Author Archives: Chris

About Chris

Chris looks after Open Research Online (ORO) on a day to day basis. He has worked in this role since 2011 and can advise on using ORO to maximise dissemination of research outputs and Open Access publishing generally.

Minting Digital Object Identifiers at The Open University

Digital Object Identifier logo

Digital Object Identifier logo

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are the de facto standard in identifying research publications and data on the web.  They work by providing a unique identifier to an object (a research paper or dataset) which does not change even if the url that locates that object changes (e.g. if a journal article changes publishers).  DOIs should provide a persistent access point to your paper or data.

DOIs are often minted by academic journals or other academic platforms where research publications and data are published. The Open University already mints DOIs for research data uploaded to its research data repository: Open Research Data Online and now DOIs can be minted from its publications repository: Open Research Online.

Open Research Online (ORO)

DOIs can be issued for any publication where the OU is a publisher (or co-publisher) and a (co-)author is a member of OU staff.  We are not issuing DOIs where The Open University is not primarily (or in part) responsible for the publication (e.g. we are not issuing separate DOIs for an accepted version of a paper where a DOI already exists for the published version on the journal website.)

Theses

DOIs have been minted to all OU awarded theses in ORO and will be minted for all newly awarded OU theses.  DOIs exist for theses either with full text or bibliographic information only.  Theses will be minted with DOIs automatically.

Other OU Published materials

Other OU published materials can have DOIs minted on request. We expect research reports published by The Open University to be the other prime use case for DOIs, but we will consider issuing DOIs for any OU published outputs on a case by case basis. Publications can already exist in ORO or be new additions – but they have to be in ORO!

Items already in ORO

To request a DOI for an item already in ORO:

  1. Click Report Issue / Request Change in an ORO record and in the workflow add a note requesting a DOI in the “Notes to Library Staff”, or
  2. Contact the Library Research Support mailbox with details

New items

To request a DOI for new items add a note in the “Notes to Library Staff” at point of deposit to indicate a DOI is required. ORO staff will issue a DOI which will be made public when the record is made live in ORO.

Open Research Data Online (ORDO)

One of the major benefits of storing your research data on ORDO is that you receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for every output published, giving you a permanent, citeable link. This ensures you get the recognition for all your research materials, whether they support a publication or not, and means your data can be more readily shared and discovered by others.

DOIs are automatically created for every output published on ORDO (with the exception of permanently embargoed items), and there is the option to create a metadata record and link to datasets deposited or published elsewhere that have not been assigned a DOI.

Not ready to share your data just yet? You can even reserve a DOI, meaning you can add the link to article data access statements ahead of publication. For more information and support on using ORDO, visit the Library Research Support webpages.

Research Groups in ORO

Publications in ORO can be tagged with a Research Group – this enables the publications of any research group to be searched for, grouped, and listed on a single webpage in ORO.

Image of Big Scientific Data and Text Analysis Research Group pubications listed in ORO

Adding a Research Group to a new record

Once a Research Group has been added to ORO it will appear in a drop down list in the deposit workflow in ORO. 

Image showing picklist of research groups in ORO deposit workflow

If you deposit a publication and know it should be associated with Research Group select that Research Group when creating the record in ORO. 

Adding a Research Group to an existing record

If a publication is already ‘live’ in ORO a Research Group can be added by the depositor or an OU co-author by clicking the Submit Changes (Authors/Depositor only) link on the top right of a publication record.  This will allow you to edit the live record and a Research Group can be added. 

Image showing Submit Changes option in a live ORO record

Changes to multiple records (e.g. when a Research Group is first created in ORO or the publications of an author) can be arranged by contacting library-research-support@open.ac.uk 

Can I automatically add a Research Group to all publications (new and old) by an author?

No, the way Research Groups are designed in ORO has changed so this cannot occur.  Previously Research Groups were associated with an author so all publications by an author were automatically tagged with the associated Research Group.  This did not work (especially for inter-disciplinary Research Groups) as the publications record of a single author frequently did not sit neatly within the subject domain of a single Research Group.  

The functionality was re-designed so Research Groups must be actively selected for each publication. Whilst this means Research Groups cannot be added automatically to any publication, it does allow any Research Group to be added to any publication regardless of author. 

Can I add more than one Research Group to a publication?

Yes, a publication can be associated to more than one Research Group. To do this select the required Research Groups by holding the Ctrl button whilst clicking on multiple Research Groups (PC User). 

