Edinburgh Research Downloads: December 2020

Edinburgh Research Downloads: December 2020 • www.research.ed.ac.uk • www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk

• Looking at how Edinburgh Research Explorer and ERA have performed over the last year.
• Research Explorer hasn’t had the best of years, the numbers being shackled by the same filtration that had repressed ERA a year earlier, although they picked-up enough at the end to scrape past the million downloads for the second-year running; ERA on the other hand, has been somewhat unleashed.
• The usual snapshot of last month’s performances.
• A snapshot of the year that’s gone. Continue reading

Edinburgh Research Downloads: November 2020

Edinburgh Research Downloads: November 2020 • www.research.ed.ac.uk • www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk

• Looking at how Edinburgh Research Explorer and ERA have performed over the last year relative to other institutions across the UK. Overall they’ve done OK but probably could/should have done better: they’ve just about hung on to the coat-tails of the big guns, but they’ve been outperformed by a few smaller establishments.
• Looking at theses specifically, things look better: UCL have had a good year but ERA’s managed to stay ahead of them, allowing both to make the minutest of inroads into Manchester’s lead; White Rose though, are bigger and growing faster than everyone else.
• The usual snapshot of last month’s performances.
• A snapshot of the year-so-far. Continue reading

Attending LIBER and REDUX 2020 Conferences Online

In our continuous shift towards digital culture, and of course during the pandemic, conferences have been adapting their programmes to online formats. This is no mean feat, particularly as even the best laid plans can have technical issues. But at least online you can fix yourself a cup of tea or stretch your legs while the hosts sort issues out, rather than sitting awkwardly in the audience. 

I attended two big conferences online that I usually would have attended in person: LIBER (Europe’s largest association of research libraries) 2020 and the 2020 University Press Redux ConferenceThe former took place over one week while the latter had five webinars spread out over four months. Both conferences had plenty of sessions that revolved around open access and, as open access is very much my area (I run the open access journals hosting service), I was excited to dive in and attend as many as I could. I’ve popped a few of my highlights below and hope you find them useful! 

LIBER 

With an excellent keynote on marketing (by Christine Koontz) two panels, ten sessionssix workshops, and paper presentations, LIBER 2020 was a packed week.

Open Access Insights

Denis Bourguet (UMR CBGP, INRAE, Montpellier) made the case for preprints and argued they are important as a tool of accessibilityas they are free for authors and readers and offer immediate access for researchers. However, as there is no peer review all types of research will be hosted, including the not so good stuff Denis works on the Peer Community In (PCI) project (Winner of the LIBER Award for Library Innovation!) which aims to add peer review into the mix. Meanwhile, in Finland, Malin Sofia Fredriksson (The Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture) reported that one of the major funders in Finland requires open access publishing now and that humanities have the smallest proportion of peer-reviewed journals but has the largest share of monographs and edited works. Their biggest hurdle is challenging the idea that open access means lower quality and less visibility. Leo Waaijers (QOAM, The Netherlands) introduced Quality Open Access Market (QUAM) which is an online instrument that helps authors share their publishing experience with colleagues by completing a four-question scorecard about the peer review, editorial board, the value and recommendability of the journal they were publishing in. The journal is then given a Quality of Service indicator, alongside information about publication fees. Sounds handy! 

Libraries as Open Innovators and Leaders

The next session, and one I was really looking forward to given my role. Dr. Markku Roinila, Kimmo Koskinen and Kati Syvälahti (Helsinki University Library, Finland) spoke about their use of the Open Journals System (OJS) to host academicled journals, at no cost to the editors and with maintenance and technical support provided by the library (exactly like us at Edinburgh!)Helsinki University Library empowered the journal managers to become “teachers”, so they could teach the use of OJS and of academic workflows to students. They gathered great feedback about the pilotrealised the importance of technical support from the library and are now looking into launching some student-led journals. Next, Shane Collins and Siobhán Dunne (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) spoke of open scholarship (instead of open science, so that they are inclusive of AHSS) and how they created a taskforce of staff who look at Plan S and Trinity’s strategic open access targets. They ran events and podcasts with inclusivity at the forefront and found high levels of collaboration between departments. They also said that “bringing the melting pot of people together for culture change requires this type of grass-roots approach”. Finally, Dr. Coen Wilders and Martine Pronk (Utrecht University Library, The Netherlands) see the library as experts on making scientific information fair in a world that is increasingly more open and digital. They spoke of how libraries support the entire research process and said they choose to focus on metadata and repositories (instead of catalogues) as this is in line with their internal target audience. 

