Library launches new researcher metrics support service

Why metrics support?

Research metrics or indicators are quantitative measures designed to evaluate research outputs.  The term encompasses citation metrics, also known as bibliometrics, which are based on traditional scholarly citations, and ‘alternative’ metrics based on attention in social media, news, policy documents, code repositories and other online sources.  These metrics are increasingly being used to benchmark research performance and provide an indication of research impact in funding applications, by promotion and progression boards, and feed into university league table rankings and REF2021 assessments.

It’s attractive to think that the complexities of evaluating one piece of research against another could be simplified by using metrics, but these indicators have serious limitations that must be acknowledged if they are to be used effectively.  Metrics are significantly affected by differences in citation patterns across disciplines, sub-specialities, and researcher career stage, and can be subject to ‘gaming’ – deliberate inflation of citation counts.  As a result, qualitative review must always be used alongside a range of indicators to give a true picture of research impact.

“Carefully selected indicators can complement decision-making, but a ‘variable geometry’ of expert judgement, quantitative indicators and qualitative measures that respect research diversity will be required.”

Wilsdon, J., et al. (2015). The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4929.1363

With this in mind, the library’s Research Support team has launched a researcher metrics support service to help researchers access accurate metrics data, and select and interpret appropriate indicators.  The scope of the service was determined in consultation with Research and Enterprise Development (RED); library support will focus on individual researchers, whereas RED will retain support for strategic bids and projects requiring metrics information.

Service priorities

Useful research metrics are dependent on the quality of the source data: accurately attributed publications.  A key task for the metrics service will be to help researchers correct attribution information for their publications.  The University subscribes to SciVal for access to research management information based on Scopus citation data, so initially this support will focus on Scopus author profiles, although other systems will be added later if there is demand.  Additionally, we promote the use of ORCiD researcher identifiers to easily link author profiles in different systems, including Scopus and the University’s current research information system, Pure.

Other library support offered to researchers includes:

      • web guidance
      • workshops (in development)
      • SciVal deskside training
      • enquiry service

The online guidance covers a range of topics, including an overview of important indicators and where they can be accessed, suggested use cases for metrics, an introduction to different tools available to access and analyse indicators, and signposts to the support available from RED and other departments.

Access our guidance at bris.ac.uk/staff/researchers/metrics/ or email lib-metrics@bristol.ac.uk for support.

Research Support at the Jean Golding Institute Data Week 2019

The Jean Golding Institute’s Data Week 2019 (20th – 24th May) is a week of workshops, talks and other events on data science and reproducible research, including data analysis, visualisation, coding and more.  The Library’s Research Support team is running two events as part of Data Week – our regular “Introduction to Open Research” and a brand new workshop on sensitive data: “Managing ethically sensitive data: from planning to sharing”.  The full programme for Data Week is available at https://www.bristol.ac.uk/golding/get-involved/data-week-2019/.

 

The “Introduction to Open Research” workshop is aimed at postgraduate and early career researchers and acts as a basic introduction to Open Access (OA), research data management, and research metrics.  Attendees will cover OA and research data sharing requirements of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University, and of major funding bodies.  There will be an overview of the different research support systems in place at the University to help researchers meet these requirements, including the Research Data Storage Facility (RDSF), the data.bris Research Data Repository, and a live demonstration of how to add publications to Pure.  Finally, attendees will be given a brief introduction to key research metrics, how these are calculated, and how they can access and benchmark their personal research metrics data.

 

“Managing ethically sensitive data: from planning to sharing” is a new workshop aimed at researchers at any career stage who are dealing with ethically sensitive data; that is, data involving humans or at-risk species.  In practice, it is likely to be most relevant for researchers in health and social sciences working with human research participants.  Attendees will learn how to safely deal with personal data in a research context, including participant rights and researcher responsibilities with regards to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2019 (DPA 2018), what services the University provides to help researchers collect and store sensitive data, and how to construct consent forms and patient information sheets that will permit data sharing at the end of a project.  Finally, attendees will be given an introduction into methods for preparing sensitive data for sharing: this will include an overview of documentation requirements and the different data sharing platforms and mechanisms available to researchers, as well as an introduction to the concepts of formal, statistical and functional anonymisation and how these can be applied to datasets to reduce disclosure risk.

 

We’ve had a great deal of interest in the latter workshop, and while this weeks’ event is sold out we do plan to repeat the sensitive data workshop later in the year.  We’ll also be expanding our online sensitive data bootcamp to include some of the issues covered in the live workshop.

March: Focus on Health Science

We have visited a lot of health researchers over the last month. Clinicians and researchers are spread across the University’s sites, so we’ve focused on providing our Open Research workshops for Health Sciences researchers where they work, starting in Canynge Hall and Dorothy Hodgkin Building. We have future plans to run the workshop at hospital sites such as Southmead, to support clinical researchers in situ.

