Wednesday Information Sessions from the Scholarly Communications Team

What is Scholarly Communications?

Wednesday 18 November at 14:00 will give an overview of our services and provide information on how we can help you navigate the process of making your research open access.

Introduction to Open Research on Wednesday 25 November at 14:00 will  provide advice, guidance and support to help you make your research open. This session will give an overview of our services and what you can do to improve open access to your research. 

Aimed at academic staff and postgraduate researchers the sessions will be delivered via Teams and are available on the course-booking system. To book a place, please visit: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking – select category ‘Library and Information Skills’.

For more information, please contact Joanna Adams: openaccess@abdn.ac.uk

Study spaces on our campuses

Looking for a Study Space? With The Sir Duncan Rice Library being very busy at the moment, alternative Bookable and Drop-In study spaces are available across campus and don’t forget that the Taylor Library on the Old Aberdeen campus and the Medical Library at Polwarth are also available!

Check out the Study Spaces web page for more details.

Don’t forget to check our updates page for the latest information on the Library Service!

Live Q&A sessions for PGR students: Library resources and services

Unsure where to start? No idea what a Shibboleth login is? Want to find out about the Click and Collect service if you are in Aberdeen? How to access and find electronic content?

If the answer to any of those is “Yes” then join us for some short demonstrations of library resources in advance of more detailed library sessions, which will be advertised later in the month. You will be able to ask us any questions you may have and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Our Q&A sessions are scheduled for 11 & 12 November and will be delivered via Collaborate. To find out more and to book a place, visit: 
abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and change the category to ‘Library Information Skills’.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.
s.mmcourt@abdn.ac.uk
eleni.boro@abdn.ac.uk

Did you know…? Digital Research Services

Digital Research Services supports researchers at the University of Aberdeen throughout the life cycle of their research projects, from conception to archive. We can support you with IT or data-related queries including but not restricted to those about hardware, software, cloud services, data management (including analysis, data management plans, meta data, protection, and storage). Contact us via digitalresearch@abdn.ac.uk.

Find out more about IT for Researchers at https://www.abdn.ac.uk/toolkit/services/it-researchers/

#OAWeek

Baffled by REF?

Do you have a paper accepted for publication? Are you unsure about how to comply with REF2021 requirements? Unsure about Green and Gold Open Access?

Have no fear, we’re here to help!

WHAT TO DO?

If you have a paper accepted for publication, congratulations! The next steps are:

  • Forward the acceptance letter and the unformatted manuscript, as accepted by the publisher, to paperaccepted@abdn.ac.uk
  • We will deposit the accepted manuscript into Pure/AURA, making sure that we comply with both the REF and any publisher embargo policies.
  • This must be done within 3 months of the acceptance date for REF requirements.

If you are unsure at any point then ask us! We’ll keep you right.

GREEN OR GOLD OPEN ACCESS?

Most journals offer a REF compliant Green Open Access route, meaning that they allow the accepted manuscript to be deposited in the institutional repository. This can be checked at Sherpa Romeo or library staff can help.

If you have been funded by UKRI or Wellcome and you wish to publish in a fully open access journal then contact openaccess@abdn.ac.uk who can check to see if we have funds available to pay the Article Processing Charge.

Sadly there are no central funds available for APCs.

The University has a number of Open Access Agreements with publishers where you may be able to publish gold open access at no additional cost or at a discounted rate.

KEEP US INFORMED!

Help us to keep the Pure record up to date by informing us of any changes to the publication details. Email us at paperaccepted@abdn.ac.uk

FURTHER HELP AND INFORMATION

Rebecca Hankinson, Principal Information Assistant (Medical Library),
University of Aberdeen
October 2020

Protected Data in Datasets and Open Access: what you need to know

When it comes to making your dataset open-access, it’s all pretty simple isn’t it? Collect and collate the data you need to present, then make it available in an institutional or subject repository under an open licence and that’s it. Well, not quite!