Tools for Transparency and Open Access

First up, Sarah Ames (National Library of Scotland, Scotland) spoke about NLS’s Digital Scholarship Service, which encourages, enables and supports use of computational research methods with their collections, among other aspects. They focused on internal and external engagement and worked hard to communicate transparency, including utilising social media, which was highly engaged with. Next, Maurits van der Graaf (Pleiade Management & Consultancy, The Netherlands) looked at a library toolkit for open access and pointed out that institutional repositories are a vital form of green open access. There are currently 5,367 repositories and 82% of publishers allow self-archiving. Maurits concluded by stating the importance of green and gold routes in the move to open access and highlighted the need for more Read and Publish deals as well as more library support for APC-free publishing. Finally, Nicole Krüger and Dr. Tamara Pianos (ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Germany) spoke of the importance of considering open educational resources (OER) before designing learning materials. They used H5P as it was mobile-friendly and allowed for interactive content. Although content hosted via this route isn’t indexed by search engines, it can be downloaded and adapted for other sites, such as WordPress. Overall, they found H5P very user-friendly.  

REDUX 

Monographs, open access and public policy: UKRI OA consultation 2020

Helen Snaith (the Senior Policy Adviser at Research England) said that monographs should not try to replicate journal open access models and that they need to ensure that policy doesn’t create accessibility issues. Richard Fisher (Vice Chair of Yale University Press) said that removing the financial barrier is only one aspect of open access, and that money needs to be spent on marketing in order to make the book successfulOverall, it was agreed that publishing open access shouldn’t affect the quality of the content. 

Open Access: Sales – Open Access business models for books and journals

Martin Paul Eve (Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing, Birkbeck, University of London) pointed out that books are much more expensive to produce than journals, and this can be an issue for the humanities and social sciences in particular as there is generally less funding. He said that it isn’t as simple as a library switching the book purchasing budget to the book processing charge (BPC) budget, as the former wouldn’t sufficiently cover the latter, and that COVID19 has shown the inaccessibility of books online compared to journals. Similarly to Richard Fisher, Martin said that gold open access may not be the way to go for books. Emily Farrell (Library Sales Executive, The MIT Press) said they rely on a hybrid approach to funding their open access activities, including article processing charges (APCs) and crowdfunding approaches for books, such as Knowledge UnlatchedShe acknowledged that they see a lot more usage when books are open and they aim to roll out a librarycentred collective model by 2021. Lastly, Vivian Berghahn (Manging Director, Berghahn Books) spoke about the subscribe-to-open (S2O) model, where subscribers get discounted access to the content and, if enough subscribers participate, the content is made open access.  Vivian said they have 305 participants to date and the model is working particularly well for their anthropology journal. 

Conclusion 

Having the conferences online, in my opinion, worked well. More people could attend due to the lack of a financial barrier (no travel, no accommodation, no delegate fee). And the less air travel the better, of courseWithout these barriers, knowledge can be shared more widely too. The main downside is the lack of organised networking and ability to have in-depth discussions with your colleagues and peers. Perhaps a solution is on the horizon for conference organisers. 

It was brilliant to see so much conversation about open access, including accessibility, be given through open and accessible platforms with no financial restrictions. Open access policy is still developing, and it’s important that conferences continue to highlight and discuss the impact of this.  

A final positive of hosting an online conference is the ability to record and share online for those who can’t make it or to have the information to handSpeaking of which, you can access all the LIBER sessions here and the REDUX ones here. I thoroughly recommend checking out both. Happy watching! 

Introduction to Leadership

This is a not one of my usual posts about Open Research, but rather a short essay written about and submitted for a Leadership course that I recently completed.

I have been in my current role as Scholarly Communications Manager since 2017. When I first began the role was very hands on, but over time the line management responsibilities have significantly increased. Initially I was the line manager for two staff, however over the last couple of years the team has grown to a total of six. I’ve never had any formal training on how to manage staff or provide leadership, and have up to now just got on with the basic mechanics of the job – performing annual development reviews, reporting sickness absences and annual leave requests. Unfortunately, this has meant that I’ve not had much time dedicated to improving the team work environment or developing the members of my team.

