NEW OU Digital Archive Exhibition: PhD Pioneers

Have you ever wondered who the first OU PhD graduates were?

Today, the OU Digital Archive – in collaboration with the Graduate School – has launched a fantastic new exhibition that features the stories and experiences of twelve of the OU’s first PhD graduates from 1973-79.

It focuses on video interviews taken in 2021, mixed with photos and TV footage from the 1970s, that illustrates the often exciting, ground-breaking activities, and sometimes emotional reflections, of this outstanding group of OU PhD alumni.

It really is a truly fascinating and insightful exhibition, so please do go check it out: Exhibition: PhD Pioneers

We are the (Data) Champions!

Earlier this week I was delighted to be able to meet via Teams with some of our fantastic Data Champions after a long pause (due to conflicting commitments during the pandemic).

The Data Champions programme started in summer 2019 with the aim of embedding good research data management practice into all the schools across the university. Through the network we are able to disseminate our guidance and training materials more easily, field discipline-specific enquiries, and organise events and seminars related to issues in research data management and sharing.

A photo from the last time we all met in person (2019)

Currently we have 17 Data Champions, based across the University; their profiles can be viewed on the Data Champions page on our website.

It would be great to have some more Data Champions based in STEM, so if you’re interested in getting involved please send us an email for more information.

We are planning some more activities for the wider OU research community over the coming months to showcase the work with data that researchers across the University are involved in, so please watch this space for more details!

Want to publish Gold open access with SAGE at no cost to you?

This post is part of a series where we explore some of the biggest deals the Open University Library has in place which allow OU researchers to publish Gold open access at no or reduced cost. Today we are focussing on the deal with SAGE Publishing.

SAGE Logo

What do these deals mean?

We have been busy negotiating and investing in several deals with publishers over the past few years which look at ways to offset the costs of our journal subscription spending against the increasing institutional costs of open access publishing.

We have now invested in 20 of these ‘transformative deals’ with publishers which allow you to publish Gold open access (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read or download from the publisher’s website) at a reduced or zero cost to you. Check out our website for full details of the agreements we have in place.

Transformative deals: SAGE

Our agreement with SAGE means that OU affiliated corresponding authors publishing in SAGE Choice (hybrid OA) journals can now publish Gold at no charge to the author.

They also offer a 20% discount off list price to publish in licensed SAGE wholly Gold OA journals. The 20% discount can be obtained by quoting code JISC2020 in the RightsLink portal. For Open Access Journals where RightsLink portal is not used, the corresponding author must contact apcqueries@sagepub.co.uk to request the discount. If the corresponding author does not request the discount via the code, they may request an amended invoice by contacting SAGE’s Open Access customer service team prior to payment being made (apcqueries@sagepub.com).

How do I make use of the deal?

Eligible authors will be contacted directly to ask if they would like to benefit from this deal, so you do not need to take any action. All articles published on or before 1st January 2020 are eligible, so authors may receive emails from SAGE asking if they would like to retrospectively make previously published articles Gold OA at no extra cost. You’ll need to be quick, authors have 5 days from the date of the email to confirm if they would like to publish Gold. All ‘article-type’ outputs are included in the agreement(book reviews are excluded).

Why Open Access?

Open access (OA) means making research publications freely available so anyone can benefit from reading and using research. Open access is part of a wider ‘open’ movement to encourage free exchange of knowledge and resources in order to widen access and encourage creativity.

Want to know more?

Please get in touch with the Research Support team if you have any further questions about the SAGE deal or any other transformative agreements we have.

Open Research Online (ORO) Update 2020-21

Deposits in 2020-21

There were 3,103 deposits to ORO in the 2020-21 academic year.  Importantly, that’s not the same as published research outputs of OU research staff and students in the academic year, which would be around 1,200.  The reason the number is greater is because ORO includes:

  • PhD theses
  • Student projects
  • Publications deposited in 2020-21 but published earlier (or later!)
  • Items published by current OU staff who were not affiliated to the OU at point of publication

The deposit rates across faculties both reflect the different sizes of the faculties and different practices in scholarly communications across the faculties.  Simply put, AHSS disciplines have fewer, longer form single authored research outputs, whilst in STEM disciplines there will tend to be more short form multi-authored papers.

Deposits – 10 year trend data

When you look at the trends, the significant story is the peak in 2019 when the library digitised 1,600 PhD level theses and added them to ORO.

Consistent deposit of items across the years has been supported by our adoption of mediated deposit via Jisc Router and publisher alerts – we no longer rely solely on authors to add their papers to ORO.

