The changing Open Access landscape

In this post, Mike Dainton, Head of Scholarly Communications Services, brings us up-to-date on the Open Access landscape – an essential area of knowledge for anyone hoping to publish their research. For a basic introduction to Open Access, see the Library Services webpages.

The announcement of Plan S in 2018 heightened discussion about Open Access (OA) amongst research communities.  A key tenet of Plan S is to cease using public money to publish OA in journals that also charge a subscription fee to libraries (so called ‘hybrid journals’).

It is acknowledged that flipping to Fully OA will take time, so an interim option for publishers is the ‘Transformative Agreement’ (TA). These should allow libraries to move spending from subscriptions to OA. Typically, an upfront fee provides read access and covers the cost of OA publishing, across a publisher’s complete journal portfolio. We’ve entered into many such agreements over the past year, significantly expanding options for all researchers, including PGRs, to publish OA. You can find further details here.  Currently, Wellcome funded authors must abide by a Plan S aligned OA policy and a new UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) policy will come into force in April 2022.

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How to measure the quality of research: who is DORA and why does it matter for PGRs?

In this post, Judith Hegenbarth, Head of Research Skills in Library Services, introduces the responsible use of research metrics and UoB’s Commitment to Responsible Research Assessment.

"We love DORA" badge

Any government minister will tell you that performing research costs money, and that public spending on it has to be justified.  The allocation of research funding is based on a perception of ‘quality’, and part of the equation is whether an individual, research group or institution has performed ‘quality’ research in the past.

Metrics

Measuring quality is a contentious issue, particularly when it concerns the ‘performance’ of an individual researcher or scholar.  In the past, the number of times a publication has been cited by other researchers has been used as a proxy for influence and thereby quality.  The h-index became a shorthand for author excellence.  This kind of metric has been shown to privilege certain fast publishing disciplines which produce multi-authored papers.  For those researchers who take career breaks to raise families, or lone scholars who publish larger works less frequently, a single measure isn’t helpful or fair.  There’s more discussion of this on our Influential Researcher intranet page (including Canvas course)

Continue reading “How to measure the quality of research: who is DORA and why does it matter for PGRs?”

ReproducibiliTea at the University of Birmingham: Embracing Open Science in Lockdown!

In this post, Catherine Laverty, a PGR from the School of Psychology, tells us about her experiences of open research and the ReproducibliTea initiative.

Back in early 2020 I was approaching the midpoint of my PhD (and as it turned out the start of a global pandemic!) and found myself in a place where I was questioning how to make sure my research was as rigorous and open as possible. I had heard of the open science movement and seen various bits of advice on twitter about how to be a better scientist but in all honesty had no idea where to start. I knew the replication crisis was on the horizon and wanted to make sure I was doing my upmost to make positive steps towards good scientific practices but was admittedly a little lost.

Around the same time, I began to speak to two other early career researchers (ECRs) that were in exactly the same position – Mahmoud Elsherif & Sonia Rishi. Together, we decided to navigate the landscape of open science and establish the University of Birmingham’s ReproducibiliTea Journal Club as a place where others could join and learn alongside us.

Continue reading “ReproducibiliTea at the University of Birmingham: Embracing Open Science in Lockdown!”

Spotlight on the RDF: “Attribution and co-authorship”

In one of our occasional series of spotlights, we take a closer look at a specific descriptor from the RDF.

In this series of “Spotlight on…” posts, we’ll be delving into the detail of the descriptors in Vitae‘s Researcher Development Framework (RDF).  Each one of the sixty-three descriptors is a characteristic of an excellent researcher, and we’ll be looking at how UoB PGRs can develop these characteristics.

Recently, a question from a PGR found its way to my e-mail inbox, and it got me thinking about the various influences on attribution and co-authorship that can be tricky to navigate for those new to publishing their work.

Listing the authors tells readers who did the work and should ensure that the right people get the credit, and take responsibility, for the research. 

