ORCID Training

Earlier in the week Alan and I did some more training on ORCID IDs for researchers here at the OU.  ORCID IDs are persistent identifiers for researchers and can be used to:

  • Aid disambiguation in researcher platforms to ensure accurate ownership of research outputs
  • Make connections across researcher platforms to save time

Slides are available:


Further notes from the presentation : ORCIDs at the OU – Notes

Research Support Website: ORCID

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Guest post: Dr Marc Cornock on GDPR

You may have noticed increasing mentions of GDPR lately. The General Data Protection Regulation is the new EU-wide Regulation that will replace the UK Data Protection Act. It’s something we have been reading up on as part of our work supporting researchers in managing their data, and came across an editorial by Dr Marc Cornock, Senior Lecturer in Health at the OU, which neatly summarises GDPR and its implications for research. 

We thought Marc’s piece well worth sharing and invited him to be a guest blogger, to talk about GDPR and link to his editorial. Look out for further information here on GDPR over the next couple of months, but now, over to Marc…

In less than 3 months on 25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679/EU comes into force. This is a major piece of legislative reform for 2 reasons: firstly it is the biggest change in data protection law and the rules surrounding the use, storage and dissemination of personal data in over twenty years; and secondly, the actual legislation itself is huge. The Regulation runs to 11 Chapters, 99 Articles and 173 Recitals. A Recital sets out the reasoning within a specific Article or clarifies as aspect of the Regulation.

The GDPR aims to harmonise data protection and privacy laws across all member states of the European Union. Although the United Kingdom has set out its desire to leave the European Union through the Brexit process; at the point at which the GDPR comes into force the United Kingdom will still be a part of the European Union, and as Regulations of the European Union are directly applicable in all member states without the need for further legislation, the GDPR will become law in the United Kingdom as well as the rest of the European Union.

The United Kingdom is making provision for the continued effect of the GDPR after Brexit through the introduction of the Data Protection Bill 2017, which is currently going through Parliament.

One headline fact that has been mentioned numerously is the size of the fine that can be applied for a breach of the GDPR principles. Article 83 provides for fines of €20 Million or 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of an organization, whichever is higher, for a serious breach. This figure is enough to concentrate the mind and because of its importance, and its size and complexity, a lot of people are worried about the implementation of the GDPR and their preparedness for it.

At The Open University, various individuals and departments have been working on the implementation of the GDPR for some time and ensuring that all OU processes are compliant with the Regulation. Because of the issues around Brexit, the Information Commissioner’s Office does not presently have a definitive guide to the GDPR but rather has a living document that provides guidance as it is available. This does mean that organisations are not expected to have every procedure and process in place on 25th May 2018; rather they need to be able to demonstrate that they are working toward it.

The GDPR will affect research and individual researchers. For some of the issues affecting researchers I would direct you to my recent editorial in Maturitas available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2018.01.017


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Understanding Plagiarism training session

This afternoon I ran a training session on plagiarism for research students. The session gave an overview on what plagiarism is and how to recognise it. We also had a discussion around why plagiarism could occur and came up with some tips on how to avoid it. The slides can be found at https://www.slideshare.net/NicolaDowson/understanding-plagiarism-89922940

This session will be re-run 10-11am on Thursday 12th April in the Library Presentation Room, please email library-training@open.ac.uk if you would like to attend.


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Using Zenodo to share your research data? Join our community!

Zenodo is a repository for preserving and sharing research data (one of many, like our own repository, ORDO).  

Zenodo logo and link

Created by OpenAIRE and CERN, and supported by the European Commission, Zenodo holds data from all fields of research, preserving it for the long term and making it discoverable, accessible and citable. 

Open University Zenodo Community

Everyone at the OU is of course welcome to use ORDO, but if Zenodo is your repository of choice, you can now add your data to the Open University Zenodo Community, which we have created to showcase OU research data held there. Just go to the community page and click on the green ‘New upload’ link. 


