26 August 2016

BMC Ecology image competition: results

Well, it's that time of year when we get to post lots of nice pictures courtesy of the open access journal BMC Ecology. Each year BMC Ecology runs a photographic image competition to celebrate biodiversity and the beauty of the natural environment, and this year it coincides with St Andrews Photography Festival which is a nice coincidence! The theme of this year's competition was the interaction between nature and human activity and technology.

Overall winner: “The striking landscape of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park during sunrise. This south African park is characterized by vast arid landscapes with red dunes, sparse vegetation and camel thorn trees.” Attribution: Davide Gaglio. CC BY
Winner, Community, Population, and Macroecology: “I was snorkeling in a remote lagoon in the Sudanese Red Sea when I was suddenly surrounded by hundreds of spinner dolphins. The school stayed around for hours, visibly enjoying the interaction with snorkelers in the water. The school was clearly subdivided into dozens of smaller groups of either females with their offspring or adult males.” Attribution: Julia Spät. CC BY
“This photo of a herd of waterbuck in the morning mist was taken by a motion-detecting trail camera in the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. A network of fifty trail cameras were set up by Paola Bouley, a researcher who is studying how the lion population is rebounding in Gorongosa after decades of war devastated wildlife populations. Hundreds of thousands of photos that she and her team have collected are available for citizen scientists to help her identify on the website WildCam Gorongosa. Waterbuck are a common sight in Gorongosa as their population has exploded to over 34,000 individuals up from only a few hundred after the war. Scientists are studying the waterbuck population to learn why they are experiencing such rapid growth.” Attribution: Chuck Schultz (Science Education Department, Howard Hughes Medical Institute). CC BY

This is just a small selection of the images published this year, in total there were 26 images, all licensed under a CC BY attribution licence, so they are free to reuse, copy and distribute.

The Editorial complete with all images can be found here: 10.1186/s12898-016-0090-z

“This image was taken in Adelaide Botanic garden [in 2016]. Rainbow lorikeets are such colorful parrots that it is hard to mistake them for other species. The related Scaly-breasted lorikeet is similar in size and shape, but can be distinguished by its all-green head and body.” Attribution: Abd Al-Bar Al-Farha (University of Adelaide, Australia). CC BY

10 August 2016

Flipping journals to Open Access: an extensive Harvard University literature review

Harvard University last week released an extensive 224 page literature review on subscription journals flipping to Open Access. The review's principal aim is to "disentangle different options", in order to "help publishers deliberate intelligently about their options". In total the authors find 15 options available to journals wanting to flip to OA, and interestingly 5 of these do not involve levying charges (most commonly referred to as Article Processing Charges).

The inclusion of so many non-APC reliant flipping pathways is very illuminating and certainly will be news to some people.
"Truncating or oversimplifying the range of options causes harm. For example, as noted, many stakeholders believe that there’s only one business model for OA journals, namely, charging APCs. This assumption has never been true and has never even been close. Every measurement for more than a decade has shown that roughly three-quarters of OA journals charge no author-side fees at all, and in fact, that roughly three-quarters of subscription journals charge author-side fees on top of their reader-side fees. The false assumption that all OA journals charge APCs stultifies the debate by limiting discussion to the one best-known option. It also stultifies the deliberations of publishers who believe, perhaps correctly, that the best-known option won’t work for them, and therefore conclude, prematurely, that no model will work for them." (Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. p. 4)
In the introduction Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and editor of the review, mentions the value of the review in offering a resource for libraries struggling with rising subscription prices. He suggests that the rising cost of subscriptions could be a catalyst to stimulate talks about flipping to OA, given that another possible outcome is losing subscriptions entirely which benefits neither side.
"Academic Librarians are in a good position to make the case that converting to OA is better than cancellation, for everyone, and that new evidence shows that converting to OA can preserve or enhance readership, submissions, quality, and financial sustainability." (Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. p. 5)
Solomon, David, J. Mikael Laakso, and Bo-Christer Björk (authors). Peter Suber (editor). 2016. Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences. http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27803834. CC-BY

28 July 2016

We've now reached 8000 items in our repository!

Last week the St Andrews Research Repository reached a new milestone: 8000 items!

The last major content milestone we celebrated was when we reached 5000 items, this was back in February 2015. The blog post we wrote in recognition of this mentioned that the upsurge in activity was largely down to research funders and HEFCE (the folks behind the Research Excellence Framework) requiring authors to self-archive their publications. 17 months on and this trend is continuing.

In April 2016 the Research Excellence Framework open access policy came into effect (to find out more read our previous blog post). This means that to ensure compliance with the policy authors must deposit their accepted manuscripts for journal articles and conference proceedings into the University's research information system (Pure). To ensure all St Andrews researchers are aware of the policy we have been working hard to deliver the message: 'Act on acceptance: deposit in Pure'. This slogan, which is emblazoned on posters around the University, is just one part of a tapestry of approaches to increase author self-archiving rates across the University. Currently the REF compliance rate for the whole University is very high at around 85%.

We are also still continuing our support for Gold Open Access. Gold OA usually requires a payment, called an APC or Article Processing Charge, and providing all the conditions are met the Library will cover this charge. The charges average out at around £1500, but can be anywhere from a few hundred pounds to more than £4000. The 8000th item was published Gold Open Access, by the publisher BioMed Central. It is freely available (with a Creative Commons attribution licence) either from the publisher or from our repository.

