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Posts Tagged ‘Open Access’

Open Access Week!

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 October, 2009

This week is Open Access week as declared by SPARC.  While we’re not having any formal celebrations this week at UoL, if you are a Leicester student or academic (or indeed any member of the institution) why not celebrate the importance of freely available research makes in all our lives by:

I’ll be making daily posts on aspects of the LRA and open access throughout this week – and as always we warmly welcome comments from everyone.


Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open access for new academics workshop

Posted by gazjjohnson on 16 September, 2009

I was approached last month by our Staff Development team to consider running a workshop for new academics on all the various aspects of open access.  Obviously I said yes, and followed up with the very helpful Derek Cox and Meera Warrier.  I gave them an overview of the sort of thing that we could include, and they went away to think about it.

Well they’ve come back now to give me the go ahead for December for a three hour workshop.  I’m rather delighted to be given this much time, but now I’m sitting down and thinking “How can I usefully fill this and shape it into a format that is both beneficial but objective at the same time”.  I’m immediately giving some thought to bringing in one of my colleagues as well, so it’s not just me droning on for the whole time (they do get a tea break).

I think I’m going to have to give this some very serious thought.  I’d like to include some hands on elements, but there seems little point in getting academics to search (say) RoMEO when we at the LRA do all the work on copyright for them.  But then exploring things like DOAJ, OpenDOAR, BASE, OAIster etc are likely to be of more direct interest to them.

I’m also going to have to tackle aspects of the REF and Funders requirements too.  I’m lucky in that we have a day event run by our Research Office in late October where a lot of these issues are going to be raised, discussed and presented by external speakers from the various bodies.  I’ll hopefully be able to crib elements from there.

At this stage in my planning I’m open to constructive suggestions though.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support, Training | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Messages from the plenary lecture at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2009.

Posted by emmakimberley on 14 September, 2009

The plenary speakers were each concerned with reminding researcher developers of their formative role in equipping future researchers with the skills needed to enter a changing research environment in the digital age. Interdisciplinarity, web 2.0 and blue-skies research were high on the agenda.


 Prof. Ian Diamond (chair of RCUK) emphasised that the UK requires a research force who think across disciplines, as well as achieving excellence in their own fields, in order to face the new challenges ahead. These researchers need to be “responsive to new knowledge, new technologies and new strategic economic and social needs”.  

 Prof. Brigid Heywood (Pro VC for Research and Enterprise at the OU) shared her vision of a future researcher capable of reacting to a fast-changing digital academic environment, embedded in an active research community, interacting with other academics and the public on both local and global platforms. This researcher engages in a range of new academic behaviours in a web 2.0 environment. Examples of projects included:

 Prof. Alexandre Quintanilha (Director of the Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Porto) urged the academic community to place less emphasis on the traditional methods of evaluating the quality of graduate training (publication output, funding, etc.) and to focus on training researchers to address some of the major challenges of the 21st century. These challenges often require a mixture of blue-skies thinking and applied thinking, as well as an interdisciplinary approach, involving research methods that have been seen as risky, vague and a threat to disciplinary foundations. Prof. Quintanilha outlined the obstacles facing postgraduates who wish to enter these areas of research that are the most valuable in terms of long-term impact, but frequently also the most challenging in terms of immediate career progression (because of difficulties in publishing and getting funding because they cross evaluation boundaries; unclear departmental affiliation; accusations of lack of focus), and called for graduate training programmes that recognise their role in producing what the research community needs:

  • Curious, imaginative people willing to move across disciplinary and geographical boundaries to follow their dreams
  • People excited about tackling new challenges
  • People prepared for the complex challenge of tackling major world problems of the 21st century

 All three speakers agreed on the importance of developing communities of researchers across disciplinary boundaries, championing academic role models who visibly practise what they teach, and training future academics to be adaptable and responsive to the challenges of a new digital research environment.

Posted in Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The End of Institutional Repositories! (or not)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 24 July, 2009

I’ve just been reading an article “Basefsky, Stuart. (2009). The end of institutional repositories and the begining of social academic research service: An enhanced role for libraries.“.  With such a shocking title you’d expect revlations of a major order, and to be honest the opening page or so does rather continue in that vein.  Indeed there’s a slightly superior author style that runs through the whole paper that rather grated on me as I read it.  That said Stuart does raise some interesting points on the first couple of pages about the driving forces and assumptions behind the creation of institutional repositories (IR).

The idea behind the paper is that librarians and academics should be working together more closely, using social media and other tools in support of the research process of a whole.  I can certainly support that, and hope through the local contacts I have via twitter here at UoL that in some small way I’m already offering that level of service.

