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Showing posts from September, 2014

Shelter report exposes housing situation in UK

In a previous blog post we highlighted a recent report studying the housing situation in St Andrews. We have now archived a new study commissioned by Shelter, and conducted by the University of St Andrews, which highlights the UK wide housing situation.


The report came out with 3 key findings:
 In the UK there is a high risk combination of low pay, high cost housing, and limited housing benefits. A drop in income is usually followed by a house move as there is little support offered by the housing safety net* to meet the cost of rent/mortgage payments while a new job is sought. More affordable housing is needed to reduce reliance on the housing safety net. *The housing safety net is defined as the various housing benefits that are designed to alleviate the pressure of mortgage and rent payments.

Over 6 million households receive support from the housing safety net, of which 500,000 homes are in need of additional support. Added to this are the 100,000 homes that are in need of support …

Major Nature journal to go fully Open Access

Nature Communications is to become a fully open access journal. Until this time Nature Publishing Group has only published hybrid journals under the Nature branding. To recap: hybrid journals offer a choice between traditional paywall publishing (where the research output is viewable via subscription), or "gold" open access where the author or institution pay an up front fee for publication. The decision to make this "flagship" journal fully open access was taken in order to drive the group's commitment to Open Access.

"[W]e believe in Open Access." (Nature Publishing Group)
In the press release Nature Publishing Group included a statement from Robert Kiley of the Wellcome trust. Kiley is quoted to say that the move by NPG provided evidence that hybrid publishing can be a "transitional phase" to full open access publishing. In relation to this point NPG state that there is continuing demand from authors for traditional subscription publis…

New PLOS account makes Open Access easier and faster

One of the common problems we hear about in the Open Access team is the confusing payment systems employed by publishers. To tackle some of the complexity and time-consumption associated with payments we have entered into agreements with several publishers that offer prepay or membership schemes. The prepay schemes have the benefit of hastening the payment process meaning that articles are made open more quickly with reduced administrative overheads. Memberships provide additional benefits such as discounted Article Processing Charges (APCs) or off-setting against subscription costs.


Last week we entered into an agreement with Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the largest Open Access publishers, to establish a different sort of service, but one that still has an eye on greater efficiency. The service engenders a very simple payment process: firstly the author selects the University of St Andrews from a drop down list on the PLOS website, the Library will be notified and will th…

Charity alliance launches open access fund

An alliance of charities including Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK has launched a fund to make charitably funded research immediately free to access and re-use. The Head of Digital Services at the Wellcome Trust said "This approach helps to ensure that this knowledge can be built upon and used in a manner that maximises health and public benefit."



The Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) will provide single combined block grants to UK research institutions to meet open access article processing charges for peer-reviewed research publications resulting from research funded by one or more of the six partner charities: Arthritis Research UK, Breast Cancer Campaign, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and the Wellcome Trust.

The University of St Andrews already receives a block grant to support open access for Wellcome-funded research papers, and this joint fund will make it even easier to comply w…

4000 items milestone: Featured researcher: Dr Tomasz Kamusella, School of History

Tomasz is a frequent depositor in our research information system, Pure and, as an author of foreign language publications, often helps Library staff interpret their copyright. In the last of our blogs to mark 4000 items in Research@StAndrews:FullText he agreed to a brief interview about his research and to share his views on Open Access in scholarly communication.

What is your research area? My research is interdisciplinary with a focus on social reality in modern Central and Eastern Europe, its history and the mechanisms of its politics and language. I publish roughly 50:50 in English and Polish with translations of my work from these languages into German and Japanese and some translations from English to Russian.  So my work has a deep multilingual emphasis.  St Andrews is very strong in this area.  For example, it is home to one of the best centres in Arabic and Persian studies. 
How is Open Access relevant to your research? Well, I am uploading to Pure, but do not apply for mon…

Affordable Housing in St Andrews: a Pervasive Issue

The lack of affordable housing in St Andrews has long been a topic of heated debate. To try and tackle this problem, a number of local organisations came together and formed the St Andrews Town Commission on Housing. The purpose of the Commission was to conduct a thorough study of the factors affecting the housing situation in St Andrews. The report, published in 2013, came to the conclusion that two issues outweighed all the others: affordable housing is scarce in St Andrews, and that the proportionally large student population exacerbates the situation by leading to increased prices (students account for roughly half the overall population in St Andrews).

In the report, the Commission set out a number of strategies to tackle the housing issue, but also conceded that "there is no easy solution or ‘magic bullet’ to resolve the affordable housing situation".

One of the proposed alleviation measures is to build affordable housing on the Madras campus on Kilrymont Road when t…