New: DOI minting for PhD theses

We are pleased to announce that from January 2020 all new PhD theses submitted to the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA) will be assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The Library will be using the DataCite DOI registration agency to provide this service.

What is a DOI?

A DOI is a character string (a ‘digital identifier’) used to uniquely identify and provide a permanent link to a digital object, such as a journal paper or other scholarly work.

Benefits of having a DOI

Assigning DOIs to PhD means that researchers are able to confidently cite theses alongside traditional journal articles knowing that a link will be persistent. The benefits for authors include gaining due academic credit for their efforts to produce these valuable research outputs and the ability to track and measure online attention via alternative metrics like Plum X or Altmetric.

Which PhD theses will get DOIs?

In the first instance the Library will give all new PhD theses a DOI once the final version has been submitted to Pure and graduation has occurred. Before a DOI is registered the PhD thesis must be archived fully in ERA. Some PhD theses submitted for Winter 2019 graduation which have not yet appeared online in ERA will be assigned a DOI.

We aim to roll out and assign DOIs for all of the PhDs in the existing online collection, but since the collection is large (>20,000) we will have to approach this in stages.

 

Three Decades @ the Crossroads of IP, ICT and Law conference

At the beginning of the month, the Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP), part of the Faculty of Law of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, celebrated 30 years of existence. Although their newsletters are only occasionally in English, I have been following their activity for a few years now and I was impressed of their expertise in the areas of data privacy, information rights management and intellectual property rights.

One aspect that I really appreciate at all these conferences organised in Belgium (or nearby) is the wide range of participants: postgraduate students and academic researchers, lawyers from law firms, magistrates from national courts, representatives from industry (Microsoft, Google, Facebook etc), from organisations representing the rights of authors and publishers, from national governments and various EU bodies. These participants come from an area that is within a 2-3 hours train journey from Brussels – this means Benelux, western Germany and northern France. Personally, I find the diverse background of participants and the cultural differences fascinating.

The programme of the conference was really packed with three key-speakers (morning, lunchtime and late afternoon) intertwined with two parallel sessions of four panels each.

The most interesting presentation amongst the key speakers was that of Karen Yeung (Birmingham Law School) about Regulation and technological innovation: Myths, memes and the marginalisation of law. She encouraged the participants to abandon the romantic infatuation with 21st century technological innovation in favour of a more level-headed, clear-eyed view of public policy and regulation vis-à-vis technological innovation. She (successfully, in my opinion) argued against some of the current myths:

Myth Reality
All innovation is intrinsically ‘good’ Not all innovation is good. Even beneficial innovation may have damaging side effects.
The tech entrepreneur is a moral hero They (usually male and white) take risks with the rights and interests of others.
The equivalence of old v new technology Comparisons must attend to ALL effects, not merely functional performance.
Regulation stifles innovation Regulation also stimulate and accelerate innovation.
The law cannot keep up with the pace with technological innovation Over-simplification – problems arise due to uncertainty in effects and identification of appropriate norms.
The governance of the tech innovation should be left to the markets Markets are undemocratic. Reliance on post litigation is inadequate.
 

Tech “ethics” will fix any problems

Ethics cannot provide legitimate and effective social protection against impacts of tech innovation.

 

Her conclusion was that “innovation is not only a technological process, but a profoundly human and socially embedded one” and therefore it is crucially important to bring the law into the heart of discussions about how to govern technological innovation responsibly as it cannot be left to the market. Even if it means swimming against the tide.

The morning parallel sessions were about a) Security, b) AI and GDPR, c) Content moderation and d) Personalised medicine. I choose to attend the one about ‘Content moderation’. The first part of the session was dedicated to ‘Content regulation & illegal and harmful content’ where an interesting debate developed between an in house counsel representing Facebook and everybody else in the room a representative of an NGO active in the fields of intermediary liability and surveillance policies including law enforcement access to data. In the second part of the session, the discussion was centred around ‘Content regulation & copyright’ with Google’s European IP manager, a Leuven IP academic, a representative from an artists’ management organisation and another person from a media company as panel members. The discussion floated around art. 17 (former art. 13) of the European Copyright Directive and its implications on the royalties paid by YouTube to artists and on YouTube copyright policy and so on. Already under pressure from the other speakers and the audience, Google IP manager tried to get some respite with a (misjudged) joke about lawyers which, considering the audience and (cultural) circumstances, just added more gas on his pyre and – surprisingly – I found myself agreeing with one of Disney lawyers, who was sitting next to me.