He goes on to consider the generally understood paradigm underlying IRs (the shop window/increased exposure to academic research) to be only one opportunity – as he puts it “Is this all the value we can extract from an IR?”.  This is a theme I was hoping he’d explore in more detail later in the paper, but this rather seems to disappear as the second half of the paper dissolves into an effective list of “things I am doing”, rather than maintaining this earlier scholastic tone.

He does make some good points along the way nevertheless.  When talking about the partnership twixt libraries and institutional repositories he comments

“Libraries welcomed this attention since they were fearful of being marginalised…IR would help the library maintain an important role in academic life in this time of disruptive technological change”

However, he than makes some rather caustic comments about the lack of vision of library services, suggesting their involvement in repositories is merely an attempt to maintain visibility and apparent viability in the new media age; rather than an actualised devotion to enabling further scholastic endeavour.  I take issue with these statements somewhat.  Perhaps two or three years ago this was a more robust argument, but certainly in the major research universities like Leicester this is not so.  The repository is at the heart of the institutions preparations for REF and visibility of research.  As the repository manager increasingly my time is spent working with the Research Office, or discussing research visibility issues with our academics, helping them do more with what we have.  Not to mention making them aware of the developing scholastic publishing landscape.

The next third of the paper focuses more inwardly on the Catherwood Library, so is of less immediate interest or relevance to the casual reader.  However, with this framework the author then extends his views point to wider library scene; pausing only for a barbed comment about library leadership that I shall pass over.

He does have a salient point here that I agree with “too many libraries take the attitude that if they build it users will come”.  I think this is an unfortunate truism about the library sector.  We have many enthusiasts for new services and resources, and too often we offer them on an already overloaded information platter.  As a LIS researcher and project manager at heart, I always believe that we should be answering real needs with our services and making informed decisions based on an strong evidence base.  Indeed he spends the next page making his argument, which seems useful if overlong by the end.

As I mentioned earlier the rest of the paper is a guide to services that the author has employed in the deliverance and indeed furtherance of the research support agenda.  It seems strangely at odds with the earlier half of the paper, moving to pure practicality from scholastic theory and review.  In many regards I would have been interested to read this in some more detail as a paper in its own rights.

Finally he devotes the last page to suggested new directions and possibilities for supporting academic endeavour.  However, what he fails to do (IMHO) is explain the challenge of his title.  Throughout the work whilst he points out the arguable flaws in IRs and their implementation and exploitation by libraries and institutions, he does not clearly to my mind exposit exactly why IRs days are (in his view) numbered.

Thus this is a flawed but detailed and intriguing article to read that anyone working with research support, IRs or indeed academic libraries should take a few minutes to glance through.  You may have other insights that differ to mine, so let me know your thoughts!

Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Open Science

Posted by selinalock on 9 June, 2009

Just wanted to recommend this article to any science librarians out there:

Doing science in the open

by Michael Nielsen

A excellent distillation of the barriers facing open science. Issues such as a lack of trust infrastructure and incentives and a lack of appropriate collaborative/science network tools. Plus the fact that the current grant and journal system, which was initially set-up to ensure scientific discoveries were shared, is now stopping people from sharing their research in the more efficient ways offered by the web.

Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Repository Lingo 102

Posted by gazjjohnson on 2 June, 2009

Following on from my last post about the language used in repositoriesand open access, Keith kindly pointed me towards this rather useful entry on Peter Suber’s blog .  Whilst this goes into a lot greater depth than perhaps the casual reader might like, it is a very useful companion piece to my entry on the language.  Those of you working in OA will be thoroughly familiar with many if not all of the debates and issues it raises.

But if you’re a librarian, looking for a firmer grounding in the background to the current discussions in open access and repositories, you’d be well advised to read through it.  It’s could prove especially useful in answering all the enquiries from academics whom might remain somewhat skeptical about open access in the first place.

You might come away from it a little more confused – don’t worry!  Open access and scholarly communications is a big area to try and get your head around, and it’s pretty dynamic – changing all the time.  But the more you know, the easier it is to deal with.

Next time on Repository Lingo – what do all those pretty colours mean?

Posted in Open Access | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Sharing data

Posted by knockels on 6 April, 2009

Something that always interested me when I was Leicester Research Archive Manager was using LRA as a means to share data.  I began to become aware that this raises all sorts of issues – space, of course, what qualifies as data worth archiving, issues of confidentiality relating to clinical data, and the matter of who actually owns the data (it might be the people who funded the research, although some funding bodies mandate sharing of data).  