It was recently pointed out to me that many jobs (especially teaching, clinical medicine or emergency services) require significant training and qualifications before you can start, but with management roles you are quite often thrown in at the deep end and told to just get on with it. The University has started delivering training for leadership and management roles and I was keen to enrol on one of the many courses to learn new skills and hopefully see how management should be done.

So, at the start of the year, as part of a cohort of 14 managers and academics all from different departments and units spread out across the University, I started out on an ‘Introduction to Leadership’ course.  The course itself started in February and consisted of several monthly one day workshops spread over six months. We were able to have the first two sessions in person, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic the course had to quickly reorganise and switch to online delivery. Lots of credit is due to the trainers Agnes and Lesley who were able to act quickly and resume the course.

At the end of the course it was an expectation that attendees would deliver a Leadership Journey presentation in a format they were comfortable with – some chose a video recording, others a written document. I have chosen a public blog post to document my leadership journey over the last few months pre-and-post lockdown, focussing on some of the things I learnt during the course and how I have built them into my working practices.

Motivation Values

The Introduction to Leadership course introduced to me the idea of motivational values which I had not encountered before. Each of the participants took a Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI) test which consisted of a series of behavioural questions which asked what people do when things are going well and also when they face conflict. Depending on how you answered a profile was built up which describes your own personal motivational values focussing on three end points: People (empathy), Processes (logic) and Performance (results).

Strength Deployment Inventory plot showing motivational values

I found out that my answers placed me at the intersection of People and Processes, and that under stress I would verge towards Process based behaviour. This made sense to me as in my job I try to deliver a quality service focussed primarily on people and making sure they are happy with the outcome, rather than focussing singly on results. To run the service we have to develop new processes and protocols under rapidly changing scenarios. The guidelines and criteria we develop make sure the service we run is equitable and is understandable to our staff despite arising from an extremely complex set of policies and rules imposed on us by research funders and journal publishers who are often at odds with each other.

The technique of looking at peoples motivational values has helped me better understand my team members by understanding a little of the motives that drive their behaviours. For example, someone who is Green and values analytical approaches will feel more comfortable with clear instructions within a framework, whereas someone with Blue tendencies will prefer an empathic approach. In the last few months, I have tried to tailor my team management approach by considering the personalities involved and although it is difficult to monitor and assess I personally think that the team has been functioning better despite the difficult general circumstances we have found ourselves in. I cannot take credit for individual’s performances, but it is definitely easy to manage a team full of diligent and talented people so I can at least take some credit for hiring them!

Situational Leadership

Building upon the last point the next main concept that the Leadership Course introduced and I have found really interesting/useful is the idea of Situational Leadership. The basic premise is that a leader further tailors their approach depending on the people and task in hand.

Naturally, I found that I was changing my approach when working with colleagues – for example with new team members I was being very hands-on and with experienced team members I was able to rely on them to get on with things. However, having a framework to fit my behaviour in has given me an understanding on how to improve both my own management and my co-workers skills.

I now recognise that I have been poor at delegating tasks despite people offering to help.  My resistance is not really a fear of losing power, or believing that I can do it better, but rather I have been put off somewhat by the time involved in explaining the task, and a general unwillingness to accept risk for certain high-priority’ tasks. Acknowledging this has been useful as I can now move forwards and change from an ‘Instructing’ style through ‘Mentoring’ and ‘Coaching’ to ‘Delegating’. By developing and trusting my colleague’s skills I have been able pass work on to them and carry out other tasks.

As shown in the graph below, since working from home starting in March 2020 we have seen the volume of team calls double when compared to previous years. It seems many of our academic colleagues (those without children anyway!) are using the time away from the workplace to write up papers, or carry our peer review to get through the backlog of submitted papers. More journal articles being accepted for publication means more work for my team as they deal with open access enquiries from academics.

Number of calls per month received by the Scholarly Communications Team has significantly increased during COVID-19 lockdown

During lockdown I have been working reduced hours to look after and teach my school-age children. With the increased workload I found myself working late into the evening to keep on top of things, but I soon realised that I could not keep up my old hands-on working behaviour in the long term. I would not have survived the last few months if I had not been able to fully delegate work tasks to my colleagues and I am extremely grateful that I have been supported by a wonderful team that has stepped up and responded to the challenges of working from home.

The leadership course has given me a set of tools and a framework with waypoints that I can use to inform my decision making. More importantly it has provided a support network of fellow managers who were part of this cohort.