Monthly Archives: October 2014

Siege of Troy: Hector and Achilles

Improving research outcomes with Early European (and English) Books

Early European Books website
Screen capture of the Early European Books website

It’s not often that a single event appeals to three of my interests, but the recent Jisc-ProQuest symposium on Early European Books Online did just that. I work to develop research collections, and support digital humanities scholarship, while my own research is looking at 17th century texts using corpus linguistics tools: Early European Books brings all three neatly together.
I was slightly suspicious that I might be attending a sales demonstration, but Lorraine Estelle, from Jisc Collections, opened by announcing that Jisc has licensed this resource in perpetuity, making it is freely available to the UK HE community via the Historical Texts platform.

‘E-books are the research data of Humanities’

The presentation by Paul Ayris (delivered on the day by Ben Meunier) put EEB firmly in context of research data management, referencing the LERU 2013 roadmap, and ‘science 2.0’ for Arts and Humanities scholars – noting that e-books are our research data. New forms of text analysis are possible using text and data mining techniques. He described EEB as ‘a defining project, delivering on the science 2.0 agenda for Arts and Humanities’.

The Text Creation Partnership, and others

Artist's impression of XML files of early European books
Artist’s impression of XML files of early European books

What has really enabled text mining is not just the existence of EEB or EEBO, however, but the extraordinary partnership that has produced EEBO-TCP. The Text Creation Partnership has involved re-keying the text images to create standardized, accurate XML/SGML encoded electronic text editions of early printed books. This work, and the resulting text files, are jointly funded and owned by more than 150 libraries worldwide.

Matthew Brack gave us a very practical assessment of the project management experience in the Wellcome library’s digitisation projects. Andrew Pettegree talked about the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) and the challenges of comprehensive coverage.

At the lively round table discussion we considered the difficulty of citing/measuring the impact of electronic sources and the [un]reliability (46%) of OCR software.
It’s clear to me that we need a partnership approach with librarians, providers, and scholars working to counteract misperceptions of ‘easy’ e-scholarship and/or lazy searching, and issues with citation of e-resources. After all, Digital Humanities research is typically a highly collaborative activity.

University of Manchester users can access the first four collections in Early European Books via the Library’s A-Z of databases pages.

Use your LOAF!

Open Access week banner

To celebrate International Open Access Week, The University of Manchester Library’s Research Services, Academic Engagement and Marketing teams worked together to deliver a seminar on Open Access (OA) at Manchester. The main aim of the session was to engage with our institution’s researchers. Through a combination of presentations, Q&A sessions and networking opportunities, the seminar brought researchers up to date with what Manchester has achieved with OA; the policies of research funders; progress in OA over the last year; and insight into upcoming developments.

Increasing citations

The Vice-President for Research and Innovation Professor Luke Georghiou opened proceedings with his own take on Open Access. His research group has published three OA articles in the past year, which have achieved high levels of download; he is convinced this is due to ease of access, and is sure that OA will contribute to future levels of citation. Professor Georghiou thanked the Library for its excellent support.

Exceeding compliance targets

Open Access Seminar graph 2Helen Dobson reflected on the growth of the Library’s OA service, now playing a key role in the University’s OA support. Our work resulted in a 54% compliance rate for RCUK-funded research, an achievement high above the 45% target set by RCUK at the start of the year. Helen discussed the ‘pain points’ encountered by the team, including authors finding the process confusing, or being too busy to arrange OA. These insights help us develop our system and work with other institutions and publishers to streamline procedures. Despite these difficulties, our service has received great feedback and supported over 500 articles in becoming Open Access.

Making books as accessible as journals

Dr Frances Pinter, CEO of Manchester University Press, spoke of the need to find sustainable routes to OA for specialist scholarly books, and make them as accessible as science journals. The not-for-profit pilot Knowledge Unlatched has succeeded in proof of concept. With this model a library consortium paid for a package of e-books to be made fully open, and librarians participated in the selection of content. There has been a high level of downloads.

HEFCE, COAF and LOAF

Emma Thompson explained the new ‘game changing’ HEFCE policy. All potential REF outputs must be must be deposited in an institutional repository on acceptance, discoverable immediately, and free to read ASAP. We are encouraging researchers to deposit their Author’s Accepted Manuscripts (AAM) ahead of the compliance start date 1 April 2016, and the Library is working with colleagues in Computer Science to develop an easy interface.

Our team will also be administering the new Charities OA Fund (COAF) at Manchester. We have further demonstrated our commitment to innovation, OA and the University’s researchers by announcing the new Library Open Access Fund (LOAF). We want to support authors who do not have funding to cover Article Processing Charges, and have created a pool of funds to support the publication of OA papers. The LOAF pilot will be managed by the Library’s OA team and will be run on a first come, first served basis.

