Category Archives: Library research support

ORO Annual Infographics 2022/23

ORO OU Infographic

We have created infographics from ORO usage data. We have infographics for each faculty and IET, with some commentary on Downloads, Deposits and % Open Access for both the year 2022/23 and trend data going back to 2011/12.  PDFs and data are available at the end of this post.

PDFs for each faculty / Institute:

Library Services ORO Update 202223_OU

Library Services ORO Update 202223_STEM

Library Services ORO Update 202223_FASS

Library Services ORO Update 202223_WELS

Library Services ORO Update 202223_FBL

Library Services ORO Update 202223_IET

Full data is also available from a spreadsheet: Infographics Data 2023-09

Please get in touch if this data is useful to, or if you have any questions about them:

From open research towards open (and engaging) research communication

by Richard Holliman

I recently published an article for the Times Higher Education, where I explored practical approaches to fostering open and engaging research communication. The article explores a series of questions, with some suggested solutions, to support researchers in developing communication strategies that connect with various ‘constituencies’ (researchers, interested and affected parties, and members of the public) throughout the research cycle.

In this article I propose an underlying rationale for moving from open research towards open (and engaging) research communication. Put simply, my argument is that open and engaging research communication can help to promote ‘fairness in knowing’. This is particularly important for minoritized constituencies, groups of people that have been, and continue to be, excluded and oppressed by dominant sections of society.

Opening up research

Notwithstanding obvious and ongoing challenges, including the cost vs. price of publication, the proliferation of ‘predatory’ journals, and ownership of intellectual property, I’d argue that open research (encompassing forms of open access publication and open data) has the potential to drive positive change in academia and wider society. (Martin Weller’s book, The Battle for Open, offers an insightful review of key arguments in this space.)

Following concerted moves to open up research beyond simply making research outputs publicly available we have seen changes to the requirements to publish research findings in some peer reviewed journals, such as ‘plain language’ summaries of, and/or key points (e.g. see America Geophysical Union). In a similar vein, some peer reviewed journals now require the publication of open data in combination the publication of a research output (e.g. PLOS ONE).

Research outputs: I’m using the term research outputs deliberately. Research can be represented in many forms. Depending on disciplinary norms this can involve publication in a peer reviewed journal, conference papers, monographs, edited collections and/or chapters therein, some other form of artefact, etc. Whilst the possibilities are not endless, there are a wide range of forms for effective research communicated, in ways that will be readily understood by academics with analogous training to those seeking to publish.

From open research to open and engaging research communication

Increasing access to knowledge offers the potential for a wider range of constituencies to scrutinise the outputs from research processes. But who does open access really benefit, by which I mean, who really gains access to research data and findings through greater openness?

Research was defined in the 2021 version of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework as: “a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared”. This was a necessarily broad definition that applied to all forms of academic research. In my experience what was meant by effectively shared, with whom, and at what points in the research cycle was defined in practice, in large part, through internal assessments of what would be likely to score highly in this assessment. The question follows: did academic concerns about what would score highly through this UK-wide research audit serve the interests of wider constituencies and social and economic forms of impact?

My contention is that open data and open access publication is most likely to extend access to a wider range of disciplinary-based and multidisciplinary-based researchers who may not have access through their institutional libraries, and a small number of additional users, e.g., freelance authors, independent researchers without institutional affiliations.

Open access publication, even with the inclusion of ‘plain language’ summaries and/or open data sets is therefore less likely to be useful and relevant to wider constituencies that may be affected by new research and/or members of the public without direct interest in a given research field.

Does this matter? I’d argue that it does, in part because knowledge (particularly publicly funded knowledge) should be open and easily accessible. To do this effectively should involve consideration of wider constituencies, exploring forms of communication and engagement that work for them.

Communicating the findings from research, however, should not be the only goal. Opening up research processes offers wider constituencies opportunities to engage throughout the research cycle, gaining authentic experiences, and contributing relevant forms of expertise and lived experience. Developing sophisticated communication and engagement strategies, researchers and wider constituencies can improve the quality of that research by drawing on relevant expertise and experience. If researchers adopt engaged research practices, there is wisdom in the distributed crowd.

‘Blue skies’ and ‘Applied’ Research

One of the issues that’s often raised when I discuss the possibilities of embedding open and engaged communication within a research project is the distinction between ‘blue skies’ and ‘applied’ research. The challenge for ‘blue skies’ researchers, so the argument usually goes, is that it is harder to be ‘engaging’ when compared to ‘applied’ research.

