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.

Open Access and ORO – not just about mandates!

The biggest challenge facing  Institutional Repositories like ORO is not meeting the REF Open Access policy, although that is important!  Rather it is demonstrating their long term value to the research community they serve.  Take the case of the discussion paper authored by Dr Lesley Baillie:

Baillie, Lesley (2017). An exploration of the 6Cs as a set of values for nursing practice. British Journal of Nursing, 26(10) pp. 558–563.

  • This paper has been downloaded over 7,000 times by users from over 90 countries and territories since deposit in June 2017.
  • Making the paper Open Access in ORO has increased downloads by 409%.(1)
  • The version in ORO is not behind a paywall – this increases the readership to professionals and practitioners not affiliated to a university
  • When institutional repositories are indexed by Google and Google Scholar they are great platforms to make papers discoverable and accessible on a global scale.

Lesley comments “Certainly I think the open access is undoubtedly enabling healthcare professionals, including nurses, to easily access literature that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.”

Deposit in an institutional repository like ORO can be massively beneficial in the dissemination of research papers of the community it serves.

ORO Case Study PDF

(1) Based on publisher downloads of 1,458 and ORO downloads of 7,427 – data accessed 2018/05/04


ORO Drop-in

Hi, I’m holding an Open Research Online (ORO) drop in next Wednesday 23rd May from 10-12.

I’ll be in the Library Bookends cafe area (by the book swap) and will be happy to answer any questions on ORO, Open Access & the REF Open Access policy.


REF 2021 Open Access Policy – Update

The Open Access policy for the next REF has been amended.

To be eligible for submission to the next REF, HEFCE now requires that the full-text of journal articles and published, peer-reviewed conference proceedings (with an ISSN) are deposited in an open access repository within 3 months from acceptance. This is a change from the previous timeframe of 3 months from first publication (in place since 1st April 2016).

A new deposit exception to the policy has been created to cater for publications being added to an open access repository in accordance with the old timeframe.  Any publication that misses the new timeframe (3 months from acceptance) but meets the old timeframe (3 months from first publication) will be eligible to claim this exception.  This exception will remain in place for the whole of the REF2021 publication period.

This change is required for all eligible publications accepted for publication on or after 1st April 2018.  The version of the publication required by HEFCE to be deposited in an open access repository is the author’s accepted manuscript.

Further details can be found at


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

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 (

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:

ORO – Displaying Bibliometric & Altmetric Information

ORO now displays bibliometrics information for individual items alongside the (already existing) Altmetrics.  So what do they mean!

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Altmetrics (Alternative Metrics – geddit?) are a suite of metrics that can be used to measure the level of attention a research paper has gained across a range of platforms.  These include:

  • Citations in Wikipedia and policy documents
  • Mentions on blogs
  • Mainstream media coverage
  • Bookmarks on Mendeley
  • Mentions on Twitter

Altmetrics provide a useful insight on where research outputs are gaining attention outside of the scholarly literature.

Altmetric use a characteristic Donut Badge which is used to visualise the metrics.  Clicking on the Altmetric Donut in ORO  will send you to the Altmetric page for the paper where you can identify each of the mentions the research output has accrued.

Citations from Dimensions

Four different types of citation metrics are displayed:

  1. Total Citations – different datasets have different coverage and the total citations in  one dataset will differ from another.  The total citations from the Dimensions dataset will differ from other datasets (e.g. Google Scholar or Scopus)
  2. Recent Citations – the number of citations received in the last 2 calender years
  3. Field Citation Ratio (FCR) – a measure of the relative citation performance of a paper in its field, as categorised using the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC).  Where the normalized value is 1. i.e. if a paper has a FCR of over 1 it has a higher than average number of citations for it’s group. Papers less than 2 years old do not have an FCR.
  4. Relative Citation Ratio (RCR) – a measure of the relative citation performance of a paper in its field as measured by the subject area of the papers that cite it.  Where the normalized value is 1. i.e. if a paper has a RCR of over 1 it has a higher than average number of citations for it’s group. Papers less than 2 years old do not have an RCR.

Clicking on the Dimensions badge will send you to the Dimensions page for that paper where you can see where the citations have come from and further detail and contextualisation.

Note: Both Altmetric and Dimensions are companies owned by Digital Science which is a subsidiary of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group.  Access to the APIs the ORO service use to display these data is free.

Online Training – Open Access Publishing

This week I ran the second of our online training sessions.  This session looked at Open Access publishing.  Slides are below:



Here are the other sessions we’ll be delivering over the next couple of months:

These sessions 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

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

Research Groups in ORO

This week we will be changing how Research Groups are represented in ORO.  The benefit of representing Research Groups in ORO includes being able to quickly ascertain all the publications of a Research Group and the ability to embed this information via RSS feeds into other web pages.

Up until now Research Groups have been associated to individuals – this means that an affiliation to a Research Group is represented on all their papers in ORO – irrespective of the relevance of the particular paper to the Research Group.  This has meant some papers have inappropriate Research Groups associated with them.

From Tuesday 20th December this method will change to tagging individual papers with one (or more) Research Groups.  This can be done in the usual deposit workflow where the option to choose Research Groups will be available to the depositor.  This should lead to a more accurate representation of any Research Group’s publication set.

What’s a Research Group?  Well, I’ve left that intentionally vague.  This functionality is available to any self defining Research Group at the OU – it may be a formally defined Strategic Research Area or a smaller research collaborative.  If this functionality of ORO is useful to any group then it can be used by them.  Similarly, if it’s not useful to a particular research group, then there is no compulsion to use it.

We have canvassed the Research community and have a set of Research Groups we are adding to ORO.  If you wish another Research Group to be added, or a publications set for any particular group to be reviewed please contact me:

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.

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