Project Close and Wrap-up

The JISC funded Research Communications Strategy (RCS) project has now come to a close and we are wrapping up. The final outputs of the project are available here.

These outputs include consultancy reports on the following topics:
• Chemists and Economists knowledge, beliefs and behaviours surrounding OA (Data Analysis of survey results)
• Further Exploration of the Views of Chemists and Economists
• Social Networking Sites and their role in Scholarly Communication
• Open Science (including filmed interview clips with advocates and practitioners available on our YouTube Channel)

Watch our video below to hear a few word from us on the project.





Please feel free to use the resources we have created to your benefit.
We would also appreciate any feedback you would be willing to provide.

Author Attitudes, Beliefs, Behaviours

I recently looked over another paper on author attitudes towards Open Access. This was InTech’s which was published last month, and is available here. From this report, the work we have done through the RCS project, discussions I have had, and other papers I have read, there are two things that have now become clear to me (perhaps I am a little late coming to these conclusions, but I haven’t been working in this area as long as many others have).

  1. Impact Factor and its influence is not something we can ignore – for many academics the most important thing is the journal name and the impact that is associated with it. This is currently a major barrier to 1) getting academics to publish in new journals (i.e. OA journals), and 2) getting the publishing system to change (high impact journals have no need to change their business model as publishing in them is highly desired).
    • The argument to this is of course self-archiving and repositories – but we have to be aware that many high impact journals do not allow immediate self-archiving. I did a quick analysis using the top ten journals with the highest impact factor (ISI Impact factor – from Wikipedia) and only 3/10 allowed post-print archiving (according to RoMEO). If you use the top ten journals with the highest combined impact factor (ISI impact factor and PageRank – from Wikipedia) it is a bit better with 5/10 allowing post-print archiving. And is you use ScienceWatch’s top ten most-cited journals, 7/10 allow post-print archiving, which is actually pretty good.
    • My point is, this issue unfortunatley is not instantly solved by self-archiving. Instead we may need to change how academics are evaluated, tenured, promoted, etc. My feeling is that this system is not changing anytime soon…what would it change to?
  2.  Academics don’t really have a clue about what Open Access really is. I have posted on this topic before here. They don’t know that there are multiple ways to make their work OA, and that OA can actually benefit them. They are also mostly unaware of funder and institutional mandates, and they often have no clue that repositories even exist at their institution, for their use.
    • How can we expect academics to make their work OA if they don’t even know what it is?
    • So, what is to be done about this? Who should be responsible for advocating and informing academics? Should this occur at the institutional level, national level, or worldwide?

For more on author attitude, beliefs, behaviours see the following (I have not read all of these – but they are all sitting in a stack on my desk :))

Morris, Sally &  Thorn, Sue. (2009). Learned society members and open access. Learned Publishing 22 (3) p. 221-39 http://uksg.metapress.com/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,14,21;journal,8,71;linkingpublicationresults,1:107730,1

Kim, Jihyun. (2010). Faculty Self-Archiving: Motivations and Barriers. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 61(9), 1909-1922. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.21336/abstract

Stone, Graham. (2010). Report on the University Repository Survey, October-November 2010. Research report http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/9257/

Park, Ji-Hong & Qin, Jian (2007). Exploring the Willingness of Scholars to Accept Open Access: A grounded Theory Approach. Journal of Scholarly Publishing. http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/c97213218720314m/

 Theodorou, Roxana. (201). OA Repositories: the Researchers’ Point of View. Journal of Electronic Publishing, 13(3).http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=jep;view=text;rgn=main;idno=3336451.0013.304

Allen, James. (2005). Interdisciplinary differences in attitudes towards deposit in institutional repositories http://en.scientificcommons.org/2075479

Moore, Gale. (2011). Survey of University of Toronto Faculty Awareness, Attitudes and practices regarding Scholarly Communication: A Preliminary Report. https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/26446/3/Preliminary_Report.pdf

Image credit: Steve Rhodes

ARMA Conference

I spent the first few days of this week in Glasgow attending the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA) UK conference. I presented a poster on some of the findings from our Chemists and Economists survey, and had a delightful time speaking with many Research Administrators and Managers, all who seemed quite educated about Open Access and also more interested in the topic than I expected.

I attended a variety of sessions and learned quite a bit about research management and administration, gaining a new insight into this profession. Below are a few notes onwhat I saw as the highlights.

