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)


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 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.

Open Access Week 2019: Open for Whom?

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"

This year’s theme is Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge (1). This goes beyond calling for open access to research, and asks whether we’re supporting equitable participation in research. It’s an opportunity to reflect on whose interests are being served by current modes and systems of open access, and which voices are being left out of the conversation.
We’ll be using the library’s twitter account (@sgullibrary) to retweet interesting articles and blogpost all this week, as well as adding to the conversation ourselves – look out for more posts here on the library’s blog.


Who needs open access?

The basic principle of open access and open research is about ensuring that no-one is prevented from accessing research findings because they, or their institution, can’t afford to pay to access researchers work. This is especially important in health sciences, as clinicians, patients, policy makers, charities and so on all have an interest in accessing up to date health research, but may not be able to afford to subscribe to all the articles and journals they need. Earlier this year, the BMJ posted two pieces calling on researchers to remember doctors in developing countries (2), and to remember patients (3).

How to find open access research

To find open access articles you can use these tools:

  • CORE is the world’s largest collection of open access research papers.
    • Download the CORE browser extensionOne-click access to free copies of research papers whenever you hit the paywall” (requires Google Chrome or Chromium).
  • Unpaywall also indexes open access content.

How does SGUL facilitate access to our research?

We have our institutional repository, SORA. Our researchers can upload their accepted manuscripts via our CRIS system and then, publisher policies permitting, we can make these full texts available via SORA, meaning that anyone with an internet connection can access them, even if they’re behind a paywall on the publisher’s website.

We also help researchers to access funds to pay to make the final published version of their work openly available immediately on publication: see the Open Access Publishing FAQs for more, or get in touch via openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

Our Research Data Repository is available to help SGUL researchers make available research outputs that aren’t traditional publications: not just research data, but poster presentations, source code, and more. Anything deposited will be given a digital object identifier (DOI), a long-lasting reference to the output, helping it to be easily found and cited. We can also help researchers with their data management plans, and with managing their data across the research cycle. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch via researchdata@sgul.ac.uk

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

What can you do?

This Open Access week, here are some things you can do to help promote greater access to health research:

  • Upload your accepted manuscripts to the CRIS so we can make them available via SORA.
  • Think about whether you have research data or other outputs you can make available: see our page on Research Data Management for things to consider.
  • Start a conversation with your colleagues about open research: is there anything you can do to help other researchers build on or access your research? Have any other researchers made their data or other outputs available that could help you in the research you’re doing?

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

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 21]. Available from: http://www.openaccessweek.org/profiles/blogs/theme-of-2019-international-open-access-week-to-be-open-for-whom-.
  2. Murthi, M. Open access: remember doctors in developing countries. BMJ [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 21]. 365: l2255. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2255.
  3. deBronkart, D. Open access: remember the patients. BMJ [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Oct 21]. 365: l1545. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1545.

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.

Libraries Week 2019: Celebrating Research Support

Libraries Week takes place between 7th – 12th October 2019. This year’s campaign is focused on celebrating the role of libraries in the digital world. Over the course of the week we’ll be introducing you to different teams within the Library and explore how they use technology to support our community.


Today’s post features a contribution from our Research Support Team and will be highlighting:

  • How the Library supports our researchers with making their publications and data findable and accessible online so it can be used by others
  • How we work to preserve these important digital research assets for the future.

So how does research take place?

This diagram gives a birds-eye view of what researchers are doing at various stages of their work – how ideas are tested, what is recorded, and how results are written up and shared.

Once shared, the research can be used by others – for example, other researchers, policy makers and health professionals – to further medical knowledge and clinical practice.

How is the Library involved in the research process?

The Library is involved in supporting SGUL researchers throughout their research process, from the early stages when they apply to medical and other funders to make a case for grant funding for their research projects, right through to the long-term availability and preservation of the research that they produce.

Meet the Research Support team

Michelle Harricharan, our Research Data Support Manager, works with our research teams to help them to create, manage, share and preserve high quality digital data that is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) – and in line with funder and publisher data policies.        

