Breaking Down Barriers: Harnessing the power of our people

The World Digital Preservation Day theme for 2021 is ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ and focuses on how digital preservation supports digital connections, unlocks potential and creates lasting value.  In this post we’ll look at the work we’ve been doing to identify areas in the university holding records of interest for long-term preservation.  By connecting with people and areas of the university who previously were not involved in the project we are unlocking the potential of the records and creating lasting value.  

This blogpost has been written by St George’s Records Manager Kirsten Hylan, Archivist Juulia Ahvensalmi, Records Manager Kirsten Hylan and Research Data Support Manager Elizabeth Stovold. You can engage with the day and find out more about our work on the Museum and Archives Twitter account, and using the hashtags #WDPD2021 and #SGULwdpd2021.

Logo of World Digital Preservation Day with text in Finnish.
World Digital Preservation Day, organised by Digital Preservation Coalition, an international event to highlight the importance of digital preservation. The text displayed here is in Finnish.

Breaking down barriers

St George’s, University of London (SGUL), is a specialist health and medical sciences university in South-West London.  Since 2016 the Archivist, Research Data Support Manager, and Records Manager have worked together to advocate for digital preservation, successfully winning funds for a system, and identifying areas that hold records that require a long-term storage solution. 

But how do we reach people outside our networks to broaden the digital preservation conversation and demonstrate how it has relevance to those people who hold the records?  And how do we identify records for preservation in areas that previously held none? 

Two approaches have so far helped us broaden our scope:

  • Our Covid-19 story and the Executive Board. During the pandemic we have attempted to collect all Covid-19 material produced by SGUL, including communications, social media, governance records, and research.  However, to date we were conscious that we weren’t capturing or having sight of all the material produced.  Our Executive Board has oversight of strategic and operational matters at SGUL.  In May we took a paper regarding our work to the Executive Board and as result several members of the Board highlighted areas in the university generating education, equality, diversity, and inclusion, and REF submission records that should be considered for permanent preservation.  The move to online education, for instance, has been a huge change and the records documenting the transition should be preserved.
  • We expanded our project board to include representatives from External Relations, Communications and Marketing and from Joint Research and Enterprise Services.  By inviting new voices on the board we obtain different perspectives and reach across barriers. 

Reaching out to people has led to new insights, for us and hopefully also for those we have spoken with. We have for instance had conversations about how the use and the perceived value of records can change over time. Depending on circumstances, records that may not be considered of archival significance actually have consequence beyond their normal lifecycle and are of lasting value to the university.

We have demonstrated this in our time capsule – another idea that came about from our lovely new board members. We hold records in the archives in various formats: there are manuscripts, printed books, typescript minutes, photographs, audio cassettes, LP records, microfilm, floppy disks, emails, as well as various digital renditions of each of these as .pdf, .jpeg and .wav files. Often it is easier to see the value of an old manuscript letter, but it is equally important to take steps to preserve emails, tweets, and any other digital material we now create. The time capsule showcases records throughout the history of St George’s, from a letter from Edward Jenner and minute books discussing Victorian remote communication systems to tweets and Teams meetings.

Bringing it all together

People and the knowledge they hold of an organisation and what makes it functions and the issue it cares about can be seen as key to making connections and identifying digital content for preservation ultimately unlocking the potential of the records.  Digital preservation should not be seen as a record keeping issue or an information technology challenge.  Instead, we need to create a community working together to highlight digital objects for preservation to the preservation team. 

We continue to look forward for advocacy and outreach opportunities to promote digital preservation and chances to work with areas of the universities we haven’t had an opportunity to work with previously. 

If you are interested in learning more about digital preservation at St George’s, or would like to get involved, please contact digpres@sgul.ac.uk.

Open Access Week 2021: It Matters How We Open Knowledge

This week is Open Access Week! This year’s theme is “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity”, focusing on how to make sure all knowledge producers and consumers are able to participate equally. To find out more about this year’s theme and keep up with conversations and events, visit www.openaccessweek.org, and keep an eye on the official hashtag, #OAWeek.

We’ll be tweeting and retweeting from the library Twitter account, @sgullibrary, throughout the week, and if you’d like to see posts we’ve made in previous years, take a look at the Open Access Week tag.