The opening Plenary had two speakers, Professor Anton Muscatelli, the Principal from the University of Glasgow, and Ehsan Masood, the Editor of Research Fortnight and Research Europe. Both speakers gave engaging talks, and both, of course, identified that we are in challenging times when it comes to research funding.  Professor Muscatelli identified a number of things that institutions could focus on in order to meet these challenges. These were: 1) recognise the value of research (knowledge transfer, identifying and quantifying impact, etc.), 2) disseminate research imaginatively (changing approaches to IP), and 3) manage research efficiently and effectively. Mr. Masood discussed some of the other ongoing issues: funding cuts, concerns about using metrics, and using research assessment to allocate funding (which he noted encourages game-play and concentration).

I attended a session on the REF Assessment Framework, presented by Chris Taylor, Deputy REF Manager. Although a lot of the details about the REF will not be released until later in the summer, this session did give me a good idea of what will be expected in the REF process. The conference delegates had many questions of course, and the thing that I found particularly interesting (which I hadn’t realised before) was that for the next REF, the “impact” will be measured for the unit as a whole and not linked to submitting staff (this, I think is the attempt to get away from Impact Factor measurements, which is good!).

I also attended an interesting session on choosing a Research Management system – with Jonathan Cant discussing Hull’s experience using AVEDAS- CONVERIS and Jill Golightly describing Newcastle’s experience with a built in-house system. Ellie James, from Keele, did a session describing her experiences as a Research Planning and Project Manager (responsible for Keele’s REF submission) setting up a repository. It was interesting to see repositories from a different perspective – and it reminded me how important it is that institutions have set goals and objectives when setting up repositories.

It was a really interesting conference – and most importantly I learned that researcher managers and administrators definitely know how to have a good time! :)

Future of Scholarly Communications Roundtable

New videos have been released by JISC documenting a roundtable debate on the future of scholalry communications. These videos provide a good summary of the issues and provide some very interesting insight and discussion.

The 8 videos are available on the JISCmedia youtube channel.

1. Changing Scholarly Communications Landscape and Future Models.
2. Dynamics Of Transition to Open Access.


3. Problems and challenges of Gold Open Access.
4. The Hybrid Journal path to Gold Open Access?


5. The mixed economy approach: Here today, gone tomorrow? Or is it here to stay?
6. The advantages of electronic-only journals & data in an Open Access world.
7. Identifying roles and ownership in respect to Digital Preservation.
8. Electronic technologies in the Arts & Humanities and other disciplines.

4th Report: Open Access – the View from the Academy

The fourth RCS report in now available online. See the Reports link above or view from the CRC website.

This report describes the attitudes of academics and research support staff towards Open Access, including what may dissuade them from adopting it and what might persuade them of its value. It looks at the following questions:
• What do researchers and support staff think about Open Access?
• Is there an alternative they might prefer?
• How might future OA advocacy be addressed?

A two-page discussion paper of this report will be available soon (within the week).

Briefing Papers Online

We have recently released 4 briefing papers about Open Access that are now available on our website and also here on our blog.

The briefing papers cover the following topics:

  • Open Access: In Support of Research
  • Open Access: Beyond the Numbers
  • Open Access: Embedding Repositories
  • “Gold” Open Access Publishing

If you are interested in receiving paper copies please do contact me.

Gold mining


Gold pan saloon

I’ve just had a look (be it brief) at the recent report “Heading for the open road: Costs and benefits of transitions in scholarly communications“, commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN), JISC, Research Libraries UK (RLUK), the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC) and the Wellcome Trust, with contributions from many other (including publishers).

Although I was very much looking forward to this report, I was a bit disappointed that “Gold” ended up being the model that came out on top. I haven’t read the full report, so I can’t actually attempt to poke holes in the analysis, and I will have to take a look at the numbers they present in more detail when I have time. I was a bit concerned about comments that were made about not undermining the publication system – isn’t this to some extent part of the whole point of open access? I thought we were unhappy with the current publication system? Maybe not?

It is fantastic that OA is gaining momentum, and publishers are realising the role they can play (and money they can make), but following the “gold” route will likely leave the scholarly communication system in the hands of for-profit publishers. Isn’t that why the system is currebtly not working for us, and libraries are struggling to pay the bills? Do we really want publishers to have all the power?

I still would like to see some additional modelling on possible outcomes, say :

  • If some percentage (20%, 50%?) of libraries cancelled all subscriptions next week – what  would happen to publishers, how would they change?
  • If 50% of article were put into repositories next week – how would the scholarly communication system change?
  • What would collapse of the system actually mean?

Perhaps these ideas (and the modelling) are unrealistic, but it would at least be interesting to actually model some potential outcomes. I am fairly confident we would find a way to continue distributing and sharing research outputs, even if publishers disappeared (and I am sure they wouldn’t, they would just have to figure out a new business model).