Using publications tagged with a Research Group to feed another web page

Publications tagged with a Research Group in ORO can dynamically feed another web page e.g. a page on the Research Group website.  

One option is to use the “Embed as feed” link from the right-hand menu and follow the instructions. 

Image showing RSS icon on ORO Research Group listing

Note: These use RSS feeds and are therefore restricted to displaying outputs in reverse order of addition to ORO. 

How does ORO define a Research Group?

It doesn’t – Research Groups are self-defining.  A Research Group can be created in ORO on request, no threshold of what a Research Group constitutes needs to be met before it can be created in ORO. Similarly, ORO does not attempt to hold a definitive list of Research Groups at the OU. 

Open Research Online (ORO) – A Well-Connected Repository?

ORO Connected Repository showing how ORO connects to internal and external systems to provide improved services.

ORO Connected Repository (JPEG file)

ORO (or any institutional repository) can sometime feel like a cottage industry – a lot of work going on at a local level for small gains. However, institutional repositories are increasingly embedded in the wider scholarly communications framework. So, not only are they performing vital services and integrations in their immediate locality, they are also connecting with external services to make an impact at national and international scale.

The local – ORO is connected to other institutional systems to support university services:

  • REF – ORO provides a key role to collect publications data and provide a route to Open Access required by the REF Policy.
  • Research Publications Showcase – publications data from ORO feeds individual people profile pages, faculty or departmental webpages, postgraduate prospectuses as well as performing its primary role as a platform for Open Access research publications.
  • eThesis – all PhD level theses are submitted electronically to ORO reducing the burden of printing and increasing the dissemination of our research by PGRs.
  • Student Projects – exemplar research projects at third level and Masters level in FASS are showcased in ORO for prospective students.

The national and international – ORO supports the scholarly communication infrastructure

  • Web Indexing – ORO is indexed by Google and Google Scholar which supports the dissemination of OU research publications on a global scale
  • ORCID – ORCID IDs are stored in ORO and connected to the central ORCID hub.
  • eThesis – ORO is also indexed by EThOS providing the British Library with current metadata of our theses and full text of PhD level theses.
  • IRUS – ORO is connected to the UK infrastructure of Institutional Repository Usage Statistics (IRUS) to provide COUNTER compliant metrics.
  • Open Access Infrastructure – Open Access publications in ORO are indexed by Open Access Discovery Services (e.g. CORE; unpaywall; Open Access Button).

And under the bonnet – ORO is connected to external services to improve how it works

  • Jisc Publications Router – to auto-populate metadata and full text from publishers and aggregators
  • CORE Recommender – to identify useful papers for the reader & CORE Discovery – to find full text if it is not held in ORO
  • Dimensions and Altmetric – to provide citation and altmetric information for publications archived in ORO
  • CrossREF – to aid data entry and RIOXX2 – to aid data interchange

So far in 2019 our well-connected ORO has seen 692,447 downloads of open access publications (as counted by IRUS) and 649,624 users (as counted by Google Analytics).

ORCID Training

An ORCID is a 16 digit persistent identifier for researchers and contributors.  It’s purpose is to:

(1) disambiguate researchers with like names in any system (e.g. Web of Science, ORO or ORDO)

(2) aid data transfer across systems to stop you re-keying information (e.g. if your ORCID is related to a bunch of publication information in one system simply by adding your ORCID to another system all that information can be automatically pulled across without the need for re-keying).  That’s the idea, anyway! 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

…if you would like to know more – then come along to our re-scheduled training session on 3rd July 10.30-11.30; face to face at Library Seminar Room 1 4th July 10.30-11.30 Library Seminar Room 1, or online via Adobe Connect.

My Learning Centre Registration: Claiming your research publications: ORCIDs at the OU.

UKRI Article Processing Charges and Gold Open Access at the OU

The UKRI block grant is now in it’s 6th year.  The grant pays for Open Access Article Processing Charges for articles and conference proceedings that are the result of a UKRI funding body grant. (1)

There is nothing particularly unique about the OU spend – it’s relatively small & STEM focused.  It appears to share most of the characteristics identified in sector wide reports such as the Jisc Article processing charges and subscriptions report in 2016.  Nevertheless, I wanted to make the data available and provide some comments on both the UKRI spend and Gold Open Access publishing at the OU more generally.  I hope it can support discussions at the OU about Open Access publishing in the context of continuing funder mandates and the ferment surrounding the announcement, and planned implementation, of Plan S.

