The new scheme to provide walk-in online access to scholarly journals free of charge in public libraries was launched yesterday. Publishers of over 8,700 journals are already participating in the programme, and the number of libraries providing access in this way is growing rapidly. You can find out more about the scheme on the Access to Research website
David Willetts has written to Dame Janet Finch responding positively to the recommendations made in the Finch Group’s review of progress in implementing the recommendations of its original report published in June 2012
In collaboration with Loughborough University, RIN has undertaken a high-level analysis of the initial impact of the Jisc Managing Research Data (MRD) programme. This takes the form of a mapping between the deployment of research data management (RDM) policies and practices in UK universities (as described in a recent Loughbrough study covering 38 institutions), and the incidence of institutional project funding from the Jisc MRD programme.
The brief analysis is described in a series of posts on Loughborough University’s Research Data Management blog (see entries dated 8, 26 and 27 November). Not surprisingly, this suggests correlation between the RDM-readiness of institutions and those that have received Jisc funding from the programme over its duration, between 2009 and 2013.
This is no more than an initial assessment, and we welcome reactions about how further work might be undertaken to provide robust evidence on the benefits of the Jisc programme. For further information, please contact [email protected] .
Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: A Review of Progress in Implementing the Recommendations of the Finch Report
The Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings – the Finch Group – has today published a review of progress in implementing the recommendations of its original Report which was published in June 2012. That original Report – Accessibility, Sustainability, Excellence: how to expand access to research publications – recommended a series of measures to accelerate and manage a transition to open access (OA) over an extended period that would be characterised by a mixed economy that would provide OA via a variety of routes, along with extensions to current licensing arrangements.
The review is based on a rigorous analysis of evidence from a wide range of sources. It finds that research funders, universities, libraries, learned societies and publishers have all made substantial moves to facilitate and promote the transition to the kind of mixed economy we advocated. The policy positions adopted by the Government, Research Councils UK, and the UK Funding Bodies – and the responses to those policies from universities, publishers and learned societies – mean that there is now real momentum behind the moves to OA across all parts of the scholarly communications system.
Much still remains to be done, of course; and in some areas, as we anticipated, the progress in implementing our recommendations has been mixed, and has given rise to issues and problems that have not as yet been fully resolved. It is important that all the key stakeholders should continue to work together to resolve those issues and to ensure that the UK continues to benefit from world-leading research communications services. Our key recommendation is that a formal co-ordinating structure should be established to avoid duplication of effort and divergent work-streams; to deal with problems as they arise; to develop an interoperable system of repositories and an infrastructure that supports both Gold and Green OA; to monitor the impact of OA policies on learned societies; to co-ordinate communications with the research community; and to oversee the collection and analysis of data from different parties in order to create the evidence base that is essential to the further development of effective policies.
Dame Janet Finch said, “I am delighted that our review demonstrates the rapid progress that has been made over the past year, and the co-operation that is evident across all the major players involved in research publications. It is pleasing that all parties agree on the need to continue and cement that co-operation in a formal framework that I am sure will bring further progress towards the kind of open access environment that we all wish to see.”
On behalf of RCUK, RIN has completed a report on policies and procedures adopted by universities in implementing RCUK open access (OA) requirements. This reflects developments in the university sector following the introduction of new RCUK’s policies on open access. Universities have moved rapidly to set up policies and procedures to comply with RCUK requirements, and what is reported in the document is changing fast. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the findings and recommendations point to some useful lessons for the sector as a whole; and that the experiences presented in the report will provide valuable pointers to further action for the benefit of individual universities, RCUK, and the sector as a whole.
Click here for further details and a copy of the report.
On 10 September 2013, the House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Innovations and Skills published its report on Open Acess publishing.
Dame Janet Finch, chair of the Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings (the Finch Committee) has issued the following statement in response:
“I have read the Select Committee report with interest. Many of the conclusions are the same as those in the Finch report. We agree that there should be a carefully managed transition to the open access world, and that there should be a mixture of so called Green and Gold routes during this transition. This was the cornerstone of our own report.
