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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…

British Library EThOS coverage expanded

Digitising theses and making them available free of charge over the internet has been one of the great successes of Open Access that is often forgotten.  The British Library Electronic Theses Online Service (EThOS) recently announced a significant expansion of coverage, which is great news for researchers:





Image: © The British Library Board
Cambridge - 8000 new theses records added resulting in a coverage of recent theses increase from 7% to 78%
Imperial College - 2000 new records

King's College London - 1000 new links to the KCL Research Repository added to records; a further 500 new records created

Nottingham Trent and Coventry - Records now being harvested following set-up issues

University College London - New "all PhDs" Open Archives Initiative (OAI) set created allowing linking to an additional 1600 records in UCL Discovery.

Repositories added - School of Advanced Study, University of Gloucestershire, Edge Hill University and University of Brighton records are now being h…

Open Access Feedback Form Now Live

Good news! We now have a feedback form so that you can share with us your thoughts about Open Access. Please let us know your story; general or specific. For example, your story could be about your general feelings regarding the ethics of free availability to research, or you could tell us about how you benefited from accessing a specific Open Access research output in our repository.

Whatever you choose to share, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Access to Understanding 2015 science writing competition

The Access to Understanding 2015 science writing competition has been announced. Now in its third year, the aim of the competition is to promote public understanding of complex research in Biomedical Science. If you are a PhD student or early career postdoctoral researcher working in this field who believes in creating and using accessible research, then choose one of the papers on which to write 800 words to explain the research and why it matters to a general reader. You could be in with a chance to win a first prize of publication of your article by eLIFE (and an iPad too!).


Closing date: 9 December 2014 16:00 GMT


This competition is sponsored by the British Library, eLIFE and Europe PMC*.
Use the links to see the results of previous competitions. Image: © Access to Understanding collaboration

*Europe PubMed Central is a stable, permanent and free-to-access digital archive of the full text, peer-reviewed research publications (and datasets) that arise from research funded by the …

The Repository: helping to feed the impact of research

Over the years, the OARPS team has spent a great deal of time acquiring academic manuscripts and releasing them to the world through the repository.


Much of our current work involves assisting academics with complying with funder open access mandates. For instance, the RCUK mandate states that RCUK funded research papers should be made Open Access either by choosing "Gold" and paying an APC charge, or by choosing "Green" and uploading the accepted manuscript of the final article to Pure (and then the library can transfer the paper to the repository).

Presently, the team focus has incorporated the new HEFCE open access policy for the next REF as well. The HEFCE open access policy states that in order to be eligible, the accepted manuscripts of articles and conference proceedings (with an ISSN) must be deposited in a repository. The HEFCE open access policy does not come into effect until 2016, but we are tying to push the message now so that we are 100% compliant by…

Making research data count

Are you a researcher interested in metrics that could track and measure the impact of research data? We invite you to contribute to a short survey which aims to learn what metrics would be useful to you. Responses will feed into a project with the ultimate goal of designing and developing metrics that track and measure data use, creating 'data-level metrics' (DLM).

California Digital Library (CDL), the Public Library of Science (PLOS), and the Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) are investigating researcher attitudes towards potential metrics for datasets.


See the Making Data Count project site for more information.

Access the survey at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/makedatacount
We all know that data are important for research. So how can we quantify that? How can you get credit for the data you produce? What do you want to know about how your data is used? If you are a researcher or data manager, we want to hear from you. Take this 5-10 minute survey and hel…

HowOpenIsIt? Guide update released

Jackie previously blogged about this handy guide for everyone interested in Open Access when it was launched in 2012. It is a collaboration between Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Public Library of Science (PLOS) and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) that attempts to shift authors' decision focus from "Open Access" to relative degree of openness and to influence the conversation. After the original release a practical use pilot mapped its Open Access Spectrum to 100 journals' policies. Version 2.0 was then released in International Open Access Week 2014 that has a number of updates, but still retains the core goals - standardising terminology, presenting a continuum of openness, contrasting publications and policies, raising awareness of OA and featuring an easy-to-use grid to determine openness. To achieve this 6 categories are used - Reader Rights, Reuse Rights, Copyrights, Author Posting Rights, Automatic P…