You need to be aware of how copyright and other types of legal protection work in respect of datasets, and of any steps you will need to take to ensure that your datasets can be made freely available to others whilst respecting any rights  that apply to individual components or types of information contained in your dataset.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Protection of different types of data takes many forms. Researchers need to be aware of the legal landscape within which they produce and use research data and how this affects the way in which datasets can be made available for re-use by other researchers.  The University recommend using the Open Data Commons Open Database Licence  as a means of making your data open. This licence allows users to use, copy and distribute the database, to create other works based on the contents of the database and to modify, adapt or build on the database. (N.B. the terms datasets and databases in this context are used interchangeably). These are activities which are often regulated by other legal forms of protection such as copyright, database rights and General Data Protection Register,  so before applying an open licence to a dataset, a researcher needs to know whether any of the elements in their dataset attract protection, and if so, how it could affect the ability to make the dataset open access and what if anything needs to be done to ensure the rights and protections applying to the contents of the dataset are not infringed.

HOW CAN I TELL WHAT IS PROTECTED? 

Research data comes in many forms; depending on the type of project, the dataset containing the evidence underpinning the research could comprise  amongst others, observational data such as temperature measurements, body-weight recordings,  computer code or software, survey data, collections of digital images, collections of newspaper articles, collections of private correspondence,  transcripts or recordings of interviews or physical artefacts such as artworks or musical compositions.  Individual data elements within a dataset may enjoy protection, and collections of data can also enjoy Sui Generis database protection.  Personal data are protected under the GDPR (General Data Protection Register).

Copyright

Copyright law grants the rightsowner a number of exclusive rights including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work and to sell or licence the copyright for use by others. Facts in themselves are not protected by copyright, rather, it is the original expression which is protected by copyright, and the work in question must demonstrate “the author’s own intellectual creation”.

A wide range of outputs enjoy copyright protection including:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works;
  • Computer programs and software code;
  • Databases (in addition to the separate Database Right). This only applies where the selection or arrangement is original, and the protection only applies to the structure of the database and not the contents.
  • Sound recordings, films or broadcasts; and
  • Typographical arrangements of published editions.

Datasets comprising third-party copyright material, for example collections of newspaper articles, posts from social media sites cannot be made open access without first obtaining the permission of the rightsholders.  Similarly, where a researcher wants to include recorded interviews in a dataset, that is intended to be made available to others on an open-access basis, they would need to obtain the permission of the participants in order to do this.  Data obtained from archived datasets hosted in  subject or other repositories  is often made available for personal use, but if the datasets are intended to be further disseminated, then the permission of the rightsholder(s) of the dataset will need to be obtained.

Database Rights

In the European Union, the SGDR (Sui Generis Database Right) protects original and non-original databases.  Database rights can only apply where there has been substantial investment in the collection, verification and presentation of data obtained from independent sources. Efforts expended in creating the data populating the database does not automatically confer a database right. Database rights are protected for 15 years from the date of creation or publication. Once a database has been made available to the public, the Database Right allows authorised users to extract and re-use a substantial portion of the content for specific non-commercial purposes under “fair dealing”.  For some complex databases, the structure itself can be categorised as a literary work (even if its contents are of a visual nature) and attract 70 years’ copyright similar to other literary material.

General Data Protection Register (GDPR)

Datasets pertaining to research in any discipline which uses personal data such as medical science, social sciences and the humanities are required to comply with the provisions of the GDPR.  Datasets containing personal data cannot be made open access, even those where the data has been pseudo-anonymised.  Datasets containing fully anonymised data may be made available.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Before you start your research, you should be aware of any requirements to make your dataset open.  This may be as a result of a mandate from your funding body, or in response to the University’s Research Data Management Policy. The best time to consider whether you need to obtain permission to make data available is when creating your data management plan. The plan should outline what data will be created and how, and should include details on how the data will be shared, paying attention to any rights, protections and restrictions that may need to be taken into consideration.

Mary Mowat, Copyright Officer, University of Aberdeen
October 2020

Introduction to International Open Access Week from the University Librarian

It feels rather ironic to be writing on the subject of open access as we head towards the end of a year in which so many things have remained at least partly closed. However, the pandemic has served both to shine a light on the critical importance of open research and expose the amount of work still to do to achieve it. It is my hope that Open Access Week 2020 both reaches a wider audience and galvanises us into collective action like never before.

I have been thinking about, writing about and attempting to stimulate open access as the right solution for ethical and effective scholarly communications for almost two decades. Fifteen years ago, I was part of an ambitious plan to deliver an open access solution for Scotland through a national repository infrastructure, and while the lofty vision was never realised, this work placed Scotland at the forefront of open access thinking and demonstrated, as is often the case, that this is a nation well capable of ‘punching above its weight’. A paper describing a national information strategy for Scotland provides a 2005 overview of this project, within a wider context. It is satisfying to see that although the networked infrastructure we hoped to build is not in place, this paper still remains freely accessible through the institutional repository of a Scottish university.

This was a time when open access seemed most likely to be achievable by providing versions of published papers in repositories, while the final papers themselves would continue to be published in subscription journals – the so-called Green route. It was not until the publication of the Finch Report in 2012, and the enthusiasm of the then Minister for Higher Education (David Willets) for a Gold route, that open access of the published paper itself began to dominate policy and gain momentum. Very regrettably, this has become synonymous for many with one method of funding it: the article processing charge, or APC. This solution has served to perpetuate a scholarly communications infrastructure which relies upon commercial third parties, placing the research community at the mercy of a small number of profit-making organisations for whom profits and shareholder value are paramount.

Of course, publishers provide important services and publishing is a highly skilled profession without which our research would struggle to find its voice. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to regard some of the largest academic publishers as genuine partners in an endeavour from which their primary motive is to generate profit. As a result, eight years since Dame Janet Finch produced her findings, we are spending ever more university and research council funding on publishing Gold open access papers. Furthermore, we continue to spend vast sums on subscriptions: as well! We are very far from a sustainable position as we head into extremely turbulent financial times indeed.

What sometimes gets lost is that it really doesn’t need to be this way. Gold open access does not have to mean paying thousands of pounds to a commercial supplier to widen the reach of your research paper. It’s easy to forget that publishing in this way has a relatively short history, dating back to Robert Maxwell’s establishment of Pergamon Press in the 1950s, which is explained in this excellent overview of the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing. This set a course for a model which, while initially attractive as a way to accelerate publishing in a way that scholarly societies found difficult, took us to where we are now. And where we are now continues to astonish those who are not close it: why do we give our work away freely to a third party who then proceeds to make us pay in order to get it back for our libraries? Or to make us pay even more if we want the research to be openly available?

There are alternatives. In a sense, we are seeing a return to a previous model, where the sector takes control of its publishing through its own scholarly community and university presses. We are witnessing new university presses emerge like never before, but this time with a focus on supporting their researchers achieve open access for their outputs. Two prominent examples in the UK are UCL Press and White Rose Press. Both focus exclusively on open access publishing, and both are run by universities. Libraries are often very much part of such endeavours, as librarians have both a passion for making information available and a vested interest in reducing the overhead of the status quo, impacting as it does mainly on their budgets. I have been pleased to contribute to the creation of open access titles, firstly at the University of Edinburgh, where I established a journal hosting service, and it is good to see a journal in which I introduced the concept of Open Access in 2009 still going strong in 2020. More recently I worked at the University of Manchester in partnership with Manchester University Press to create the James Baldwin Review, an open access title which serves to communicate about a literary and political figure who is of such critical importance as we witness the events of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

There are so many opportunities now to publish research widely and openly, and so many reasons to do so, connecting academic thought with a wider audience in an era in which the concept of fake news is thrown about so liberally and ignorantly, hoaxes persist so harmfully and politicians claim weariness with ‘experts’. But yet we remain shackled to the journal titles we feel garner the most respect and the publishers that we think our peers will take seriously. Here, then, is the nub of the problem: it is time to change what matters. The important thing, surely, is the quality of the research, not the container in which it is disseminated. The success of our research should be measured by the impact it has on the wider world, not the extent to which it impresses our academic colleagues.

