ORDO on tour… on your desktop again!

ORDO online drop-in: Monday 3rd July 14:00-14:30

ORDO screenshot

As part of our ORDO on Tour series of events, we have arranged another online drop-in session at 14:00 on Monday 3rd July for any research staff or students who would like to find out more about the system.

ORDO is the OU’s data repository, provided by Figshare. In this session, Megan from Figshare and Dan from the OU will demo the system, including how to upload items, using project spaces for collaborating work, and curating data into collections or branded groups. There will be time for questions at the end, so feel free to bring examples of your own data and explore the opportunities around storing and/or sharing your research outputs!

If you would like to attend, but this time doesn’t work for you, please let us know as we may consider running future online drop-ins should this prove popular.

Instructions for joining
There is no need to sign up ahead of time; at 14:00 on 3rd July simply:

Add to your calendar

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Mobile Library Research Support

Over the coming weeks we have decided to leave our desks and set up a mobile one-stop-shop for 1:1 support on:

  • Research Data Management
  • Open Access Publishing
  • ORCIDs
  • Open Research Online (ORO)
  • Open Research Data Online (ORDO)
  • Bibliometrics
  • Researcher Profiles/Visibility (e.g. academia.edu and ResearchGate)

Tomorrow (Thursday 8th June) from 10-12, Chris Biggs and I will be based on the hot desks on the Ground Floor of the Stuart Hall Building. Please drop by with your questions, big or small, or simply to sample one of our biscuits and say hello!

Tomorrow is just the beginning though, here is our schedule for the following weeks:

Date/time Location
Thursday 8th June 10-12 Stuart Hall hot desks – ground floor
Monday 12th June 10-12 Michael Young Building – TBC
Tuesday 20th June 10-12 Robert Hooke Building -TBC
Tuesday 4th July 10-12 Jennie Lee Building – Oak
Wednesday 12th July 10-12 FASS – TBC
Thursday 20th July 10-12 Gass – Z101


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Repository Downloads – Open Access, Community and Social Media

This is the second post concerning ORO downloads in March and April 2017. The first looked at general characteristics of repository downloads, this one focuses on a single research output in ORO.

Mair Lloyd’s PhD thesis Living Latin: Exploring a Communicative Approach to Latin Teaching Through a Sociocultural Perspective on Language Learning appeared in the the Top 50 downloads from ORO in April with an impressive 173 downloads in April.  It also had interesting referral traffic – 172 referrals from Facebook and 69 from reddit – much more than I would expect… so this was worth digging into a bit.

The thesis was made live in ORO on 10th April and on the same day Mair published a blogpost… thanks for the mention 😉

A couple of days later Mair tweeted and pointed to the same blogpost – this got a lot of retweets and likes on twitter.

And then on the 18th May The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies retweeted Mair’s tweet and also posted it to facebook

RT Mair @MairLloyd My #PhD thesis on Living #Latin now available for download: #Classics

Posted by The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies on Tuesday, 18 April 2017


On the 19th a new thread on reddit was created:

There was some discussion of the thesis on reddit and that is reflected in the number of referrals coming to ORO from the site.

On May 1st Mair’s thesis was picked up in the Latin around the Web weekly round up and in a facebook post:

Links to a few interesting Latin-related things we've come across the last week (+ an interesting quote).

Posted by Latinitium on Monday, 1 May 2017


Finally, and coming into May the thesis was picked up by the French language Langue & Cultures de l’Antique on its website…

and again on twitter:

Phew!!!  So lets map that against the downloads of the thesis and the visits to the ORO page:

We can see the impact the various posts on social media and the web impact on the downloads and page views of the thesis. And (selected) referrals in April and May total:

  • facebook 246
  • reddit 72
  • Latinitium (Latin around the web) 54
  • twitter 10
  • Langues & Cultures de l’Antique 7

But before I get too carried away with myself, Mair can provide some valuable insight:

This is a […] piece of research that was much awaited among practitioners of Living Latin, and […] many of that community are facebook friends and twitter followers of mine. It isn’t just social media per se but also strong relationships, forged through promotion at conferences and attendance at Summer schools that has driven up the interest in my work. Those relationships certainly add to the power that social media has to give wider publicity to research.

So, what might we conclude…

  1. Getting theses online and open access via a repository increases the dissemination of the research and the potential impact (please note – small i).
  2. Fostering relationships and community off and online can demonstrably increase the reach of the work.
  3. Once the research is out there, Open Access, it’s readership swells on the web and via social media beyond the initial interventions of the author.

I feel I want to draw a triangle… hang on, I live in Milton Keynes…


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Repository Downloads – March & April 2017 Edition

This edition of the downloads report from ORO forms 2 posts.  In the first I look at the general characteristics of repository downloads and repository web sessions.  In the second I will focus on a single item in ORO and how creating strong relationships on and off line aid the dissemination of a research output. 

ORO downloads and web sessions have some defining characteristics:

  • Both downloads and web sessions fluctuate across the academic year.  There are dips in downloads and web traffic in the summer and peaks in the spring and winter (either side of Christmas).

  • Downloads and site visits are remarkably stable.  There are no steep troughs or peaks outside the annual variations.  A cumulative average mapped onto the chart indicates how steady downloads and web visits have been over the last few years.

  • Downloads are higher in number than site visits.  At first that seems counter intuitive – don’t you need to access the repository to download the paper?  But many downloads of content archived in ORO come direct from Google and Google scholar – so these counts are not collected in site visits as recorded by Google Analytics.

