City Open Access


News about City University's open access repository, philosophical musings about Open Access

Open access journal hosting in City Research Online: Learning at City Journal

We’ve recently been working with colleagues in City’s Learning Development Centre (LDC) and at EPrints Services to use our EPrints repository to host the LDC’s Learning at City Journal. The idea was to create a space within EPrints where electronic articles can be stored and served, with the layout, formatting, contextual information and branding you would expect from other e-journals you see on the web. The model for this was the University of Huddersfield’s Teaching in Lifelong Learning journal, which also uses a space within their larger EPrints repository.

Previously City Research Online (CRO) has archived individual Learning at City Journal articles and grouped these together, but this grouping doesn’t have all the nice e-journal added value material. EPrints Services have created a new area in EPrints for us, which will be the journal’s home page. As you will see when you click through, it’s fairly bare-bones, with little contextual information or branding, but it does group together articles nicely. When you click through to articles, EPrints also generates a “Journal Details” box (see for example this article), allowing easy navigation around the contents of the journal.

Next steps are to develop and add the contextual information for the journal, and add some much needed branding. We also need to check that all material from each hard copy issue is being included- for example editorial messages, tables of contents etc. We also need to be able to assign Digital Object Identifiers to every article using CrossRef, so that the standard, persistent identifiers for scholarly articles appear for each record.

Once this work is done, we will be able to publicise the work around the University and more widely (in the latter case an important thing will be to register the journal with the Directory of Open Access Journals). It’s worth noting that there will be no Article Processing Charges for academics and other colleagues to submit articles to the journal, unlike commercial publishers offering open access options! Hopefully this publicity will stoke interest with colleagues- and you never know, other parts of the University might want to develop an open access e-journal with us!

Filed under: City Research Online, Open Access, , , , ,

Making City Research Online OpenAire compliant

We’ve just made City Research Online (CRO) OpenAire compliant. This means that all EU FP7 funded research added to CRO will be made available via OpenAire’s Discovery Portal, and that this research will be fully compliant with the EU’s open access mandate for FP7 funded research.

To make CRO OpenAire compliant was relatively straightforward, since the ever-helpful guys at Eprints Services did the hard work of installing the OpenAire Compliance Plug-In. It was then a matter of using OpenAire’s validation tool to ensure things were working properly, then registering CRO with OpenAire (see CRO’s entry in this list of compliant repositories). All we need to do now is work out which of our full text papers have received FP7 funding!

I’m happy that we’ve managed to do this piece of work. There is currently something of a push to get UK repositories OpenAire compliant (there has been lots of activity on the various repository email lists), since very few in the UK are at the moment. It allows us in the CRO team to offer another service to our users: if you have FP7-funded research, give the outputs to us and we will do the legwork in making it comply with the EU’s open access mandate. There is also the imminent (possible but strongly rumoured) prospect of the EU mandating Green open access for all the research it funds- and if that happens we’ll be ahead of the game in offering this service to our users.

Filed under: City Research Online, Open Access, Systems, , , , , , ,

Open Access Week 2012: Opening Research and Data

Last week, as part of Open Access Week 2012, colleagues at LSHTM, Birkbeck, LSE, and SOAS (as well as myself) organised an event, Opening Research and Data. It was intended to be a broad overview of “where we’re at” with open access. As such, we were lucky to be able to put together a bill that was eminently capable of taking a high-level look at the open agenda, particularly in light of recent developments such as the Finch Report and the new RCUK policy on open access.

The first presenter was Frederick Friend, Honorary Director Scholarly Communication at UCL.  Frederick gave a broad overview of the development of open access up to the present day. The strongest message I took from his presentation was the flaws in the Finch Report, and as a result the flaws in the RCUK open access policy. He noted that there was (unjust) antagonism towards institutional repositories (IRs) , particularly since IRs are the medium of by which the vast majority of the 20% of open access journal content has been made available. He also characterised the Gold option recommended by Finch and RCUK as being uncosted and to the detriment of cheaper Green OA. He likened the policy to trying to make an aeroplane flight to open access with just one (Gold) engine- something much easier to do with two (green and gold) engines!  He also asked academic colleagues to question what exactly they will receive in return for potentially very high Gold OA article processing charges. You can view Frederick Friend’s presentation here.

