Category Archives: Open Access

Open access to research outputs

Two key publications have been made available this week, both of which are of interest to the ADMIRe project team. Firstly we had the highly awaited publication of the Finch Report: “Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications” . This 140 page publication presents the findings of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings, chaired by Dame Janet Finch. The report recommends a programme of action which will enable more people to read and use the publications arising from research. The report makes ten recommendations and outlines the key actions necessary in order to implement the recommendations of the working group. An executive summary is available and the report has had some interesting media coverage this week, including in the Guardian and the BBC.

The Royal Society today published their substantial report “Science as an open enterprise: open data for open science” which:

“highlights the need to grapple with the huge deluge of data created by modern technologies in order to preserve the principle of openness and to exploit data in ways that have the potential to create a second open science revolution.”

The report highlights six key areas for action, and these include:

  • Scientists needing to be more open amongst themselves and with the public and media
  • Greater recognition for the value of data gathering, analysis and communication
  • Common standards for sharing information in order to make data widely usable
  • Publishing data in a reusable form to support findings must be mandatory
  • More experts in managing and supporting the use of digital data are required
  • New software tools need to be developed to analyse the growing amount of data being gathered

The report includes some interesting case studies of data use and the costs of digital repositories.

It will be interesting to see the impact that both these publications have on academic scholarly communications and opening up access to research outputs (both publications and data).


Linking peer-reviewed literature to associated datasets

OpenAIREplus is a large-scale EU project bringing together 41 pan-European partners, including three cross-disciplinary research communities. OpenAIREplus aims to:

“…create a robust, participatory service for the cross-linking of peer-reviewed scientific publications and associated datasets.”

The 30 month project launched in December 2011 (see Bill’s post on this launch) and on the 11th June they will be presenting an OpenAIREplus workshop in conjunction with the Nordbib Conference 2012 Copenhagen, June 11-13, 2012 . The OpenAIREplus workshop “Linking Open Access publications to data – policy development and implementation” looks really interesting with a very exciting programme and I am hoping they will make the workshop presentations and outputs available after the event.

The workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in this topic, and will be of interest to library managers, researchers, research funders, repository managers, journal editors and publishers, and research administrators. Topics covered include:

  • Preparing and writing institutional data management policies
  • An overview of funder’s responsibilities and requirements towards data availability and management
  • An overview of linking research publications and data
  • The research data landscape

Follow developments and news items on the OA EU infrastructure on Twitter @OpenAIRE_eu

Links of interest

OpenAIREplus press release

International conference: Structural frameworks for open, digital research – strategy, policy & infrastructure



Data management support for researchers at the University of Glasgow

Today is my first full day on the ADMIRe project and I have been spending some time looking at the really useful and informative research data management website produced by the University of Glasgow. The University of Glasgow aims to develop its research data management capacity and capability and has produced a draft research data policy and a draft RDM roadmap. Both documents can be viewed here.

What is really interesting is that they are aiming to conform to EPSRC expectations regarding the management and provision of access to EPSRC-funded research data between May 2012 and May 2015.

Their pilots will be conducted within schools/divisions where EPSRC funding is most active and they say that:

“…the pilot period will provide us with detailed information regarding the range of operational and support-related costs and sustainability issues and will be used to inform wider testing of the Research Data policy and Roadmap across all Colleges and Schools.”

Finch Committee on Open Access

The Finch Committee was set up last year by the science minister David Willetts. The Finch Committee is examining how UK-funded research findings can be made more accessible.

Even though the focus is specifically journal articles, conference proceedings and monographs,  there is also some parallel work taking place relating to research data and other outputs being conducted by the Royal Society.

All the meeting notes  are made available on the website of the Research information Network (RIN). The working group met again last week and are due to report their findings later in the year. Definitely one to look out for.

Open data

We’ve been talking today about the move towards open data and how we can draw upon our experiences of trying to deliver open access publishing. Experience from the open access work we have done at the University of Nottingham tells us that we need to take a long term view of this. The open access work has been on-going for nearly ten years and even now there is resistance to publishing using this methodology. Achieving similar results for open data may inevitably take just as long and potentially has bigger hurdles to overcome since researchers build careers upon their IPR and the data they generate and hold.

Is ownership of data much more ingrained into their personal USP as a researcher who brings value to an organisation than perhaps publications are? Inherent in publishing is a certain “letting go” that is accepted as part of the process of being an academic researcher. Is it the case that this does not necessarily exist in the psyche for datasets?