Monthly top download counts also show a remarkable stability with 37 of the Top 50 in March also in the Top 50 in April.  This stability is somewhat reassuring – the counts aren’t fluctuating wildly without rhyme nor reason – the full lists are below.  However, those items that do break into a top downloads list often have a story behind them… (see next post!)

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Library advice regarding the responsible use of quantitative research indicators

Image of data visualisations

We have written some Library advice regarding the responsible use of quantitative research indicators (the preferred term for metrics/bibliometrics). This outlines our approach to such indicators, representing current good practice and acting as a guide for future activities.

We believe that this is important because, whilst useful in certain circumstances, quantitative research indicators need to be understood to be used fairly and effectively.

Library Services provides support and guidance to The OU research community regarding quantitative research indicators. If you would like any more information on this subject, please see our website or contact library-research-support@open.ac.uk






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Celebrate the Year of Open at The Open University

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Celebrate #YearOfOpen at The Open University You may be aware that 2017 is #YearOfOpen … a 365 day celebration of open education and the anniversary of a number of key milestones in its development, including  the Cape Town Declaration, 15 years since the … Continue reading

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Finding images and copyright – a learning activity

We often get asked about how to find images for academic purposes (e.g. for use in presentations) online and how to navigate associated copyright issues. It is a tricky area but our Finding images and copyright learning activity will help you out.

It takes approximately 60 minutes to complete this activity.

 After working through this activity you should be able to:

  • recognise copyright and understand how it applies to using images
  • find and evaluate images using Google image search
  • find images using Creative Commons licences

So, have a go and let us know what you think!




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Web of Science

Web of Science is a renowned abstract and citation database. It has wide coverage and facilitates analysis of its content, which can help identify links between past and current research, between collaborators or between funding and research impact, for example.

It is well-known among researchers but, for those of you who have yet to use it in anger, here are a few reasons for taking a closer look:

It has a lot of content

Web of Science contains over 33000 journals. It also covers books, conference proceedings, data sets and patents back to 1900. Whilst its index is not as big as Scopus and some other sources, its size is still considerable  and makes it worth considering as a place to start finding literature for your research or as a dataset for analysis.

The content is tightly curated

Many people believe that one of Web of Science’s main strengths is that its content is chosen by a team of experts. The idea is that only high-quality and relevant publications are included. Furthermore, it is generally felt that the metadata and citation data is high quality.

It is a source of bibliometrics

You can easily see the citation count for an article (highlighted red here) on the search results page:

You can also click Create Citation Report from a search results page to get more insight into the citation data:

Furthermore, Web of Science provides Journal Impact Factor scores. Journal Impact Factor is a contested metric (see this Science article or this piece on Occam’s Typewriter to get a flavour of the criticisms) but, for better or worse, it is still used and it can be useful to know how to access it. Simply click on a journal’s title from a search results page to see its Impact Factor and related metrics:

You can also link through to Journal Citation Reports form Web of Science, which allows you to explore Journal Impact Factor and other journal-level metrics in more detail. Follow the “Journal Citation Reports” link (highlighted red here) at the top of the page:

Indeed, if metrics are your bag, than Web of Science is one of the main sources worth investigating. You can get more general information on our bibliometrics page.

However, as an abstract and citation database, Web of Science requires you to link out to access the full text of articles. Indeed, there is no guarantee that The OU will subscribe to the full text – use the “Checks if the OU offers full text” link for an article (highlighted red below) to find out:

You can log into Web of Science (OU student or staff credentials required) to investigate for yourself.

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Scopus – a large abstract and citation database for research

Scopus is a large, multi-disciplinary abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including scientific journals, books and conference proceedings.

Here are just a few of the features that make it worth considering as a researcher:

It has a lot of content

Scopus boasts over 65 million records and claims to be the biggest database of its kind (we understand that Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic may index more records but that their content is not curated in the same way). This alone means it is worth investigating, if you want to discover literature for your research.

It doesn’t cover everything (no database does) and it’s subject coverage isn’t equal (there is more content in the sciences than in the arts for example) but it can still provide a good starting point for a lot of people . Learn more on the Scopus Content page.

It has powerful search features

As well as intuitive basic search features, Scopus allows you to search by author and affiliation (i.e. the university, company or other organisation that an author works for). It also has a potent advanced search feature, which allows for the constructions of complex searches – really useful if you are after something specific.  Learn more on the Scopus Features page.

It is a source of bibliometrics 

Scopus records the citations that publications get, as well as providing metrics on things like social media mentions, uses on Mendeley and Citeulike and mentions in the mass media.

You can easily see the metrics for an article by looking at the “Metrics” box on its “Document details” page:

Indeed, if metrics are your bag, than Scopus is one of the main sources worth investigating. You can get more general information on our bibliometrics page.

However, as an abstract and citation database, Scopus usually requires you to link out to access the full text of articles. Indeed, there is no guarantee that The OU will subscribe to the full text  – use the “Checks if the OU offers full text” link  for an article (highlighted red below) to find out:

You can log into Scopus (OU student or staff credentials required) to investigate for yourself.


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Getting to grips with Research Data Management

Yesterday I held a workshop for research staff and students on Research Data Management. As always this was an excellent opportunity for researchers to share their own experiences of data management and exchange tips (and grievances!). In particular there was lots of interesting discussion around the ethical implications of data sharing, which I will be taking forward to help evaluate the advice that we give researchers regarding managing and sharing sensitive, confidential and personal data.

This session was oversubscribed, so if you would have liked to attend but were unable look out for more RDM workshops on the Research Career Development programme next year; or if you are a research group we may be able to set up a bespoke training session with for you – please get in touch.

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