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Online training – Data sharing: legal and ethical issues

Yesterday I ran an online training session on sharing research data. This session covered:

  • Rights and data sharing
  • Ethics and data sharing
  • Re-using data

The slides from the session are below. OU staff and students can access a recording of the session on Adobe Connect and anyone can access it on You Tube.

This concludes the current batch of online training sessions but we aim to run more in future.

If you have any feedback or if there’s any other training you’d like us to deliver online, feel free to let us know by emailing or commenting below

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University Mental Health Day: event for OU postgraduate research students

Many postgraduate research students experience common mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, but may not acknowledge it or know where to seek support. University Mental Health Day is Thursday, 1 March, and this year universities across the UK will be focussing on how they can build a more supportive environment for students’ mental health and well-being. The OU Graduate School will host a number of activities on social media and across the Milton Keynes campus. Please join the discussion on @OUGradSch #UniMentalHealthDay and/or drop by anytime 12:00-15:00 for free activities, refreshments and snacks (locations listed below).

Event timetable

12:00-15:00 OU Grad School library whiteboard takeover with free goody bags, refreshments and mindful colouring, Library foyer and atrium (ground floor)

The Graduate School will be taking over the library whiteboard to generate ideas for ‘what we can do to create a more supportive community’. The first 20 research students to contribute will also get a super-exciting relaxation goody bag. Representatives of the Graduate School, Library and Students Association will be there for a chat.

13:00-13:50 ‘Co-design for mental health’ workshop with Erika Renedo-Illaregi, PhD Student, STEM, Library Presentation Room (ground floor)

Bidean is a social enterprise that generates concepts to support wellbeing and recovery by co-designing with those who are experiencing mental distress. Co-founder Erika will facilitate a couple of activities that will serve as tasters to experience how we can all participate in design for wellbeing. Your participation will also help her journey as a research student as this is a key element of the PhD!

This will be broadcast to Stadium.

14:00-15:00 (14:00, 14:15, 14:30, 14:45) 15-minute Tai Chi taster sessions, Digilab, Library ground floor

Open to all staff and students. Fancy trying some Tai Chi? Then come along to the Digilab and join in! Hosted by Gill Hughes who runs Tai Chi for OU Club, this will be an opportunity to spend 15 minutes doing some specialist relaxation. No equipment or special clothes needed. This is just one of the OU Clubs you can join on campus – a great way of taking part in the wider community – see the full list here.

Join in by tweeting with #UniMentalHealthDay on the day: the theme is ‘how do we build a supportive community. You can also take a look at some of the GSN’s Wellbeing resources.

How to register:

Please signal interest for any of the Graduate School events via Facebook.

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Automated ORO deposit – Jisc Publications Router

Jisc Publications Router

We have integrated the Jisc Publications Router service into ORO.  This means that bibliographic information (and some full text) of many new publications will automatically be added to ORO without the need for the author to manually add the record to ORO.

Pipes by Chris Smart CC BY NC-ND (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sigma/5865519128)

We are doing this to:

  • Reduce the workload of the ORO user
  • Increase the coverage of the repository (we know not everything OU researchers publish reaches ORO)
  • Increase the timely deposit of research publications (to support our attempts to meet the REF Open Access Policy)

So what does it mean for an ORO user?

Many publications will be added to ORO before you might normally add themunless you are adding them to ORO very quickly (i.e. immediately on acceptance).

However, not all items will be captured by this automated service – so unless you have had confirmation of an addition to ORO, continue to add new publications as usual.

You will still need to add the full text (Author’s Accepted Manuscript)

Normally, the full text will not have been added so you will still need to add the full text (Author’s Accepted Manuscript).  When you receive an email informing of automated deposit you can:

  • Reply to the email attaching the full text which we will upload to ORO on your behalf.
  • Select the Submit Changes (Authors/Depositor only) option in the middle of an item page and adding the full text using the usual ORO edit pages:

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Learn about research metrics across disciplines with The Metrics Toolkit

The Metrics Toolkit is a new resource that allows you to learn more about a wide variety of research metrics (a.k.a quantitative research indicators). It will also help you decide which ones to use in particular cases, according to the type of impact you hope to measure, the kind of research output involved (e.g. journal articles, books, datasets) and the academic discipline in which you are working.

