Category Archives: Library research support

A day in the life: Isabel

This is the latest in our Day in the Life series of blogposts.

Hi! I’m Isabel, one of the OU’s Research Support Librarians. I began working at the OU in 2013, and throughout that time I have focussed on supporting Research Data Management, seeing the service from its creation through to now having a busy data repository and enquiry service.

In common with a lot of the rest of the world, my working life has changed considerably over the past year and I’ve had the challenge of balancing working from home with nursery and school closures, while sharing my working space with my teacher husband for much of the past year. However, the pandemic has brought its benefits and I feel I now enjoy a much better work-life balance…

8.30am – The “commute”. Working from home means I no longer need to commute to Milton Keynes, but I do have 2 little ones to take to school and nursery, which we do by bike. The morning ride is one of the highlights of my day with my five year old speeding ahead at top speed while I carry the three year old on the back of my bike; it’s very enjoyable especially when the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

9.00: Log on to my laptop. My WFH workstation is in the kitchen at the dining table. Sitting in the kitchen is not brilliant for a serial snacker with no willpower, so I’ve given up buying biscuits, much to my family’s dismay! I spend the first half hour of my day checking my emails and the team inbox. This morning there is a Data Management Plan to review so I block out some time later in the day to read it and get back to the researcher to let them know I’ll be handling it later today.

9.30 Weekly team catch-up. While working from home, we find that there were much fewer informal opportunities to share what we’ve been up to during the working week so every Friday we have a Research Support Team catch-up which gives us an opportunity to find out what our colleagues are up to and share ideas.

10.00 UK Data Service webinar on Ethical and Legal Issues in Research Data.                      I’ve been attending some of the UK Data Service’s excellent webinars recently to ensure that the advice and training we’re delivering to our researchers is up to date with current best practice. This morning’s webinar closely aligned with one of the webinars that we run as part of our Research Support training programme, so it was useful to identify gaps and strengths in our provision.

My workstation in the kitchen

12.00 Work on Research Data Management Policy review. We’re reviewing our Research Data Management Policy with a view to refreshing it towards the end of 2021. In anticipation of this I am carrying out a benchmarking exercise, comparing our policy with those of other UK universities. I spend some time this morning reading through other policies and picking out the key themes.

13.00 Review Data Management Plan. I grab a quick sandwich and then get started on the Data Management Plan which was in the inbox this morning. This plan is for an ESRC bid, it’s in good shape but could do with some more thinking around data security, especially with regards to storing and transferring personal data. I add comments to the DMP and send it back to the researcher. I expect to receive a further draft of the plan in the next few days which I will read again and hopefully be able to approve for submission.

14.20 Back on my bike! Time to collect the five year old from school – due to Covid the school has staggered start and finish times which means the school run is very early!

14.50 Final catch up on inbox and emails. The small person is installed in front of the telly with a snack for the final forty minutes of my work day. During this time I have a final check of my emails and reply to anything which has come in during the day. Today there have been a couple of enquiries – one about retention periods for research data and another about adding a research project to the OU’s Information Asset Register.

15.30 End of my work day. I work part-time and this is when my work day ends; time to start my other job as Mummy!

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.

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

This is the first post in a new series thread where we will explore some of the biggest deals the 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 Springer Nature.

What’s the deal?

The OU Library 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 such ‘transformative agreements’ 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 reduced or zero cost to you. Have a look at our webpages for full details of the agreements we have in place. New deals are continually being added.

Transformative deals: Springer Nature

OU researchers publishing with Springer Nature can get articles published Gold at no charge to the author. To be eligible you need to be:

  • publishing in a Springer Open Choice journal i.e. a Springer hybrid journal AND
  • the corresponding author AND
  • affiliated to the OU AND
  • publishing either an original paper, review paper, brief communication or continuing education (Springer terminology)

How do I make use of the deal?

Eligibility for this deal will automatically be picked up by Springer Nature when submitting an eligible article type to an eligible journal title (see above). However, you must ensure that you identify yourself in one of the two following ways on the MyPublication form:

A request will then be sent to us to confirm your eligibility and approve funding for the article fee under our agreement, at no cost to you and without causing any delays to the manuscript publication process. See the Springer website for full details of the deal and steps to confirming eligibility.

Promote and share your research

When your article is open access, anyone can read and share it! So, whether you want to share your article on a website, a scholarly collaboration network, by email, on social media, in teaching, or anywhere else, you’re free to do so.

Questions?

If you have any questions about this deal, or any of the other transformative deal we have in place, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: library-research-support@open.ac.uk

 

A Day In The Life – Megan

We’re starting a new series called ‘A Day in the Life’. Over the coming months you will be able to catch a glimpse of what our Research Support Team gets up to in a typical day.

Hello! I’m Meg and I joined the OU and the Research Support Team in April 2020. Prior to this role I was a researcher and graduate teaching assistant at Edge Hill University. I managed to visit the OU Milton Keynes campus for my interview in March 2020 but fun fact, I have never actually stepped foot in our office or the Library for that matter!

Despite Covid restrictions I have had such a great year working with the team. This role has opened my eyes to just how much goes on behind the scenes in academic research.

8:30am – Wake up, have breakfast (I’ve been enjoying baked oats lately, it’s like having cake for breakfast!)

9am – Open my laptop and start the working day. I always get going by working through my personal emails and our group inbox which is where you can get in touch for any general research support enquiries.

10-10:30am – ORO Weekly Catch Up. Open Research Online (ORO) is the OU’s Open Access repository of research outputs from our research community. We have a team dedicated to maintaining and verifying deposits on ORO and this is our weekly drop in session if we want to share anything we’ve found challenging or pose any questions we may need answering.

10:30-11:30am – TEAM GAMES! Since we are all working from home we have set up a team games session every 5 or 6 weeks. We have been following the House of Games theme and it is a really nice way to take a break and have some fun 🙂

12:30pm – Lunch. I try to move away from my screen at lunchtime and the weather has been lovely recently so I opted for a walk with my dog Bella.

The rest of my afternoon was free from any meetings. When I have a few hours of time I like to time block as it keeps me productive and on task. I generally keep the blocks at 45 minutes each and try to get up and make a drink or walk around the house after each one. This particular day I was working on our Open Research Data Repository (ORDO), researching different publisher’s policies on creating new journals, and prepping some social media posts.

I have been learning the ropes with ORDO for the past few months. Researchers can use ORDO to store their data so it can be used freely by the public. Our team maintains ORDO by running thorough checks of all the deposits made and working with the users to ensure each deposit fulfils the criteria.

We had a general research support query come in asking for advice on how to set up a brand new academic journal. So I was tasked with conducting some research into different publishers policies to find out what the process may entail to give the academic a starting point.

I am a Social Media Hero for the OU Library. This means that I have a designated day per week to schedule some posts to go out to our Twitter and Facebook accounts. For the final hour of my working day I brainstormed some post ideas and also scheduled some posts ready for the following Thursday.

We hope you enjoy this new series of Day in the Life posts from our Research Support Team 🙂

New Accessibility Guidance for your eThesis

The word inaccessible type written on a page with the first two letters crossed out to indicate the word should be accessible.

We have added new guidance to our Research Support Website on how to ensure your eThesis is created in an accessible format. Covering:

  • What accessibility is
  • An accessibility checklist
  • How to check your eThesis is accessible
  • How to convert your eThesis to a PDF file
  • PDF accessibility evaluation

We also have included downloadable Word and PDF documents for you  to print and read offline. To find out more head over to Creating an accessible eThesis.

We’ve also included a subpage which offers guidance on creating accessible tables in Microsoft Word. Any tables used in your ethesis also need to follow accessibility guidelines, to find out how head over to How to create and accessible table.

Have you seen our eTheses page?

Have you seen our eTheses page on our Research Support Website?

The page offers guidance in a range of areas related to your eThesis including:

  • How to deposit your eThesis
  • Personal information
  • Depositing a PhD by published work
  • Embargoes
  • Guidance on issuing take down requests for theses being sold on third part sites including suggested text for the request
  • Copyright and your theses
  • Underlying materials and data

To view electronic copies of OU theses on ORO follow this link.

