HEIs must embrace 2028 REF’s research culture focus | Times Higher Education (THE)

“The UK’s next Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise promises changes that could make research more effective and the research environment more equitable. It is up to higher education institutions whether this rare opportunity to recognise the teams they rely on is seized or squandered….

Of course publications are vital, but they are far from the only important output, and they frequently owe their existence to other, overlooked research outputs. For instance, about 70 per cent of researchers from across disciplines report that software is fundamental to their work. But of the 186,000 outputs submitted to the last REF, only 31 were for data work and 11 for software….”

Open Research Case Studies | Open Research | The University of Sheffield

“Open research is the practice of making the processes and outputs of research transparent and freely accessible, whenever possible. 

The case studies below, gathered from the winners and runners up of the University of Sheffield’s Open Research Prize (first held in 2021 and most recently in 2023), demonstrate some of the excellent practice in open research taking place across the University. ???”

Jisc launches critical review of open access and transitional agreements | Jisc

Jisc launches critical review of open access and transitional agreements.

To kick start the slow shift towards fully open access academic publishing, Jisc has launched a review.

Commissioned and governed by Jisc’s strategic groups with input from Deltathink, an open access data and analytics company, the aim is to gather evidence, agitate discussion in the higher education sector and make recommendations for action.

Exploring the open access landscape in general and the particular role of transitional agreements (TAs), the review findings will be published early in 2024.

Jisc’s head of research licensing, Anna Vernon, explains why the review is necessary:

“The UK has been a leader in the transition to open access, driven by funder policy and institutional demand for a publishing ecosystem that is affordable, fair and transparent.

“However, two decades on from the first talks on open research, overall progress remains slow.

“We know the UK higher education institutions Jisc represents in sector negotiations with publishers are frustrated with the status quo.

“We hope this review will kick-start the process by supplying the evidence to drive sector consensus on what future open access publishing models should look like.”



Taylor & Francis Launches New Open Access Books Initiative with Jisc Agreement for UK Institutions – Taylor & Francis Newsroom

“Taylor & Francis announces a new international collective funding pilot, Pledge to Open, which aims to publish 70 open access (OA) books on a broad range of global issues, including climate change, mental health, women’s rights, and race.

All higher education institutions in the UK can take part in the OA scheme thanks to an agreement struck with Jisc, the UK’s higher education library consortium.

Institutions can support one or more of seven interdisciplinary themed collections, each comprising 10 frontlist research books. If funding targets are met, the books will be published open access for everyone to read online, download and share….”

Institutional Repository Support Assistant (549244)

“The University of Strathclyde has a commitment to boldness and innovation as part of its core institutional values, and we believe that our engagement with Open Access and repository development is a significant example of this commitment. In furtherance of these values the Information Services Directorate of the University is seeking to appoint an Institutional Repository Support Assistant to join our Scholarly Publications & Research Data team. The job role will encompass work within the areas of Green Open Access, including the management of scholarly grey literature, and aspects of Gold Open Access.

This temporary role will include the use of the University’s current research information system (CRIS) and Strathclyde’s institutional Open Access repository, as well as other systems relevant to the operation of open scholarly communications and open research within an HEI. The job role will involve the description of a wide variety of scholarly content according to established metadata schema, the correction and approval of system metadata and the preparation of digital file content for deposit, exposure and digital preservation. Interpretation of research funder Open Access policies and compliance requirements will be necessary, and the applicant should have some knowledge of copyright matters, experience of liaison with academic staff, and advanced skills in the manipulation of digital files….”

Library eBook Pledge

eBooks are a vitally important part of the 21st century knowledge landscape. They provide users of public, school, academic and research libraries with benefits not possible with paper books – from faster and more diverse methods of access to a more inclusive learning experience.

Although lending is enshrined in copyright law, the move to licensed eBooks has undermined many things we once took for granted, including stable pricing, preservation and inter-library loan, through to even the possibility for a library to acquire a book. This is not sustainable.

