Next ECR Forum on Friday 16th January

The next Northumbria Early Career Researchers Forum will be held on Friday 16 Jan from 12.30-2.00 in the auditorium on the ground floor of Mea House.meeting

It will be the first forum meeting of 2015 and a chance to meet the ECR working group representatives from each faculty.

Ellen Cole, Scholarly Publications Librarian from the University Library and David Young, Research Funding and Policy Manager from RBS, will present Northumbria’s Open Access Policy and how it will work in practice. This is a great opportunity for you to ask any Open Access questions you may have.

Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available. Feel free to bring your lunch with you.

Please let me know if you plan to attend.


Open Access Pathfinder Workshop Report

At the end of October our Jisc-funded Open Access Pathfinder project, in collaboration with the Pathfinders led by the University of Hull and Coventry University, ran a full-day workshop on How to be innovative in Open Access with limited resources.


The event brought together representatives from 5 universities, most of which fall under the “modern university” heading. Among the attendees, backgrounds in open access and institutional responsibilities varied, with most attendees from a Library background, although three worked in central research offices:

  • Nick Woolley (Head of Academic Library Services, University of Northumbria, lead for Northumbria-Sunderland Pathfinder)
  • Barry Hall (Institutional Repository Coordinator, University of Sunderland)
  • Chris Awre (Head of Information Management, University of Hull, lead for HHuLOA Pathfinder)
  • Julie Bayley (Impact Manager, University of Coventry, project manager for 02OA Pathfinder)
  • Ellen Cole (Scholarly Publications Librarian, University of Northumbria)
  • Bev Jones (Research Repository and Information Officer, University of Lincoln)
  • David Young (Research Funding and Policy Manager, University of Northumbria)
  • Christine Downes (Research Support Coordinator, University of Northumbria)

It was a lively and engaging workshop and the smaller scale afforded more opportunity for detailed discussion and debate of the various issues.

You can read the full report for each of the three sessions on this blog:

Some pictures from the event are included below (yes, the cake was tasty!):

Draft Recommendations for Comment

At the end of the workshop we sketched out the following set of draft recommendations which we are publishing here for consideration and further comment from the sector, and in the spirit of the Jisc OA Pathfinder programme which is to “release outputs early and often”:


Best Practice Recommendations Sector Recommendations
Champions for OA among academic staff are relatively widespread, however we should consider OA champions among admin staff outside of Library, particularly research office. OA week: current positioning conflicts with start of term and reduces engagement. Suggestion for alternative UK date in Spring. Possible OA event in April 2015 (one year to go until HEFCE REF policy)
Avoid vague “want to know more about OA?” messages. Focus on producing short guides explaining process, what to do when, and FAQs. Coordination needed in negotiations with publishers to avoid “divide and rule”
Currently many institutions have piecemeal policies addressing OA, impact, IPR. There would be value in having an overarching “dissemination strategy” incorporating all of the above. Guidance on support staff roles and levels for OA from HEFCE?
Top-level webpages/intranet pages on OA – don’t split guidance between Library and Research Office. Pathfinder coverage of licensing and rights – there may be a gap here and Jisc needs to ensure this is covered
Create and disseminate template texts/OA slides for academics
In advocacy it is important to focus on the benefits of OA generally, and not just REF/RCUK compliance issues. Otherwise you risk creating a “REF divide” and disengaging staff who are not being considered for REF submission
Systems vs. Behaviour: expectation management is needed around the introduction of new systems (e.g. CRIS). No one system solves all problems. It’s crucial to focus on behaviour.

Next steps and Collaboration

Going forward, we have invited all participants to contribute a case study of their institutional approach to OA, issues specific to each institution, and how they are addressing them. Interim versions of these will be released in Spring next year, with the final versions in 2016. This aligns closely to the HHuLOA approach of capturing baseline data and updating this at regular intervals. Our Pathfinder is planning to contribute to this output for the HHuLOA Pathfinder.

In addition, Julie Bayley, project manager of the Coventry-led Pathfinder, is currently working on an intervention map, which will be a further joint output of the event.


British Academy highlights the need for variety of Open Access

British Academy highlights the need for variety of Open Access: “This includes consideration of the types of open access licences that should be permitted, the submission says. It believes the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivations (CC-BY-NC-ND) licence will usually be more appropriate for humanities and social science publications because this offers more safeguards against the misuse of work.”

More information here (via Research Professional).


Collaboration, balance and compliance: our Jisc Open Access Pathfinder project update

This project update is cross-posted from our Jisc OA Pathfinder blog:

Looking Back by Dr Wendy Longo CC BY-ND 2.0
Looking Back by Dr Wendy Longo CC BY-ND 2.0

We’re now just over three months into our Jisc OA Pathfinder project and it’s a good time to reflect on the progress we’ve made so far against our Project Plan as well as looking ahead to what’s in store over the coming months.

