Skip to main content

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!


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Untangling Academic Publishing: Scottish launch for OA Week

St Andrews University Library is delighted to host the Scottish Launch of Untangling Academic Publishing during Open Access Week - the event is open to all, discussion encouraged!

>Please contact libraryoffice@st-andrews.ac.uk if you wish to attend.

Untangling Academic Publishing: Launch and Discussion about the past and future of academic publishingA University Library event for Open Access Week

Tuesday 24 October, 16.00-18.30 - Arts Lecture Theatre (No.31 on the map)

Presentation: Professor Aileen Fyfe, School of History, lead author of the briefing paper ‘Untangling Academic Publishing’, will explain some of the biggest changes in academic publishing over the last 60 years.

Panel Discussion: the talk will be followed by a discussion of possible futures.
Professor Fyfe will be in conversation with Professor Stephen Curry,  Imperial College London and Professor Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow.

Presentation and panel discussion will be followed by a wine reception.



Untangling…

Your Open Access - statistics and usage

It's Open Access Week again, and this year the theme is 'Open in order to...' This year's theme is designed to shift discussion away from wider issues of 'openness', and instead direct attention to the tangible benefits of open access. This week we will be publishing a series of posts aimed at  highlighting some of these benefits. In this post we will look at some of the statistics we gather about the open access content in our Repository, and specifically the statistics that we've chosen to highlight in our new Infographic.
Given the theme of this year's Open Access Week, the subject of this post could be appropriately described as 'Open in order to boost downloads' For years we have been collecting usage statistics about the content held in our repository. Up until now this data has been collected and, for the most part, discussed internally; but not any more. Now we want to show the academic community here in St Andrews, whose work populates …

Knowledge Exchange on the costs of Open Access

The cost of Open Access isn't a late-breaking field. In 2014 a cost of £9.2m for UK research organisations to achieve RCUK Open Access compliance was quoted [1]. This is in addition to the millions paid to publishers for article processing charges.  Because the market in scholarly publications is constantly adapting and costs for Open Access and library journal subscriptions are inexorably rising, it's incumbent on institutions to monitor not just the cost of the product, but the cost of managing it.  Open Access and open data have been identified as strategic for Librarians and university senior management [2].


The Knowledge Exchange partnership works at an international level to develop the infrastructure of open scholarship and promote common standards.  It regularly publishes reports on its activities. Its consensus report on monitoring Open Access publications and cost data published April last year makes recommendations based on the work and feedback from stakeholders at…