Graphic advertising this year's Open Access Week; text reads 'Open Access Week 2021, It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity, October 25-31'

Open access and open research are about making sure that knowledge is shared as freely and equitably as possible.

The theme of this year’s open access week intentionally aligns with the recently released UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science. The recommendations put forward a framework to support scientific collaboration, and foster open practices, raising the profile of being “open” at an international level.

Students, researchers, academics may all be consumers or producers of research. Open science can mean making publications and data available, but it’s also about enabling a more collaborative, transparent research environment – where results are reproducible and researchers can easily access and build upon each other’s work – and where research is opened up to others such as charities, patient groups, and citizen science.

Photo of two people's hands leaning on some documents on a table. One person has a pencil to edit the documents, the angle of the other person's body suggests they are observing.
Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Here at SGUL, we support open access via our institutional repository, SORA, which holds over 6000 full text articles by SGUL researchers past and present, with more articles being made available every day. And open research isn’t just about articles – we also support open research via our Research Data Repository, which can host not only research data, but also source code, poster presentations and more. Take a look at these recent posts from our Research Data Support Manager to learn more about managing your research data and using the Research Data Repository:

We’ve also signed up for a number of read and publish deals, which allow SGUL staff and students to both read content in these publishers’ journals and publish open access in them with no additional costs (subject to eligibility criteria). See our webpages for a full list of our deals, along with further information on eligibility and how to access them.

Several well known research funders have launched open publishing platforms, where researchers they fund can publish their results quickly and without direct cost for publication. These include:

These platforms also allow for open peer review – to bring greater transparency and diversity to the peer review process. Registering for the ORCID open identifier enables you to showcase peer reviewing work you have undertaken.

Want to get involved?

Here’s some things to think about to help make research more open:

  • For SGUL researchers with access to CRIS, upload your accepted manuscripts via the CRIS so they can be made open access in SORA (and encourage your colleagues to do the same).
  • Consider whether you could publish via an open research platform, and consider who is invited to peer review (for instance, Wellcome Open Research encourages discussion with the editorial team to help with diversity of reviewers).
  • Think about other research outputs you could make available on the SGUL data repository: e.g. datasets, protocols, code, posters and presentations.
  • If you’re on the editorial board for any journals, can you advocate for reduced embargo periods, lower APCS or APC waiver policies for researchers with no source of funding?
  • Join the conversation via the twitter hashtag #OAWeek – or start a conversation with your colleagues in person!

Any questions? Get in touch with us:

We look forward to hearing from you.

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager

Focus on Figshare: using ‘collections’ and ‘projects’

This post has been written by Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager and Information Specialist, Cochrane Airways.

What is Figshare?

Figshare provides the infrastructure for the St George’s Research Data Repository. The repository facilitates the discovery, storage, citing and sharing of research data produced at St George’s. It is possible to store and share a range of research outputs in the repository including datasets, posters, presentations, reports, figures, and data management plans. Each item that is published via the repository receives a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) which makes it easy to cite, share and promote your work.

Screenshot of the St George's Figshare landing page.

What is a collection?

One of the features of Figshare is the ability to create a citable collection of individual related items. You can choose to publish a collection publicly, or opt to keep it private. Collections can be added to over time and republished as they are updated with new items. There are several advantages to using collections, such as the ability to group themed research outputs together in one place, and to showcase a portfolio of work.  

Here at SGUL, Cochrane Airways – a research group based in the Population Health Research Institute – decided to create a collection of the posters and presentations that they have produced over a number of years. A Figshare collection enables the Group to showcase and cite their research dissemination activities and share with funders and other stakeholders. It also provides them with one place to store these outputs instead of saving them across a variety of shared and personal drives.

What is a ‘project’?

A Figshare ‘project’ also enables researchers to group together related items, but it differs from a collection in that it allows multiple collaborators to contribute and to add notes and comments. You can choose to make your project public or keep it private. The project itself doesn’t have a DOI, but the items within a project can do. A project can contain a mix of publicly available data and private data visible only to the project collaborators.  

Cochrane Airways are piloting a Figshare project to store, share and publish reports and other documents that have been produced as part of their priority setting work. A project hosted on Figshare allows them to collate the output of their ongoing work, share documents within their group, and publish documents with a DOI as and when needed.