Jennifer Smith Research, Research Publications Librarian and Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant, help researchers understand how they can make their research papers freely available online via our publications repository, SORA, and advise researchers on the fast moving world of open access publishing.

We all are available for face to face meetings with researchers, we provide guidance on our webpages and blogposts, and can be contacted by phone or email (see below).

The Library also procures and manages a range of software systems to help provide our services to researchers.

How do we use technology to support our users?

Making research papers freely available

The government allocates funding to universities based on the impact and reach of their research out in the wider world. As part of the next assessment by the government, known as REF, any research papers SGUL wishes to use as evidence of our research impact will need to be freely available online.

Our researchers can track and record their publications in our Current Research Information System (CRIS), which uses Symplectic Elements software. The CRIS captures and records detailed information about the research publications, such as how often their research is picked up and referred to by other researchers, and allows researchers to upload their publications to be made open access in our repository. Publications information from the CRIS is also transferred into researchers’ public profiles on the SGUL website.

The CRIS links to our institutional database for publications, St George’s Online Research Archive (SORA) which is hosted and supported by Cosector. This repository uses open source software, and information about the papers in SORA is picked up by indexing services such as Google Scholar, CORE, and Unpaywall,  and many of our researchers’ papers are also freely available in the big medical databases PubMedCentral and Europe PubMed Central.

Both systems show Altmetric scores, which visualise how many times the research has been referred to in traditionally non-scholarly places such as news media, social media, public policies and so on.  

Having the research findable and accessible in so many places helps ensure there are as few barriers to reading and re-use as possible. To date we have over 3,700 papers freely available online via SORA – with downloads currently averaging 3,600 per month from all parts of the world.

Research Data Infrastructure

In 2016 the university partnered with Jisc on the Research Data Shared Service project. This allowed us to establish the foundations for a state of the art digital data infrastructure at our Library.

In mid-2017 we launched our figshare-based research data repository which is a digital archive for discovering, storing and sharing research data (and wider research outputs) produced at St George’s. Since its launch we have shared some 45 outputs from a range of SGUL research and collected hundreds more that are publicly available via PLOS. To date, our 45 public items have been viewed more than 20,000 times and downloaded almost 4,000 times, a testament to the contribution open research can make to enabling public access to high value digital research.

Together with Records Management and Archives, we are also in the process of implementing a digital preservation system, Preservica, to ensure continued access to our valuable research data assets (as well as our unique institutional records). Digital content are fragile; they can quickly become inaccessible as the hardware and software to open them become obsolete. By continually migrating digital files to their latest formats, Preservica will ensure that our digital content remains accessible and usable for the long term.

Get connected, get creative and learn new skills

The following websites are a useful starting point if you would like to know more:

Understanding Health Research
If you are trying to make sense of health research, this website was funded by the MRC to guide you through some steps to help you read scientific papers and think about the value of the evidence or conclusions made.

Open Access Publishing
A course for those who wish to understand more about how to publish open access – some of the terminology that is often used and funder expectations are explained.

Jisc Research Data Management Toolkit
A curated portal with up-to-date resources on research data management, data sharing and preservation.

If you have any questions about open research, get in contact with the team using the information below:

CRIS & Deposit on acceptance: sora@sgul.ac.uk
Open Access Publications: openaccess@sgul.ac.uk
Research Data Management: researchdata@sgul.ac.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager
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.

Preprints in the biological, medical and health sciences: some questions answered.

The open research movement is about disseminating scientific outputs widely and openly as soon as possible. One of the ways that researchers can rapidly share their work with a wide audience is by posting a preprint to a preprint server. The practice of sharing and commenting on preprints has recently been described as ‘science in real time1

What is a preprint?
Why post preprints online?
Before you post your preprint, what should you consider?
Where can I post preprints?
Where are preprints indexed?
How do I find out about preprints?
Can SGUL researchers record and deposit preprints in CRIS/SORA/SGUL Data Repository?
The future of preprints
Queries about preprints or open research?
References

What is a preprint?