The afternoon sessions were a) Data markets, b) Smart cities, c) Food and sustainable development goals and d) From paper to bits – the legal development of electronic evidence. I decided to attend the Smart cities session as I presumed that they will talk about face recognition software, smart lampposts etc and I was not disappointed. The speakers talked about SPECTRE project (no relation with the evil organisation from Bond movie, it merely means Smart-city Privacy: Enhancing Collaborative Transparency in the Regulatory Ecosystem) and ‘Googlization of urban infrastructure’ and about Smart Public Spaces.

It was another hugely worthwhile conference, with a great variety of interesting topics relevant for my field but also for my colleagues. Congratulations to CiTiP researchers and collaborators for three decades of work at the forefront of IP, ICT and Law!

KU Leuven: Library (Bibliotheek)

FORCE2019

     

 

From 15th – 17th October, Library & University Collections played host to FORCE2019 – a leading international conference bringing together an interdisciplinary group of professionals interested in scholarly communications, research data management and open science.  This is the annual conference of FORCE11 (Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship).

We hosted a day of workshops at the Edinburgh Grosvenor Hotel followed by the main conference at Murrayfield and an evening reception at Ghillie Dhu.  A small group of delegates also visited the library on Friday 18th and were impressed by the digital wall, the makers space and our Nathan Coley artwork.

More than 300 delegates from 23 countries attended the event and initial feedback has been excellent in terms of the content, the venue and the organisation.  Two comment which spring to mind were that this was “a real A-List conference” and “a splendid event and a galaxy of gathering”.

The local organising team, chaired by Fiona Wright have every reason to be incredibly proud of doing such a fantastic job to bring this conference to Scotland, and to the University of Edinburgh.

The programme was jam-packed with superb speakers, including Professor Lesley McAra as our opening keynote.  I don’t have time for a fuller write-up right now but you can see lots of great ideas on Twitter via the hashtag #FORCE2019.

-Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support

COPE European Seminar

On Monday I attended the COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) European Seminar in Leiden.  Cope has been around for over 20 years, and began as a relatively informal group of concerned journal editors, and has grown since then into an organisation supporting editors, authors, peer-reviewers and publishers.  COPE intends to start a programme for university members as part of its new strategic plan.  Publishers and editors who raise ethical issues with universities often are faced with a wall of silence and are not informed about the outcomes of investigations, as universities seek to maintain privacy. What follows are some notes on the discussions of the four of the  main topics covered at Monday’s seminar.

Text Recycling

The first session of the day looked at Text Recycling – and the findings of some research undertaken in the US through the Text Recycling Research Project – textrecycling.org.

Text recycling is ethically neutral – sometimes it is appropriate and is not always inherently inappropriate.  It is often known as ‘self-plagiarism’ – but as one publisher later remarked – sometime the ‘self-‘ part is lost and people end up discussion plagiarism, which is quite distinct from text recycling.

The research surveyed around 300 editors of top journals across STEM, social sciences and humanities.  The responses indicate that editors apply different standards as editors than they do when they are authors.

Copyright law is inherently jurisdictional.  Across most jurisdictions, there are no laws which address the issue of text recycling.  Scholarly publications were not the publications people has in mind when they were designing the copyright laws.  Almost universally, authors are the initial holders of rights in their work – with the exception of a handful of universities with assert ownership. But, authors transfer rights to publishers.  This makes it difficult for authors to be able to re-use work in a publication by a different publisher.  Fair use could cover this so we need to make sure that authors use their rights on fair dealing as asking for permission when it isn’t necessary erodes authors rights and sets new legal precedents.  Once example was given from the publishing contact of the New England Journal of Medicine which actually cited US Fair Use law in the contract – but how would that apply to an author from another jurisdiction?