I’ll start by noting that I don’t agree that applied researchers are getting an easier ride when it comes to planning for open and engaging research communication. But I am happy to agree that ‘blue skies’ researchers have a different set of challenges when they’re planning for open and engaging research communication. For a start, the constituencies for ‘blue skies’ researchers are different in certain key regards. While all researchers could seek to communicate research via media professionals with a view to disseminating findings to the wider public, for example, they are likely to have fewer bespoke ‘publics’, i.e., those directly affected by a research agenda or its immediate impacts and/or implications.

‘Publics’: By ‘public’s I mean interested and affected parties, institutional actors, NGOs, representatives from economic or societal entities, user communities, members of the public, and/or groups who come into existence or develop an identity in relationship to the research process.)

How then should researchers seek to engage with different constituencies when planning communication and engagement strategies for ‘blue skies’ or ‘applied’ research. Figure 1, produced by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE), offers a tool to start mapping potential publics for research.

The questions that follow Figure 1 act as prompts for ‘creating publics’ for ‘blue skies’ research, also when and how to communicate and engage with them in the research cycle. (The latter is an issue that is addressed in more detail in my article in the THE: fostering open and engaging research communication.)

There are an equivalent set of prompts for applied research in the following open access research output: A case study from Guyana of adapting engaged research design to promote ‘fairness in knowing’.

A diagram showing possible publics for engagement. The publics include: public sector; business community and third sector organisations.

Figure 1: Mapping ‘publics’ for research. Source: NCCPE.

Mapping publics for ‘blue skies’ research:

  • Who should have a voice in planning for open and engaging research?
  • What forms of expertise and/or lived experiences could inform your planning for open and engaging research?
  • What opportunities could be offered to allow existing and emergent ‘publics’ to connect with research through: a) forms of dissemination that can inform and educate; b) bespoke interactive events and activities that can inspire and entertain; c) knowledge sharing activities that facilitate consultation; and d) advice and advocacy that promotes partnership and/or collaborative working?
  • How will you communicate and engage in ways that are inclusive to different publics, including those who have previously been excluded (e.g., minoritized groups)?


Communication and engagement need to be recognised as core components of research, with associated rewards for exceptional and sustained contributions. Conceptualising research as both open and engaging involves a broader conceptualisation of effective sharing of new insights. To be genuinely open and engaging researchers should develop sophisticated research communication plans to communicate with interested and affected parties throughout the research cycle.

If we are to genuinely promote ‘fairness in knowing’ researchers need to meet groups that have experienced historical and contemporary forms of discrimination and disadvantage on ‘shared territory’. Researchers need to build their capacity in equitable approaches to communication and engagement based on the principles of doing no (more) harm combined with support for positive change.

How do researchers view the research environment and culture? A survey

The University of Bristol are conducting a survey in collaboration with Jisc and UKRI to better understand how researchers view aspects of the research environment and culture. This is a short, anonymous survey asking questions about researcher experiences and views of research culture and practises.

By filling out this survey, you will provide valuable insight into current perceptions around research culture, which will in turn serve to guide future decision making.

The survey is open to anyone who has worked on at least one research project that was published. The results will be published and circulated once they have been collated.

Icons made by Freepik from

OU Research Support: Training Events 2022/23

The new academic year has seen the Library Research Support Team continue their series of  training events, open to all OU research staff, postgraduate research students and research support staff.

Training sessions will be available from October to July, and the schedule from September-December is detailed below. The sessions are an excellent way to gain an understanding of different aspects of academic research, and are hosted by experts in each field.

The sessions will be run online via MS Teams, and will be recorded – slides and the video recording will be send out shortly afterwards.

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


Thursday 10th November 2022, 11.00-11.45, Sage Research Methods Database Introduction.
This session will provide an introduction to the Sage Research Methods database. It will cover what the database is and how it can be useful to all researchers at any stage of the research process including; writing a research question, conducting your literature review, choosing the best research methods, analysing data, writing up your results and thinking about publication.


Tuesday 15th November 2022, 11.15-12.00, Working with Personal and Sensitive Research Data 
This bitesize webinar looks at issues involved with managing personal and sensitive research data during a research project.


