Research data management and data sharing behaviour of university researchers

Authors : Yurdagül Ünal, Gobinda Chowdhury, Serap Kurbanoğlu, Joumana Boustany, Geoff Walton


The aim of this study is to understand how university researchers behave in the context of using and sharing research data in OA mode.


An online questionnaire survey was conducted amongst academics and researchers in three countries – UK, France and Turkey. There were 26 questions to collect data on: researcher information, e.g. discipline, gender and experience; data sharing practices, concerns; familiarity with data management practices; and policies/challenges including knowledge of metadata and training.


SPSS was used to analyse the dataset, and Chi-Square tests, at 0.05 significance level, were conducted to find out association between researchers’ behaviour in data sharing and different areas of research data management (RDM).


Findings show that OA is still not common amongst researchers. Data ethics and legal issues appear to be the most significant concerns for researchers. Most researchers have not received any training in RDM such as data management planning metadata, or file naming. However, most researchers would welcome formal training in different aspects of RDM.


This study indicates directions for further research to understand the disciplinary differences in researchers’ data access and management behaviour so that appropriate training and advocacy programmes can be developed to promote OA to research data.


Open Textbooks as an innovation route for open science pedagogy

Authors : Robert Farrow, Rebecca Pitt, Martin Weller

The paper introduces the UK Open Textbook project and discusses its success factors with regards to promoting open practice and open pedagogy. Textbooks remain a core part of educational provision in science.

Open Textbooks are openly licensed academic textbooks, wherein the digital version is available freely, and the print version at reduced cost. They are a form of Open Educational Resource (OER). In recent years a number of openly-licensed textbooks have demonstrated high impact in countries including the USA, Canada and South Africa.

The UK Open Textbooks project piloted several established approaches to the use and promotion open textbooks (focusing on STEM subjects) in a UK context between 2017 and 2018.

The project had two main aims: to promote the adoption of open textbooks in the UK; and to investigate the transferability of the successful models of adoption that have emerged in North America.

Through a number of workshops at a range of higher education institutions and targeted promotion at specific education conferences, the project successfully raised the profile of open textbooks within the UK.

Several case studies report existing examples of open textbook use in UK science were recorded. There was considerable interest and appetite for open textbooks amongst UK academics.

This was partly related to cost savings for students, but more significant factors were the freedom to adapt and develop textbooks and OER.

This is consistent with a range of research that has taken place in other countries and suggests the potential for impact on UK science education is high.


Measuring the impact of special collections and archives in the digital age: opportunities and challenges

Author : Christina Kamposiori

This paper is based on the outcome of a recent Research Libraries UK (RLUK) project that aimed to explore and understand the approaches employed by RLUK members for capturing and measuring the impact of activities based on special collections and archives.

In today’s constantly evolving information and scholarly environment, educational and cultural institutions, such as research libraries, are faced with a pressing demand to assess the value of their services and evidence their impact.

As part of our goal to develop a better understanding of how research libraries respond to this demand, we collected and analysed case-study and survey data from across the RLUK membership that show the practices and methods of research libraries for increasing and assessing the impact of their collections and related services.

As our results showed, research libraries increasingly employ audience-focused strategies and take advantage of the new possibilities offered by the digital age to enhance access to collections, reach a range of audience groups and achieve greater impact.

However, a number of issues, such as the lack of structured methodologies to capture and evaluate the full reach of digital collections and resources or the long-term impact of collections, can make the process of measuring and evidencing value a challenging task for institutions.

In this paper, we will present some of the key findings showing the pathways to impact followed by special collection and archive professionals in the UK and Ireland and reflect on the opportunities and challenges that the digital era presents for increasing and measuring this impact.

URL : Measuring the impact of special collections and archives in the digital age: opportunities and challenges


Gender gaps in research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa

Authors : Creso Sá, Summer Cowley, Magdalena Martinez, Nadiia Kachynska, Emma Sabzalieva

This study builds upon the literature documenting gender disparities in science by investigating research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in three countries. This analysis departs from both the general comparison of researchers across organizational settings and academic appointments on one hand, and the definition of “elite” by the research outcome variables on the other, which are common in previous studies.

Instead, this paper’s approach considers the stratification of scientific careers by carefully constructing matched samples of men and women holding research chairs in Canada, the United States and South Africa, along with a control group of departmental peers.

The analysis is based on a unique, hand-curated dataset including 943 researchers, which allows for a systematic comparison of successful scientists vetted through similar selection mechanisms.

Our results show that even among elite scientists a pattern of stratified productivity and recognition by gender remains, with more prominent gaps in recognition. Our results point to the need for gender equity initiatives in science policy to critically examine assessment criteria and evaluation mechanisms to emphasize multiple expressions of research excellence.

URL : Gender gaps in research productivity and recognition among elite scientists in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa


Copyright life hacks for librarians

Authors: Claire Sewell, John Clarke, Amy Theobald

Librarians are continuously looking for new ways to make the training they offer accessible and engaging to both colleagues and users. One area where this is especially important is copyright – a topic many librarians identify as vital to their role, but they often find it hard to attend training.

Cambridge University Libraries has introduced a range of methods to reach out to even the most reluctant copyright learner and improve the overall copyright literacy of its staff. This article showcases these methods in the form of ‘life hacks’ – simple measures which can be implemented with little or no cost and using existing resources.

Methods outlined include making the best use of knowledge already present within your organisation, using visual methods to attract a new audience and creating interactive online resources. Also discussed is the importance of making copyright training accessible, both to users with disabilities and those who may have constraints on their time and technological ability.

The article concludes with a reflection about the challenges faced whilst creating new resources. The techniques outlined in this case study can be adapted for use by a range of libraries no matter the target audience.

URL : Copyright life hacks for librarians


Wikimedia and universities: contributing to the global commons in the Age of Disinformation

Authors : Martin Poulter, Nick Sheppard

In its first 30 years the world wide web has revolutionized the information environment. However, its impact has been negative as well as positive, through corporate misuse of personal data and due to its potential for enabling the spread of disinformation.

As a large-scale collaborative platform funded through charitable donations, with a mission to provide universal free access to knowledge as a public good, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world.

This paper explores the role of Wikipedia in the information ecosystem where it occupies a unique role as a bridge between informal discussion and scholarly publication.

We explore how it relates to the broader Wikimedia ecosystem, through structured data on Wikidata for instance, and openly licensed media on Wikimedia Commons.

We consider the potential benefits for universities in the areas of information literacy and research impact, and investigate the extent to which universities in the UK and their libraries are engaging strategically with Wikimedia, if at all.

URL : Wikimedia and universities: contributing to the global commons in the Age of Disinformation

DOI : Wikimedia and universities: contributing to the global commons in the Age of Disinformation

Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences

Author: Scott Taylor

The University of Manchester Library has established a key role in facilitating scholarly discourse through its mediated open access (OA) services, but has little track record in intentionally taking OA research outputs to non-academic audiences.

This article outlines recent exploratory steps the Library has taken to convince researchers to fully exploit this part of the scholarly communication chain. Driving developments within this service category is a belief that despite the recent rise in OA, the full public benefit of research outputs is often not being realized as many papers are written in inaccessibly technical language.

Recognizing our unique position to help authors reach broader audiences with simpler expressions of their work, we have evolved our existing managed OA services to systematically share plain-English summaries of OA papers via Twitter.

In parallel, we have taken steps to ensure that our commercial analytics tools work harder to identify and reach the networked communities that form around academic disciplines in the hope that these simpler expressions of research will be more likely to diffuse beyond these networks.

URL : Open Access+ Service: reframing library support to take research outputs to non-academic audiences