The next phase of the work will be looking at model guidelines, contracts, policies etc., which can be adopted by anyone.  So – there will be more to come on this.

Predatory Publishing

Defining predatory publishing is a problematic activity because new journals and young journals will have similar practices.  In practice – there are a number of reasons why predatory publishers continue to operate.  Authors whose English is not that good find it harder to get published in reputable journals.  Reviewers can’t be bothered to work through broken English so good research is overlooked because of language issues.  International pressure on rankings means authors are under pressure to publish and some researchers hope that recruitment panels won’t look in too much details at the venue and just count the publications on a CV.

So, what is to be done?  COPE was behind the Think. Check. Submit. initiative to encourage authors to be aware of predatory or bogus journals.  In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission in the US took OMICS to court and they received a fine of $50.1M. There is definitely a role for institutions to play in helping to educate authors.

Countries have become globally competitive about the status of their universities.  Makes a job that should be a passion and a love, and turns it into some crazy thing.  We can’t expect everyone to publish in top-citation English language journals.

Predatory publishing is a large problem and is centred in India in the Hyderabad region.  At one recent meeting, a representative of one organisation which publishes everything it receives, made a representation that they thought that COPE was causing the elitist system through insisting on the application of peer review!  He thought they were giving more researchers a voice by publishing everything. So, this shows that there are genuinely-felt differences of viewpoint on this matter.

Retraction Guidelines Update

There will be separate guidance for expressions of concern, letters to the editor and commentaries, and for corrigenda and errata. The main purpose of retraction is to correct the literature and to retain the integrity of the research record and not to punish authors.  Unreliable data could result from honest mistakes, naive errors or research malpractice.

Partial retractions are not helpful as they call the whole article into question.  Corrections are a better route to follow. Sometimes editors can jump straight to retraction before considering all the options available to them.

People worry that retractions undermine science but actually it is part of the process of earning and maintaining trust.  Elsevier point out that people only have to deal with these issues very rarely, so it’s important to have clear guidance.  If an article is in a subscription journal they make it open access on retraction.  We need to recognise that misconduct is a systematic characteristic of science.  Retractions get a lot of attention – but it is not always the best approach.  Elsevier retract about 200-220 articles per years – so about 1 in 5000.

At Elsevier, all retractions need to be approved by a panel of three Elsevier staff.  It is an Editor’s decision to retract, if approved by the staff.  There is also a “tombstone process” so that readers can see what was once there.  Elsevier use a series of templates for editors to use in the retraction process and authors always are informed.

Editors need to be aware that they do not necessarily understand all the pressures people are under and that they don’t know what else is going on in their loves.  Also, that they don’t know what the impact of this retraction will be – but that it is very likely to have an impact on the author’s career.

Ben Goldacre is working on “retract-o-bot”.  https://ebmdatalab.net/retractobot/  This should alert authors when an article they cite is retracted.

One audience member pointed out that universities are gaming the publication system – publish or perish and the whole impact factor “fetish” has gone too far.  This is one of the reasons why COPE is seeking to get universities as members, although it is also recognised that these concepts are very deeply ingrained in many institutions and disciplines.   Some EU funder panels are now insisting that applicants do not use H-index and impact factors in application forms and CVs – so change may start to come.

Ethical Considerations for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Editors

COPE has commissioned some work to be done with Routledge to better understand the ethics challenges faced by AHSS journal editors.  COPE was previously perceived as being very STM focussed and this is something they wish to change.

The most widespread ethical problem in AHSS publishing is addressing language and writing-quality barriers whilst remaining inclusive.  In AHSS we are not just dealing with data all the time but with people’s opinions – so disputes can be much more inflammatory.   There have been issues with hoax articles with people trying to discredit gender and identity studies.  There is also a problem of  tensions between quality and global representation – more attention should be paid to peer-reviewer diversity. Political differences between authors and editors can be very problematic for journals.  There are currently few opportunities for mentoring of early-career researchers in publication ethics in AHSS subjects – something which should be improved.

From my point of view there is considerable scope for research libraries, and in particular those of us working in scholarly communications to take more of a lead to engage our authors with the ethical matters to do with publication, peer-review and editorial activities, and this is something I shall be seeking to develop with the team at Edinburgh.

-Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support

Open Science Conference 2019

This week, I attended the International Open Science Conference in Berlin.  I attended this event last year, and found it so inspiring, I was keen to attend again this year.  Open Science, or Open Research, as we tend to refer to it here in Edinburgh is an important development which will fundamentally change the way researchers and those who support them will work over the coming years.

We are in the process of adopting the LERU Roadmap on Open Science and are working with colleagues across the University with the aim of implementing as many of its 41 recommendations as possible.

The programme was comprehensive and there were far too many good ideas to summarise here, so instead I’d like to focus on a number of key take-home messages I came away with in no particular order:

  1. I need to get to grips with the European Open Science Cloud. It’s such a major intiative and I need to get to grips with what it is, how it works, and how it applies in the Edinburgh context (in an increasingly likely post-Brexit world).
  2. I’m very keen to work more closely with our Research Support Office to see what more we can do to ‘hack’ research proposals before they are submitted to make them more open right from the opurset. Thanks to Ivo Grigorov’s FOSTER Open Science CLINIQUE for the inspiration!
  3. Peter Kraker’s powerful presentation highlighted the risks we leave ourselves open to by allowing commercial monopolies to form within the research lifecycle. I’m increasingly worried that we are sleepwalking from a monopolistic market for library subscriptions to an even more dangerous situation with just one or two for-profit companies owning all the tools that are essential to the research endeavour.   We need to do more to make open infrastructure sustainable.  #dontleaveittogoogle

So, from my reams and reams of notes, those are my three key action points to take forward within the University of Edinburgh.

It was really great to hear Eva Mendez re-stress the importance of seeing the transition to open science as a process of manged, complex, cultural change.  I think that is something I and my colleagues already understand very well, but it’s good to have this re-affirmed!  It was also useful to think about how we need a complete picture of vision, skills, incentives, resources and action plans to avoid confusion, anxiety, resistance, frustration and false starts.

I’d highly recommend this conference and would encourage anyone with an interest in Open Research to attend again next year.  #OSC2019

Dominic Tate

University of Edinburgh 2016/17 Gold open access spend analysis

The University of Edinburgh receives two main block grants from Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Charity Open Access Fund (COAF) to support researchers funded by them to comply with their open access policies. The Library’s Scholarly Communications Team manages these block grants on behalf of the institution. In 2016/17 we spent £1,167,966 to make 697 articles open access via the Gold open access route. In addition, £28,951 was spent on other publication costs, for example page and colour charges.

A summary of the open access charges made to the top 15 publishers is shown in the table and figures below:

Row Labels Count of APC paid Sum of APC paid (£) Ave APC (£)
Elsevier 108 £283,413 £2,624
Wiley 71 £122,685 £1,728
Nature 47 £97,296 £2,070
Springer 107 £70,240 £656
Oxford Journals 28 £56,742 £2,026
Royal Society of Chemistry 49 £51,840 £1,058
BioMed Central 33 £46,295 £1,403
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd 24 £43,650 £1,819
Public Library of Science 29 £43,210 £1,490
Frontiers 16 £24,508 £1,532
American Heart Association 6 £20,693 £3,449
Taylor & Francis 28 £20,605 £736
American Chemical Society 8 £18,278 £2,285
BioScientifica 8 £16,215 £2,027
Royal Society Publishing 9 £15,984 £1,776

Points and trends to note:

  • Our overall spend on open access in 2016/17 was £1,167,966 which bought 697 papers, with an average Article Processing Charge (APC) of £1,676.
  • The open access expenditure is dominated by three large publishers: Elsevier, SpringerNature and Wiley. These 3 publishers account for 53% of our total spend. Note that we have shown SpringerNature as three individual publishers in the table and figure as they have distinct publishing identities – Springer, Nature and BioMedCentral.
  • The top individual publisher (Elsevier) alone accounted for 24% of the total spend, with their APCs 56% more expensive than the average.
  • Generally speaking, we found the highest individual APCs were from US society publishers, like the American Heart Association or American Chemical Society.
  • Best value APCs were from publishers where we have offsetting or national agreements with – for example Taylor & Francis, Springer and Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • 70% of our expenditure is on Hybrid Gold OA  – where journals charge a subscription and APCs – rather than pure Gold OA (30%) where APCs are the only charge.
  • Looking at the whole dataset Hybrid Gold OA is more expensive (£2,075) than pure Gold OA APCs. (£1,581).

