews will appeal to both young and more experienced researchers in medicine, sciences and the arts and humanities with the intention of making the them relevant to those working in Scottish HEIs and to be made widely available and of use to repository managers and librarians working elsewhere in the spirit of Open Access.

The project was run under the auspices of the Open Access Toolkit for Scotland (OATS), an extension of the JISC-funded ERIS (Enhancing Repository Infrastructure in Scotland) project.

We at St Andrews Library are delighted to support this project and believe it is a very innovative approach to Open Access advocacy.

St Andrews researchers featured

Dr Akira O’Connor (Laboratory website)
Professor Terry Smith

Open Access At Scottish Universities from HSS Webteam on Vimeo.

14 August 2014

4000 items milestone: Featured researchers - Professor Derek Woollins FRSE FRSC and Professor Alexandra Slawin, FRSE, FRSC, School of Chemistry

Research in Chemistry moves fast. Professors Derek Woollins and Alexandra Slawin between them have recorded over 1200 articles in our Research Information System, PURE. Over 100 of these have been deposited in Research@StAndrews:FullText to make them available Open Access. As our researchers with the highest number of OA publications, we are delighted that Derek and Alex agreed to be interviewed to celebrate our 4000th item milestone, the second post in our series.

Alex recently had her 1000th paper published (and keeping track of all that is quite a task!). There is a good reason for this rate of publication- new compounds are constantly being developed and their 3D structure analysed by X-ray crystallography leading to further development. So high is the rate of research output in the field that keeping up is becoming increasingly difficult. It’s impossible to read everything. Instead keyword searching and matching new research effort to compounds with known structures are driving the direction of research. As Alex pointed out the dynamic research environment also poses practical challenges such as tracing data and lines of research when students and staff move on.

In this research environment where does Open Access (OA) stand?

“To a certain extent OA is an extra piece of work and doesn’t change how we are publishing in mainstream journals in any case”, says Derek

"We're still in the transition zone with various external drivers and changes we need to be aware of. We've got to deposit in PURE, but it's hard to get a clear picture of the overall OA environment. Southampton led the way in e-publishing its research and this may have helped them to advance significantly in the league tables."

“But to do the work and not publish it? You might as well not have bothered - Open Access makes it more published.”

Do you find there are any advantages in OA publishing?

“People outside of chemistry may not have enough specialist knowledge to take full advantage of OA in our discipline. My experience with journalists is that they can easily misinterpret or misrepresent research. OA may get a few people who don’t have access to the journal interested, so they can have a more informed response. Widening access to research is enabled through various schemes, for example much of Africa gets free access to many journals. 10 years from now, it might make more difference. Right now, it’s likely to have more resonance with the general public in Humanities and Social Science.”

Do you find Open Access easy?

“I like PURE, but platforms such as ResearchGate are preferred by many academics for their prompts and ease of upload”, says Alex.

“People should just be accepting that it’s part of the publication process”, says Derek.
“There is a need to get OA into our culture, as Open Data will be even more demanding; people have just got to get into the habit of doing it. There are anomalies such as publisher restrictions on abstracts, which are rather absurd.”

“We do all the work; we referee the papers, mostly unpaid. It’s [subscription model publishing] a disaster as a model. However, I think publishers are still going to have the upper hand in the end. What the publishers provide is a refereeing moment. Self-publishing, for example, wouldn’t work for research assessment and OA could potentially wash out all that impact factor stuff”

“As an Editor for Elsevier for 10 years I understand that more journals mean more profit, as the number of subscribers to individual journals generally never increases. Journal subscription costs are rising to cover increased costs. And there is also the problem of the Learned Societies who make more money from journals that from membership fees - there is a lot of fear factor among societies and publishers and uncertainty among academics.”

“But do you think it’s worth 5 minutes of your life? Because that’s all it takes. It’s not really a complicated thing*. I just don’t see why people wouldn’t do it.”

“We are going to be in a world where people are assessed. They should make a real effort from Day One, not just for the University, but for themselves. It’s just another form of networking. It’s just going to happen.”

“We need to up people’s interest in it. Some will assume they’re excluded from it. But there will be a moment when the EPSRC ask about papers that might influence whether we get £1M for a new piece of equipment. It’s not an immense amount of staff time. If they spent an hour on it one evening, that’s not too much.”

Derek takes up his role as Vice Principal Research in January 2015. The accepted manuscript of his article Isolatable organophosphorus(III)-tellurium heterocycles published in Chemistry A European Journal will be made available from Research@StAndrews:FullText 16 December using the University’s preferred Green publication route. However, you can access the paper now using the link above, if you have a subscription to the journal.