The preprint is the original version of your work, before peer review and before acceptance by a journal.

Why post preprints online?

  • Publishing your research as a preprint means that you can get your work out fast. From 2021, the Wellcome Trust2 will require that any research they fund that is relevant to a public health emergency be published as a preprint, in order to disseminate findings on such important areas as quickly as possible3,4.
  • Your work will be citeable and shareable as soon as it’s posted, allowing you to demonstrate the work you’re doing to funders, colleagues and potential collaborators.
  • Immediate feedback from your peers can help you improve your manuscript, as well as opening up potential avenues for follow up work or collaborations.
  • By publishing your findings as a preprint, you can publically establish priority by date stamping your findings and making your preprint part of the scientific record.
  • Preprint servers (examples below) allow for disseminating hard-to-publish but important work such as negative/null findings.
  • In fields where posting preprints to preprint servers is commonplace, these can become a one stop shop for getting a quick overview of the newest developments in the field – a piece in Nature5 highlights how biorXiv can be used to help researchers stay abreast of what their colleagues are working on.

Before you post your preprint, what should you consider?

If you are posting as a step prior to publishing in a journal, check whether your prospective journal has any rules around preprints – do they consider posting preprints as ‘prior publication’?

What’s the best platform for what you want to achieve? If you want feedback on your paper from a specific group before going more public, you could share it on St George’s data repository via a closed group or a private link.

Are there charges for posting? Where there are charges, these tend to be much less than open access fees in more established journals, however you will still need to consider how these are paid.

Where can I post preprints?

bioRxiv.org is a preprint server for the biological sciences. Many journals allow you to submit work that has been previously published as a preprint, and preprints posted to bioRxiv can also be directly transferred for submission to a variety of other peer review services (eg Plos, BMC). An analysis6 earlier this year of biorXiv preprints found that “two-thirds of preprints posted before 2017 were later published in peer-reviewed journals”.

medRxiv is a preprint server using the same software as bioRxiv, and papers on health sciences topics can be posted there.

BioMed Central have recently launched a new prepublication option, In Review, for articles under consideration in four of their journals: BMC Anesthesiology, BMC Neurology, BMC Ophthalmology and Trials.

F1000 Research, Wellcome Open Research and the new AMRC Open Research operate under a slightly different model: preprints posted to these sites are then openly peer reviewed, and the article is considered published once it has passed peer review. 

All these sites screen contributions for plagiarism and appropriateness, and to ensure they meet ethical standards.

Where are preprints indexed?

bioRxiv and medRxiv preprints are indexed by Google, Google Scholar, CrossRef and other search tools. They are not indexed by Web of Science, however they will be indexed in EPMC as follows:

“To distinguish preprints from peer reviewed articles in Europe PMC, each preprint is given a PPR ID, and is clearly labelled as a preprint, both on the abstract view and the search results… When preprints have subsequently been published as peer-reviewed articles and indexed in Europe PMC they are crosslinked to each other.”

Preprints are not indexed in PubMed until they have achieved sufficient peer review.

How do I find out about preprints?

Preprint platforms have options to set up alerts for subject categories, recent additions and to track papers when they are revised.

Rxivist combines preprints from bioRxiv with data from Twitter to help find the papers being discussed in a particular field, to help researchers deal with the “avalanche” of research7 they may be faced with. 

I’m a SGUL researcher, can I record and deposit my preprints in SGUL’s CRIS (Current Research Information System), St George’s Research Data Repository or publications repository, SORA (St George’s Online Research Archive)?

Records for preprints can come into your CRIS profile from CrossREF & EPMC. This is useful as it adds to the completeness of your publication list in CRIS.

As and when a paper from biorXiv or medrXiv goes onto to be published in a journal, then we’d expect to see a record for this in CRIS too.

For the purposes of making full text available via SORA, we have historically only made those versions of an article post peer review (either the final accepted MS or publisher version where possible) publically available.