Number of APCs

After the first year, which appears to be a bit of an outlier with setting up processes, communicating the grant and gradual take up of the grant, we have been paying around 40 APCs a year.

Before we go any further, let’s put that into context by looking at the total number of research outputs published by OU affiliated staff.  According to Web of Science data, between the years 2013 and 2017, OU affiliated staff published between 1,000 and 1,400 papers a year. (2)  So we are talking about a small percentage of OU authored papers here – probably less than 5% in any year.

Annual Expenditure

After the first year, the annual cost of the UKRI APC payments falls between £80,000 -£90,000.  This year (2018-19) UKRI awarded the OU £68,740.95 – so, this year, we may not have enough to cover all requests.

Average Cost

The average cost of an APC across the 5 years is £1,859.  APCs tend to cluster around the £2,000 mark with a few outliers in excess of £3,000, these tend to be APCs from small US based Society publishers.  In comparison, the Jisc Article processing charges and subscriptions report calculated an average APC of £1,745 in 2014-15, so we are in the same ball park.

However, the 3 papers in the £3,600 band are to Nature Publishing Group for papers in Nature Communications.  A piece in the Times Higher reports that some publishers have been quite explicit about increasing the price of APCs for their more prestigious journals:

“APCs are paid not just to cover processing costs but to buy standing for a researcher’s article (if accepted). This is not new: other traditional publishers such as Elsevier, but even pure open access publishers such as PLoS and Frontiers, tier their market and ask higher APCs for their more selective journals.” (3)

An increasing cost?

Average costs don’t indicate a massive rise in the average APCs here at the OU – the average in 2013-14 was £1,700 and in 2017-18 it was £1,839 – that’s a rise of 8% over 5 years.  Not as significant as the 6% over 2 years identified by the Jisc report, but ours is a small dataset and the averages are easily skewed by a couple of expensive or more moderate payments.

The publishers

So who is getting what?  Our figures are dominated by Elsevier and Wiley: Elsevier are getting £141,699 (39%) and Wiley £72,046 (20%) – no other publisher gets more than 5% of the total expenditure.

We do need to unpick this a bit:

  • Some publishers are offering discounts (offsetting deals) alongside existing subscription deals – Taylor and Francis and SAGE are the noticeable examples in this data – those discounts mean both of these publishers are not as significant in the APC expenditure data.
  • Elsevier has no offsetting deal in place.  What is paid to Elsevier in APCs is in addition to the full subscription costs.  Nature and PLOS (direct competitors of Elsevier) report that the failure of Elsevier to incorporate offsetting deals has, in part, led to German and Swedish university consortia refusing to accept new publishing agreements.
  • Wiley has an offsetting deal which is linked to the management of a pre-pay account.  At point of writing, due to the low level of APC payments the OU Library makes, we have no pre-pay account with any publisher.  If we had a pre-pay account with Wiley the APC expenditure would not have been so high.
  • Springer currently has a model where APCs are incorporated into a total cost of readership – APCs for OU corresponding authors should be £0.  The expenditure referred to above was paid before this model was introduced.

Average APC by publisher

The average cost of an APC varies wildly, but you can see which publishers are the more expensive against an average spend.

The Gold Open Access gap

Not only does the UKRI block grant account for a small fraction of total research outputs being published by OU affiliated staff.  It also accounts for a small fraction of the total research outputs being published Gold Open Access.

Of the 1,516  journal articles published in 2017 added to Open Research Online (ORO) 363 have been flagged as Gold Open Access. (4)  So, if only around 40 of those were funded by the UKRI block grant, what about all the others?

  1. Some of these papers will be funded by other institutions’ UKRI block grant.  If the lead author is not based at the OU then we wouldn’t normally expect to fund the paper.  Additionally, lead authors at other HEIs may have access to central internal funds.
  2. Gold Open Access papers are being funded locally – by departments, schools or faculties – at the OU.  We know this anecdotally but what is scary is we don’t know the total cost of this across the University.  The OU already pays publishers large subscription fees to read the scholarly literature.  We are now paying them again to publish our own research Open Access.  We shouldn’t continue to pay publishers the same subscription fees when we’ve already paid for some of that scholarly literature to be Open Access. This is the concept known as double dipping.  As a university, if we don’t know how much in total we are paying on APCs then we can’t use it to drive fair prices to access the scholarly literature.
  3. Some Gold Open Access journals do not charge APCs – stand up, for example, our own Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Open Arts Journal and International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology. (5)

So, it seems to me, the funding of Gold Open Access is disparate; it’s both local and central; planned and ad-hoc; pragmatic and idealistic.  By which I mean it has different motivations: from simply publishing OA so you meet funder requirements to publishing OA with the wider aspiration to do Open Research.  I suspect those different motivations have created the disparate picture of Open Access publishing we see across the OU.