Could a collection or project in Figshare be useful for you or your team? Contact the SGUL RDM Service at researchdata@sgul.ac.uk to discuss your needs, or see SGUL Research Data Management for more general information and guidance.

DMPOnline for St George’s University researchers

This post has been written by Liz Stovold, Research Data Support Manager and Information Specialist, Cochrane Airways.

A data management plan (DMP) is an important part of a research project and many funders require a DMP as part of a research proposal. A DMP will typically cover issues such as data collection, format, storage, security, documentation, discoverability, reuse, sharing, retention and preservation. Thinking through these issues before embarking on your research will help to improve the organisation of your data throughout the lifecycle of your research and save you time in the long run.

To help you with writing your data management plan, St George’s subscribes to DMPonline – a tool provided by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). To access DMPonline you simply need to log in with your St George’s credentials:

Screenshot of the DMPOnline website sign in page. Select "sign in with your institutional credentials".

From the dashboard, click on ‘create plan’ and off you go!

Screenshot of creating a plan option. From the dashboard, click on the "create plan" link.

Detailed guidance is available in the help tab, together with links to a wealth of resources on data management planning and examples of data management plans. You can also look at publicly shared DMPs from the reference tab:

Screenshot of public DMPs which can serve as guidance for your own. Select Reference from the top menu and then click on public DMPs.

Using DMPOnline to write your DMP offers a number of benefits:

  • access to funder specific templates
  • built-in guidance for each section of the plan
  • invite your collaborators to join the plan
  • add comments for your collaborators
  • option to request feedback on your plan from the SGUL Research Data Management Service
  • export your plan in a variety of formats including MS Word and PDF
  • option to keep your plan private, share with SGUL DMPOnline users, or share publicly

Further reading

Jones, S. (2011). ‘How to Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan’. DCC How-to Guides. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online: https://www.dcc.ac.uk/guidance/how-guides/develop-data-plan (accessed 6 August 2021).

DCC. (2013). Checklist for a Data Management Plan.v.4.0. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans (accessed 6 August 2021).


If you would like further support with developing your plan then please do get in touch at: researchdata@sgul.ac.uk

Visit SGUL Research Data Management for general information and guidance about research data management.

New Read and Publish deals for 2021

Since last year’s announcements, SGUL Library has expanded our number of “Read and Publish” deals, giving SGUL researchers even more opportunities to publish open access – this year we have new arrangements with publishers such as Oxford University Press, BMJ Publishing and Cambridge University Press, in addition to others such as Springer and Wiley.

Under these Read and Publish deals, open access fees for publishing original research in many journals from participating publishers are waived.

The deals are called read and publish because the institution has paid for SGUL staff and students to have access to read articles in the subscription journals covered, PLUS, where the SGUL researcher is the corresponding author, research articles can be published under a Creative Commons licence at no extra cost. This is visualised below:

Image shows a large green circle containing a smaller blue circle, containing an even smaller yellow circle. The largest circle is labelled 'university subscription', the middle circle is labelled 'Read articles' and the smallest 'Publish open access'.

To be eligible to publish open access, you’ll need to be the corresponding author on the paper, and either a member of St George’s, University of London staff, or a student at St George’s, University of London. You’ll be expected to use your SGUL affiliation on any articles where the fee is waived under this scheme. Guidance on acknowledging affiliation is contained in SGUL’s Research Publications Policy.

Corresponding authors who are members of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff with honorary status at SGUL won’t normally qualify for these deals, although if the paper acknowledges a UK funder and a co-author with a relevant grant is based at SGUL, the paper may still qualify – please contact us for further advice.

As well as increasing the opportunities for SGUL researchers to make their research openly available, these deals will also help researchers to comply with funder mandates to publish open access (a CC-BY licence will usually be the one to select for funded research papers).

Which publishers are included in these new deals?

  • BMJ Publishing, including titles such as Archives of Disease in Childhood, Gut, Heart and Sexually Transmitted Infections (your research must be acknowledging one or more specific UK funders to qualify). Note: This deal does not include open access waivers for publishing in the BMJ, or wholly open access titles.
  • Cambridge University Press, including titles such as British Journal of Psychiatry, Cardiology in the Young, Epidemiology & Infection and Twin Research and Human Genetics.
  • Oxford University Press, including titles such as Brain, Clinical Infectious Diseases, European Heart Journal, Human Molecular Genetics, Journal of Infectious Diseases and Virus Evolution.
  • The American Physiological Society, including titles such as American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology and American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Researchers will also be eligible for a one year APS membership.