St Andrews academic Akira O'Connor joins PeerJ

Yesterday, the 11th of November, Akira O'Connor got his paper published in PeerJ; an open access journal with a very innovative publishing system. Akira publishes fascinating research on, amongst other things, the sensations of memory such as déjà vu experiences. His latest paper published in PeerJ concerns the conflictive relationship between two neurological stimuli, novelty and familiarity, which define the déjà vu memory experience. PeerJ recently invited Akira to comment on his research and also his experience publishing with the journal. The interview, which is on the PeerJ blog, makes for a fascinating read as it delves into Akira's research interests, his motivations to publish open access, and his thoughts on Open Peer Review. See the full interview here.

The vast majority of open access journals charge APCs (Article Processing Charges). The rationale being that because content is freely available, journals need to adopt APCs to cover the loss of subscription revenu…

Open Access in the Humanities Roadshow - update

This is an update to an earlier post about the Open Access in the Humanities Roadshow that is being hosted by the University of St Andrews, and organised by SPARC Europe and the University Library. You can now see details of the event and book your place through Eventbrite, here.

Date: Wednesday 26th November
Time: 12:00 noon - 2.00 pm
Venue: Lower College Hall, North Street, St Andrews.


The programme is as follows:
Welcome and general introduction: Lily Neal, on behalf of SPARC Europe, the sponsor of this OA in the Humanities UK Roadshow12.00: Introduction to the event and welcome from the University and the Library, Janet Aucock12.05: Eelco Ferwerda of OAPEN and DOAB12.20: Dr Rupert Gatti, Open Book Publishers and University of Cambridge12.35: Dr Guy Rowlands of the University of St. Andrews12.50: Q&A and discussion. Lunch and Publishers’ exhibition: view the publishers’ Open Access publications, meet the publishers and chat with them about publishing opportunities A number of Ope…

How to publish a journal article, a Springer guide

Today, we thought we would share a fantastic publishing resource created by Springer. It has been remarked before here on the Open Access blog that there is sometimes a lack of transparent information about publishing systems on publisher websites. So, when a member of the team stumbled across a  step-by-step publishing guide on the Springer website we just had to share it!

The guide begins with the questions researchers will want to ask of themselves early on in their article's life cycle. These are questions like: are there any ethical ramifications to the research? What will be the likely impact of the paper? What are the copyright rules at Springer? Will it be Open Access, and if so, where will the funding for this come from? This last point is obviously very important for us in the Open Access team, as being informed early on in the publication process allows us to offer important advice at the best possible time.

Step two of the guide concerns the article creation process: f…

Scottish Journal of Performance now available in the repository

This week the Open Access team archived the first two issues of the Scottish Journal of Performance (SJoP). SJoP is a peer-reviewed postgraduate-led Open Access journal published by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

We were lucky enough to get Ben Fletcher-Watson and Thomas Butler from SJoP to speak at the open journals workshop held in Parliament Hall last week. Just to recap, last week the University hosted a workshop called Managing Journals: Challenges and Opportunities. The workshop brought together journal editors and managers, with varied perspectives and editorial practices, to speak about their experience of running locally operated journals. The presentations delivered by Ben and Thomas gave a fascinating insight into a truly unique journal which comprises of more than just text, but also multimedia such as videos, images, and soon audio.

In his presentation, Ben mentioned the need to preserve the journal in as many places as possible. With this in mind, Ben requested tha…

UKSG webinar - The University Library as Publisher

Two members of the OARPS (Open Access and Research Publications Support) team will be contributing to a free online webinar on Wednesday this week. The event, organised by UKSG, will see Jackie Proven and Janet Aucock presenting alongside Angela Laurins (University of Edinburgh) on the topic of journal hosting services.