Next up was Professor Stephen Curry from Imperial College London. Prof Curry is, as he admitted, someone who has recently become interested in open access, and has blogged prolifically on the issue recently, as well as writing on open access and other scientific matters for The Guardian. His general message was that it had been a positive year for open access, since the “fundamentally unanswerable” argument for open access had been won, and awareness of open access was greater than ever before. He had a few concerns, which echoed those of Fred Friend, in particular that Finch & RCUK’s emphasis on Gold will benefit commercial publishers, and that the open access movement must show more unity given the sometimes divisive and rancorous nature of the Gold v. Green debate. Finally, he mentioned that the spurious indicator of academic worth, the Impact Factor, should be done away with. You can view Prof Curry’s presentation here.

Providing a couple of “real-life” experiences of open access were Dr Melissa Terras and Dr Antonio Gasparrini. Dr Terras, a Digital Humanities scholar at UCL, presented about her experiences at using social media (in particular blogging and Twitter) to promote papers made available in UCL’s Discovery repository. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a combination of well-nurtured social networks and openly accessible research equals lots of downloads and hence wide dissemination of research (and see here for a fuller account of a previous version of this presentation). You can view Dr Terras’ presentation here.

Dr Gasparrini is an early-career medical researcher at LSHTM. His presentation focussed on navigating the often confusing open access environment to ensure he complied with open access policy, in this case that of the MRC. In his experience, it was often a question of trading off limited funds assigned for Gold OA against a journal’s reputation, as summarised by Impact Factor. Dr Gasparrini’s best find was that of the Journal of Statistical Software, a fully-open access journal with an APC cost of £0, and a good Impact Factor too.  Dr Gasparrini finished his presentation by pointing to the open software movement, which seems to have gotten far further towards “open” than scholarly communications (though there are structural and commercial reasons for this, I would argue). You can view Dr Gasparrini’s presentation here.

Finally it was the turn of the funding agencies to give their perspective, in two presentations. The first was from David Carr from the Wellcome Trust, who detailed Wellcome’s open access policy. Open access to research is covered by an RCUK-like policy, which emphasises Gold over Green open access. David also laid some emphasis on Wellcome’s plans to better enforce already required research data management plans, which should further the open data agenda (something covered in passing, rather than in depth, by the day’s presentations). You can view David’s presentation here.

Last up was Ben Ryan from EPSRC, who was wearing his RCUK policy hat. Ben had the somewhat unenviable task of explaining RCUK’s open access policy to an audience comprised of a large number of those likely to be critical of RCUK’s policy, not least repository managers. Criticism of the policy has been well-rehearsed elsewhere, but one notable statement from Ben was that RCUK would not be prescriptive within institutions about how they complied with the policy; instead it would be down to individuals to choose, within the criteria laid down by RCUK. The possible perverse effects of the policy have also been documented (briefly, journal publishers may up embargo periods to prevent Green OA being an option); Stephen Curry, in the later discussion, noted that any publisher changing embargo periods to exclude Green OA as an option would be likely to see authors vote with their feet. Ben’s presentation can be viewed here.

The day was rounded off with a lively discussion, proving that people had been thinking about and engaging with the issues raised. Despite being somewhat biased, as I helped organise the event, I think it was a great success and a worthy and thought-provoking way in which to celebrate Open Access Week 2012.

Filed under: Events, Open Access, , , , ,

1,000th paper added to City Research Online!

Last Weds 5th September we made live our 1,000th full text, openly accessible paper. The article in question was part of the Department of Economics Discussion Papers series, entitled: García-Alonso, M. D. C. & Garcia-Marinoso, B. (2007). “The strategic interaction between firms and formulary committees: effects on the prices of new drugs” . We’re now up to a total of 1,030 full text papers in the repository.

Given that City Research Online was only formally launched in October 2011, and that we aimed to make 500 papers live in its first year of operation, we’re pretty pleased with our progress thus far. It is of course testament to the support our team has received and of the willingness of City authors to contribute to the service. Thanks to all our users and depositors, here’s to our next 1,000 openly accessible papers!

