Research cafés: how libraries can build communities through research and engagement

Author : Katherine Stephan

The Research Support Team at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) runs events called research cafés throughout the academic year.

During these cafés, we bring together PhD students, early career researchers and more established academics over lunch to give them an opportunity to talk about their work to a lay audience of their peers and the public.

From its inception in 2013 we have maintained the overall format of the research café, based as it is on promoting interdisciplinary dialogue in an informal setting, while also making a few small but significant changes.

These changes have in turn increased the visibility and reach of research promotion within the Library. Against that backdrop, this article – which is based on a lightning talk and poster session presented at the 41st UKSG Annual Conference, Glasgow, in April 2018 – will outline why the library is ideally placed to facilitate this type of scholarship sharing and why research and community engagement should be viewed as an integral part of a university library’s agenda.

It will also discuss how its success has allowed our Team to work in partnership with colleagues from across the University in new and exciting ways. Finally, it will address what further developments we can make to continue to improve and help the research community at LJMU and beyond.

URL : Research cafés: how libraries can build communities through research and engagement

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.436

Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

Author : Stuart Andrew Lawson

This thesis makes a contribution to the knowledge of open access through a historically  and theoretically informed account of contemporary open access policy in the UK (2010–15).

It critiques existing policy by revealing the influence of neoliberal ideology on its creation, and proposes a commons-based approach as an alternative. The historical context in Chapters 2 and 3 shows that access to knowledge has undergone numerous changes over the centuries and the current push to increase access to research, and political  controversies around this idea, are part of a long tradition.

The exploration of the origins and meanings of ‘openness’ in Chapter 4 enriches the understanding of open access as a concept and makes possible a more nuanced critique of specific instantiations of open access in later chapters.

The theoretical heart of the thesis is Chapter 5, in which neoliberalism is analysed with a particular focus on neoliberal conceptions of liberty and openness. The subsequent examination of neoliberal higher education in Chapter 6 is therefore informed by a thorough grounding in the ideology that underlies policymaking in the neoliberal era.

This understanding then acts as invaluable context for the analysis of the UK’s open access policy in Chapter 7. By highlighting the neoliberal aspects of open access policy, the political tensions within open access advocacy are shown to have real effects on the way that open access is unfolding.

Finally, Chapter 8 proposes the commons as a useful theoretical model for conceptualising a future scholarly publishing ecosystem that is free from neoliberal ideology. An argument is made that a commons-based open access policy is possible, though must be carefully constructed with close attention paid to the power relations that exist between different scholarly communities.

URL : Open Access Policy in the UK: From Neoliberalism to the Commons

Alternative location : http://stuartlawson.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-09-03-Lawson-thesis.pdf

Systematic analysis of agreement between metrics and peer review in the UK REF

Authors : Vincent Traag, Ludo Waltman

When performing a national research assessment, some countries rely on citation metrics whereas others, such as the UK, primarily use peer review. In the influential Metric Tide report, a low agreement between metrics and peer review in the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) was found.

However, earlier studies observed much higher agreement between metrics and peer review in the REF and argued in favour of using metrics. This shows that there is considerable ambiguity in the discussion on agreement between metrics and peer review.

We provide clarity in this discussion by considering four important points: (1) the level of aggregation of the analysis; (2) the use of either a size-dependent or a size-independent perspective; (3) the suitability of different measures of agreement; and (4) the uncertainty in peer review.

In the context of the REF, we argue that agreement between metrics and peer review should be assessed at the institutional level rather than at the publication level. Both a size-dependent and a size-independent perspective are relevant in the REF.

The interpretation of correlations may be problematic and as an alternative we therefore use measures of agreement that are based on the absolute or relative differences between metrics and peer review.