The topic of the webinar is specifically about the implementation of support for journal hosting services such as Open Journals System (OJS), but will also touch on wider issues such as the role of the library as a publisher. The webinar will also explore topics such as: why set up a locally operated journal, how to set up a journal, and what are the issues concerning the long term longevity of a locally operated journal.

Currently the University of St Andrews hosts 10 locally operated journals using the OJS platform, see the journals here: http://ojs.st-andrews.ac.uk/. The University of Edinburgh also uses the same OJS platform and it too currently supports 10 journal…

Library fund for Open Access and Generation Open

The fund has been established since August 2013. We recognised that good research would not always receive support from major funders to pay article processing charges (APCs) and that this was potentially unfair, especially to early career researchers. We also wanted to ensure that all researchers can publish in the most appropriate venue, as described in our Open Access Policy. If ‘most appropriate’ means a fully open access journal that requires payment of an APC (as opposed to a ‘hybrid’ journal where APCs are an option), then we should provide funds to support this choice. To date we have processed about 13 APCs for researchers who have no other source of funding, all to support science-related article publication in Biology, Computer Science, Medicine and Physics. The science bias is partly due to the greater number of open access model publications in these disciplines. But this is likely to change with the introduction of these models into Humanities and Social Science whe…

Open Access in the Humanities Roadshow UK to visit St Andrews

As part of our Open Access Week activities we are delighted to announce that the Roadshow, hosted by SPARC Europe*, arrives in St Andrews 26 November. There is an exciting programme featuring speakers who are passionate advocates of Open Access including our own Dr Guy Rowlands, Reader in the School of History and chair of the Department of Modern History. Joining him are Eelco Ferwerda of OAPEN and Dr Rupert Gatti, Open Book Publishers and University of Cambridge. There will also be a “tradeshow” area where Open Access publishers will be exhibiting - Manchester University Press, Knowledge Unlatched, Ubiquity Press, Open Book Publishers, OAPEN, the Open Library of Humanities and Open Humanities Press. It presents an excellent opportunity for researchers to talk to the experts - most of whom are researchers - about Open Access monographs and journals and to find out more about the practicalities. Exhibitors will present examples of their materials and publications and give short de…

New Open Access Button Launched

The new Open Access Button has landed!
The Open Access Button project was started by a group of students who were frustrated by the paywalls they came up against when searching for research material. To try and tackle the issue, they created an app that documents and shares the experience of coming up against a paywall. The app they produced stores details such as who hit the wall, what they were trying to access, and for what reason. The app also records where the paywall was hit on a world map. The new Button builds on previous functionality by adding a great new feature called Your Wishlist which keeps a list of any research you failed to gain access to.

 "The Open Access Button will be used to support data driven campaigns and tell stories to support Open Access and fix the long-term issues that stop people getting the research they need."  (Open Access Button)
Here's how it works:




Step 1.  When you come up against a paywall push the button (after downloading…

Open Access Week - Meme Competition

Historians look to an open access future

Quick update from your OA support team
On the first day of Open Access Week 2014 we made a visit to the Postgraduate Early Modern and Modern History Forum. Despite the fact that the attendees had yet to begin their publishing careers, we were invited to talk about routes to open access, funder policies, and 'how open access might affect the way early career academics go about publishing'. The students were particularly interested in hearing about the benefits of open access, such as enabling reuse by readers without journals subscriptions, easier referencing through social media or translation into other languages. They were also keen to know how they can go about depositing their work in Research@StAndrews:FullText, given that students currently don't have access to the University's Research Information System, PURE, which handles the deposit process for publications.

We will take this feedback on board, and look at ways we can meet the needs of our new 'Generati…

Open Access Week is here!

Open Access Week is upon us once again!

