30 January 2014

Centre for Syrian Studies launches open access journal

Syria Studies, the new open access journal of the Centre for Syrian Studies (CSS) at University of St Andrews, is being launched today in the School of International Relations.

Syria Studies is a peer reviewed journal that has previously been published in print under the series name St Andrews Papers on Contemporary Syria.
The aim of Syria Studies is to provide a space for scholars and students to publish work focused on the study of modern and contemporary Syria (history, politics, economy, & society). Given the interdisciplinary nature of Syria Studies, high-quality submissions from various academic and professional backgrounds are encouraged.
Dr Raymond Hinnebusch, Director of CSS and Editor in Chief of Syria Studies
The journal, managed by Dr Omar Imady and a team of Editors in the University, is proud to include some of the most renowned authorities on Syria on its Board of Reviewers. They are very keen for their work to reach a wide audience, and believe an open access journal, hosted by the University Library's OJS platform, provides this opportunity.
Knowledge and research about Syria which is made freely and widely available to those interested in the country’s development is more important than ever if the international community is to help Syria find a peaceful and democratic future.
http://css.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/
Papers from 2008-2011 are available online now in the Syria Studies Archives, with papers from the 2012-13 volumes available in print from Lynne Reinner publishers. The latest volume will be available open access following the journal's launch.

Syria Studies is now accepting papers for the next issue, due Oct 2014.

29 January 2014

Science as an open enterprise - Prof. Geoffrey Boulton

'Open Science' seems to be one of the hottest topics around, with organisations and funders from the G8 downwards stressing the importance of open data in driving everything from global innovation through to more accountable governance; not to mention the more direct possibility that non-compliance could result in research grant income drying up.

Here at St Andrews we have had an institutional research information system (CRIS) integrated with our Open Access Institutional Repository of research publications since 2006 and in 2013 we published our Open Access Policy based on the principle that  ‘The University of St Andrews is strongly committed to ensuring the widest possible access to its research.’

With many funders now pushing for all research outputs – publications and data – to be ‘open by default’ it is the ideal time for one of most high profile figures in the debate to present the case for ‘Open Science’.

Professor Geoffrey Boulton OBE, FRS, FRSE, General Secretary of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Regius Professor Emeritus and former Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh, will be giving a public lecture entitled "Open Data and the Future of Science" in the Medical and Biological Sciences Building Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 26th February at 5:15 pm. All are welcome to the lecture and to join Prof Boulton afterwards for wine and light refreshments.

Professor Boulton is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology. His research is in the field of climatic and environmental change and energy. He leads the Global Change Research Group in the University of Edinburgh in the University’s School of Geosciences. He has received international and national prizes for his research, including the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society, the Kirk Bryan Medal of the Geological Society of America, the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society and the Science Medal of the Institute of Contemporary Scotland.

Prof. Boulton had been chair of the Royal Society project "Science as an Open Enterprise" which was a major study on the use of scientific information as it affects scientists and society. The final report was published in June 2012.


Guest post by Anna Clements, Head of Research Data and Information Services, University of St Andrews Library

15 January 2014

Copyright Week: public domain and open access

From 13 - 18 January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is hosting Copyright Week. Each day is devoted to a different issue, with participating organisations contributing blog posts and encouraging online discussions on a particular theme.

Copyright Week

Day 2 was devoted to problems of material in the public domain not actually being publicly available, and included information from the Internet Archive which hosts several projects to address that concern.
[If you haven't tried it - have a look at the WayBack Machine for websites that have otherwised disappeared. See for example the JISC-funded TrustDR project website - content has a Creative Commons licence but no longer has a publicly hosted site.]

Day 3 (15 Jan) is focussed on Open Access, with the proposal: "The results of publicly funded research should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used by anyone, anywhere, anytime." One blog post addressing this topic comes from the Creative Commons blog, which makes the point "the fewer restrictions are put on the public’s use of materials, the more swiftly scientific progress".

Links to the continuing discussions will be captured under 6 topics at https://www.eff.org/copyrightweek


9 January 2014

PeerJ extends free OA publication offer


From now to 31 March 2014, any article that is submitted to PeerJ PrePrints can go on to be published in the innovative open access journal PeerJ entirely for free.

PeerJ is an open access, peer-reviewed, scholarly journal covering the Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Health Sciences. It aims to reduce the costs of open access to authors by offering publishing plans starting at $99 for life. In order to encourage interest in this new model, the journal is offering a free submission period based on using its related preprint archive.
PeerJ PrePrints - rapid communication & early findings
A PeerJ 'PrePrint' is a draft that has not yet been peer reviewed for formal publication. Similar to preprint servers that already exist (for example arXiv.org), authors can submit draft, incomplete, or final versions of articles they are working on.

By using this service, authors establish precedent; they can solicit feedback, and they can work on revisions of their manuscript. Once they are ready, they can submit their PrePrint manuscript into the peer reviewed PeerJ journal (although it is not a requirement to do so).
Provided you upload a preprint before 31 March, you can go on to submit to the PeerJ journal for free. Your manuscript will then undergo peer review in the normal way. (See PeerJ's editorial criteria.)

For authors who haven't previously made their draft manuscripts publicly available, the PeerJ folk have pointed out that most journals accept manuscripts previously published as a preprint. So using the PeerJ PrePrint server means you could still submit for peer-review elsewhere if you wish (check your chosen publisher's policy to be sure via http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/).

For St Andrews authors interested in a PeerJ lifetime publishing plan, contact Open Access Support

8 January 2014

Open access home for St Andrews housing report

The Centre for Housing Research at the University of St Andrews released a new report just before the end of 2013. 'Growing economies and building homes: Reconciling growth and housing wellbeing in St Andrews' examines the impacts of University led growth on the rental housing market in North East Fife. A University press release noted:
The study has found while the success and growth of the 600-year-old University has brought prosperity and employment to Fife, existing pressures on local housing have been increased by an influx of students and staff.
This has added to the disadvantage experienced by some in the local community, most importantly, people on low incomes who have had to look further and further from St Andrews in the search for affordable accommodation.
The CHR report raises important issues and was read with great interest by staff in the Library. In order to ensure high visibility and a permanent home, the report is now available from our institutional repository. We hope that this will encourage further interest in the local community, and we will be able to track usage through our embedded statistics feature.


Maclennan, D, O'Sullivan, T, Maynard, K, Sila-Nowicka, K & Walden, Y. 2013. Growing economies and building homes: Reconciling growth and housing wellbeing in St Andrews. University of St Andrews. http://hdl.handle.net/10023/4316