Downloads

ORO continues to receive a significant number of downloads of Open Access content.  According to IRStats2 (the native ePrints counter) of downloads ORO received over 2 million downloads of Open Access content last year.  But remember many of these will be downloads from web bots, let’s not confuse a download with a human actually reading a paper!   Another count from IRUS, that provides more rigorous filtering of bots, provides a more conservative estimate of 880,612 downloads over the same period.

Downloads – 10 year trend data

Not surprisingly, trend data shows an increase in downloads (however you choose to filter them) over time.  Inevitably as the repository grows in size, counts of downloads will grow year on year.  These are the impressive results of having a repository indexed by Google and Google Scholar.

Open Access

ORO strives to be a valuable University asset in providing Open Access to the research outputs of OU research staff and students.  Last year 52% of items added to ORO were immediately Open Access, these will either be:

Gold Open Access – where the published version is freely available from the publisher and added to ORO,

Green Open Access – a non-final version (often the accepted version), will be available in a repository like ORO.

When looking at Faculty breakdown it’s apparent how Open Access remains contingent on the dominant modes of scholarly communication within academic disciplines.  Books and book chapters remain harder to make Open Access than journal articles.

Open Access – 10 year trend data

Nevertheless, ORO trend data show a growing increase in Open Access over time.

The dip in the last 2 years is due to publisher embargoes on Green Open access papers added to ORO.  Often, commercial publishers will prescribe embargoes of up to 12 months for STEM and upwards of 24 months for AHSS disciplines.  This embargoed content is not counted here as Open Access as it’s not freely available, however once the embargoes end they will count as Open Access (at least for the purposes of these ORO data!)

This upward Open Access trend in ORO deposits has been bolstered by the Open Access mandate on OU PhD theses and the digitisation of legacy theses.

University and Faculty Infographics

All these data (and more!) are available in PDF renditions.

University 2020-21 Update

FBL 2020-21 Update

FASS 2020-21 Update

STEM 2020-21 Update

WELS 2020-21 Update

IET 2020-21 Update

New DORA Open University Case Study!

“The Open University used a top-down/bottom-up approach to research & create a new promotion route to recognize & reward social engagement for promotion & tenure”.

The OU has worked with DORA to publish a case study:

“In 2015 the UK’s Open University (OU) published “An Open Research University” a book outlining the outputs from a three-year project to create and implement an evidence-based strategy to embed the principles and practices of engagement with new processes for research assessment within the university. In keeping with the OU’s existing commitment to open research and knowledge exchange, the project aimed to steer their research culture toward recognizing and rewarding a broader range of contributions, specifically in “engaged research”. There were multiple examples of top-down/bottom-up cooperation to inform and promote the policies outlined in the report, such as the sponsorship of a working group to reform the university’s academic promotion criteria by the then Pro-Vice-Chancellor responsible for academic professional development. In 2020, the OU signed DORA and released a statement describing the university’s aim of creating a DORA Implementation Plan by 2021. These actions represent a continuation and codification of a growing institutional movement toward research assessment reform.”

Check out the full study here!

NEW! Training for 2021-22

Get your diary at the ready! As we enter a new academic year, we are pleased to announce that our training programme for 2021-22 is now open for booking. 

All of our training sessions are run online through Adobe Connect and (unless otherwise stated) are open to all OU research staff, postgraduate research students and research support staff. Booking is through Eventbrite and can be accessed via the links below.

Note: details of all forthcoming training sessions are also available on our training webpage  Continue reading

Call for individual evidence on ways to substantially reduce research bureaucracy

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are undertaking a review of the bureaucratic load within the research process, with a view to identifying inefficiencies, improvements and future directions with a view to ” substantially reduce research bureaucracy, primarily for the benefit of individuals and teams conducting research.”.

They have released a call for evidence here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/independent-review-of-research-bureaucracy

It will stay open for submissions until Friday, 1st of October. Please note you should submit an individual response.

They have asked for the link to be circulated widely in the community and have said:

“We are grateful to all those who have already contributed to the Review’s evidence gathering. Responses to the call for evidence will be considered in addition to the evidence already gathered. Those who have already contributed should be reassured that their comments have been captured though they are welcome to provide additional input should they wish to.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Review team should you have any questions. ”

This is a wide-ranging review and is an excellent opportunity for us all to help shape the future of research processes against the vision of open research.

Open Research Online and Web of Science publication alerts

To maximise the number of OU authored publications recorded in our Open Research Online (ORO) repository, we have set up a weekly alert service from Web of Science, Scopus, and Science Direct. This provides us with a listing of new publication records from their sites that we can check to see if the item is already in ORO or not. I check the weekly Web of Science alerts. As part of our #VisualisingResearchSupport series, here is a brief overview of how I manage these alerts and the findings so far.