Over the next week we will be sharing the latest news from the world of Open Access, including competitions, new technologies, and future events.

So, what's the theme this year? Well, last year the theme was "Open Access: Redefining Impact", and the year before that it was: "Set the Default to Open Access". This year attention will turn back to the roots of Open Access Week by focusing on early career researchers and students. The title for OAW 2014 is "Generation Open".
The theme will highlight the importance of students and early career researchers as advocates for change in the short-term, through institutional and governmental policy, and as the future of the Academy upon whom the ultimate success of the Open Access movement depends. (SPARC) Here at St Andrews it is clear that the intellectual talent of our students and early career researchers is recognised and celebrated. A great example of this recogni…

Taylor & Francis APC Competition

Good news, we have a competition to share!

Elsevier: a look inside a publishing leviathan

To our enduring frustration, much of the academic publishing process is hidden from view unless of course you are having a paper published. At first thought this makes perfect sense, especially as an information overload is an affliction best avoided. However, for us in the OARPS (Open Access and Research Publications Support) team such information is extremely valuable. As we commented in a previous post, having detailed information about the payments process can increase the effectiveness of the service we offer. This is why we were so pleased when our close liaison with authors meant we were able to see screen shots of the publishing process at Elsevier.

Firstly, the author is sent a link to this page, where they can add additional details like funder codes and Open Access payments, as well as sign the publishing agreement. Crucially, this link can also be sent to us and a member of the OARPS team will complete the subsequent steps and sign on behalf of the author.
The author is …

Open Journals Event: 23rd Oct 2014

Later this month the University will be hosting an event centred around staff and/or student led Open Access journals. The event is called Managing journals: challenges and opportunities, and will primarily focus on the practical issues of setting up and running a journal. The event is open to staff and students, and will be of interest to anyone wishing to find out more about this exciting new publishing trend.


The course will comprise of a workshop with three case study presentations showing different kinds of academic journals: art/science, undergraduate/postgraduate/staff, different hosting solutions. There will also be a practical session demonstrating how to set up a journal as well as outlining some of the issues that may arise.

While OJS is being used as a model during the event, the issues presented are translatable to other journal hosting platforms. On this note, after the break, the focus will turn to the factors to consider if you chose not to use OJS as a platform. This …

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…

University of St Andrews APC data now available

Recently the Open Access and Repository Service Support Team has compiled information on APC spending. APC stands for Article Processing Charge, and this is the charge that applies for Gold open access publishing. In short, APCs cover the operating costs involved in the publication process that would have traditionally been covered by subscriptions.

University of St Andrews APC data 2013-2014.

The information is hosted on Figshare; a cloud-based online storage and distribution platform. This will ensure the data is widely and openly distributed to members of other institutions as well as our own. The spreadsheet lists publication level data which details how the University of St Andrews has spent centrally managed Open Access (OA) funds. Article Processing Charges (APCs) are reported from our RCUK and Wellcome Trust Block Grants, and from a small Library OA fund.


Universities are being encouraged to share data about the costs of Open Access publishing. We believe that sharing info…

4000 items milestone: Featured researcher - Dr Nicole Hudgins, University of Baltimore

As we continue to highlight the recent contributions to our growing research repository, we are reminded how the streets of Paris looked 100 years ago this month.
[Image source: Identité judiciaire (August 1914). MHC/BDIC.]
This image comes from the latest Open Access book in the series St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture: Hold still, Madame: wartime gender and the photography of women in France during the Great War, by Nicole Hudgins. This volume presents a fascinating study of the way female images were used in wartime France, and how photography and captioning presented images of traditional and non-traditional traits such as distress, devotion and toil.

Nicole Hudgins, Assistant Professor of History at University of Baltimore, liaised for over 2 years (across the Atlantic!) with the series Editor, Dr Guy Rowlands, former Director of the Centre for French History and Culture at University of St Andrews, to bring the book to fruition. A significant amount of work was invo…