See our webpages for further information on the publishers and journals included in these deals, and information on how to apply.

Open Research Platforms

As well as these opportunities to publish open access, a growing number of funders are providing open research platforms for researchers to publish the results of their research rapidly. These include:

Are you funded by the Wellcome Trust?

If you are funded by the Wellcome Trust, remember that their open access policy has changed for journal articles submitted from 1st January 2021. All original, peer reviewed research articles funded by the Wellcome Trust and submitted from this date must be made freely available via PubMed Central (PMC) and Europe PMC by the final publication date, and must be published under a CC BY license (unless Wellcome has agreed to the use of a CC BY-ND license).

The following statement must be included on original, peer reviewed research articles funded by Wellcome and submitted from 1st January 2021:

“This research was funded in whole, or in part, by the Wellcome Trust [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”

This rights retention strategy, developed by cOAlition S, will allow Wellcome funded authors to publish in their choice of journal, while also complying with the Wellcome Trust’s new open access policy.

COAlition S have also produced this graphic to explain the rights retention strategy.

For more information on Wellcome’s open access policy, have a look at our Library web page setting out the key points you need to know.

Questions?

Contact us at openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

Or see our Open Access FAQs webpage

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

If you are interested receiving updates from the Library on all things open access, open data and scholarly research communications, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from us.

Open Access Week 2020: Open with Purpose

This week, October 19th-25th, is Open Access Week, an annual, international event dedicated to celebrating and promoting Open Research.

This year’s theme is Open with Purpose: Taking Action to Build Structural Equity and Inclusion, acknowledging that current systems are often built on a past of historic injustices and that in building new systems, we need to be mindful of who we are and aren’t including, who we are prioritising and whether we are perpetuating a legacy of injustice.

To find out more, visit www.openaccessweek.org, or follow the official twitter hashtag, #OAWeek. We’ll also be tweeting and retweeting from the library account, @sgullibrary, and, if you’re in the library, look out for our poster on how to find open access material.

You can also find posts we’ve made in previous years under the Open Access Week tag on this blog.

Here at SGUL we support open research via our Research Publications Repository (SORA) and our Research Data Repository. We currently have over 4870 full text papers available via SORA, with an average 4180 downloads a month, and these numbers are rising every day. And, since its launch three years ago, we’ve had 17,163 downloads of public content in our Research Data Repository.

As well as supporting SGUL researchers to make their publications openly available via SORA, the Library is also signing up to Read and Publish deals, several of which are new in 2020. These deals work by giving SGUL patrons access to read journals, and giving SGUL corresponding authors the opportunity to publish original research articles on open access, as visualised below:

(from our blogpost on our Read and Publish deals)

Research outputs that aren’t traditional publications, such as research data, source code, poster presentations and so on, can be uploaded to our Research Data Repository, where they will be preserved and, where appropriate, made available for other researchers to explore and re-use. The Research Data Repository has been updated recently – have a look at our blog post from last week to find out more.

If you’d like to know more about SORA or about our Research Data Repository, please get in touch at sora@sgul.ac.uk (for SORA) or researchdata@sgul.ac.uk (for the Research Data Repository, or for general help managing your data throughout the research lifecycle).

Want to get involved?

Here are some ways to consider making your research practices more open:

  • Upload your author’s accepted manuscripts to a repository such as SORA: this means that, publisher copyright permitting, we will be able to make them available to people who might not otherwise have been able to access them. You can do this via your CRIS profile at http://cris.sgul.ac.uk/ – if you have any questions, you can contact us at sora@sgul.ac.uk
  • Get in touch with researchdata@sgul.ac.uk about making your other research outputs openly accessible via our Research Data Repository, or for ideas on where to find open data and other outputs you can use in your own research.
  • Think about uploading a preprint of your research to a preprint server. Posting papers to preprint platforms has increased greatly since the start of the pandemic – you can find out more about preprints, such as what they are and what to consider before posting, by reading our blogpost from last year on preprints in the medical, biological and health sciences.
  • Follow the conversation via the twitter hashtag #OAWeek – and add your own thoughts and reflections!

