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Showing posts from July, 2019

Responsible use of research metrics

The University of St Andrews is currently running a consultation with Schools on a set of principles for the responsible use of research metrics, including whether the University should sign up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). These 'draft principles for the use of indicators in research assessment and management' were developed in response to growing international concerns amongst funders, governments and institutions on the way research indicators (or metrics) are interpreted and used, with their potential for unintended consequences.

A recent Open Access paper examining the validity of citation-based measures, which analysed >120 million papers, concludes:
"Our study’s extensive analysis of academic publications reveals why using citation-based metrics as measures of impact is wrong at the core..." 
"Researchers do valuable work. Communicating the work to others is vital, and correctly assessing the impact of that work is ess…

Springer OA agreement extended to 2021

We are delighted to announce that the Springer Compact open access deal will continue until 2021.

Under the scheme corresponding authors at participating institutions publishing in a journal with the 'Open Choice' option will be offered open access at no additional cost. The deal also includes ongoing access to Springer’s subscription content.

The deal has been hugely successful so far in increasing the proportion on UK research articles that are Open Access, as well as serving as a benchmark for other publishers to follow. Since 2016 over 150 University of St Andrews articles have been published open access under the deal, benefiting authors from humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences.

We have also made a slight change to the ordering process so now open access is selected automatically, meaning the process is even more streamlined, and with less risk of accidental opt-outs.

Benefits to researchers include: Increased visibility Increased potential for citations In…

InstantILL now installed at IUPUI

InstantILL, from Open Access Button, is a free tool to make inter library loans quicker cheaper and more straightforward. It was originally announced in March, and since then over 250 libraries have joined the waiting list to try it out.

"InstantILL is a next-generation interlibrary loan form that integrates with and complements systems that you already use to improve services, save money, and accelerate Open Access. InstantILL embeds into your website and turns your interlibrary loan form into one simple place where patrons can get legal access to any article through the library." (Open Access Button)

The main idea behind the ILL system is to pull together various methods of finding open access versions of articles into one simple form. This will provide users with content that is already freely available on institutional repositories and aggregation databases such as CORE for instance. Tina Baich, Associate Dean for Collections at Indiana University  - Purdue University In…

Health Information Week: Innovations for preventing illness

In this final post in our series for Health Information Week, we are highlighting a report [1] that looks into the effects of using text message interventions to reduce binge drinking. The report is co-authored by Gerry Humphris from the School of Medicine.

Binge drinking, the report explains, is more prevalent amongst disadvantaged groups, and especially so amongst young to middle-aged disadvantaged men. There have been many attempts to introduce 'brief interventions', but few have attempted to target particular disadvantaged groups.

"Alcohol misuse is a major contributor to inequalities in health. After several years of decline, alcohol consumption has recently started to increase. There is a pressing need for an effective, low-cost intervention to tackle binge drinking in disadvantaged groups." (Humphris, et al.
 The study recruited participants from Tayside, Fife, Forth Valley, and Glasgow.

"A striking finding is that 93% of…

Long term conditions; and social prescribing

For our penultimate post in Health Information Week we’ve discovered an older fully Open Access article from 2014 by Frank Sullivan commemorating a pioneer of the Scottish Health Informatics Programme, Dr John Bryden [1]. The article not only memorialises his work but provides a fascinating history of the development of the innovative Community Health Index (CHI) number allocated to all Scottish residents registered with a General Practitioner, and its uses in linked records to help doctors accurately trace diabetic patient treatment and outcomes.
His early work with the CHI in Scotland enabled data from multiple sources to be linked together in a deterministic manner rather than having to rely upon probabilistic methods.
A major success recorded of the introduction of the CHI and linked data infrastructure has been a reduction in the number of lower-limb amputations despite a substantial increase in the numbers of diabetics, due to to more appropriate and timely interventions.

The l…

Health Information Week: Health and digital literacy

Continuing this week's series of posts highlighting Open Access research we've discovered some reported novel findings [1]. helps users resolve ailments most of us would rather not talk about, e.g. hiccups. It's like an anonymous version of Embarrasing Bodies. The site has a feature that collects feedback from users on whether they've successfully tackled the problem using the advice provided.


Analysis was done on a dataset of 100,561 responses collected over an 82-month period. The data was modelled and the probability model tested before deriving the headline result - "Online health information can help tackle 'embarassing' health problems".

... the successful resolution of piles, crab lice, and chronic diarrhea are high in our dataset, reflecting the relative ease with which these problems can be tackled with readily available proprietary medical products. Others, …

Health Information Week: Healthy Lifestyles

It’s Health Information Week, a multi-sector national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality health information to support healthy living and managing illness. Open Access advocates have long maintained that free access to academic literature has real societal benefits, and this is perhaps best evidenced by the way in which open access to medical and health literature can improve the lives of those trying to find out more about their own illnesses or of the ones they love.

In this post we are highlighting an article that compares vaporisers and e-cigarettes with tobacco. This paper received a lot of public attention on social networks and blogs, and it was also picked up by Public Health England in the Government’s 2018 report on e-cigarettes/vaping devices
"Optimal combinations of device settings, liquid formulation and vaping behaviour normally result in e-cigarette emissions with much less carcinogenic potency than tobacco smoke, notwithstanding there…