Notes on data.

This data does not include any non-APC payments e.g. colour page charges or submission fees.  This data does include VAT and foreign currency charges as it has been next to impossible to remove them from all relevant payments.  This data also excludes payment from the UKRI block grant made to support the Open Access publication of the conference proceedings of the Listening Experience Conference 2017.

Data can be accessed at UKRI Data

Notes

(1) Details as to how the grant is applied at the OU can be found on the UK Research and Innovation / Research Councils UK Open Access Policy

(2) 2013 – 1,073 outputs, 2014 – 1,115 outputs, 2015 – 1,250 outputs, 2016 – 1,312 outputs & 2017 – 1,220 outputs.  These are only those research outputs indexed by WoS – the actual number will be significantly more.

(3) Bianca Kramer & Jeroen Bosman. Linking impact factor to ‘open access’ charges creates more inequality in academic publishing (Times Higher Education, May 16, 2018)

(4) You’ll note that the ORO figure is greater than the WoS figure.  There are good reasons why I’d expect ORO to count more outputs than WoS.  Firstly, people add items retrospectively to ORO  (they weren’t at the OU at point of publication)  Secondly, we want ORO to capture everything OU affiliated staff publish – not just what is considered worthy of being indexed by WoS (or Scopus for that matter!)

(5) These journals will (in part at least) be funded by institutional resources.

What is a post-print and where do I get it? Guidance on what can be added to repositories and where to find it

The people behind the Open Access discovery tool Open Access button have recently published 2 useful guides.

The first Pre-prints, post-prints, and publisher’s PDF explained offers some guidance  on how to identify:

  • Pre-prints (or Submitted Versions)
  • Post-prints (or Accepted Author Manuscripts)
  • Published Versions (or Versions of Record)

The second Direct2AAM: How tos helping authors find AAMs intends to help authors retrieve Author Accepted Manuscripts from publisher manuscript systems.

The guides are useful whether you are using an institutional repository like ORO, a subject repository or an academic social networking site like ResearchGate or Academia.edu.  Super useful to both authors and repository administrators… thank you OA Button people!!!

#ThesisThursday at The Open University

So Dan Weinbren quotes Steven Rose the OU’s first professor of biology in his history of the OU. (1)   It’s not just true of research in general but also postgraduate research: The Open University is a destination for PhD students.  And that’s a nice entry point to this post – which is our contribution to #ThesisThursday – a wider campaign highlighting Open Access to postgraduate theses via the network of UK Higher Education repositories.

Postgraduate Research and The Open University

Provision for postgraduate student research was written into the Open University Charter (1969) and the first PhD thesis was awarded by the University as early as 1972 (2). Over 3,500 theses have been awarded for studies directly undertaken at the OU and over 2,000 awarded for theses studied at an Affiliated Research Centre (3).

The breadth of postgraduate research conducted at the Open University is astonishing – of course this isn’t unique – but it’s worth stating:  The Open University does multi-disciplinary teaching and research.  A record of all theses can currently be found in the library catalogue, you can search them from the thesis search.

However, these records were created for the print theses, and those theses continue to sit on the shelves in the library here at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes.  Readership is limited by the fact they are print artifacts.

Increasing access to Open University postgraduate research

The Open University institutional repository (ORO) is home for a significant subset of that total number of theses.  Currently we have over 1,200 theses awarded by the OU in ORO – PhD, EdD, MPhil and MRes.  Our aim is to have a record of all Open University awarded theses recorded in ORO and, wherever possible, provide access to the full text online. We are doing this in 3 ways:

  • All newly awarded theses are added to ORO at point of award.
  • Where a legacy thesis has been digitised by The British Library via its EThOS scheme – we are also adding it to ORO.
  • Where a legacy thesis has yet to be digitised we are undertaking a systematic scheme of digitisation – expect to see results early in 2019.

Making the full text available online means a reader doesn’t have to visit the building to read the the print thesis, all they need is an internet connection.

Measuring the impact

Which is all very well – but is it worth it?  What kind of readership do PhD level theses get.  Well, the numbers are clear.  There are thousands of downloads of theses from ORO every month – we’re closing in on half a million downloads in total!