Any questions? Get in touch with us:

We look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager

Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant

Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

SGUL Research data repository: 2020 update

The St George’s Research Data Repository is a digital archive for discovering, storing, sharing and preserving research data produced at St George’s. Other research outputs such as posters, presentations, protocols, reports and software/code can also be shared in the repository, allowing researchers to get credit for a wider range of research outputs. Every output shared receives a DOI, making it more findable and citable. 

The repository is managed by the St George’s Research Data Management Service and is powered by figshare. Figshare recently improved some of system’s functionality. In this post we’ll overview two of these changes and what they might mean for researchers: 

  1. changes to confidential data, and 
  1. linking data with their associated publications 

Changes to confidential data 

The confidential data feature is now referred to as ‘permanent embargo’. This change is retrospective and all datasets that were previously published as ‘confidential’ are now ‘under permanent embargo’. 

Screenshot showing that all datasets that were previously published as ‘confidential’ are now ‘under permanent embargo’.

This is mostly a change in name. The function works in exactly the same way as confidential data used to. Researchers can publish a description of the data they possess. The data itself is not published. Instead, we’ll provide an email address for external users to request access to the data. This feature is useful when anonymised data cannot be made publicly available, but they can be shared under controlled access conditions.   

To demonstrate how this works we can look at this dataset (shown in part below) which supports the peer-reviewed publication, “Weekend and weekday associations between the residential built environment and physical activity: findings from the ENABLE-London Study.”  

Screenshot showing an example dataset with supports a publication. The data itself is not publicly accessible, but there is a clear description of the data and a method for requesting access to it.

Where researchers will see a change is in how they apply a permanent embargo to a dataset. When uploading a dataset for publication, you will need to go to the Embargo section of the form and select ‘Permanent’ from the dropdown menu (as shown in the image below). 

Screenshot: when uploading a dataset for publication, you will need to go to the Embargo section of the form and select ‘Permanent’ from the dropdown menu (as shown in the image below).

Once this is selected, apply the embargo to the files only and then add a reason for the file being under embargo (as shown below). 

Once you have selected permanent embargo, apply the embargo to the files only and then add a reason for the file being under embargo (as shown below).

Linking data with their associated publication 

For data supporting a publication, researchers can now more prominently link the data with their associated publication. This will allow users to find the main publication related to a dataset easily, enhancing transparency and increasing the visibility of your work. This dataset shows how data and their associated publication can be linked (see image below).  

Screenshot of a dataset showing how data and their associated publication can be linked.

This information can only be added once the article is public and has a DOI.  

To do this, you will need to include the title of the published paper and the paper’s DOI in the file upload form, as shown below. 

Screenshot highlighting where you need to add the paper title and DOI.

If you do not have this information when first publishing the dataset, that’s fine. Simply leave these fields blank. You can add this information later once the paper is public – even after the dataset has been published. This will not generate a new version of the dataset. 

Our guidance 

The repository guidance on our website has been updated to reflect these changes.   

Get in touch 

If you have any questions about these changes, or you’d like to request a demo of the data repository for your research group, please email the SGUL RDM Service at researchdata@sgul.ac.uk. We’d be happy to help you. 

New opportunities to publish open access

384px-Open_Access_logo_PLoS_transparent.svgAt the start of 2020, we are pleased to announce some new ‘Read and Publish’ deals, which make publishing your research open access (OA) easier for SGUL researchers[1] – regardless of whether your research is funded or not.

This blog post aims to tell you some more about these deals – what they are, how they have come about, and where to go for more information.

First off, what is ‘Read and Publish’?

Some SGUL researchers have already taken advantage of a ‘read and publish’ deal, by publishing in journals in the Springer Compact deal.

Under this deal, open access fees for publishing in many Springer journals are waived because SGUL Library has a subscription with Springer.

So as SGUL Library has paid a subscription, SGUL staff & students have access to read articles in the journals covered, PLUS, where the SGUL researcher is the corresponding author, the article can be published under CC-BY licence at no extra cost to SGUL. This is visualised below:

Publish and Read

Which publishers and journals are covered by our new Read and Publish deals?