The Pledge

Without affecting the right of a publisher to offer different eBook licensing models to libraries, we pledge:

To make all eBooks available to libraries to preserve and to lend to the public directly or via inter-library loan, as soon as they are available to the public.
To make all eBooks individually purchasable by libraries outside of bundles.
To make available to libraries pricing terms which are transparent and clearly differentiate between the cost of the eBook itself (Digital File), and any hosting and platform costs (Platform Costs). Where percentage-based models are the norm, this should comprise the percentage paid to the publisher and the percentage paid to the author, and the platform provider.
To offer pricing for the Digital File on a “one copy one user” basis that is the same or similar to the price of the paper copy of the book, where available.
To allow all registered users of the library to access eBooks onsite and off.
To grant libraries the right to receive and host the Digital File on their own platform in perpetuity if requested, and lend to their own patrons on a “one copy one user” model without incurring any Platform Costs. For the avoidance of doubt, unless agreed otherwise, a publisher shall no longer be responsible for or have any obligations to provide libraries with replacement digital files when they become corrupted and degraded, in the case of files being held on library servers.
To also offer a licence on fair and equitable terms that extends access beyond a “one copy one user” model.
To not withdraw titles during the subscription period, and with at least 12 months prior notice to both libraries and authors, unless required due to an unforeseen legal reason.
To offer contracts to libraries that respect limitations and exceptions for libraries and their users provided in national copyright law.
To allow libraries to develop and freely share catalogue records acquired as part of ebook purchases with other libraries.
To align any collection of data with library privacy policies, and share non-personal and/or anonymised usage data with libraries to support their own decision-making.
To provide authors with appropriate remuneration for the lending of their works by libraries.


Supporting the wider open research ecosystem | Library, University of York

The University of York Library proudly supports a range of initiatives, tools and infrastructure services which are helping to facilitate the shift towards a culture of open research practice.

These deliver benefits to York researchers across a variety of disciplines as well as the global research community and wider public. Financial support is provided through formal memberships, subscriptions and one-off donations.

The Library engages with consortia-based frameworks such as SCOSS and Jisc OACF when considering how and where to pledge our support. Our decision-making is guided by the following 8 principles:



The missing link: the quality of UK local and national online media coverage of research – Insights

Abstract:  Local and national media have always played an instrumental role in the communication of academic research to the public. In recent years, this has proved even more important due to the extensive online national and international coverage of topics such as climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. Given that the media represent the public’s first point of contact with, and key source of information about, science and research, then, as academics, we need to know, firstly, whether the media make this research easily identifiable for the public and, secondly, whether the research itself is accessible. Our study examined coverage of University of Sheffield published research in UK local and national media to explore how far it is identifiable and accessible; using data from Altmetric.com we investigated what proportion of research covered provided sufficient details to identify research, including links to the published articles and explored how much of the research was accessible via open access. A large proportion of research that featured in local media cited the journal, academic institution and author, but did not link to the article. By contrast, national media cited the author, institution or funder much less than local news websites, but often linked to the actual research article. Most articles featured were open access. The implications of this and potential reasons for the national and local differences are discussed.


Releasing content for researchers to re-use – Living with Machines

“A desire of the Living with Machines project (and indeed an AHRC ‘gold standard’) is to release as many of the newspapers we digitised as we can (subject to copyright) in forms that other researchers can access and interrogate. The digitisation process undertaken jointly by the British Library and FindMyPast for Living with Machines has resulted in a series of newspaper images and related automatically transcribed (OCR) text, which have been released in various ways.  …”

My research culture is better than yours | Wonkhe

“So whilst I disagree with Iain Mansfield that it’s a mistake to allocate 25 per cent of REF outcomes to research culture, we need to make sure this has the desired long-term effect. The risk of pitting us all against each other in some unholy research culture competition is that hyper-competition was always at the heart of so many of our unhelpful research cultures. In fact, a lot of the research culture challenges we face are outwith the agency and reach of individual institutions, leaving collaboration as our only mechanism to create real change.

One thing is for sure: if we don’t get this right and research culture does become the next big competition in HE, we all know who’s going to win: our large, old and wealthy friends, the Very Research Intensives. Not only do they do more research – a fundamental prerequisite when it comes to research culture – they also benefit from many other forms of social and economic ‘research capital’….”

Setting up an Institutional Open Press: First steps | Open Access Books Network

Welcome to a series of blog posts by publishers, talking about the platforms they use to publish their open access books. In these posts, a range of different presses tell us what platform they use, why they chose it, and how it fits (or occasionally doesn’t quite fit) their work.