Image credit: Close to Spectacular

Innovation Takeaway – Lessons from the Information Environment

On Thursday of last week I was at the JISC Information Environment 2009-11 Programme Meeting at Conference Aston in Birmingham. Links to relevant resources for the day can be found here with extensive notes from the day (I think mostly written by Andy McGregor) here.

A review of the programme in the form of a list of questions was also created: “27 questions the work of the IE programme can answer.”

It was an interesting day filled with review of some of the INF11 projects, but it also included a few more general talks about things within this area of work. Interesting bits from my perspective:

David Millard’s talk on Managing Learning Resources was quite interesting – He spoke of managing teaching and learning resources, and I of course I couldn’t help but draw parallels with publication repositories. He described how at Southampton they looked to YouTube and Flickr for inspiration, and tried to see the learning resources repository more as hosting than archiving. This tactic (should) lead to greater use – though I don’t remember him reporting on actual usage statistics. I do think part of the reason take-up of institutional publication repositories has been so low is that academics do not see them as adding a lot of value – if they want to they keep a copy of their work they do – and publishing already provides them with an outlet to share. So how can we make depositing in a repository useful on an everyday level?  I do think many repositories that have had success have the ability to populate individual’s institutional homepages – something many academics may find useful. Integration with other systems within the institution also seems to support use. Still there is more that can be done in this area – we need to think from the academic’s perspective as opposed to the repository’s or the library’s.

Joss Winn started off an interesting session on “Benefiting from Local Innovation”. His notes are on his blog here. They give an idea of some of the cool things they are doing at Lincoln. I think most of us that attended the session were wishing we had a similar group working at our instution.

I also attended a session on “Benefiting from Open” which had four speakers covering Open Data, Open Education Resources, Open Access and Open Source. Key things that came up in discussion included the need for embedding within institutions, licensing, and the need for cultural change before this “openness” is widely adopted.

Do take a look at the notes and the JISC INF11 webpage if you are interested in learning more about this programme – and what the future could potentially hold for it.

Words from the UK Open Access Implementation Group (OAIG)

Members of the UK Open Access Implementation Group (see the member list here) respond to the following questions:

  • How is Open Access important to the UK economy and society?
  • Why is Open Access important to your organisation?
  • What is the risk if Open Access doesn’t happen in the way you want?
  • What do you hope the Open Access Implementation Group will achieve?

Take a look at these – all between 1 and 3 mins each – worth watching.

 

 

 

More on Money…OA Publishing Fees and Value

I was talking to a friend this weekend (all his recent publications are open access), and he was saying that he still gets emails from people requesting PDFs of his work. So his question was – is it worth it, economically, for him (or his funder, or institution, or whoever is paying the OA fee) to make his work OA – at the individual article level (we are talking gold OA here as his funder requires deposit in UKPMC). Are the numbers of people who are actually making use of the free OA version enough to make it worth paying $1500? Is this per person/access charge reasonable? How many people would have to access the article to make it worth it? – and we have to subtract out the people who would already have access because they are attached to a subscribing institution (for hybrid journals).

Typically we speak about financial value at a much larger level – economic value for the institution or for the country, but what researchers may want to know is value at their level, the individual – or the individual article even. For him, or his funder, or institution – is it economical to make every paper OA – or should he just make the best papers (the ones that the most people will actually want to read) OA?  Clearly the value of the research has played a role in the past – think about Genome data / publications – much more likely to be OA (see here for the latest issue in that area – NPG making what is supposed to be OA,  “accidently” hidden behind a toll).

All this talk of cost per use, etc., of course made me think back to the PIRUS project I heard about a couple weeks ago. This conversation really made it relevant. With accurate usage statistics researchers could have data on how many times an article has been downloaded and where – which may demonstrate the value of OA (of course we would need some way to tag that the article is OA). This might help demonstrate (at the level of individuals) what OA can do for them (add in a little data about IP addresses and you could possibly even demonstrate that the article has been downloaded at locations unconnected to subscriber institutions – this would be really interesting – and could really demonstrate the moral reasons to academics, and you could even calculate how much you paid in OA fees for each access).

Of course putting your article in a repository (for free) would get around the whole discussion of cost per OA use – but in some instances funder mandates that require deposit into UKPMC make repository use slightly irrelevant for some academics (though of course I think funder mandates are positive – some, although working for OA, make work against the growth of repositories – who is it say if this is for better or worse).

You might also say that, morally,  paying $1500 to have one single person, that wouldn’t otherwise have access, gain access – would be worth it. But unfortunately not everyone’s money to morals equation works the same.

Image credit: -Renegade- (very busy)

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