A recent editorial in the BMJ is a good summary of all this.  The BMJ now asks authors to indicate in a statement which data is available.   Nature already does this.    The editorial discusses what is already going on outside clinical medicine, as well as some of the issues surrounding data sharing within clinical medicine, as well as giving a brief report from a recent UK Research Data Service meeting.

Posted in Digital Strategy & Website, Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Papers you might like to read

Posted by gazjjohnson on 20 March, 2009

Read the last one with an awareness that it was prepared by the Publishing sector, and so there is a discernible bias in some of the considerations (perhaps no more than those from the other side of the fence, but you’re forewarned!).

Posted in Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Academics and publishing in open access journals

Posted by gazjjohnson on 8 January, 2009

There’s an interesting blog post from Gerry McKiernan entitled Academic Rank of Authors Publishing in Open Access Journals, where he highlights a recent Elaine Nowick article which states:

Previous research has indicated that some faculty members may have some concerns about publishing in Open Access journals because of a perceived lack of rigor and reputation of Open Access titles…There was no indication that pre-tenured faculty avoided Open Access titles. In fact, there was a slight but significant trend for pre-tenured faculty to publish in Open Access journals.

This study has been published in, of all places, Agriculture Information Worldwide(ref in Gerry’s post).  This is a refreshing result to read, even taking into account that the study would only have looked at (I assume, I can’t access the paper itself as it’s not yet available anywhere it seems) US based academics within a smattering of disciplines.  However, going on my past experience of encouraging academics to think of publishing in OAJ this is one more piece of evidence that supports that trend.

Does anyone know of any comparator studies performed on UK academics and their attitudes then?

Posted in Open Access | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Desposit to the repository from within Facebook?

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 November, 2008

Reading an interesting email posting from my old friend and collegue Stuart Lewis (Aber University) on the launch of a Facebook repository tool as part of the SWORD project.  As Stuart says

Within the repositories community we often talk about how to encourage faculty to self-archive their works. We also sometimes talk about the problems with repositories, and how repositories are not yet part of the daily toolkit of faculty. In an attempt to see whether bringing these two problems together by allowing faculty to deposit from within a tool that many do use on a daily basis, as part of the JISC funded ŒSWORD 2Œ project I have now created a Facebook repository deposit application.

Being able to deposit from within a site such as Facebook would enable what I¹m going to call ‘the Social Deposit’. What does a social deposit look like? It has the following characteristics:

  • It takes place within a social networking type site such as Facebook.
  • The deposit is performed by the author of a work, not a third party (not a mediated deposit)
  • Once the deposit has taken place, messages and updates are provided stating that the user has performed the deposit.
  • Friends and colleagues of the depositor will see that a deposit has taken place, and can read what has been deposited if they want to.
  • Friends and colleagues of the depositor can comment on the deposit. 

So the social deposit takes place within the online social surroundings of a depositor, rather than from within a repository. By doing so, the depositor can leverage the power of their social networks so that their friends and colleagues can be informed about the deposit.

I noticed Stuart had launched this on Facebook last night, so I wondered when I’d hear more about it.  I wonder how this might fit into our development of the LRA here?  Come to think of it, do we know just how many research active academics are using Faceook?

That all said you can find the FB app by following this link (though you’ll need a Facebook account to see it)

You can read the full transcript of what Stuart had to say over on the ( for the archive) mailing list, well worth joining if you’re supporting research these days.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Research Support, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Theses are the days we remember

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 November, 2008

Just run the first of the e-theses submission sessions on behalf of Keith and Hywel, in this case to 3rd year education PhD students.  Seemed to go quite well, despite the mix of jet lagged and baffled students – the Stables rooms are not the easiest places to find.  Mind you the lighting could do with some tweaks as well, as cast a very soporific sheen over the room.

They seemed reassured by my repeated statements about this being goodfor them, their visibility and their careers.  I also laid the library/university’s helpfulness on with a trowel, which I think was the real key to assuaging their worries.

The questions were mostly about points the late comers had missed, though one overseas student was clearly concerned still by the copyright issues.  Not so much third party, but just the general Open Access unease many academics still have.  I did my best to salve his worries, but encouraged him to get in touch with the LRA to talk it over in greater and more specific details.

But all in all a good start, and doubtless a session all we Information Librarians will be repeating in the coming months.

Slides are  at:

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support, Training | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Open Access blogroll

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 August, 2008

The Repositories Support Project have rolled out a nice list of blogs from individuals, projects and institutions working in the OA/IR field.  Thanks to Stuart Lewis at Aber for the heads up.

A suprising number of them, and casting my over it’s good to spot a fair number of the main movers and shakers in this field (both techy and non-techy I hasten to add) have something to say on the matter.  Reccomended browsing for anyone dealing with OA or repository related issues.

Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »