26 July 2017

Repository marks 10000 milestone with 'rule-breaker'

We are delighted to announce the 10,000th item to appear in St Andrews Research Repository is a paper by Peter Moran, Mike Ritchie and Nathan Bailey from the School of Biology, Centre for Biological Diversity.

The University's repository aims to give to the widest possible access to the research output of our academic community, supporting our open access policy statement:
The value and utility of research outputs increases the more widely available they are to be read and used by others.

The shared effort described in our previous blog post has allowed us to increase visibility of research, and help researchers meet the open access requirements of funders. Authors deposit versions of their research publications into the University's research information system (Pure), to be made open access following any embargo periods in St Andrews Research Repository. Library staff support researchers by checking publisher policies, to make sure we don't breach any copyright rules. The Library also provides support for thesis deposit direct to the repository, as well as support services in other areas of digital research activity.

The support services leave our researchers free to concentrate on their research, and to explore fascinating topics such as the diversity of life. The authors of our 'milestone' StARR paper have provided the following layman's description of their work:

Rule-Breakers: When Females Bear the Costs of Inter-Species Mating 
Why is life on Earth so diverse, with many related but distinct species? Understanding how new species form and are maintained requires us to test why related groups of individuals evolve reproductive isolation: the inability to reproduce with each other. One of the most consistent patterns of reproductive isolation is known as Haldane’s rule. It was coined by the eccentric scientist J.B.S. Haldane in 1922 and predicts that in crosses between different species or populations, if either sex of offspring suffers sterility or mortality it will be the sex carrying different sex chromosomes. The rule’s pervasiveness indicates that sex chromosomes might play a key role in barriers to reproduction between species. However, most research on Haldane’s rule has been conducted in species with conventional sex determination systems, and exceptions to the rule have been largely understudied. We examined a remarkably rare exception to Haldane’s rule in two closely related Australian field crickets, Teleogryllus oceanicus and T. commodus. Contrary to the predictions of Haldane’s Rule, hybrid females were sterile in both cross directions, while hybrid males were relatively fertile. We thought sterility in hybrid females might be caused by incompatibility between X chromosomes from the two different species, but surprisingly, we found no evidence to support such a scenario. Instead our results suggested a more complicated genetic basis to hybrid female sterility. It may be that exceptions to this widespread rule may be more common in systems without dimorphic sex chromosomes, which argues for further study of animals with unusual mechanisms of sex determination.
The authors' accepted manuscript of "A rare exception to Haldane's rule: are X chromosomes key to hybrid incompatibilities?" published in the journal Heredity can be freely accessed from the repository at http://hdl.handle.net/10023/11234

Peter Moran in the field

The lead author completed his PhD in St Andrews, and his thesis is also available in the repository at http://hdl.handle.net/10023/10260

The university's Research Portal also provides links to Data underlying the paper and Projects that funded the work.

24 July 2017

Open Access publisher launches photography competition

The Open Access publisher BMC has launched a photography competition to find inspiring images that represent 'research in progress'. Researchers are invited to submit photographs that reflect innovation, curiosity and integrity in a range of categories.

If you have an unusual way to represent your research area, why not share your unique insight? Details of the competition are available from the BMC blog. Images will need to be made available for reuse under a Creative Commons licence, to allow further sharing with proper attribution.

No automatic alt text available.
'Close-up', Jackie Proven, CC-BY

21 July 2017

We now have 10,000 items in our repository!

This week we reached another milestone - 10,000 items in the University of St Andrews Research Repository (or StARR for short if you prefer). That's 10,000 full-texts of research publications, theses and other content types which will be open access and free to download for anyone with an internet connection. In keeping with established library tradition here is how we celebrated the occasion:

From left: Mike Bryce (Open access and repository support), Jen Pritchard (Pure team), Kyle Brady (Open access and repository support)
This milestone represents the shared effort of many teams in the Library as well as across Schools in the University. In the Main Library David Collins and cataloguing colleagues are responsible for uploading University of St Andrews theses to the repository, in the Old Union Diner the Open Access team and Pure team oversee St Andrews research publications, many of which end up going into the repository. In Schools academics and support staff create records in Pure and upload manuscripts for public release, which are then checked and validated by the OA team before ending up in the repository.

This milestone has been very much a team effort, a team that stretches across the whole University, so we wish to thank everyone who helped make this happen.

Watch this space for a follow-up blog post about the StaRR 10,000th item!