The Library Open Access and Research Publications Support (OARPS) team would like to thank Derek and Alex for their time and sharing their views on Open Access.

*To find out how to deposit your own work in Pure, contact the team open-access-support@st-andrews.ac.uk!

8 August 2014

4000 items milestone: Featured researcher - Dr Kim McKee

Recently we hit the milestone of 4000 items in the University's research repository: Research@StAndrews:FullText! That is over 4000 full text research papers and theses available to read free of charge anywhere in the world without the paywall barriers that usually accompany academic research.

It is also great to see that this milestone was reached in less than 12 months compared with the 13 months the previous 1000 milestone took to reach. This really shows the hard work over the past year from everyone involved in the research publication process, whether in research or support. So, we in the Open Access team would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has assisted in reaching this milestone.

To celebrate we decided to analyse the content in the repository, to identify authors with the highest number of OA papers, those with individual items that took us to the 4000 mark, and the authors that have the highest percentage of their publications in our repository - what we are calling the ‘OA Ratio”. Over the next few weeks we will be posting blogs about individual authors highlighted during our analysis of the repository.

The researcher with the highest OA Ratio, and the subject of this first blog post, is Dr Kim McKee.
Kim is a lecturer in the School of Geography and Geosciences, and is also Director of the Centre for Housing Research. Kim is also a keen user of social media, using twitter and a blog to advance her views on social and urban policies.

Kim stood out during our analysis as she has an astonishing ratio of 57% Open Access content! That is, 57% of Kim's authored content in the Research Information System (PURE) is Open Access and freely available for anyone in the world to read. The nature of Housing Research makes Open Access a natural choice; as the Centre for Housing Research website states: "It is pivotal to our ethos that our research has wider social benefits."

The statistics for Kim's research held in the repository reflects this desire for wider social impact. One particular article, Post-Foucauldian Governmentality, is the fourth most downloaded paper of all the Open Access publications in PURE in the past year, and the fifth most viewed. As the figures below show, publishing in the repository can have a significant additional impact.

We approached Kim McKee for her thoughts about Open Access and the recent milestone, and this is what she had to say:

"I’m delighted to hear I have the highest Open Access Ratio in PURE!  As a researcher engaged in policy-relevant research in the fields of housing and social policy, it is really important to me that my work reaches a wider audience beyond the academy.  Open Access is a really easy and accessible way for me to make my work freely available to colleagues in policy and practice who may not have institutional subscriptions to academic journals.  But it also benefits me as an author by increasing the visibility of my research in the public domain, and maximising the likelihood of it impacting and influencing policy agendas.  I think Open Access and Social Media (e.g. blogging, tweeting) are the future of academic publishing, and I would encourage all academics to think about how they can take this forward in their own work.  Advancing and sharing knowledge is at the heart of what we do as researchers, and Research@StAndrews can really support and enable this process whilst also protecting intellectual property and copyright."

It is very inspiring for us to see a researcher really embracing the fundamental principles of Open Access. It is especially nice to see as this quote really crystallises the feeling we have regarding the growing level of support for Open Access across the University as a whole.

Kim went on to say: "Having the library on hand to help, makes it much easier for authors to do open access properly."

From everyone in the Open Access team thank you Kim for your words of encouragement, and well done attaining the henceforth sure to be coveted and sought after Highest OA Ratio award!

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting other researchers who have made significant contributions to the ever growing research repository, Research@StAndrews:FullText. Watch this space!

3 August 2014

Open Access at the Fringe

Last week, members of our Open Access support team visited Edinburgh for the annual Fringe.

Now in its 7th year, the event was the busiest yet with 150 attendees. As ever the programme included lots of audience participation, great food and some singing. (We are of course talking about the Repository Fringe – we just borrow some of the Edinburgh festival spirit!)

Repository Fringe 2013 logo
This year, the focus was on Open Access policies and how the community is reacting. Our keynote from Yvonne Budden, University of Warwick raised the question of whether Open Access is still a revolutionary concept. Do we still need to challenge the norms of scholarly communication - and if so is it researchers or librarians that should be leading the 'revolution'? The consensus seems to be that the power to create change is primarily in the hands of academics, but libraries have a role in finding workable solutions.