Firstly, I check if the publication record is genuinely affiliated with The Open University. Alerts are not perfect. In fact, some records will include authors who are affiliated with other open universities around the world, for example, the Open University of the Netherlands! This is the first and possibly the most important check of all.

 

Once affiliation is confirmed, a search in ORO will determine if the publication is already in ORO or not. If it is, brilliant! At that point, the ORO record will be checked, making sure all metadata is accurate and full text is made available wherever possible. If the publication is missing, further checks are needed to make sure it can be added. Some types of publications, such as obituaries, are not usually included in ORO. If the item is a journal article, book chapter, edited book, conference/workshop item, or a book review, we can go ahead and add it to the repository.

What the data shows

Since 3rd June 2021, 11 alerts have been processed, covering a total of 291 records. Out of this, 40 new publication records were added to ORO; 15 book reviews, 5 book chapters, 19 journal articles, and 1 conference proceeding. 28 items didn’t make it into ORO. 10 were not applicable forms of publication i.e., obituaries or similar, and 18 publications featured authors that were not affiliated with the OU.

The good news is that the majority of publications, 223 in total, were already in ORO! 65 records were accurate and needed no further intervention, and 158 needed editing in some way.

The alerts exercise seems to show that a great deal of publications do make it to ORO, whether they are added directly by the author, by the ORO team, or via services like the Jisc Publications Router. It also shows there is room for improvement to ensure that record metadata is as accurate as possible. Although it can be time consuming, I think continuing the alerts exercise is worthwhile. It gives the team the opportunity to review what we do and make changes to our ways of working where necessary, and most importantly ensures that our OU author publications lists are up to date!

Research Support WIN: RDM

Hello, I hope you’ve been enjoying (and surviving) this hot weather. I’ve been taking regular breaks from my computer to take full advantage of my children’s paddling pool in an effort to keep cool! A definite advantage of working from home!

In this blog post I’m going to talk about another Research Support Win, this time in the Research Data Management area of the service. This is a story about the continued support we have been offering one of our academics on a research project.

Autumn 2019: One of our researchers in WELS (Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies), Dr Kristina Hultgren, contacts the Research Support Team via our inbox requesting help with a Data Management Plan for a UKRI Future Leaders project. Kristina’s project explores why the use of English as a teaching language in non-English-speaking European countries is increasing, despite students struggling to understand it. The project, if approved, will require a huge amount of data collection, including up to 3,000 interviews as well as a large amount of documentary evidence, including reports, field notes, email communications and photographs. This was the first time we had been asked for help with a UKRI Future Leaders bid so I needed to take some time to familiarise myself with the requirements.

Kristina and I have several phone calls over the space of a week to, discussing the various practicalities of how to keep the data secure and whether and how she can share it at project end. Particular issues we need to consider are: data storage and transfer when the data is being collected in various countries; gaining consent to share data collected at institutions when anonymisation of the institution may be unfeasible; how to ensure data quality when data is being translated into English from other languages.

Spring 2020: Kristina’s funding bid for over £1.1 million is approved! I contact Kristina to offer my congratulations and help with setting up the project.

Winter 2020:  Amidst time constraints imposed by the Covid related school closures, Kristina and I manage to meet and talk through next steps for her project as she prepares to start data collection in 2021. We agree it would be useful if the Research Support Team could put together a template for a handbook which Kristina and other researchers working on large-scale research projects could use to ‘ensure that data would be stored, documented and managed throughout the project in a manner that would facilitate data sharing.

We also agree that once all of the research staff had been recruited across the different centres we will arrange a training session on data management, run by the Library online, with time to work collaboratively to ensure consistency in data management across the project.

Spring 2021: I contact Kristina with the good news that the brand new Research Data Management Handbook is now ready. She agrees to pilot it with her project and give us feedback that we can work on as she goes along.

Next steps: Kristina is currently recruiting to her project team. Once all investigators are in position we will set up an online workshop to cover all aspects of Research Data Management and sharing.

Reflections: Working with Kristina and seeing how her project progresses has been really enjoyable and this type of consultative work is definitely a highlight of my role in supporting Research Data Management. This experience has given me the opportunity to be innovative, trying out different approaches to the support we provide and I hope that the RDM Handbook designed during this process will continue to be useful for other researchers.

If you’d like some help with writing a Data Management Plan or with setting up data management processes for your new research project, please get in touch with the Research Support Team via our team inbox.