For REF 2021, while preprints will be eligible for submission8, only outputs which have been ‘accepted for publication’ (such as a journal article or conference contribution with an ISSN) are within the scope of the REF 2021 open access policy. SGUL researchers should continue to follow the deposit on acceptance advice and upload the accepted version of their papers to CRIS for SORA.

The future of preprints

While there has been debate on the pros and cons of preprints in terms of whether research disseminated in this way will advance healthcare for patients9, improvements to preprint platforms (such as medRxiv’s cautionary advice to news media on their homepage) and backing by funders should mean that as a tool for researchers to quickly share & find preliminary findings, preprints will be around for the foreseeable future.

As funder mandates and preprint practices develop in the medical and health sciences, we will keep our system capabilities for capturing and promoting researchers’ preprints under active review.

Queries about preprints or open research?

Contact us

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

Open Access Publications: openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

Research Data Management: researchdata@sgul.ac.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager
Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant
Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

Look out for a Library blog post on open peer review during Peer Review Week which is taking place September 16-20 2019.

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

1. Knowledge Exchange. Preprints: Science in real time [Internet]. Bristol: Knowledge Exchange; 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 7]. Available from: http://www.knowledge-exchange.info/event/preprints.

See also the slide deck:

Chiarelli, A; Johnson, R; Pinfield, S; Richens, E. Practices, drivers and impediments in the use of preprints: Phase 1 report [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 8]. Available from: http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2654832

2. Wellcome Trust. Open Access Policy 2021 [Internet]. London: Wellcome; 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 8]. Available from: https://wellcome.ac.uk/sites/default/files/wellcome-open-access-policy-2021.pdf

3. Peiperl L. Preprints in medical research: Progress and principles. PLoS Med [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 8];15(4):e1002563. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002563

4. Johansson MA, Reich NG, Meyers LA, Lipsitch M. Preprints: An underutilized mechanism to accelerate outbreak science. PLoS Med [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 8];15(4):e1002549. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002549

5. Learn, JR. What bioRxiv’s first 30,000 preprints reveal about biologists [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 8]. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00199-6

6. Abdill, RJ, Blekhman, R. Tracking the popularity and outcomes of all bioRxiv preprints. bioRxiv [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 7];515643. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1101/515643

7. Abdill, RJ; Blekhman R. Rxivist.org: Sorting biology preprints using social media and readership metrics. PLOS Biol [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 8];17(5):e3000269. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000269

8. REF 2021. Guidance on submissions (2019/01) Section 238. [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Aug 7]. Available from: https://www.ref.ac.uk/publications/guidance-on-submissions-201901/

9. Krumholz HM, Ross JS, Otto CM. Will research preprints improve healthcare for patients? BMJ [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2019 Aug 8];362:k3628. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3628

A year’s worth of Open Research and SGUL

A year's worth of Open Research and SGULIf you are a researcher at SGUL, we are here to help you share and preserve your data, and publish in a way that meets your funder open access mandates, as many have a commitment to making data and publications as openly available as possible.

SGUL has two repositories to enable researchers to share and preserve both data and publications: read on for more facts and figures about how adding your work to these ties in with our Strategic Plan to maximise the impact of our research.

Research Data

In late 2017 the Research Data Management Service announced our pilot Research Data Repository. In 2018 we published more than 20 outputs to the repository including the official proceedings from SGUL’s Education Day (2017), presentations from Infection and Immunity’s annual INTERTB symposium, and, to mark World AIDS Day this December, the Centre for Global Health released the first of six free training modules to share SGUL expertise on treating one of the biggest causes of HIV-related mortality in Africa. Our work has been viewed, downloaded and shared locally and internationally.

Contact the Research Data Management Service to talk about sharing your data, powerpoint presentations, posters and videos on the repository.

This year also saw the introduction of new Europe-wide data protection legislation. How could we forget that? Our team worked closely with colleagues across St George’s and external organisations to support our researchers in the run-up to 25 May. Our GDPR and Health Research blog post was part of that awareness raising campaign.