Thursday 24th November 2022, 11.00-12.00, Introduction to ORO – the OU’s Research Publications Repository.
This session provides an introduction to ORO (Open Access Online) and will outline:

  • What is the point of ORO?
  • How research publications can be made Open Access via ORO
  • How ORO supports the REF Open Access policy
  • How to use ORO


Tuesday 29th November 2022, 11.15-12.00, Data Sharing: Legal and Ethical Issues
While all data underpinning research should be made open, in some cases there are legal and ethical barriers to doing so. This bitesize webinar looks at how to overcome the legal and ethical issues involved with sharing data.


Tuesday 6th December 2022, 11.00-12.00, How the Library Can Support Your Research
This session will give an overview of the research support services offered by the Library and will cover open access publishing, Open Research Online (the OU’s research publications repository), research data management, Open Research Data Online (the OU’s research data repository) and the training offered by the research support team. It will also briefly cover other services offered by the Library including access to online resources and document delivery. The session will signpost where to go for help and support and there will be an opportunity to ask questions.


Thursday 15th December 2022, 11.00-11.45, FAIR’s Fair: How to Share Your Research Data
Increasingly funders, publishers and institutions are expecting researchers to make their research data publicly available. This bitesize webinar looks at the hows, whats and whys of data sharing.

Open Research Online (ORO) – Annual Report 2021/22

Our ORO Annual Report allows us to reflect on the continued use of this important research infrastructure both inside and outside the University.


Downloads. Over 2 million Open Access publications on ORO are downloaded every year from ORO.  Downloads come from across the globe increasing the dissemination of OU research.  Downloads increase annually as more open access publications are added to ORO.

Deposits. 3,000 publications are are added to ORO annually – these include legacy publications from new staff so this number isn’t a surrogate for current publication rates. Deposit of new publications to ORO is assisted by automated ingest of data from publisher alerts and the Jisc Router aggregation service.

Deposit numbers fluctuate within REF cycles, the total number of active researchers at the OU and (significantly) bulk ingest of legacy content (e.g. digitised theses).

Open Access. Over half the publications added to ORO are made immediately Open Access and this percentage increases as publisher embargoes on accepted versions in the repository expire.  We’ve seen Open Access steadily grow over the last 10 years and it is now mainstream practice.

We increasingly see more Gold Open access items being added to ORO as the OU agrees more transitional deals with publishers which allow OU affiliated corresponding authors to publish Open Access at no direct cost to the author.

As well as research publications via  traditional routes ORO is a great home for:

  • PhD & EdD theses
  • PGR Posters from the annual poster competition
  • Exemplar student projects
  • Reports (those published by the OU can be minted with a Digital Object Identifier in ORO)

Breakdown by STEM, WELS, FASS, FBL & IET can be seen below. The data is also available in an accessible spreadsheet: ORO Infographics Data 2022-09.

The year ahead.

Some highlights for the upcoming year.

ORCID integration. This year the ORO service will be updating the ORCID integration to support addition of items from the ORCID hub to ORO.

EDI work.  I’m exploring ways in which both the system and service can be more inclusive.  How can the repository be anti-racist.

Data quality.  We want to improve the user experience and the discoverabilty of the service. To do this we will benchmark and do systematic quality checking of content and weblinks.

New (and not so new) research collections.  Working in partnership with faculty and the University archive i’m wanting to host collections of unpublished research papers (e.g. Departmental Working papers).


ACS Publications announces a series of webinars to celebrate International Open Access Week!

International Open Access Week 2022 will bring together researchers, funders, institutions, librarians, publishers, and open access advocates in a week-long webinar series. Participants will learn about the latest developments in open access publishing from speakers at every stage in the academic publishing community. Below is a list of webinars and virtual events you may be interested in:

Monday, October 24, 2022

Mythbusting Open Access in the Chemical Sciences

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT / 15:00 PM – 16:00 PM BST

Open access is an important part of reaching the widest possible audience with your research, but you may have heard conflicting information about the process and the benefits for choosing open access. This session aims to provide researchers with a primer on the differences between open access and subscription-based journals, and information that dispels some of the enduring myths surrounding OA.