It is high time to reflect on our academic culture and ask difficult questions about why we communicate it in the way that we do. Initiatives like the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment help us to do this, and I am delighted that the University of Aberdeen has signed it. Our own strategic goals at Aberdeen also demand that we do; Aberdeen 2040 includes a commitment to open research, and no university has a better or more longstanding vision statement to compel us to work towards it. Since its Foundational Purpose in 1495, the University of Aberdeen has been open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others. Where better to act as a leading light in making scholarly endeavours openly available to the widest possible community?

In 2016 I wrote about openness in academia against a backdrop that seemed to me to compel us to prioritise it as a critically important venture. In 2020 the stakes are even higher. The race to find reliable medical responses to COVID-19 is hindered by poor data reporting even when it really is, without hyperbole, a matter of life and death. As our students arrive at, or return to, universities for the new academic year, we need more than ever to provide them with online access to the information that they need to support their studies as they may not be able to visit our campuses, or be encouraged not to do so. No university is able to do this fully, because of the enormous cost. There is now a very clear case for publishing textbooks more affordably, but even without tackling that issue, we would have more resources at our disposal if so much of our library budgets were not tied up in multiyear journal subscriptions with large commercial publishers.

I may have said this before, more than once, but the time to change really is now.

Simon Bains, University Librarian, University of Aberdeen
October 2020

Live Q&A sessions for UG and PGT students: Library resources and services

Struggling to find library materials to support your studies? Unsure what a Shibboleth login is? Want to find out about the Click and Collect service if you are in Aberdeen? How to access and find e-books?

If the answer to any of those is “Yes” then come along to one of our Question & Answer sessions next week for some short demonstrations of library resources. Ask us questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.

The sessions will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week (13, 14 & 15 October) and are open to all UG and PGT students regardless of whether or not you have received previous instruction on using the Library’s resources.

The sessions will be delivered via Collaborate. To find out more and to book a place on one of our sessions, visit: abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and change the category to ‘Library Information Skills’.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.
s.mmcourt@abdn.ac.uk
eleni.boro@abdn.ac.uk

We look forward to seeing you next week!

Library service update

We have worked to reorganise our library spaces and services to ensure that they are COVID-19 safe for all of our staff and students. This work has followed Scottish Government guidance and has involved Library, Estates and Health and Safety professionals at the University. In order to allow safe access to resources and study spaces we have had to make a number of changes and the arrangements are outlined here. Please take the time to review these changes before you visit. We will continue to review our approach and welcome your feedback.  

Opening dates 

  • From Monday 14th September The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be open Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 5.00pm 
  • From Monday 21st September, it is anticipated the hours will be extended and will include weekends – further details will be confirmed shortly. 
  • Plans are progressing for the re-opening of the Medical Library at Foresterhill and the Taylor Law Library – dates for re-opening will be confirmed soon. 

Hygiene 

We are increasing the amount of cleaning being done throughout the building and introducing regular touch point cleaning. We ask our users to help by washing hands regularly, using sanitiser on entrance and elsewhere (it is provided on all floors) and using wipes to clean keyboards and printer/scanners. We also ask that no food or drink (except bottled water) be brought into the building.

It is also a legal requirement that face coverings are worn all the time you are in the building, unless using the café (see details below).