The workshops cover Open Access publications and funder requirements, depositing papers and theses in Pure, Research Data Management, the data.bris repository, the Research Data Storage Facility and researcher metrics, so it’s a broad overview of how researchers can take steps be more open across the board. Plenty of questions came up, and it was really thought-provoking to hear researchers talk about their different career paths and their motivations to do research.

In addition to the workshops, we were invited to talk at the Centre for Academic Primary Care’s (CAPC) monthly meeting about our process for sharing sensitive data with external researchers. This question arises not only because researchers at other institutions hear about research at Bristol, but also because of an increased requirement from funders and publishers to provide a means of access to data from publicly funded research. We often receive queries from researchers working with sensitive data and whilst the themes are mostly the same, the circumstances of each case often requires careful consideration, so it was a great opportunity to learn about the issues CAPC researchers face and discuss how we can support them.

At CAPC we defined sensitive data in the context of research involving human participants. We discussed the circumstances where anonymisation is either not possible, or where anonymising would strip value from the dataset. Researchers were particularly interested in the process we have for sharing sensitive data through the research data repository, data.bris, and how we have access levels specifically designed for this purpose. We talked about how decisions to share are made via a Data Access Committee, how we check researchers are bona fide, and what is covered by data access agreements. We were also able to emphasise the importance of getting consent sheets worded in a way that makes it simple for researchers to share sensitive data. Off of the back of this talk, we’ve assisted three researchers with their consent form wording and ethics applications and prevented snags further down the line at the publication stage, so it was a worthwhile visit.

It also gave us the opportunity to give researchers a taster of the kinds of issues we’ll be covering at our upcoming workshops ‘Managing ethically sensitive research data: from planning to sharing,’ and interest was piqued so spaces filled very quickly! However, there are waitlists running and we will be repeating the workshop in the Autumn term and beyond.

New Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy from 2020

In early November 2018 the Wellcome Trust announced a new Open Access policy.  It will apply to articles submitted for publication from 1st January 2020.

Key points and changes

1. Date for implementation: 1 January 2020 – in the meantime authors should continue to comply with the current policy.

2. Wellcome Trust has joined cOAlition-S, and this is the first major funder’s policy that aligns with Plan-S.

3. The policy applies to articles that include original, peer-reviewed research, but not monographs and books.

4. All Wellcome-funded articles must be made freely available through PMC and Europe PMC at the time of publication.

5. All articles, even those where no Article Processing Charge (APC) has been paid, must be published under a CC-BY licence.

6. To be compliant authors can publish:-

a) In any fully OA journal indexed in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) + depositing in PMC/EuropePMC + publishing with CC-BY.

b) In any subscription journal with a green route which allows deposit of Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in PMC & EuropePMC without embargo and with CC-BY.

c) With any publisher with a ‘transformative agreement’ during the 2-year period Jan 2020 to Dec 2021.

7. Wellcome will no longer pay OA publication costs in ‘hybrid’ journals (subscription journal with paid OA option).

8. Where there is a significant public health benefit to preprints being shared widely and rapidly, these preprints must be published before peer review, on an approved platform that supports immediate publication of the complete manuscript, and under a CC-BY licence.

9. Wellcome-funded organisations must sign or publicly commit to the principles of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) or an equivalent. (University of Bristol has signed DORA).

10. Further information from Wellcome is awaited regarding a list of compliant preprint platforms, a list of approved Jisc Collections transformative OA agreements, and information on how to check if specific journals are compliant with the policy.

The new policy and FAQ can be found on the Wellcome’s Open Access policy page.

For more information please contact lib-research-support@bristol.ac.uk

What is Plan S?

What is Plan S?

Plan S is a strategy to accelerate the transition to full Open Access of Research. It is being put forward by a group of European research funders called cOAlition S. This group includes UKRI, the ERC and the Wellcome Trust

Does this affect the REF?

Research England have confirmed that the OA policy for REF 2021 will not change but the UKRI is currently conducting a review of Open Access which will report in late 2019 with a new policy expected to apply in 2020.

Will the University of Bristol implement Plan S?

The University requires our researchers to comply with the requirements of their individual funders. The Wellcome Trust have already released a new policy in line with Plan S and the Library will support researchers in meeting the requirements of these policies wherever possible.

When does it take effect?

Officially, Plan S comes into effect on the 1st of January 2020 and The Wellcome Trust has already  announced their policy will come into effect on that date. We have not as yet had confirmation from other funders when any other policies will come into effect.

What will Open Access look like under Plan S?