Committee on Publication Ethics, https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2018.1.1

While it may seem initially obvious, authorship is in fact an area which is influenced by factors including disciplinary culture. There may be some hidden expectations in your department or discipline, and it’s an area of research culture that all researchers new to publishing should be familiar with, and influencing positively.

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De-colonizing: emphasizing the universality of the university

In this post, Dooshima Lilian Dugguh reflects on the De-Colonizing: Past and Present Workshop held on 13 May 2019 in the College of Arts and Law. This two-day multi-disciplinary workshop examined de-colonization in relation to both research and school curricula.

Reading the workshop title “De-colonizing: past and present”, I am sure that several participants had a rough guess that it was centered around discussing historical realities of colonized nations. But I am also certain that many, like me, were amazed at the understanding that beyond the initial idea is a whole new perspective that exports the concept of de-colonization and applies it to academic endeavors such as impactful research and development of academic curricula, giving an opportunity to rethink research and taught patterns of university courses. This workshop underlined two very important aspects: de-colonizing research and de-colonizing curricula.

De-colonizing asks us to examine assumptions regarding racial and civilizational hierarchy which in the past informed a lot of thinking about how the world worked, what was worth studying in it, and how it should be studied.  SOAS blog

Continue reading “De-colonizing: emphasizing the universality of the university”

Sending your research out into the world

On Wednesday 19 June 2019, there is a deadline for PGRs hoping to graduate in July to complete all the requirements for the award of their research degree.  Among a few other things, this includes submitting an electronic copy of your thesis to the University of Birmingham eTheses repository.

deposit etheses screenshot

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International Open Access Week is coming up!

Patricia Herterich, Research Repository Advisor from Library Services, introduces us to Open Access Week 2018.

openaccessweek_logoOnce per year, open access advocates (such as myself) get excited about International Open Access Week (this year running from 22 – 28 October).  This event highlights the movement working to make research outputs freely available for re-use, to raise awareness for issues around making outputs available and answer questions that you might have.  If you’re not sure why you should care about this, Suzanne Atkins summarised the benefits of Open Access to PGRs in her blogpost back in October 2016. Continue reading “International Open Access Week is coming up!”

The One and Only – ORCID for researchers

In this post, Vicky Wallace from Library Services’ Research Skills Team introduces ORCID, a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher.

In today’s research climate, the scope for information about you and your work to be displayed and connected is huge.  Historically, publishers and libraries took ownership for distributing and curating works, but roles are blurring in today’s world, where indexing and curation of online content is largely done algorithmically.  The picture is further complicated by:

  • the range of research output types (“online-only” articles, blog posts, slide decks and datasets) and other research activity;
  • difficulties in author disambiguation, exacerbated where people have common names, perhaps change names after marriage, move institutions, or are affiliated with more than one institution.

Vicky would like to make it clear that she is not a fan of Chesney (despite knowing all the words).

How can we ensure that researchers’ profiles are correct, full and up to date?  Continue reading “The One and Only – ORCID for researchers”

Planning to manage your data

We’ve talked a bit about Research Data Management (RDM) on this blog before, with a post from our Research Repository Advisor in Library Services and another from a current PGR.   However, now that there is a requirement for all PGRs who started their research programmes in or after September 2017 to produce a Data Management Plan (DMP) in advance of their first annual review, it seems a good time to revisit this topic, with a focus on DMPs.

A DMP is a living document that outlines how data are to be handled during and after a research project.  A good DMP will protect you against data loss and ensure you have well-documented data to assist with writing up and possible future data sharing. Continue reading “Planning to manage your data”

Why should I be interested in Open Access?

In Open Access Week, Suzanne Atkins (Library Services) introduces Open Access.

So, you may ask, as a PGR why should you be interested in Open Access (OA)?

openaccessWell, there are several reasons why OA is relevant and important to researchers, particularly in the early stages of their academic career. Open access in its most simple sense, where research can be accessed without payment barriers allowing anyone to read or download it, offers huge opportunities for researchers to make themselves and their work more widely known. Continue reading “Why should I be interested in Open Access?”