Discussion

The University of Edinburgh publishes 6 -7,000 journal articles and conference proceedings per year. In the current market conditions if we were to fully transition to Gold OA then we estimate it would cost in the region of £10M per year. To put this in context Edinburgh University Library spends approximately £4M per year on e-journal subscriptions so this represents a significant uplift on the total cost of publication. I suspect this figure is similar for other research-intensive universities.

At its current scale and intensity, open access as purely delivered by Hybrid Gold OA and Gold OA alone is not likely to happen. Any increase to the total cost of publication is not acceptable.

If we wish to transition to full open access then significant cost mitigation for paid open access needs to occur, and alternative low cost or no cost options need to be investigated and adopted. Some options are described below.

Reducing cost recommendations

  1. Push for offsetting deals : Libraries should be a) requesting offsetting deals, b) pushing for significant discounts, and c) helping publishers adopt transformative business models.

Examples of publishers offering good offsetting schemes are IOP – where an actual rebate is given depending on Gold OA spend – and SAGE Publishing who globally discount the subscription rate of journals where more than 5% of articles are published as Gold OA. SAGE also offer steep open access discounts of 80% for some members of consortia subscriptions. Taylor & Francis are another publisher which significantly reduce APC cost (by 75%) to consortia members. These steep discounts are welcome, but have a fundamental problem in that they rely on privilege. Discounts are not available to all authors as they rely on institutions having a subscription.

Transformative business models such as the UK Springer Compact national agreement, or the Royal Society of Chemistry Read and Publish agreement, are also welcome as they lower transactional barriers for authors to participate in Gold OA. This leads to a greater coverage of open access articles in journal titles, rather than the patchy open access that Hybrid Gold OA delivers. The overall costs are also appreciably lower than the cumulative costs seen with Hybrid Gold OA – look at the difference in our expenditure between Elsevier and Springer for a similar amount of Gold OA articles published.

  1. Support ‘low cost and no cost’ Gold OA : Academic and National Libraries should support open access initiatives that are inclusive and open to scholars who do not have budgets for publishing.

Gold OA does not necessarily equate to paid open access. Many academic or library-led publishing initiatives do not charge Article Processing Charges as the costs are covered through alternative mechanisms. Some examples of innovative academic or library-led publishing activities are described below.

Edinburgh University Library provides an Open Journal Service which is available free of charge to University of Edinburgh students and academics. It provides a hosting platform for academic and student-led groups to create and publish their own Open Access journal. Currently the service has a portfolio of 16 journals and is looking to grow and develop in the coming year.

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges. The OLH publishing platform supports academic journals from across the humanities disciplines, as well as hosting its own multidisciplinary journal. The University of Edinburgh has opted to support the Open Library of Humanities at a higher rate than required. This additional support will enable the OLH to continue its growth mission to convert subscription journals to a solid, ongoing, open-access model, with no author-facing charges.

  1. Reduce reliance on Hybrid Gold OA : Hybrid Gold OA – where journals charge both subscriptions and Article Processing Charges – is too expensive.

Unfortunately, Hybrid Gold OA which accounts for 70% of our expenditure are significantly more expensive than pure Gold OA costs. It is not uncommon to receive invoices of $5,000 for individual APCs. Our open access block grants are supported either directly by taxpayers money (RCUK), or from charitable organisations (COAF), so it is imperative that anyone managing these funds should be seeking best value for money. I would find it very difficult to explain to someone who has raised money for Cancer Research UK the hard way by running the London Marathon that their sponsorship money has only paid for half an APC. Where research funders policies allow we should be seeking to reduce our reliance on Hybrid Gold OA by utilising alternative mechanisms like Green OA, which we will visit in more detail in tomorrow’s blog post.