The Metrics toolkit was developed by two academic librarians and a director of a metrics company, in conjunction with an advisory board of four researchers and one academic librarian. The project is supported by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, Altmetric and FORCE11.

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Planning for Research Data Management: workshop slides

Yesterday I ran a session on Planning for Research Data Management as part of the Core Skills series.

We talked about the current RDM landscape and looked in detail at Data Management Plans using a DMP template, and ended with a game of DMP Bingo.

The slides are available here:

Thanks to everyone who took part!

A reminder too that we’ll be delivering an online session on the legal and ethical issues around data sharing next week.

This will be run using Adobe Connect; joining instructions can be found on the event pages on My Learning Centre, but if in doubt please email us at library-research-support@open.ac.uk

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Research Data Resolutions

At the end of January we held our Research Data Resolutions event, where we invited researchers and anyone who supports research at the OU to join us for an open discussion of the issues around research data management (RDM).

What was the aim of the session?

We offer RDM support to the whole University through our website, training, repository and enquiries, but contact with researchers and those supporting them is largely limited to those who get in touch or attend our sessions, and often that it is to meet a particular need (which is great and we’re very happy to do), but we found ourselves wondering how could widen our knowledge of RDM at the OU?

It seems natural for us to focus on the mandated and defined goals of data management planning and meeting funder requirements – they are of course important – but are they the things that are most important to researchers? Are there other issues that we, as a support team, could know more about?

So, we decided to have an informal and open forum for an hour to hear what the important issues are at the University, and to encourage a sharing of experiences and ideas. If we learned anything that would help us understand better how OU research colleagues work, and how we can best support them, then all the better.

What did we talk about?

Without an agenda or structure, we set about seeing where the conversation took us, which touched on, and often returned to, several themes:

Data sharing

  • Why share? – publisher and funder requirements – what are the motivators?
  • What to share – selecting and preparing data to be shared – What’s relevant to support a particular publication? What will be useful to others? How much work is it to get it ready?
  • Sharing responsibly – How to effectively anonymise – The risks of data sharing when the potential of future technologies to aggregate data is unknown.

Informing participants and gaining consent

  • How to be clear and granular when communicating with participants how data will be gathered, stored and shared – The difficulty in balancing giving enough detail and being too complicated to understand and abide by.
  • Managing participants’ rights without compromising the research process.

Data management planning

  • Even if you know what you are doing you need to explain it well for others to understand.
  • The need for clear guidance and to know what’s expected.
  • How long should we retain data?

Storage and tools

  • Balancing convenience with security – Where is the data stored and backed-up? Is it compliant with data protection, and what about GDPR?
  • Can one system fit all? Can the university support everyone’s needs?
  • Using open source software to build our own tools – can we adapt existing software to give the functionality and security we want?

These are the main topics but even during the short time we had, we touched on many more too.

What did we learn?

As expected, there were certainly more questions than definitive answers, but the conversations illustrated a couple of things I think we already knew:

  • That research at the OU is varied and different disciplines, methods, and groups have different needs and require different solutions and approaches.
  • That everything is connected. The topics we talked about overlapped and connected in many ways.

It also indicated, from a relatively modestly sized group of ten, that there is an appetite to discuss RDM amongst OU colleagues.

It was certainly very helpful for us to hear how researchers work, and we hope those taking part enjoyed sharing their experiences too.

Next steps

As it was the first of this kind of event we’ll reflect on how it went and think whether we should do it again, and in what form? If you have any feedback, are interested in joining another session, or would like to suggest a particular research data issue for discussion, please get in touch – and watch this space!

And many thanks to everyone who took part and contributed to the discussion, either at the event or by sending their ideas in advance.

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