If you would like a slice of LOAF, please contact the OA team.

Open Access Week

Open Access Seminar

Open Access week banner

As part of Open Access week this lunchtime seminar provides an opportunity for academics and researcher support staff to learn about Open Access at Manchester, including new policies, funds and developments.

The seminar will include presentations by Professor Luke Georghiou, the University’s Vice-President for Research and Innovation, and Dr Frances Pinter, CEO of Manchester University Press.

All material used during presentations will be available after the seminar.

The programme is available online; registration is via Eventbrite.

Welcome 2014: Research support available

Welcome Week for researchers

At the start of the new academic year, the Library’s Research Services team has been directly involved in the University Library’s Welcome programme, meeting new students and researchers to explain how to get the most out of the services offered by the Library.
With so much for new students to take in, we focused on key information, explaining how to begin using the Library and get started on research. As well as providing logistical information on obtaining student cards and Library PINs, we highlighted the Library’s discovery system, Library Search, and drew attention to the invaluable resources available from the Library.

Welcome 2014: Research support available
Traceyanne explains the research support available to MACE postgraduate researchers

Speaking on 2 October to new Postgraduate Researchers at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE), we described the information, guidance and support offered by the Research Services team on the issues and technology affecting the University’s researchers. We explained how to get help with Research Data Management; assessing the citation impact of your research; use of our institutional repository Manchester eScholar; and how to make published work Open Access.

The Library has developed online Subject Guides to draw together information and resources for particular discipine areas, as well as resources of inter-disciplinary interest like our extensive international newspaper archives. Our colleagues can also support researchers with guidance on copyright, referencing and undertaking systematic reviews.

Welcome 2014: facilities available
Lucinda highlights the facilities available to support researchers in their work

My Learning Essentials (MLE) is the Library’s award-winning skills programme, comprising a comprehensive suite of online resources, workshops and skills clinics designed to help users develop their academic and employability skills. MLE offers a great opportunity to develop essential research skills, hone referencing techniques and the use of referencing software such as EndNote and Mendeley, and learn the most effective ways to plan literature searches.

It was great to meet some of our new researchers and we look forward to working with them this year.

Open Access 'One Way'

OAwe and wonder: a long year of open access

RCUK Report cover 2014Friday, 12 September marked the end of the first extended year of RCUK’s Open Access (OA) policy. There were some tense moments in the Research Services office as we put the finishing touches to our report before the high noon deadline. The data and compliance report we submitted includes details of the payments made from the block grant and full-text deposits in Manchester eScholar, our institutional repository. You can see the report and all supporting data in our institutional repository.

Prior to the launch of the RCUK policy we’d delivered campus-wide communications and we monitored publishing activity throughout the year. We’d had some very invigorating discussions with researchers about the pros and cons of OA and efficiencies in publication procedures and we monitored OA engagement throughout the year to see if they’d listened. We wondered which way authors would jump – Gold or Green? Would they choose different journals if their first choice wasn’t compliant with the policy? And how much more nudging would they need to change their established publishing behaviour? We continued our communication throughout the year, partly reminders of the policy and partly targeted messages to authors of non-OA RCUK-funded papers.

At final count we paid for 575 papers from the block grant and identified 59 Green OA papers. This total (634) represents 53% compliance. We estimate an overall compliance level of 65%, based on a sample of data from Web of Knowledge.

RCUK approved us spending part of the grant on an OA monograph and this was our highest charge – £6,500. Our highest Article Processing Charge (APC) was almost £4,200. Our average APC for Year One, not taking account of institutional discounts, works out at £1,510.

Looking to the year ahead

Open Access 'One Way'
Open Access: Green or Gold?

We wonder how strictly RCUK will define compliance after Year One? We know that 29% of Gold OA papers are not licensed as CC-BY and no Green OA papers are licensed as CC-BY-NC. We don’t know why this is because we don’t approve payments for journals that don’t offer CC-BY. In terms of Green compliance, we aren’t aware that publishers are offering CC-BY-NC as an option. The role of publishers in influencing licence choices and displaying licence information is something we hope RCUK will investigate more in Year Two – rather than penalising individuals whose papers aren’t correctly licenced this year. We’ve found that some publishers are willing and able to amend licences for RCUK-funded authors after publication on request but that others won’t.

We know that we haven’t changed culture entirely in Year One, but we’ve made some significant progress and have a solid foundation on which to build towards increased compliance with RCUK and HEFCE’s OA policies.