Capacity 

We need to maintain 2 metre physical distancing in the building and this has meant a substantial reduction to the number of desks we have available at this stage. We are providing 170 desks on the upper floors (of which, 22 have PCs). When we reach this number of users through the security gates, we will be unable to allow anyone else through until people leave. There will be a queuing system in place on the ground floor to allow a small number of people to wait. However, we do not expect to reach capacity in our first week of opening. We cannot provide for group working in the building. The building will be open to University of Aberdeen students and staff. External Library members cannot access the building but can use the Click & Collect service by arrangement. Access to visitors including schools and the general public is not yet possible.   

The Special Collections Reading Room 

Our Scan & Send service will continue to operate, enabling digital rather than physical access by researchers. Images will be provided for research, rather than publication purposes, and large-scale digitisation will not be possible as we focus on supporting numerous requests. We will try to prioritise photography and scanning according to the urgency of need. 

From 14 September, in-person bookable access to the Reading Room is possible for University of Aberdeen staff and students. Research visits will be limited to enable social distancing and enquiries should be made at least one week in advance. 

For more details of our service, please see here

Access to books and resources 

Books and other printed materials are available to browse and borrow but need to be placed on the quarantine trolleys provided after use, unless being borrowed. 

We will also continue to provide our Click and Collect service to allow you to order items for collection at the entrance. 

Service desks 

In order to protect staff and students we aim to keep interactions to a minimum. Library staff should only be approached if absolutely necessary and when they are behind screens at service desks. 

Café 

We plan to reopen the Hardback Café with appropriate safety arrangements in place and will provide news about this in due course. 

Whilst we are looking forward to welcoming students and staff back to The Sir Duncan Rice Library, please work with us by taking care to understand the requirements, being patient about these new procedures and following all the guidelines. This will help us avoid the need to impose further restrictions and make it easier for the Library staff working in the building.  

A summary of our new building use requirements 

These signs will be displayed on digital screens in the Library, to remind you when you enter the building.

Please observe the following rules when you visit: 

  • Remember to bring your staff/student card as access to The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be provided via swipe card through the card-controlled door to the left of the main sliding entrance door. Card scanning at the security gates is compulsory to meet Government Test and Protect obligations. 
  • Use hand sanitiser on entry and exit and wash hands or use sanitiser during your stay  
  • Wear your face covering at all times or display your lanyard or show your exemption card if you are unable to wear a face covering  
  • Maintain two metre social distancing and follow the designated one-way routes  
  • Clean surfaces, PCs and Multi Function Devices (MFDs) after use with the wipes provided  
  • Place any handled books which you do not subsequently borrow on the trolleys provided  
  • Only approach Library staff who are seated behind support desk screens  
  • Note that no food or drink other than water is permitted in the building.  

Once in the building:   

  • Lifts to be used by one person at a time, so please leave more time to move around the building
  • Only study spaces marked with a tick can be used, allowing 2m distancing  
  • The water stations on each floor will not be available – please bring your own water (no other food or drink must be consumed in the building)  
  • Due to the current restrictions and physical distancing, assisted evacuation from upper floors is not possible. However, study spaces will be provided on the ground floor for users who cannot safely access other floors.   
     
     Please speak to a member of staff at the Welcome Desk if you have any concerns or require assistance. Our updates page is at bit.ly/COVID-19LibraryUpdates

 

Live Q&A sessions for PGT students: Referencing and citing

 

The hand-in date for your dissertation or technical report is likely to be looming. If you have any questions or difficulties with referencing and citing, come along to one of our Question & Answer sessions next week. In the meantime, you may find materials in Part 1 and Part 5 of our Refresher series of interest: https://bit.ly/32ZY4zA

sdrl steps left

The sessions will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday next week
(August 5, 6, & 7)
and are open to all PGT students regardless of whether or not you have listened to the recordings or have received previous instruction on referencing and citing.

The sessions will be delivered via Collaborate. To find out more and to book a place, please visit abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking – just change the category to ‘Library Information Skills’.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.
s.mmcourt@abdn.ac.uk