  • Company of Biologists (for these three of their titles, not applicable for their journals that are already fully OA)
    • Development
    • Journal of Cell Science
    • The Journal of Experimental Biology
  • European Respiratory Society
    • publishing in their flagship journal ‘European Respiratory Journal’ (not in their fully OA journals or other titles)
  • Microbiology Society
    • The agreement covers publishing in all the Society’s titles

These 3 deals are being piloted from Jan 2020-Dec 2021.

CC

(Creative Commons licenses explained ©Foter (adapted by Jisc) via Foter blog CC BY-SA)

Why isn’t it possible to publish open access for free in all the journals?

You may be wondering this.

The move from a subscription-based model to a Read and Publish (or Publish and Read) one is a complex task often requiring many months of negotiations. So far, only a relatively small number of publishers offer such deals, but the number continues to gradually increase.

The move has been prompted by the increase in funders requiring the research they fund to be openly available, while at the same time there have been increases in costs for open access publishing. Wellcome Trust noted in 2018 that “the average APC for a hybrid OA article (making an article open access in a subscription journal) (£2,209) is 34% higher than the average APC for an article in a fully OA journal (£1,644).”

And while some publishers continue to report large profits, other journals, especially those run for learned societies, may be more modest affairs, existing to facilitate furthering the activities, knowledge and influence of their particular community. The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), along with other partners, has been working to identify routes through which learned society publishers could successfully transition to open access (OA). They recently published a report and toolkit to help with this.

How are the decisions made about these deals?

The Read and Publish deals SGUL researchers can take advantage of have been negotiated by Jisc Collections (which works with UK universities as a consortium to arrange affordable deals that work for both publishers and institutions).

As these deals were offered at no additional cost to maintaining read access to these subscription journals, SGUL Library has been able to sign up, and this is great news for our researchers.

Some other publishers are currently in negotiations with Jisc Collections. The outcome of ongoing and any future negotiations may influence SGUL’s ability to pay for these deals (for instance if publishers offer deals over the cost of subscriptions plus the rate of inflation). All deals are subject to review as the new models are tested out by publishers, institutions and researchers alike (as Springer recently cautioned).

As Plan S, an initiative backed by many big funders committed to making OA a reality, and recent speculation about possible White House moves towards open access in the US show, the push for openly accessible research is not likely to go away any time soon.

A positive sign is that Universities UK, an organisation made up of University vice-chancellors and principals, has recently brought together a group, which also includes representatives from major UK funders, who will work towards sustainable solutions in the move towards more open access to UK research.

SGUL Library will continue to keep a watchful eye on developments, and we welcome feedback from any researchers who have participated in publishing under these deals (contact information below).

Want more information?

  • For details of these and other low or no cost publishing options, please visit the Library webpage on Paying Open Access Fees
  • If you have any intellectual property you wish to protect before publishing, you can get in touch with our Enterprise and Innovation Team
  • Reminder: If you are considering publishing on open access with journals not covered by any Publish and Read deals, please take a moment to look at the guidance available on our OA FAQs page
  • The agreements with publishers are managed here at SGUL by Lawrence Jones (Content and Digital Infrastructure Manager) and Verity Allison (Journals and e-resources Librarian). The Library has guidance if you need help Finding Books, Articles and More

Meanwhile if you have any questions about open access, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via the emails below.

Jennifer Smith

Research Publications Librarian

Contacts

CRIS & Deposit on acceptance: sora@sgul.ac.uk

Open Access Publications: openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

If you are interested receiving updates from the Library on all things open access, open data and scholarly research communications, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from us.

References

Wellcome Trust. Wellcome is going to review its open access policy [Internet]. London: Wellcome; 2018 [cited 2020 Jan 14]. Available from: https://wellcome.ac.uk/news/wellcome-going-review-its-open-access-policy

Page, B. Elsevier records 2% lifts in revenue and profits [Internet]. The Bookseller: 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 14]. Available from: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/elsevier-records-2-lifts-revenue-and-profits-960016

Springer Nature Group. Alternative conditions needed in order for cOAlition S’s proposal for Transformative Journals to succeed [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 14]. Available from: https://group.springernature.com/fr/group/media/press-releases/alternative-conditions-needed/17508260

Subbaraman, N. Rumours fly about changes to US government open-access policy. Nature [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2020 Jan 16]. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03926-1

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[1] SGUL researchers are:

  • St George’s, University of London staff
  • St George’s, University of London students
  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff with honorary status.