So in light of this we’re seeking to identify ways in which researchers are already “open” with their data. For example depositing in national archives at the end of a project. In the current mindset this might be a tick box towards “sustainability” in the funding bid, but can we re-purpose that thinking and turn it to “being open with data”?

Does that then simplify the process of creating the “local repository” (and supporting metadata) such that the entry describes the dataset and where it is held, linking off to the national repository? Perhaps that is a small additional step that is achievable beyond what the researcher is already doing and can be a catalyst towards change and more openness? If so, then does that local repository become part of the framework we are striving for in ADMIRe for us to build a process around? A quick retrospective trawl might help us to get a quick win and build such a repository to show its potential.

Open access started on a “build it and they will come” approach, and perhaps we need to do the same for open data?

OpenAIRE Plus

Following from the previous two posts, which touch on governmental level responses to open access to publication outputs and public data, this is a development which will try and tie them together.

The European OpenAIRE project has out out a press release which reviews its aim to link peer-reviewed literature to associated data.

From the press release:

“The 30 month project, funded by the EC 7th Framework Programme, will work in tandem with OpenAIRE, extending the mission further to facilitate access to the entire Open Access scientific production of the European Research Area, providing cross-links from publications to data and funding schemes.  This large-scale project brings together 41 pan-European partners, including three cross-disciplinary research communities.”

Nottingham is proud to be a partner in this work, acting as the National Open Access Desk for the UK for this and the continuing and precursor OpenAIRE project.


European drive towards data openness

Hot on the heels of the UK White Paper mentioned in the previous post, the EU Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has announced plans for a revision of an EU directive on the use of public data to open data up for re-use and exploitation.

The irreverent blog “The Register” summarises the plans including:

  • Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be reused for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third-party copyright.
  • Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used.

Now, while it is arguable as to whether research data fits the criteria for public data, this and the UK’s White Paper is indicative of a growing push towards data openness from governments. This may possibly stem from thirst for new economic exploitation of open information for much needed growth, rather than the high-minded principles of earlier Open Access directives, but the path is the same.

PS – Neelie Kroes has an interesting video online on the drive towards openness, of which this is part. Given her role, in some ways this can be seen as demonstrating the Commission’s position. This was delivered at the libraries LIBER 40th annual conference, Barcelona earlier this year.


Government White Paper

You might have heard that a White Paper has been released which shows the government’s commitment to Open Access as an economic lever for growth.

“Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth”

This contains a clear push for research *publications* policy compliance which will have consequences for us in the University in the service we give to researchers and the advice we provide. I suspect that the suggested emphasis on compliance with research *publications* will be quickly extended to robust calls for compliance with funder’s policies on *data* availability and clear management. As such this will relate to the ADMIRe work in that any internal service will engage with academics and their outputs, but this is obviously a separate process/service as well.

For some time the funding councils have had open access policies requiring that recipients of funding make their research outputs openly accessible – particularly through repositories. However, this has been unemphasised by funders and so difficult to promote as an additional activity for researchers inside institutions.  Compliance with this requirement is low, nationally, and I think it is fair to say that it has not been seen as a priority within institutions. The Wellcome Trust has a similar guideline and has now achieved over 50% compliance, albeit at the cost of writing to VCs directly to ask why their researchers are not complying.

This White Paper takes a robust line about compliance and sees this as the first step in a larger “access to research” project/service as a national picture of UK research, and so this is not just compliance for the sake of it, but as part of a larger developmental picture.

For example, from the White Paper:

Para 6.9: “The Research Councils expect the researchers they fund to deposit published articles or conference proceedings in an open access repository at or around the time of publication. But this practice is unevenly enforced. Therefore, as an immediate step, we have asked the Research Councils to ensure the researchers they fund fulfil the current requirements. Additionally, the Research Councils have now agreed to invest £2 million in the development, by 2013, of a UK ‘Gateway to Research’. In the first instance this will allow ready access to Research Council funded research information and related data but it will be designed so that it can also include research funded by others in due course.”

Other related mentions include:

Para 6.6: “The Government, in line with our overarching commitment to transparency and open data, is committed to ensuring that publicly-funded research should be accessible free of charge.”

Whatever the status of the advice within the White Paper, robust change regarding funder policy compliance does seem to be coming and it is far from general amongst all institutions (as far as I know) to track to see if grant requirements for open access are being met.

I think it would be beneficial if within this programme strand we are aware of compliance monitoring that will be required for publications, so as to better offer academics a joined-up service from their central services.