Making your research data open: training slides

This morning I ran a new session on making research data open, which was attended by researchers and research support staff from across the university. The session involved lots of lively discussion, particularly regarding the ethical issues involved with sharing research data. We’ll be running the session again in May if you didn’t manage to attend this time, watch this space for details on how to sign up.

Here are the slides from this morning’s session, if you’d like a copy of any of the other training materials we looked at please email

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Training opportunity: Making your research data open

Image by Jorgen Stamp (CC-BY) at

Making your data open, Friday 8th December 10-11.30, Research Meeting Room (Library 2nd floor)

There are still spaces available on next week’s training session Making your Data Open. In this session we will look at the hows, whats and whys of data sharing:

  • How can you share your data? We’ll take a look at the OU’s new data repository, ORDO and provide guidance on preparing data for sharing, including sensitive data
  • What data should you share? Do you really need to share everything? What do funders and publishers want you to share?
  • Why should you share your data? We’ll discuss the reasons why data sharing is such a hot topic at the moment and why it’s a good thing to be at the forefront of the data sharing movement.

If you’d like to come along, please sign up on My Learning Centre or email

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Finding and evaluating external scholarship literature session

Yesterday afternoon, I ran a face-to-face training session entitled “Finding and evaluating external scholarship literature”.

It encouraged attendees to search for, evaluate and use external scholarship literature (i.e. that produced outside of The OU) in their scholarship projects.

We looked at the following:

Here are the slides and handouts from the session:


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ORO Annual Report 2016-17

The ORO Annual Report compiles some key information about ORO.  It provides both a snapshot of its performance and also provides some useful trend data.

PDF Version

Like all UK repositories the REF Open Access policy has increased the importance of the repository to the institution and the data shows a marked growth in collecting research outputs – a 12% increase.

But that doesn’t mean we are publishing 12% more – the deposit rates to ORO shouldn’t be seen as a proxy for publication rates.  The 12% increase reflects 2 things:

  1. We are getting more newly published materials added to ORO in a timely manner.
  2. We are getting more ‘already published’ materials added to ORO.  ORO provides the publications feed for the people profile system so it’s important to curate that profile and add previous research highlights to ORO – this is especially the case for new members of research staff.

We have also seen a growth in dissemination, with an increase in both downloads (10%) and site visits (9%).  We have to remember that providing a platform for Open Access content is the core function of ORO and a great fit with the OU mission.

Embarking on the next OU academic year the ORO service will continue to innovate.  We want to increase the coverage of ORO and try and capture all the research outputs produced by the OU research community.  To that end we plan to move to part-automated deposit using the Jisc Publications Router.  We want to harness the increasing ubiquity of ORCID IDs to increase the interoperability of ORO – this should help us (and you) to both populate ORO and other research systems (e.g. ResearchFish).  We also plan to do some usability work to ensure the deposit workflows in ORO are as simple as possible.

Thinking further, the ORO service, and institutional repositories in general, need to demonstrate the benefit the increase in Open Access we are seeing has made to both our research community, and to the readers who have accessed this Open Access content.  That’s not easy, but somehow we need to demonstrate the benefits (dare I say it…. the impact) of all of our efforts to increase the amount of Open Access outputs published by our researchers.

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Training Offer: Research Data Management

We’re running a training session on ‘Practical strategies for research data management’ on Monday 6th November 2017.

In this face to face session we’ll introduce the basics of research data management, including options for data storage, organising data, and how to write a data management plan. We’ll also introduce services and tools that the OU has developed to help you manage your data.

Sign up via My Learning Centre – any queries contact

(We’re also delivering a related session focussing on sharing research data soon. Watch this space for details!)

Update: the slides and the Data Management Plan template we looked at are now available.


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Introduction to Mendeley training overview

On Wednesday, Isabel and I delivered some training for research students giving an introduction to Mendeley which is a popular reference management tool. The handout for the session can be found here: Introduction to EndNote training-handout

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Training Offer: Open Access Publishing

To coincide with Global Open Access week we’ll be running a training session on Open Access Publishing on 26th October 2017.

The face to face session will  provide an overview of Open Access Publishing and review the requirements placed on authors by funders that require research outputs to be published Open Access.  The session will cover the Open Access Policy for REF 2021.

A separate online session will be arranged in due course.

Sign up is via My Learning Centre – any queries contact

Update: (Corrected) Slides and notes are now available

Presentation SlidesNotes


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Introduction to EndNote training overview

Today  I ran some training for research students giving an introduction to EndNote Basic. EndNote Basic is a web-based reference management software programme which enables you to manage your references. It also has a cite as your write plugin for Word that enables you to automatically insert in-text citations and create bibliographies. The handout from the session is here: Introduction to EndNote training-handout

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Focus on RDM tools: ORDO

The OU offers a range of tools and services which are designed to help researchers plan, manage, work with and share their research data. In these blogposts I’m going to focus on a few of these tools and services, including how to access and use them and how they can make your life easier.

This week: Open Research Data Online (ORDO)

Open Research Data Online (ORDO) is The Open University’s research data repository. Based on the Figshare platform, ORDO can be used for the storage of live research data, but is particularly useful for archiving and publishing research data once a project is completed. Data stored in ORDO will be kept for a minimum of ten years after project completion; published data will be given a DataCite digital object identifier (DOI), providing a permanent, citable web link to help you get recognition for your work.

We launched ORDO just over a year ago, and since then OU researchers have uploaded a range of different data types, from videos to tabular data to code to literature lists. ORDO accepts most file types and can visualize the majority of them in the browser. If you come across a file type which is not accepted, please let us know.

Datasets can be grouped into collections or projects and everything you upload to ORDO will be assigned a DOI  (Digital Object Identifier) to make it really easy to cite in your papers. One of our users told us:

“ORDO has proved incredibly useful for hosting sound clips generated by acoustic simulations and experiments, enabling us to provide a link to those clips within conference papers and journal publications.”

You can make data publicly available, confidential or embargoed and we encourage everyone who uploads their data to ORDO to employ a licence in order to clarify the conditions for re-use.

All OU research staff and students can use ORDO, login is via your OUCU, the first time you visit, simply click on the log in button in the top right-hand corner. For more guidance on using ORDO visit the ORDO pages on the Library Research Support website.

Many research funders and publishers are now requiring researchers to make the data underpinning publications available, and this is a secure, easy way to fulfill this requirement. All data submitted to ORDO will be checked and approved by specialist Library staff before being made public.

If you’re interested in using ORDO but aren’t sure where to start, email the Library Research Support team for advice.

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Training Offer: ORCID

We currently have 343 ORCIDs recorded in ORO and 11,261 papers in ORO have at least one ORCID recorded against a co-author.

We are running a workshop on Thursday 12th October at 10AM where you can learn about ORCIDs (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifiers), the non-proprietary identifier for researchers that has become the de-facto standard in the community.

Publishers and funders are increasingly requiring researchers to have ORCIDs. The session will explore why they are a good idea and the time saving benefits for researchers. Please bring along a mobile device as there will be time in the session to sign up for an ORCID, add research and scholarship outputs to your ORCID record and configure it to auto-populate with new publications.

Full details are available on the My Learning Centre or email

Update:  The Presentation Slides and Notes are now available.

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