However there are issues where the Select Committee appears to have misread our report, and others where we simply took a different view of the evidence and of stakeholder concerns. There are some unfortunate gaps in the Select Committee’s consideration. In particular their comments on the publishing industry take no account of Learned Societies, whose publishing and other roles have been a major concern of our working group.
I am disappointed that the Select Committee did not invite me to meet them, as I might have assisted them to take into account the full range of issues which our working group had to consider.
The original Working Group is meeting again shortly to review progress on our recommendations over the past year, and we will be happy to take the Committee’s views into account.”
On behalf of the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition (RIDLs), RIN has published the conclusions of a study that examines the means that are, or ought to be, deployed to help researchers acquire the knowledge, confidence and ability for them to ensure the greatest possible openness with the research data that they create. The report, entitled ‘Helping to open up: improving knowledge, capability and confidence in making research data more open’, supports the goal of realising an open data culture, as described notably in the Royal Society’s 2012 report on Science as an open enterprise.
Helping to open up stresses the importance of ensuring that open data – with all the opportunities, risks, benefits and practices that it entails – should be more strongly integrated with training and support for research data management.
Open data in the realm of academic research is an issue which has received much attention lately, but the implications for training and skills have not always been fully considered. It is therefore hoped that this report will provide a timely opportunity to reflect on how researchers might be better equipped to face the challenges represented by an increased emphasis on openness.
For more information and a copy of the report, click here.
Please contact Stéphane Goldstein, at [email protected] , for further details.
The Research Information Network is looking to appoint an enthusiastic self-starter to undertake and support research projects for a range of clients in the research, scholarly publisher and library/information services communities.
This is a part-time post, for an initial fixed term of one year, based at RIN’s offices in central London, in the salary range £30,000 – £40,000 pro rata. Further details can be found here.
The deadline for applications is 5 July 2013.
A report published today highlights good practice examples designed to enhance the information literacy skills and know-how of postgraduate students and early career researchers in UK higher education. On behalf of the Research Information and Digital Literacies Coalition (RIDLs), the Research Information Network (RIN) and Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) have announced the results of this research, which showcases fifteen resources for information literacy training provision in a variety of UK higher education institutions.
The analysis draws from these cases, which provide a carefully-balanced range of online and in-house training resources, and incorporates various recommendations that may be of value to those planning to develop such resources. The analysis is founded on the provisional criteria developed by RIDLs to describe and assess training provision in information literacy.
Project officer Dr Charlie Inskip said:
“A number of self-selected information literacy resources have been evaluated, leading to a shortlisting of a selection of 15 good practice examples. This is not to say that every aspect of each of the shortlisted examples is perfect – this project is not about finding ‘the best’ information literacy resource – but the benefit of this selection is that those charged with developing resources to serve a similar need may efficiently access some examples – and ultimately, perhaps, that ‘good practice’ may become ‘common practice’.”
RIN’s Stéphane Goldstein went on to say:
“The value of the RIDLS criteria in this research has been to provide an analytical framework for such evaluations (for the researcher) and act as a reflective tool (for the developers/deliverers). Hopefully some of the recommendations and comments within the report, combined with a reflective look at the examples – and contact with their helpful representatives – may assist those attempting to deliver good practice information literacy in UK HE in 2013 and beyond.”
The report and list of examples can be found here.
A new book the Future of Scholarly Communication, edited by Deborah Shorley and Michael Jubb, was published by Facet Publishing at the beginning of April. It aims to provide an overview of a huge and complex topic; and it draws together contributions from a wide range of specialists on subjects ranging from sharing research in chemistry, cybertaxonomy, and qualitiative research in the humanities and social sciences, to the changing roles of publishers, editors, libraries and research funders. Only the foolish would dare to predict precisely what the future holds for scholarly communication; but we hope the book will be of interest to librarians, publishers, research funders, universities, and all who have a stake in that future.