Gold (Paid) Open Access

Gold (paid) open access, will be possible in gold-only open access journals where paying a fee is the only way to publish (e.g. Nature Communications, PloS One). An Article Processing Charge (APC) will still be charged, but there is an expectation that the charge will be capped so that there is a maximum amount a publisher can charge. We do not know what this amount will be yet.

The article will need to be made openly available on the publisher’s website immediately on publication under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA) licence.

The journal will pay for its operating costs from the revenue gained by Article Processing Charges.

Green (Self-Archiving) Open Access

Green (self-archiving) open access will still be possible, but only if the publisher allowed the Author’s Accepted Manuscript to be made available upon publication without an embargo. At the moment, some publishers allow this (SAGE, IEEE, Cambridge University Press’ Humanities and Social Sciences journals) but many other publishers would need to change their policies.

The article will need to be made openly available on Explore Bristol Research, by uploading a copy to Pure (or other trusted repository), immediately on publication under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA) licence.

The journal will pay for its operating costs from subscriptions bought by libraries and other organisations that would benefit from seamless access to its articles.

Hybrid Open Access

Plan S will not allow funding for publication in hybrid journals (those that charge both subscription fees and Article Processing Charges).

It may be temporarily possible to pay for Gold open access in these hybrid journals, while transitional arrangements to move to full open access are put in place by the publishers. We don’t know which publishers will have approved transitional agreements at this stage

Will I still be able to publish where I want?

That depends upon what the publishers decide. If they change their open access policies to be compliant with Plan S, then you will be able to publish with them.

Under Plan S funders and institutions are expected to provide funds to pay for Gold-only Article Processing Charges (or approved publishers in the processing of transitioning to full open access). If funds are not available then you will either have to obtain a waiver from the publisher, or publish somewhere else.

If the journal is Green open access then you will need to be able to upload your Author’s Accepted Manuscript to Pure (or other trusted repository) without an embargo. If the publisher does not permit this then you will be unable to publish there.

What other changes are required?

Plan S also requires authors to retain their copyright and not to transfer this to the publisher when signing a publishing agreement.

What support will the library provide?

The Library will continue to support the institutional repository service for researchers to upload their work. We will continue to provide access to any Open Access funds provided by funding agencies or the University. And we will continue to provide support, advice, training and guidance on Open Access and how best to comply with funder and publisher requirements.

Summary of the Changes

  • Authors must retain copyright in their publications
  • Publications must be published under an open licence, preferably CC-BY
  • The research output must be immediately available without an embargo period
  • Green open access may be compliant if the research output is immediately available on publication
  • Publishing in hybrid (ie subscription-based) journals is not allowed
  • There will be a cap on the maximum allowable fee for open access publication costs

Further Information

Guidance on the implementation of Plan S

Opportunity to feedback on Plan S (open until 1st February)

New Wellcome Trust Policy (to start on 1st Jan 2020)

If you have any queries related to the above please contact lib-research-support@bristol.ac.uk

Digital technologies for Arts Faculty researchers


researchers trying out digital technologies

Recently, the Library Research Support team hosted two drop-in events to showcase some of the digital technologies that have potential for use by researchers in the Arts Faculty.  We wanted to explore how researchers might apply the different technologies to their own projects and to discover which they envisaged as being most useful, in order to inform planning for future developments in our Library service provision.

One of the technologies displayed was 3D digitisation.  3D digitisation can be achieved either by scanning an object, or by photogrammetry: a technique where many photographs are taken of an object and complied into a 3D representation by specialist software.  The 3D representation may then be viewed on a screen, where it can be rotated to show all angles, or viewed in virtual reality, or printed in 3D.

A demonstration of 3D printing was in progress during the event and visitors saw and handled a variety of printed objects. Printed 3D objects allow tactile engagement with the subjects of research and may be used for study in order to preserve fragile originals, for experimentation, to demonstrate relative sizes, as models to cast to produce a facsimile, or for engagement or impact activities.

The DIY computing table featured a Raspberry Pi (a single-board microcomputer) and an Arduino (a programmable circuit board, or microcontroller, with the software to program it).  These can be used for a variety of activities, including data visualization, automation, or controlling other devices, such as the Arduino-controlled drone also on display.   There were examples of connectors and boards on which a microcomputer and components could be mounted, as well as a humidity sensor and a barometer, as examples of sensors that could be connected to a microcomputer.

Visitors to the event saw two examples of 360-degree video cameras, which may be used to record, for instance, performances, events, interiors or landscapes.  360-degree footage can be shown through a virtual reality headset, or alternatively on computers or mobile devices. Such videos may form research data or be a final output of research. 

