Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2015

Open Access in Canada: “It’s all about choice”

Our lives in a year of Open Access support

As part of our contribution to the Jisc Pathfinder project Lessons in Open Access Compliance for Higher Education (LOCH), the Library has now published its case study. A year in the life of Open Access support: continuous improvement at University of St Andrews tells the story of our engagement with the University's well-established Lean method to streamline OA processes and how this impacted on team activities. It is hoped that along with our partners' case studies this will help in defining an Open Access support service within higher education institutions that face a range of different challenges. Since publication on 3 April there have been 92 downloads of the study which is published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY).

All that glisters is not gold

Chaired by Sir Bob Burgess this independent review covers the first 16 months of RCUK's Open Access policy April 2013-July 2014. Although this seems a bit early, the review panel felt it was necessary to gather a baseline of evidence.  The timing also underpins its conclusion - that it's too early to properly assess many of the policy's impacts, particularly on embargoes and licensing.  This is the first of several reviews within the 5-year transition period. It is also the first since the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee published its September 2013 report criticising RCUK's preference for Gold Open Access.  The panel does not challenge RCUK's Gold preference, instead advocating a mixed Gold/Green model.

The thread of limited data collection for an evidence base runs through the report and the panel felt it relied on opinion more than it would have liked. This confirms the health warning in the St Andrews Compliance Data Report:
One partic…

Quantum Earth and Paperscape: mapping arXiv

Above is a visualisation of Quantum Earth, a continent consisting of research articles in the field of quantum mechanics. The idea was originally conceived by Roberto Salazar after completing his PhD on quantum information at the University of Concepción in Chile. Roberto teamed up with Sebastian Pizarro a digital designer to bring his idea of a quantum mechanics continent to life. The result was a map reminiscent of Tolkein replete with geographic landmarks such as Teleportation Lake and Quantum Engineering Volcano.

We contacted Roberto for his thoughts on open access:
"I think open access publishing is the way that things should be done in science. That being said, I feel that this will happen only if we improve open access tools for finding the right paper for your research. In this sense I believe that Paperscape is a breakthrough in the field and hope that it will be the first of many more. I use it in my daily research and has been of great help in finding the right …

Wellcome peer review report

A Wellcome Trust commissioned report centred around the issue of peer review was published last month. The report, conducted by the Research Information Network, sets out a detailed analysis of peer review, the critiques, and the new alternative systems for peer review that have appeared in recent years.

The report defines traditional peer review as 'the process of subjecting an author’s scholarly manuscript to the scrutiny of others who are experts in the same field’ (p.6) These experts must assess whether the research is of sufficient quality to be included in the journal. Many journals also require reviewers to assess the originality and significance of research, however it is worth noting that some open access mega-journals such as PLOS ONE and Collabra do not require this.

The report details many of the criticisms commonly made of peer review. One criticism is that peer review is not effective at weeding out unsound research. The report makes mention of the fact that retrac…

Open Access and content mining

We've previously blogged about the British Library Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS) that stores theses metadata and, where possible, the full text of digitised theses. BL Labs now wants to explore EThOS metadata for content mining or analysis of trends and is currently inviting research questions that could be answered using this approach. The move follows on from its project providing data to Virginia Tech to develop algorithms for automated subject tagging of theses.

This is another example of an overlay project underpinned by large-scale data harvesting such as the successful Mechanical Curator project that released one million out of copyright images into the public domain for researcher use and re-use.

ChemSpider is an earlier project that brings together chemical structures from a variety of sources into a free database including data from St Andrews theses. This publishing platform provides opportunities to make good quality data public, re-use and preserve known …

Share My Thesis competition - update

Last week the British Library Ethos service announced the winner of the Share My Thesis competition. We posted about the competition back in January, see here for more information.

The entrants had to first tweet about why their research is/was important using the #ShareMyThesis hashtag. The 8 shortlisted entrants then had to write a short article to elaborate on their tweet. You can read the winning entries here: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

Although the competition is now closed, the British Library Ethos service still encourages PhD students past and present to use #ShareMyThesis to share their PhD research with a wider audience.