A few months ago I invited researchers to take part in a survey of the tools they used to support their own scholarly communication. Northampton’s answers were then combined with those from other universities to create a dataset of over 20,000 responses.
The number of responses from Northampton was relatively small (just 36) so these comments should be read with the appropriate health warnings but I promised to let you know our results.
Which tools do you use to support your research workflow? Are you aware of all the tools that are available?
Utrecht University have put together a list of over 400 tools used by researchers in the course of their research activity and have launched a survey to find out which of these are most commonly used by researchers worldwide.
The Innovations in Scholarly Communication survey takes about 8-12 minutes to complete and will introduce you to a host of tools that you may find useful. The survey can be completed anonymously or you can put in your email address to receive a visual representation of your workflow compared to that of your peer group.
- The nature of the research output
- Your funder’s open access policy
- The availability of funds to pay article processing charges (if necessary)
- Your publisher’s open access policy
- The availability of an open access subject or institutional repository
A major consideration is whether you have made use of third party copyright material, i.e. material that you did not create or for which you are no longer the rights holder.
There are a number of useful websites which cover this topic, for example the University of Exeter’s Third party copyright page or Taylor and Francis’ Using third party material in your article, but the bottom line is that, unless you qualify for an exception to copyright, you will need the rights owner’s permission to use third party material in your open access work. If you were publishing your paper in a traditional journal, the publisher would make sure that you sought the appropriate permission; if you are making your work open access yourself (for example by uploading your thesis to NECTAR) then it is your responsibility to ensure you do not break the law.
Ethical data sharing
“Much research data about people—even sensitive data—can be shared ethically and legally if researchers employ strategies of informed consent, anonymisation and controlling access to data.” (UK Data Archive)
The UK Data Archive (UKDA) and its sister service the UK Data Service are great sources of useful information on the creation and management of data. The UKDA’s ‘consent and ethics‘ web pages cover the key principles of research ethics that have a bearing on data sharing; the legal context of data sharing; all types of consent and how to get it; and the anonymisation of quantitative and qualitative data. They usefully provide sample consent forms and information sheets for various types of research project.
Another useful source is the Australian National Data Service’s guide to publishing and sharing sensitive data.
Many funders, especially those awarding public monies, now make it a prerequisite of funding that all published outputs should be made open access. You should make it clear in your bid how you intend to comply with this requirement.
The main issues you need to address at the bidding stage are:
- Does your prospective funder have a policy on open access?
- If so, have they opted for ‘gold’ (made OA by the publisher) or ‘green’ (deposited in an OA repository) open access to published outputs?
- If ‘gold’, are they willing to pay article processing charges (APCs)?
- Do they require open access outputs to be released under a particular licence (e.g. CC BY)?
- Are you and your collaborative partners willing to comply with the funder’s OA requirements?
Your research proposal is likely to address a range of issues arising throughout the research lifecycle, some of which are covered by the other posts in this series. To avoid repetition, in this post I will focus on some of the things to consider if you plan to engage with open access in a collaborative project.
Whether you already have an idea for a new research area or are uncertain where to start, gaining an overview of the current literature is critical. Fortunately, not all of this is hidden behind paywalls. Thanks to those researchers who have been willing to disseminate their work through open access repositories and journals, there is now a substantial quantity of research available freely to all.
Much of this is harvested by CORE (COnnecting REpositories). CORE’s mission is to “aggregate all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide and make them available to the public” (About CORE). CORE currently indexes nearly 25 million open access articles.
Recent funders’ requirements for open access have presented researchers with both opportunities and challenges: opportunities to re-use and re-purpose published outputs and datasets, and challenges in making one’s own work legally and ethically available to others.
Intended for researchers who wish to engage with the open access agenda, but aren’t entirely sure how best to achieve this, this short guide highlights some of the issues to consider at each stage of the research lifecycle and the tools that are available to support you.
Further information about OA at each of the lifecycle stages can be found in these posts.
Acknowledgement: this guide was developed from work undertaken by Nick Dimmock, Katie Jones and Miggie Pickton as part of the JISC-funded Open to Open Access project. We welcome feedback from both Northampton researchers and our professional colleagues.