Our virtual reality headsets proved to be the most popular draw of the events.  Visitors experienced VR representations of historic sites and interiors and watched 360-degree videos through the headsets.  Great excitement (not to mention a touch of motion sickness) was apparent in those who travelled to Everest Base Camp in VR!  VR may be used in research to study social situations, to explore environments, to watch performances, to view exhibitions or in training applications.  Some of the researchers at the event talked to us about how reconstructing historical interiors would be useful in their work and there were also conversations exploring potential educational uses of VR. 

As part of their visit to the event, researchers were asked to complete a survey to help us gauge interest in the different digital technologies and we will use this feedback to inform future planning.  If you did not attend the event, but might be interested in using digital technologies in your research, we would be glad to hear your views via our survey.

Look out for a similar event for Social Scientists coming soon.

 

Bristol joins Modern Languages Open

The University of Bristol has recently taken out membership of Modern Languages Open, https://www.modernlanguagesopen.org/, an open access platform from the University of Liverpool Press, publishing peer-reviewed research from across the modern languages, with content updated on a continuous basis.

Articles will be open access immediately on publication (gold open access) for a comparatively small charge which, for RCUK-funded Bristol authors, will be covered by our membership.  Other authors may request a waiver of the fees.

MLO offers a welcome alternative non-commercial model of open access funding.  It is produced in partnership with the University of Liverpool Library and is partly supported by the Liverpool University Press Authors Fund, with the result that gold open access publishing can be offered to authors at a more manageable cost than is charged by most mainstream academic publishers.

Bristol also supports the not-for-profit open access publisher, Open Library of the Humanities, which is funded by an international consortium of libraries and has no author-facing open access charges.

Library Carpentry Bristol

Bristol Research Data Service recently hosted a Library Carpentry workshop in collaboration with colleagues at the University of the West of England and the University of Bath – read on to find out what it was about and what’s happening next.

What is Library Carpentry?

Library Carpentry is a set of software skills lessons created by librarians, for librarians, covering a variety of subjects including Git, SQL, Python, and using the Unix command line. The course materials are developed and maintained by volunteers, and are intended to be taught by one or more instructors (also volunteers). Each lesson is also suitable for self-study. All the course materials are freely available online under a permissive use licence (CC-BY) and can be reused and remixed if needed.

Library Carpentry is an offshoot of Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry (the latter are aimed at academic researchers) and follows the same basic lesson structure – short introductions to key concepts followed by examples to work through to solidify learning. The tools and software packages taught are typically open source to maximise opportunity of use.

Why Bristol?

Naked self-interest! Bristol Research Data Service staff were keen to learn more about data manipulation techniques, and an informal poll of the GW4 Alliance Data Services Working Group showed that there was interest in other local institutions as well. We ended up advertising the event to all GW4 and AULIC institutions.

Event specifics

We asked potential attendees which modules they would most be interested in, and on that basis selected the Introduction to data and OpenRefine lessons. Library Carpentry has a very active Gitter group, so after submitting a plea there and contacting the organisers of past workshops (thank you to Tabitha Witherick!) we had two instructors volunteer: Dave Rowe (introduction to data) and Owen Stephens (OpenRefine).

We also needed helpers: people to assist on the day with general troubleshooting (for example, network connection issues). We had volunteers from both library staff and IT Services across Bristol, Bath and UWE. It’s safe to say that the workshop would not have run anywhere near as effectively as it did without them, so thank you very much to all the helpers – and of course, our instructors!

Over seven hours we covered the two chosen modules, with time for questions, general discussion and working through examples using library-related data.

Outcomes and follow-up

Feedback from attendees has so far been excellent, with several people indicating that they’ll be using OpenRefine for specific tasks the near future, and even teaching colleagues how to use it. At Bristol we had several requests for a second workshop from people unable to attend the first one; whilst another formal workshop might not be possible, we’re looking into a ‘flipped classroom’ or collaborative learning approach of short 1-2 hour sessions to pass our learning on to other colleagues and keep our skills fresh.

All in all, it was a very useful day, and we’d highly recommend attending or hosting a Library Carpentry workshop if you have a chance.

 

Unlocking Open Access – Kopernio

Kopernio is an extension for your internet browser that quickly tells you if you have access to a version of the journal article that you are looking at. It detects when you are looking at an article’s page and, if you have access through either the library’s subscriptions or through an Open Access version, it will provide a link to the document.

The extension also keeps a record of articles you downloaded so you can find them again easily and can export a list of references to a .bib file for use with BibTeX.

The video gives a good indication of how the extension works. Why not try it out next time you’re looking for journal articles?

You can find Kopernio at https://kopernio.com/

The extension will work in Chrome or Firefox.

Edit: This extension was previously known as Canary Haz. We have updated the information here to reflect the new name and website.