If you need any further help or can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch with the Research Support Team at library-research-support@open.ac.uk

Thinking about social media data management…

Are you planning to use social media data for your research? If so, a recent talk by Ben Wills-Eve at Lancaster Data Conversations may interest you. Entitled ‘Social Media Data Management for Digital Humanities,’ Ben takes you through some of things you should have on your radar when using data from social media platforms like Twitter. Ethical use of data, adhering to data usage policies, copyright, data processing, access to data via APIs (application programming interfaces), data storage, coding/programming, are some of the areas Ben talked about. Before using data from Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media sites it is essential that you read and understand their policies first.

Attendees were signposted to some useful guidance, such as the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) documents on ethical internet research, and reference was made to an interesting paper on the challenges of using historical Twitter data, and deleted Tweets, ethically. The Programming Historian site may also be useful to explore. Not only are the tutorials free and Open Access, they could be just what you need to enhance digital skills you already have, or to learn new ones! The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Data is an example of what they offer.

If you have any queries about your Data Management Plans, or want to find out more about the ethics of obtaining research data, please visit our Library Research Support website or get in touch with the team.

 

Plan S Survey of Researchers

cOAlition S is committed to implementing the necessary measures to fulfil Plan S’s main principle: make full and immediate open access a reality. In their continual efforts to monitor the effects of Plan S on Research and Scholarly Communication, they have launched a pulse survey asking researchers if and how Plan S has affected their publishing practices and their views on Open Access.

The survey is accessible here and will be opened periodically throughout 2021 (first round ends on 16th March, 2021). All responses will remain completely anonymous.

New year, new publisher deals!

Find out if you can publish gold open access at no cost to you

You may be aware that the Library has deals in place with several publishers which allow OU authors to publish gold open access (where the final journal article is immediately freely available to read or download from the publisher’s website) at reduced or zero cost to the author.

These deals, known as offsetting deals, transformative deals or Read and Publish deals, are exploratory models in the shift from pay-to-read (the journal subscription) to pay-to-publish. The costs of open access are part of an overall OU payment to the publisher covering both subscriptions and open access publishing. The open access charges are part of the agreement.

We are now pleased to announce that the Library has invested in several new offsetting deals with publishers starting from 1st January 2021, including Cambridge University Press, the Company of Biologists, Future Science Group, Geological Society, PLOS, and the Royal Society.  Existing deals also cover major academic publishers such as Wiley, SAGE and Springer, as well as several smaller and society publishers. See the Library Research Support team’s webpages for full details of all the deals we have in place, along with their eligibility requirements.

These deals all vary – some will give you discounts on the full article processing charge (APC) and some waive it altogether; some deals cover only hybrid journals and others cover fully open access journals too. Most of the deals are only available to OU corresponding authors, and there may be restrictions on the types of paper covered (e.g. research and review articles only). Please ensure you check the details of the relevant publisher deal on the website before placing an order with a publisher and ensure you follow any instructions for authors to make sure eligibility for the deal is identified.

Where a discount applies, the Library is unable to pay the remainder of the APC, so these will need to be funded from a Faculty or other budget. The exception to this is articles from UKRI funded projects, if this applies please check the  requirements and complete the request form and the Library will advise you whether the  APC cost can be covered.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the deal webpages, since these agreements can change at short notice and new deals are being negotiated all the time.

Open Access ToolKit Seminar

 

On the 20th January 2021 we are hosting an OA Books ToolKit seminar. In this seminar Sotiria Psoma will give an introduction to the Open Access books toolkit. Sotiria is a member of the editorial advisory board and a lecturer at The Open University.

The OAPEN Foundation has launched a new open access (OA) books toolkit for researchers and academic book authors. The toolkit is a free-to-access, stakeholder-agnostic resource that aims to help authors better understand OA for books, increase trust in OA book publishing, provide reliable and easy-to-find answers to questions from authors, and to provide guidance on the process of publishing an OA book.

A broad and diverse Editorial Advisory Board is involved in the development and maintenance of the toolkit, including authors, publishers, research support staff, funders and other key stakeholders. The Editorial Advisory Board provides editorial support, which includes identifying new resources, suggesting changes and maintaining regular update cycles.

The seminar will be followed by discussion, questions and answers.

To sign up follow this link to Eventbrite and click ‘Register’.