  • Sybille Geisenheyner, Director, Open Access Strategy & Licensing, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Prof. Lynn Kamerlin, Chair in Molecular Design, Georgia Tech View Bio
  • Dr. Laura Fisher, Executive Editor, RSC Advances, Royal Society of Chemistry View Bio


The Role of Institutions in Fostering a Climate of Open Science

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT / 16:00 PM – 17:00 PM BST

Co-Sponsored by the ACS Division of Chemical Information

Open science is about more than just open access. This session looks at the various pillars of open science – including open data and open peer review – with presentations from a variety of speakers on how institutions are fostering a climate of open science in their research communities.

  • Angie Hunter, Development Editor, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Gemma Solomon, Professor, University of Copenhagen View Bio
  • Chris Banks, FRSA, Director of Library Services, Imperial College London View Bio
  • Dr. Ye Li, Librarian for Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT Libraries View Bio


Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Understanding Copyright for Researchers

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT / 17:00 PM – 18:00 PM BS

Do you know your BYs from your BY-NC-NDs? Choosing a copyright license for your work can be tricky, especially when your institution or license funder may have particular rules that they expect you to follow. This session provides a brief overview of the common license types you’ll encounter when publishing your work open access; highlights when, where, and why these licenses might be used; and provides you with tools to identify how you can comply with institutional and funder mandates.

  • Sybille Geisenheyner, Director, Open Access Strategy & Licensing, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Eric Slater, Senior Manager, Copyright, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Roy Kaufman, Managing Director, Business Development, Copyright Clearance Center View Bio


Thursday, October 27, 2022

Open Access for Early Career Researchers

7:00 AM – 8:00 AM EDT / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM BST

Publishing open access for the first time can be a whirlwind for early career researchers. There’s a lot to consider, from identifying the best OA journal for your research through to compliance with any requirements set in place by your research institution or funder. This session provides a brief overview of the open access publishing process from start to finish, led by an experienced researcher.

  • Dr. Greco Gonzalez Miera, Managing Editor, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Prof. Sabine Flitsch, Chair in Chemical Biology, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology View Bio


Friday, October 28, 2022

Preprints in Chemistry – Now and Next

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM EDT / 15:00 PM – 16:00 PM BST

Compared to other fields of research, chemistry has been relatively slow to adopt preprints – but the significant growth in the number of articles posted to ChemRxiv over the past five years indicates that attitudes are changing. This session looks at how ChemRxiv has grown and new developments that will benefit researchers and institutions alike.

  • Dr. Ben Mudrak, Senior Product Manager, ChemRxiv, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Dr. Neil Hammond, Open Access Publisher, Royal Society of Chemistry View Bio
  • Dr. Lynn Kamerlin, Chair in Molecular Design, Georgia Tech View Bio
  • Prof. Wolfram Koch, Executive Director, GDCh View Bio


The OSTP Memo and its Impact on Chemistry

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT / 16:00 PM – 17:00 PM BST

Co-Sponsored by the ACS Division of Chemical Information

The OSTP ‘Nelson Memo’ sets an ambitious goal for research funders in the US: ensure free and immediate access to all grantees’ published research, beginning no later than January 1 2026. The implications of the memo are wide-ranging and will significantly impact all chemistry researchers in the United States.

This session brings together diverse viewpoints to discuss how the OSTP memo, the ensuing funder mandates, and publishers’ responses will shape the future of chemistry publishing.

  • Dr. Jim Milne, President, ACS Publications, American Chemical Society View Bio
  • Dr. Michele Avissar-Whiting, Program Manager for Open Science Strategy, HHMI View Bio
  • Dr. Yulia Sevryugina, Chemistry Librarian, University of Michigan View Bio
  • Dr. Jessica Tucker, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Science Policy, National Institutes of Health View Bio

Apply today for the BioInnovation Institute and Science Prize for Innovation!

Just under 2 weeks left to apply for the BioInnovation Institute and Science Prize for Innovation!

Behind every life-changing solution is an entrepreneurial scientist – a creative mind who proved an idea in the lab and dared to carry it out in the world.

To encourage more scientists to translate their research, BioInnovation Institute (BII) and Science collaborate to host an annual award. Through the BioInnovation Institute & Science Prize for Innovation, the editors of Science seek to recognize bold researchers who are asking fundamental questions at the intersection of the life sciences and entrepreneurship.

The three winners will have their essays published in Science and will be invited into BII’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, the Grand Prize winner will receive a prize of USD 25,000 and each runner-up will receive USD 10,000 at a grand award ceremony in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The call for applications closes on 1 November 2022. Head over to their website to read more about how to submit your 1000-word essay to the editors at Science.