To get an idea of the uncertainty in peer review, we rely on a model to bootstrap peer review outcomes. We conclude that particularly in Physics, Clinical Medicine, and Public Health, metrics agree quite well with peer review and may offer an alternative to peer review.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1808.03491

The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

Authors : Julie Baldwin, Stephen Pinfield

Whilst take-up of open access (OA) in the UK is growing rapidly due partly to a number of funder mandates, managing the complexities of balancing compliance with these mandates against restrictive publisher policies and ingrained academic priorities, has resulted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) often struggling with confused researchers, complex workflows, and rising costs.

In order to try to address this situation, the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) was formulated to bypass the root causes of many of these challenges by implementing a licensing mechanism for multiple-mandate compliance in one single policy.

This is the first empirical study to focus on the genesis of the UK-SCL and how its implementation has been conceived thus far. A qualitative research method was used, taking the form of 14 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the initiative across the UK.

The results indicate that those working within UK HEIs are concerned with the complexity of the current OA policy landscape and are frustrated with the inertia within the current system, which has resulted in higher costs, further publisher restrictions, and has not addressed the underlying tensions in academic culture.

The UK-SCL is seen by its initiators as a way to achieve further transition towards OA and take back some element of control of the content produced at their institutions.

The study concludes by modelling the ways in which the UK-SCL is intended to impact relationships between key stakeholders, and discussing possible implementation futures.

URL : The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/3/31

Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services

Authors : David Walters, Christopher Daley

The UK open access (OA) policy landscape simultaneously preferences Gold publishing models (Finch Report, RCUK, COAF) and Green OA through repository usage (HEFCE), creating the possibility of confusion and duplication of effort for academics and support staff.

Alongside these policy developments, there has been an increase in open science services that aim to provide global data on OA. These services often exist separately to locally managed institutional systems for recording OA engagement and policy compliance.

The aim of this study is to enhance Brunel University London’s local publication data using software which retrieves and processes information from the global open science services of Sherpa REF, CORE, and Unpaywall.

The study draws on two classification schemes; a ‘best location’ hierarchy, which enables us to measure publishing trends and whether open access dissemination has taken place, and a relational ‘all locations’ dataset to examine whether individual publications appear across multiple OA dissemination models.

Sherpa REF data is also used to indicate possible OA locations from serial policies. Our results find that there is an average of 4.767 permissible open access options available to the authors in our sample each time they publish and that Gold OA publications are replicated, on average, in 3 separate locations.

A total of 40% of OA works in the sample are available in both Gold and Green locations. The study considers whether this tendency for duplication is a result of localised manual workflows which are necessarily focused on institutional compliance to meet the Research Excellence Framework 2021 requirements, and suggests that greater interoperability between OA systems and services would facilitate a more efficient transformation to open scholarship.

URL : Enhancing Institutional Publication Data Using Emergent Open Science Services

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/2/23

National licence negotiations advancing the open access transition – a view from the UK

Author: Liam Earney

Jisc Collections has had agreements with open access (OA) publishers since the mid-2000s. In 2014, following the UK government’s response to the Finch Report, it started to target hybrid OA via ‘offsetting agreements’ that covered both subscriptions and article processing charges for OA.

This article will provide a status update on OA negotiations in the UK in the context of the UK’s progress towards OA. It will look at some of the concerns about the progress of OA in the UK, how negotiations have evolved in response, and will look at prospects for their future direction.

URL : National licence negotiations advancing the open access transition – a view from the UK

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.413

Supporting Open Access at Kent—New Staff Roles

Authors : Rosalyn Bass, Sarah Slowe

Open Access has been supported at the University of Kent from an early stage with the establishment of the Kent Academic Repository in 2007.

Initially, this work was accommodated within the existing library staff structure, but the pace of change, funder requirements, and a new university plan meant that support for Open Access needed to become explicit.

Therefore, a research support team was established using a matrix working system. This article details this new structure and reflects on the benefits and challenges it brings.

URL : Supporting Open Access at Kent—New Staff Roles

Alternative location : http://www.mdpi.com/2304-6775/6/2/17/htm