And these downloads are global, access is not restricted to those readers that can get to Milton Keynes!  Downloads of theses in 2017 came from 188 countries and territories.

In case you are wondering, the most popular thesis in ORO has been downloaded over 15,000 times (Bailey, Keith Alan (1995). The metamorphosis of Battersea, 1800-1914 : a building history.) (4)

 …and back to the OU

Sometimes in your day to day work at OU HQ in MK, you are reminded of the remarkable ethos of the institution.  As I was checking a legacy thesis earlier in the week, I couldn’t help but read the acknowledgement, here’s how it started…

A remarkable understated testament, not only to the determination of one particular OU student, but also to the opportunities the OU provides: #thesisthursday OU style.

References

(1) Weinbren, Dan. (2014) The Open University: A History, p.110.

(2) ibid., p.110.

(3) “The Open University’s Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) programme enables leading research institutes, who do not have their own degree awarding powers, to provide doctoral training with our support.”   http://www.open.ac.uk/research/degrees/affiliate-centres

(4) All data from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/cgi/stats/report/

ORO Annual Update 2017-18

PDF Version: ORO Update 2017-18

Highlights from the ORO year include a big increase in deposits to ORO, this was due to:

  • Requirements on self archiving for the REF2021 exercise
  • Deposit of around 500 theses digitised by the EThOS service
  • Strategies for automated deposit – including integration of Jisc Publications Router

We also saw an increase in site visits – this is heartening – it confirms a reversal in a dip that occurred back in 2014.  However, downloads decreased by 7%, I will be looking at discoverability of content in ORO over the next few months.

The next year should also see us refresh our integration with ORCID, a light touch website make-over, increased legacy thesis coverage, measuring the effectiveness of our automated deposit strategies and continuing support for REF2021.

 

Student Dissertations in ORO

We are very pleased to have recently added some third level student dissertations to ORO.  They are for the History module “A329 – The making of Welsh history” and are listed in ORO on their own Student Dissertations page.

Adding student projects to ORO:

  • Is a great way to showcase the research done by OU students.  Providing access to them as exemplars for current and prospective students, supports student recruitment, attainment and retention.
  • Supports the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences objective of actively engaging with OU students as partners and co-researchers.

Example record in ORO

Module Team Chair Richard Marsden said:

A329 offers undergraduate History students a rare opportunity to conduct an independent research project on a topic of their own choosing. Some of the work they have produced is extremely impressive and constitutes a real contribution to our understanding of Welsh history. It is great to be able to make those contributions publicly available to members of the public and other scholars on ORO, especially as doing so is very much in keeping with the OU’s public mission and support for the open sharing of knowledge’.

We are in discussion with other modules to add more student dissertations to ORO.  Contact us if you are interested in using ORO in this way.

If ORO was a drink.. what would it be?

I recently attended the Playful Learning conference at Manchester.  The conference introduced me to a variety of playful strategies to use in both teaching situations and in  everyday work scenarios.

One of the very first things we were asked to do by Katie Piatt in her keynote was to think about a game as a drink and then design a drinks mat for it. Why might you do this?  Well, firstly it brings a bit of fun to the workplace, and secondly, it may elicit responses that you might not get if you asked a straight question.

One of my favourites from the conference was Simon Says = Cocktail = Drink / Repeat.

So, I thought I’d bring the idea into our ORO team meeting and get the guys who work on ORO to think about ORO as a drink and then design their own drinks mat for it.

What did I get, what drink do we imagine ORO to be?  What insights on working with ORO did I get?

Beer

Not a great surprise, but they were by turns fruity, strong and, err, chewy!

a Sundae

Something light, to suit all tastes.

Water

Definitely winning the prize for artistic merit: free water, although terms and conditions apply…

Marmite

Yes, you love it or hate it… but is it a drink? [team meeting descends into bickering]

…and Gravy

Is that really a drink!  [team meeting descends into polite librarian brawl regarding viscosity and Newtonian fluid]

But Brown Open Access, available in cubes – that might catch on!

Or something else…

Bingo!  This was what I was after… I was being told that using ORO is too hard.  People don’t have the time figure it out – they want help to make it easier.

So maybe by introducing this technique, allowing the space for people to think differently, or at least licence to express this thinking, did provide me with some useful insight.

And it was a team meeting that was fun!  If you want some blank mats for you to try it yourself, I have some spare – let me know.