The corresponding author should apply using their St George’s email, which will help identify them to the publisher as being at an institution eligible under these deals. Otherwise, check if your corresponding author’s institution participates in the deal.

Open Access Week 2019: Publicly funded research data are a public good

This week October 21 – 27, 2019 is Open Access week, an international event celebrating and promoting openness in research.

In keeping with this year’s theme, Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge, this blogpost reflects on the public benefits of open data, the current challenges and opportunities.

We’re using the Library’s twitter account (@sgullibrary) to retweet interesting articles and blogpost all this week.


Open for whom?

This week the international research community is celebrating Open Access Week by reflecting on equity in open knowledge; enabling inclusive and diverse conversations on a single question: “open for whom”? Today’s blog post focuses specifically on open research data. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) state in their Common Principles on Data Policy that:

Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner.

But who exactly does open research data benefit? We often speak about the benefits of open data to research and innovation:

  • enabling transparency
  • promoting reproducibility
  • boosting opportunities for collaboration
  • enhancing opportunities for innovation
  • reducing inefficiencies in research

The public ultimately benefit from open research data but are often treated as beneficiaries and not active, engaged partners.

This year’s theme asked me to challenge an assumption that open research data are for (and used primarily by) scientific/technical specialists working “in the public interest”, rather than the public themselves. A noble endeavour, I thought. So off I set…

Picture of a unicorn galloping over a rainbow.
Designed by Freepik

Who is the public?

At the very start, I faced a conundrum – who exactly is the public? The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) helped ‘define the territory’. The short answer is everyone. Anyone can be a part of the range of groups that make up the public.

Graph of stakeholders in public engagement supplied by The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement.
Source: The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Non-governmental organisations, social enterprises, health and well-being agencies, local authorities, strategic bodies and community, cultural and special interest groups all comprise members of the public with an interest in accessing data to inform decisions that will benefit their group.

Releasing raw data in ways that make the data easy to find, access, understand and reuse helps maximise the potential benefits of research data across the social spectrum. It should be easy to discover what research data are available and how that data can be accessed. When released, data should be in open formats so that anyone can be able to access it, not just a select or privileged few possessing expensive, proprietary software. Data should also be shared with sufficient information about how it was created, how it should be understood and how to reuse it meaningfully and responsibly. Finally, data should always be shared under licences which tell people what they can do with it. Called FAIR data, these principles of data management and sharing enable maximum reuse of research data.

Measured voices

It’s here that a measured voice within in me started whispering… and I listened carefully.

Colourfully drawn arrows going in different directions on a blackboard

Is this really enough? This still has the potential to get messy. Very messy. Especially if we’re talking about health and medical data derived from human beings, which can be sensitive and which we have taken responsibility for protecting.

In the fallout of various data scandals, including scandals about the data used to train artificial intelligence, organisations everywhere are scrambling to restore public trust in the way we handle and use data. Part of restoring that trust is in the transparency offered by open data. Another aspect of restoring trust is in safeguarding the data that people provide us with and using that data responsibly, in ways individuals have consented to.

This tension between openness and our professional responsibilities is recognised in the UKRI’s data policy as well:

UKRI recognises that there are legal, ethical and commercial constraints on release of research data. To ensure that the research process is not damaged by inappropriate release of data, research organisation policies and practices should ensure that these are considered at all stages in the research process.

This is a tension we are constantly negotiating given the kinds of data that we handle at St George’s.

Data ethics

A new field of applied ethics, called data ethics, gives us a useful framework for exploring and responding to legal and moral issues related to data collection, processing, sharing and reusing. The Open Data Institute has developed the Data Ethics Canvas to help organisations identify and manage ethical issues related to data. The UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also provides a Data Ethics Framework to guide the use of data in the public sector. 

Being responsible in our data sharing means that a large amount of data produced from human participants are only available on request from other researchers. This takes me right back to where I started, though with the caveat that it might be particularly relevant for health and medical research: an assumption that open research data are for (and used primarily by) scientific/technical specialists working “in the public interest”, rather than the public themselves.