8000th article:
Title: Changes in selective pressures associated with human population expansion may explain metabolic and immune related pathways enriched for signatures of positive selection
Journal: BMC Genomics



6 July 2016

Wellcome Open Research: a new publication initiative

Wellcome Open Research is a new initiative which allows researchers to publish their results faster and more transparently. The service is powered by F1000Research which is an innovative publishing platform that uses post-publication peer-review to eradicate publication delays. By using this platform Wellcome research will be published immediately on submission (presumably with the status 'awaiting peer-review' if it follows closely the F1000 processes), this is then followed by formal peer-review. Wellcome also say that peer-review will be transparent and open, with referees' reports and names published alongside the paper. This is said to encourage more constructive feedback, as well as allowing reports to be cited.

Besides publication speed, another advantage of using WOR (or F1000 for that matter) is that there is wider scope for the sorts of material that can be published. As well as standard narrative articles researchers can also publish negative results and datasets, as well as incremental findings.

Using WOR to publish results is fully compliant with the Trust's open access policy and also complies with the requirements for data sharing. APCs for Wellcome funded research will also be funded centrally by Wellcome Trust.

Is it important to point out that Wellcome is not requiring any grant recipients to use this new service. But they hope authors will look at the service and recognise the benefits it offers in terms of transparency, the types of content that can be included, and the speed of publication. Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at Wellcome also comments that “One of the long-term aims of this approach is to start a shift in research and researcher assessment away from journal-based measures and towards direct assessment of the output itself, whether it be an article, or in another form such as a dataset or software tool.” http://f1000.com/resources/160706_WellcomeOpenResearchFINAL.pdf

Wellcome Open Research is due to launch in autumn 2016, so watch this space.

31 May 2016

Open Access Week 2016: "Open in Action"

http://www.openaccessweek.org CC BY 4.0

The theme of Open Access Week 2016 will be "Open in Action". Open Access Week is an international initiative designed to raise the profile of Open Access and push towards publishing 'open by default'.

Open Access Weeks have always encouraged action as well as words. But this year's OAW takes this a step further, encouraging all stakeholders to take positive concrete steps to make their research openly available and to encourage others to follow suit. "Open in action" is about highlighting the actual concrete examples of how Open Access is being promoted by researchers, librarians, and students alike, whether through depositing accepted manuscripts, running open access journals, providing training and guidance, etc...

“As Open Access becomes a more and more familiar concept, we must focus on the small steps everyone can take to make openness in research a reality,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “This year’s theme will help showcase these actions, the individuals who are leading by example, and the ways this openness advances science and scholarship.” (www.sparcopen.org CC BY 4.0)

Open Access Week is celebrated by individuals, publishers, and institutions all over the world. If you want to find out more or get involved visit the website: www.openaccessweek.org. If you have any ideas about events in St Andrews please get in touch with us, email us at openaccess@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Open Access Week 2016 will be held between 24-30 October. 

16 May 2016

Getty Publications publishes two open access catalogues

Mosaic of a Lion Attacking an Onage. http://www.getty.edu/publications/romanmosaics/. CC BY. © 2016 J. Paul Getty Trust
In 2014, Getty Publications launched its Virtual Library, initially offering access to 250 books, many of which were out of print. The collection features books which relate to the Getty Museum or Institutes, and span a wide variety of subjects, including photography, religion, literature, and archaeology. This month saw the introduction of two further items to the collection, and what the Getty President and CEO James Cuno described as “a next step in our ongoing commitment to open content"(James Cuno, press release). These latest additions are online catalogues, which highlight antiquities in the Getty Museum. Both were released with Creative Commons CC BY licences allowing almost unfettered use and reuse. Because these books were 'born digital' they offer more ways to view and even interact with the Getty collections, "from zoomable images to interactive maps, from linked footnotes and glossaries to 360-degree-views of objects." (The Getty)

Ferruzza, Maria Lucia. Ancient Terracottas from South Italy and Sicily in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2016. http://www.getty.edu/publications/terracottas CC BY. © 2016 J. Paul Getty Trust

Belis, Alexis. Roman Mosaics in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2016. http://www.getty.edu/publications/romanmosaics. © 2016 J. Paul Getty Trust



27 April 2016

St Andrews researcher’s results launch a new Open Access journal

Published in Volume 1, Issue 1 of APL Photonics the paper is co-authored by Professor Sven Höfling of the Quantum Physics and Quantum Engineering Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Sven works in the exciting area of quantum engineering and its applications and his paper describes a record efficiency electrically-driven efficient light source that could be used in quantum communication systems for secure data exchange. Sven commented “We are delighted that our article has contributed to launch this new journal that makes an important contribution to the photonics community”.


Detail from Figure 1 (a) Illustration of the indistinguishable-photon emitting diode based on a quantum dot (QD) micropillar cavity structure. A cross-sectional scanning electron microscopy image of a fully processed device (left panel) as well as a schematic (right panel) is shown.
The journal is aimed at photonics researchers and intersecting disciplines and submitted articles are rigorously peer reviewed, as you would expect. Content is available under the most liberal Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY) that allows maximum dissemination and re-use.

Full article details:
Schlehahn, A, Thoma, A, Munnelly, P, Kamp, M, Höfling, S, Heindel, T, Schneider, C & Reitzenstein, S 2016, 'An electrically driven cavity-enhanced source of indistinguishable photons with 61% overall efficiency' APL Photonics, vol 1, no. 1, 011301., 10.1063/1.4939831