Open Access week: 23-29th October

For Open Access week we have a series of blog posts lined up to be published every day. We’ll start by describing the current state of play of open access here at Edinburgh, before moving on to highlight some of the innovative projects and initiatives we are involved in to develop and promote scholarly communication. We will round off the week by sharing our long-term strategy to support our academics to make their research open. Our blog-posting schedule will look something like this:

Monday : University of Edinburgh 2016/17 Gold open access spend analysis.
Tuesday : University of Edinburgh Green open access and REF compliance.
Wednesday : Implementing the UK-Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL)
Thursday : Academic-led publishing supported by the Library and other actors.
Friday : The University of Edinburgh’s longer-term strategy for open access.

University of Edinburgh Further Supports Open Library of Humanities

 

The University of Edinburgh has opted to support the Open Library of Humanities at a higher rate than required. This additional support will enable the OLH to continue its growth mission to convert subscription journals to a solid, ongoing, open-access model, with no author-facing charges.

Theo Andrew, Scholarly Communications Manager at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The OLH is such good value for money. Library budgets are always tight, but we feel that we should be doing more to support academic-led publishing. OLH puts a lot back into the academic community and we are pleased to help with its ongoing sustainability.”

 

Professor Martin Paul Eve, a CEO of the Open Library of Humanities, added: “We are greatly indebted to the University of Edinburgh for its support and flattered by its praise. It is intensely gratifying to see libraries who can, in the face of budgetary difficulty, still find ways to support their core mission: the dissemination of knowledge to all. We understand that not every institution can do this, but when it does happen, it genuinely makes a difference to us in what we can provide.”

OAI10, Geneva, 21-23 June 2017

image courtesy of Elena Giglia (https://www.flickr.com/photos/eg65/35327695980/in/album-72157682640272443/)

The CERN – UNIGE Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication took place at the University of Geneva in June 21st-23rd 2017. Two and a half days of speakers and workshops left us with lots to think about. The emphasis of the conference is innovations in scholarly communication and attracts attendees from across Europe and further afield.

There were seven main sessions;

  • Opening keynote by Jean-Claude Burgelman
  • Technical session
  • Copyright and Licensing session
  • OA transformation session
  • OA outside session
  • Social media session
  • Future of repositories session

For me, one of the of most insightful sessions was the OA outside session,  the experiences of the three speakers with open access really brings home what open access is all about and why it is so important beyond complying with funder’s policies and the next REF exercise. First up ElHassan ElSabry, a PhD candidate, talked about Who needs access to research? an overview of available evidence describing how there is more discussion about OA than actual studies on the benefits of OA. Next up, Dr. Nilam Ashra-McGrat from COMDIS reminding us how privileged we are in our institutions to be able to access so much research through journal subscriptions which non-governmental organization’s (NGO’s) have little or no access to. Her presentation ‘Is open access helping or hindering the international development agenda? Reflections from a consortium of developing country NGOs’ highlighted how many barriers there are to research, even so called ‘free’ research which requires users to register to access it. Finally, on a more positive note Alasdair Rae’s presentation ‘How open access opens doors – reflections on my recent ‘Megaregions of the United States’ paper’ came from a researcher’s perspective and he talked the benefits of open science and how open access opens door, he then talked us through one of his most recent OA papers which was only made possible through the benefits of open science.

Slides, recordings and links from all the presentations can be found online here.

20,000th item in the Edinburgh Research Archive

We are delighted to announce the deposit of the 20,000th item into our institutional repository the Edinburgh Research Archive (ERA). ERA is a digital repository of original research which contains documents written by academic authors based at, or affiliated with, the University of Edinburgh that have sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by the Library, but which are not controlled by commercial publishers. Holdings include full-text digital doctoral theses, masters dissertations, project reports, briefing papers and out-of-print materials.

Our milestone 20,000th item is a PhD thesis written by Susan Ahrens at the Moray House School of Education and was awarded in 2016:

Understanding sport as the expansion of capabilities: the Homeless World Cup and Street Soccer (Scotland)

2016 Homeless World Cup in Glasgow : image courtesy of the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36819350)

This work investigates the relationship between sport, homelessness and poverty, and considers the way two social enterprises – the Homeless World Cup and Street Soccer (Scotland) – help overcome homelessness and its associated effects.