While we maintained the ‘unconference’ style of this event with informal discussions and encouragement of novel ideas, many people highlighted practical aspects of achieving an increase in open access. In particular we had presentations from several Jisc OA Good Practice Projects - St Andrews has just begun one of these projects in partnership with University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University. Unsurprisingly given the recent policy announcement from HEFCE, compliance with funder policies will be a major theme.

Live blogs from both days of the event are available from the conference website.

25 July 2014

Royal Society of Chemistry to gild Chemical Science

It was announced recently in a Royal Society of Chemistry press release that one of their leading journals, Chemical Science, is to go Gold Open Access in 2015. Not only that, but Chemical Science will be waiving open access charges (Article Processing Charges, or APCs) for 2 years.

"From January 2015 onwards, all new content in Chemical Science will be free for anyone to access. And to ease the transition to open access, the Royal Society of Chemistry is waiving all Article Processing Charges (APCs) for two years." (RSC Press release)
CC-BY-NS-SA 2.0 (Available here)
With an impact factor of over 8.3 Chemical Science is undoubtedly one of the leading scientific journals attracting a high level of citations. With this in mind it is encouraging to see a leading journal not only following a growing trend but advocating the open access cause as well. This is not new for the publisher, as 2 years ago the RSC introduced early policies to help authors pay for gold open access in lieu of institutional funding (covered in our blog here). The Royal Society of Chemistry President, Professor Dominic Tildesley, said that the announcement was: "a momentous step forward in sharing chemical science knowledge world-wide." He went on to say: "As the world's leading chemistry community and a not-for-profit organisation, our mission is to serve the best interests of chemistry and society, as we have done for over 170 years. There can be no better way to fulfil that mission than by taking our leading journal to Gold open access."

David Willetts, who recently resigned as Minister for Universities and Science, applauded the RSC pointing out the positive image the world has of UK chemistry research and fact that the UK is leading the way in terms of "applying open access principles".

There is sure to be more information forthcoming regarding the change to open access policy at Chemical Science. But at this early stage it is fair to speculate that waiving Article Processing Charges is likely to increase uptake in the journal as more people will wish to take advantage of the high impact factor coupled with the increased visibility gold open access offers.

19 July 2014

Open Access author survey 2014

Earlier this year Taylor & Francis carried out a worldwide survey of their authors (ie those who had published with T&F* in 2012), with the aim of exploring journal authors’ views on open access. The results have been published along with responses from their 2013 survey. Comparisons give an indication that positive attitudes towards open access have increased.

In 2014 81% of authors agree or strongly agree with the statement “Open access offers wider circulation than publication in a subscription journal”, compared with 71% in 2013.

Some of the finer detail on attitudes to licences is interesting. A significant number of authors agreed it is acceptable for others to translate their work, yet the most preferred licence is shown to be the Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND). With the no-derivatives clause, a translation can’t be made without the copyright holder’s permission. The Europe PMC blog has more discussion on possible contradictions in responses.

Rigorous peer review continues to be the most important service authors expect when paying for open access.

Looking to the future, significantly more authors intend to publish more open access articles (either green or gold) than in 2013.

Charts from the survey are available from Figshare

Access the full 2014 Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey (pdf)

*Note T&F publishes more Social Sciences and Humanities titles than Science and Technology, so the results may be biased towards these disciplines.

11 July 2014

Open Access award 2014

IFLA and Brill recently announced that Knowledge Unlatched are the winner of this year's IFLA/Brill Open Access Award. This year the jury reached a unanimous decision to name Knowledge Unlatched describing the organisation as "game-changing".
"The jury of the IFLA/Brill award is deeply impressed with the simplicity and elegance of the original concept, with the daring scope of the project, bringing together libraries, publishers and other organizations from around the world, and with the highly successful outcome of the pilot phase that tested the concept."(IFLA 2014)
The Knowledge Unlatched publishing model sees many libraries coming together and sharing the publishing costs for electronic books. Basically this means that a book can be made fully Open Access for only a small investment of under a hundred pounds in some cases.


 St Andrews University Library took part in the first round of the pilot project and currently has 22 ebooks on the library catalogue purchased through the system. More information can be found here.

Composing the Party Line

Ebooks such as this offer users a unique experience differing from normal ebooks due to the way they can be reused and distributed. All the ebooks created through the Knowledge Unlatched platform carry Creative Commons licenses which permit copying, redistribution, and adaptation into different forms. This is a far more attractive proposition than the sometimes very restrictive ebook policies offered by some publishers.

From everyone here, well done Knowledge Unlatched and keep up the good work.