The second post in the series is by Suzanne Tatham, Associate Director, University of Sussex Library, and Dr Catrina Hey, Open Publishing Supervisor, University of Sussex Library. The University of Sussex is coming to the end of a pilot project to create an open textbook, a step on the road to developing an open university press. Suzanne and Catrina discuss using Pressbooks to support this pilot.


Guest Post – Why Are UK Libraries Signing a Springer-Nature Deal They Don’t Seem to Like? | The Scholarly Kitchen

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Peter Barr. Peter is Head of Content & Collections at the University of Sheffield Library.

At the beginning of May 2023, Jisc announced that UK Universities had agreed a new 3-year read and publish open access deal with Springer Nature (SN). This combines the previous read-only Nature Journals agreement with the existing Springer Compact Open Access agreement, and means that of the major publishers of UK research outputs, all but IEEE now have some form of Transformative Agreement (TA) through Jisc. However, while the announcement of the 2022 TA with Elsevier was celebrated as “unique both in the level of savings and the access it delivers and… a major step in the transition towards full, equitable and affordable… open scholarship”, the tone of the SN announcement was notably more muted. It was highlighted that a large number of UK institutions only accepted the agreement with significant reservations. Chief among these was the failure to get SN to move from a very high calculation of its publishing costs (the controversial €9,750 APC) or even to provide an explanation, in context, as to how it is justified. The inability to achieve truly transformative terms was predicted and comes against a backdrop where a group of UK campaigners were calling for rejection of anything that fell short of the ideal. Yet libraries, who are chiefly responsible for the administration of such agreements, find themselves continuing to sign TAs while becoming increasingly convinced that they do not represent the desired transformation. Therefore, some explanation of why this has happened — and keeps happening – is necessary. It is worth considering what more could have been reasonably achieved via library-publishing negotiation, and whether – with existing systemic limitations – academic libraries would be in a position to take risks without clearer expressions of support from their institutions and communities.


SUP collective funding for library-led open access publishing — Scottish Universities Press

“Scottish Universities Press (SUP) was conceived as a collaborative, institution-led approach to exploring the benefits of open access publishing, with a particular focus on the shift towards open access mandates from funders of research.

SUP is owned and managed by the 18 participating libraries through SCURL and operates on a not-for-profit basis, investing any surpluses generated back into the Press. The objective was to develop a Scotland-wide solution, providing researchers across institutions with a clear and cost-effective route to publishing open access. We were also keen to better understand the costs associated with publishing, and to scope the potential for savings associated with open access and realising economies of scale through collaboration. Through SCURL’s work in coordinating the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL), we had a strong basis for collaborative working and confidence in the benefits of shared services.

The first collective challenge we faced was in raising the funds to get SUP off the ground. We explored external funding possibilities but found that approach was not an obvious fit with most existing funding streams available to us in libraries.

SCURL member libraries, therefore, agreed to fund the start-up through a subscription paid from existing library budgets. We were also fortunate to secure a small Innovation and Development grant from the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Keeping costs low was a priority as our member libraries emerged from the pandemic into a precarious funding climate. Library budgets alone are not sufficient to meet the entire cost of providing a high-quality open access publishing service.

SUP therefore opted for a hybrid model involving authors (or their funders/institution) paying a per-book production charge in addition to the annual subscriptions. The latter covers core costs such as staffing and platform hosting, which is provided by the Edinburgh Diamond service from the University of Edinburgh. The subscription income does not cover any of the costs associated with book production (e.g., copyediting, typesetting, design, distribution, marketing) so the production charge fills that gap….”

New UKRI monographs policy is evolution, not revolution, of OA landscape | Jisc

by Caren Milloy

On 1 January 2024, a new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) policy comes into force. It takes the UK’s research sector further along the path towards a wider and more inclusive open access (OA) research landscape. It affects longer forms of research and aims to set broad guiderails for publishers and authors that will be refined and developed over time.

UKRI has funded Jisc to support the implementation of its policy. Our teams are working with the sector to develop new ways to approach longform research, leading to the wider adoption of open access for monographs and book chapters.