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Showing posts from 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).

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 High…

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.

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 …

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.…

Open Access in the Humanities Roadshow - highlights

The SPARC Europe road show in Lower College Hall 26 November was a great success attracting interested University staff and students from St Andrews and beyond. It was good to see a number of postgraduate students attending. What unites them is a shared interest in Open Access (OA) and enthusiasm for the possibilities of making research more accessible and to discover new ways of engaging in and with research.

Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN and DOAB)
Eelco gave an excellent introduction to Open Access for those new to the area and expanded this to talk about particular issues in the Humanities and Social Sciences:
Two thirds of research outputs are book chapters compared to one third journal articlesLess than 15% of publishers in humanities ask for an APC There is a traditional and continuing preference for print. Even when e-book formats are provided there is still an expectation that there will be a print version to help cover costsHe also dispelled several standard myths about OA publis…