Filed under: City Research Online, Open Access, , ,

SOPA, PIPA, RWA and open access

Questions open access and the broader agenda of internet freedom have been very much in the headlines over the last couple of weeks, which has made for an interesting start to 2012, and makes me guardedly optimistic that the arguments for openness in all its forms will continue to be made and listened to this year.

The US’ woefully misguided Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which would effectively prevent linking on the web without absolute guarantees of lack of copyright infringement on the part of the site linked to (amongst other ludicrous clauses), and reads like it was written entirely by the US’ big media conglomerates, has now been killed– but the similar in intent Protect IP Act (PIPA) shambles on, zombie-like. Meanwhile, a luminary of free thinking and positive business practices defends SOPA and attacks Google for alleged piracy whilst failing to acknowledge the vested interests behind such attacks.

More ominously for the open access movement, the US’ Research Works Act (RWA) threatens to prevent funders such as the National Institute for Health making taxpayer funded research openly available. The bill, brought by two congresspeople who have received donations from Elsevier and supported by the ever-friendly and reasonable American Association of Publishers, would shore up scholarly publishers as monopoly providers of published research, destroying the advance of open access and seriously and permanently retarding scientific research. All this, to allow publishers to continue to make profits of 20% or more on their revenue.

However, there has been an outcry about this, and hearteningly it’s not just the usual suspects. A variety of influential bloggers and commentators from the research community have written in opposition to the Act, and the Guardian have today published an excellent article on why the RWA and publishers’ attempts to prevent open access should be opposed. UKCORR, the professional body for UK repository people such as myself, have also taken a position.

Though the threat of the RWA is a real one, I think the continued growth in understanding that publicly funded research should be made publicly available can only be positive. Elsevier and co. may win a short term reprieve for their position as monopolistic exploiters of the fruits of publicly funded research, but over time the overwhelmingly convincing arguments for open access will win out- I hope.

Filed under: Open Access, , , , , ,

George Monbiot on Open Access in the Guardian

George Monbiot has written an excellent piece on open access and scholarly publishing in today’s Guardian. It’s the lead comment piece, too! Provocatively titled and aggressively argued, it’s bound to put some backs up, so  I look forward to responses from the publishers and others in the letters page over the next few days.

Filed under: Open Access,

First OA items available in City Research Online

I’m pleased to announce that after a lot of testing and configuration, we have made our first seven items available in City Research Online, City’s open access research repository. The items can be viewed and accessed at the latest additions area of the website. The items are courtesy of Neil Thurman, who directs the Masters in Electronic Publishing here at City, which somehow seems very appropriate!

So, we have some content! Now we need to get more, and do all the tedious stuff like writing documentation and supporting web pages. But this is a real milestone, and a reminder (if one were needed) why we are doing this in the first place.

Filed under: City Research Online, Open Access,

Peter Murray-Rust on problems with Institutional Repositories

Peter Murray-Rust has been posting to his blog with some awkward questions for those of us involved in institutional repositories. His basic point is that institutional repositories only make sense for organisational reasons, and not for any other, and that researchers search by discipline, not at an institutional level.

His most recent post, Criteria for Successful Repositories, contains some salutary lessons for IR people, and while I’m not sure I agree with all of his points, it certainly is providing food for thought.

Filed under: Open Access,

Peter Suber interviewed on Open Access

I put something on Twitter about this excellent interview, with Richard Poynder asking questions to Peter Suber about Open Access, but I thought it was worth blogging about too. As a librarian, I particularly liked this section:

Q: What precise role do you see librarians playing in the alliance you spoke of?

A: Librarians lobby for OA mandates. They write to their representatives in the legislature. They make phone calls and visit. They network and organize. They communicate with one another, with their patrons, and with the public. They launch, maintain, and fill repositories. They write up their experiences, case studies, surveys, and best practices. They pay attention. On average, they understand the issues better than any other stakeholder group, including researchers, administrators, publishers, funders, and policymakers.

Even at universities where OA policies were enacted by faculty vote, you don’t have to look far to find that librarians gave a compelling presentation at a Faculty Senate meeting, pressed faculty colleagues at Library Committee meetings, or educated individual faculty one-on-one.

I’m hoping to do all these things here at City!

Filed under: Open Access, , , ,

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