In 2018 SGUL’s Information Management (IM) Team was also formed. Made up of our Information Governance Manager, Data Protection Officer, Freedom of Information Officer, Archivist, Records Manager and Research Data Manager, the IM Team looks to streamline information flows across St George’s and raise awareness of information policies and good practice. We run regular seminars on IM.

Contact our Records Manager for more information.

 

384px-Open_Access_logo_PLoS_transparent.svgOpen Access publications

On the publications front, the number of articles now free to read via SORA (St George’s Online Research Archive) has been steadily increasing, driven by the open access mandate for the 2021 REF (for more on this, see our webpages).   We now have nearly 3000 articles publicly accessible via SORA with more being added all the time. Downloads of the articles is also rising; up to 2,300+ downloads per month on average in 2018 (from 1,800+ downloads per month on average in 2017). As with data, the articles have a global reach, being downloaded by readers in all parts of the world.

Records are included in the open access aggregation platform CORE, which contains over 11 million full-text articles.  CORE is working with trusted parties such as institutional and subject repositories and journals (other sources of articles such as SciHub1 and Research Gate2 have been subject to action by publishers due to copyright infringement). CORE also allows for text mining of the corpus.

This year we also upgraded our CRIS (Current Research Information System). Among other improvements, if you confirm your ORCiD in your CRIS profile, any publications matched in our data sources with your ORCiD will be automatically claimed for you. For more on ORCiDs and the benefits of having one, see our blogpost from earlier this year.

Contact us at sora@sgul.ac.uk if you would like guidance on keeping your CRIS publication lists & metrics up to date.

 

Funder initiatives

Funder mandates and publisher policies around open access to research are an area of constant evolution. This year has seen the announcement of Wellcome Trust’s plans to update their open access policy for 2020, to ensure all Wellcome-funded research articles are made freely available at the time of publication, and Plan S, which aims to require all research articles funded by the coalition of research funding organisations behind the plan be published in open access journals, or on open access platforms.

Plan S has certainly caught the attention of publishers – for example it has been welcomed with caveats by the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers3, and Nature recently reported it has support in China4

SGUL researchers have benefited from negotiations by Jisc Collections5 with publishers around subscriptions and open access charges; for instance in being able to publish open access for free under the Springer Open Choice agreement.

Contact us via openaccess@sgul.ac.uk if you have any questions about how to meet your funder open access policies.

 

Lastly, special thanks to all of our researchers who have answered our calls to be involved with open research.

In particular, to the laboratory researchers who opened up their groups, projects and labs to us earlier this year and told us all about their data and records management practices. We have now produced a report on our findings and will be building on this work in the New Year.

And to all who have been making their papers open access, as we work towards the next REF.

We hope to see or hear from you in 2019

Michelle Harricharan, Research Data Support Manager
Jenni Hughes, Research Publications Assistant
Jennifer Smith, Research Publications Librarian

 

Contacts

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

Open Access Publications: openaccess@sgul.ac.uk

Research Data Management: researchdata@sgul.ac.uk

 

References

1. Page, B. Publishers succeed in getting Sci-Hub access blocked in Russia. The Bookseller [Internet]. 2018 Dec 11 [cited 2018 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/sci-hub-blocked-russia-following-court-action-publishers-911571

2. McKenzie, L. Publishers escalate legal battle against ResearchGate. Inside Higher Ed [Internet]. 2018 Oct 4 [cited 2018 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/10/04/publishers-accuse-researchgate-mass-copyright-infringement

3. STM. STM statement on Plan S: Accelerating the transition to full and immediate Open Access to scientific publications [Internet]. The Hague: International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers; 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.stm-assoc.org/2018_09_04_STM_Statement_on_PlanS.pdf

4. Schiermeier Q. China backs bold plan to tear down journal paywalls. Nature [Internet]. 2018 Dec 13 [cited 2018 Dec 14]. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07659-5

5. Earney, L. National licence negotiations advancing the open access transition – a view from the UK. Insights [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2018 Dec 14]; 31 (11). Available from: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.412

 


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.