But maybe there’s a middle ground for health and medical data derived from human participants? Maybe there are possibilities for us to create meaningful and lasting partnerships with ‘the public’ to realise the public benefits of data? The UK Biobank engages very closely with their participants, but they are still participants. I wonder if there are examples out there of projects where participants are also decision-makers about their data. Or examples of projects that have formed collaborations with civil society and/or public sector groups to realise the greater benefits of data. It would be nice to see examples of initiatives like these to use as a springboard for wider conversation. 

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager (researchdata@sgul.ac.uk)


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Open Access Week 2019: The When, Where and How of Open Access

This week October 21 – 27, 2019 is Open Access week, an international event celebrating and promoting openness in research.

Banner for Open Access Week 2019 "Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge"

In keeping with this year’s theme is Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge (1), in this blogpost we look at where and when you can be open with your research, to ensure maximum reuse of, and access to, research – for now and the future.

We’re using the Library’s twitter account (@sgullibrary) to retweet interesting articles and blogpost all this week.


When and where should you be open?  We have some pointers to help you decide.

What can you share, and how can you easily find open access research? See our top tips below.

When to be open

As the endorsement of Plan S  (“making full and immediate Open Access a reality”) by many significant charitable and public funders shows2, the drive to make research open and accessible is an ever-growing expectation. 

Of course, before you choose to blog, tweet, promote at conferences or upload to websites such as ResearchGate any research you are working on, you’ll need to consider:

Could there be any real-world applications or commercial opportunity?

Does your funder ask you to keep the research confidential?

SGUL’s JRES Enterprise and Innovation team can give advice to help you understand intellectual property-related matters and commercial research endeavours.

Examples of Open/public domain publication & communication:

  • Conference poster
  • Conference presentation
  • Publication
  • Blogging
  • Tweeting
  • Sharing and posting online

Follow the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.

Where to be open?

Open Access publishing

If you have been approached to publish open access, what are the credentials of the publisher, and what commitments do they make to perform peer review? Will your work be indexed in the scholarly databases?

Use Think, Check Submit and DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)

Posting your work online

Can you make your work available in a repository? Hang on though – what is a repository?  

Features of repositories as outlined in this paper3 are that they are platforms which:

1.            Allow deposit of digital research outputs
2.            Manage those digital research outputs
3.            Disseminate digital research outputs over the internet
4.            No login or subscription required to access outputs
5.            Are fully interoperable with other research systems
6.            Have some role with respect to preservation

Institutional repositories, such as SGUL’s SORA (St George’s Online Research Archive) and subject repositories (such as Europe PubMed Central) typically organise the records so that the information can be discovered by other systems – to help foster further sharing. SGUL Library staff check the publisher T&Cs before making any full text freely available online.

The CORE database aggregates millions of research papers from repositories and allows for text and data mining.4 to fully exploit the mass of research.

ResearchGate on the other hand is a networking site where many researchers post their papers.

However, action has been taken by the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, a publishers’ coalition, because their copyrighted material has been shared without the copyright holders permission – a recent report5 stated that “ResearchGate continues to illicitly provide access to millions of copyrighted research articles” 

Consider if you have the right to post your research there – are you the copyright holder? Are you working on the research with other researchers and have you checked with them?

What can you share?

Look out for Creative Commons licences, which give you a clear indication of how you can reuse – see our blog post explaining the varieties of licence you may come across, and what they mean.

How can you easily find legally posted open access research?

Install the CORE browser extension https://core.ac.uk/services/discovery/

Install the Unpaywall extension   https://unpaywall.org/products/extension

References

1] Shockey, N. Theme of 2019 International Open Access Week To Be “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge” [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from: http://www.openaccessweek.org/profiles/blogs/theme-of-2019-international-open-access-week-to-be-open-for-whom-.

2] Wellcome Trust Open Research [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23].

Available from https://wellcome.ac.uk/what-we-do/our-work/open-research

3]  Jacobs, Neil. In the context of Open Access policies, what is a “repository”? Some definitions and principles [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from: https://scholarlycommunications.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2016/05/31/what-is-a-repository/

4] CORE: Learn more about our powerful services [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from https://core.ac.uk/services/

5] Coalition for Responsible Sharing: Status Report on ResearchGate: June 13, 2019: [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 23]. Available from http://www.responsiblesharing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CfRS-status-report-2019-06-13.pdf


If you are interested receiving updates from the Library on all things open access, open data and scholarly research communications, you can subscribe to the Library Blog using the Follow button or click here for further posts from us.