As a reminder and a starting point, it’s worth restating our project’s main aim“We will develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures to enable HEIs with limited external funding to effectively and creatively respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by recent Open Access policies.”

Working together

Way back in June/July there was a series of events which collectively kicked off the Jisc Pathfinder programme. The first was the inaugural meeting of the Open Access Implementation Community, which is a Jisc-hosted gathering of primarily library and research office colleagues who have some responsibility for setting and implementing open access policy in their institutions.

At the event each Pathfinder was asked to do a short (“lightning”) presentation of their project. This was incredibly useful as it enabled us to start to get a sense of where our project fits within the programme and where there are overlaps and potential synergies with other projects.

Following this my colleague, Ellen Cole, attended the first Programme Meeting on behalf of our Pathfinder. Here the theme of working together was picked up and a number of alignments between the projects were highlighted.

One of the first priorities for us following these events was to identify partners to work with us to build case studies – one of the key outputs of our project. In our bid, we had planned to hold a first case study workshop in September, but this clashed with various other Pathfinder events and it made sense to align our workshop with the plans of other Pathfinder projects. We therefore deferred the workshop until late October and are now in the planning stages, following initial discussions with the Hull and Coventry-led Pathfinders. These Pathfinder projects are both focusing on complementary areas to our own: Hull’s HHuLOA project looks at how OA can further research development at partner institutions, while Coventry’s O2OA focuses on understanding the requirements to implement OA in a modern university setting.

Like us, both of these projects have been carrying out some form of “baselining” (i.e. working out where they are currently and what the key issues are in order to address their project objectives). For us, some of this analysis has focused on our institutional repositories – which have been central in driving forward the OA agenda at our respective institutions. At our workshop we will build on this to explore questions around setting and implementing institutional OA policy in a modern university, and how we can go beyond compliance with limited external funding for OA.

A balancing act?

Our project team has also been busy designing a methodology for our case study work package. Part of this was assessing our current situation – as mentioned above – but we have also used the opportunity presented to us by this year’s Repository Fringe in Edinburgh. As one of the OA Pathfinders, we were asked to run a short session introducing our project to the delegates (a mix of library professionals, developers, publishers, and funders).

Our workshop focused on a few key questions which have arisen from our project team’s initial discussions as well as the work that we’ve already undertaken around open access advocacy and policy development:

  1. In our institutional OA policymaking, do we aim to strike an “optimal balance” between Green and Gold OA, or do we favour one over the other?
  2. Do all stakeholders in our institutions see this the same way as us?
  3. As institutions with limited resources to address the challenges posed by OA, can we use these policies to positively influence other aspects of our institutional culture, e.g. publishing behaviour?

The workshop provided some expected and some unexpected answers to these questions. It also helped to highlight many common themes and issues which are shared by a variety of stakeholders. The full report includes a summary and commentary on the findings – as well as copious pictures of coloured post-it notes!

Compliance and evidence

It’s been a busy time in our universities over the past few weeks, with preparations for the beginning of the new term. Those of us with an open access remit have been especially busy contributing to a number of reports and consultation documents primarily linked to the RCUK compliance monitoring report (due on the 12th September) and their related call for evidence on implementing the RCUK OA policy.

I’ll be writing another post about the various sector-wide consultation responses we have contributed to. For Northumbria, putting together the RCUK OA compliance report presented challenges in terms of linking ouputs and funding data. We have certainly made significant progress this year – an OA policy has been officially agreed by the University Executive, and this is supported by a significant internal OA APC fund. However, we still have work to do to make the whole OA lifecycle work smoothly.

What’s next?

  • Our project workshop in late-October will bring together 6-8 institutions with complementary aims to explore the challenges of implementing OA in a modern university setting. This will be the starting point of the case studies which will become a key output of the project.
  • We will start to look at cost modelling for OA, which will likely include further collaboration with another Pathfinder. Watch this space for more details.

An optimal balance of Green and Gold: what do our stakeholders think?

balance by Hans Splinter CC BY-ND 2.0

This was originally posted on our Jisc OA Pathfinder blog. Our project seeks to “develop shared tools and best practice policies and procedures to enable HEIs with limited external funding to effectively and creatively respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by recent Open Access policies”.

balance by Hans Splinter CC BY-ND 2.0
balance by Hans Splinter CC BY-ND 2.0

“Last week Ellen Cole and I travelled up to Edinburgh to take part in the Repository Fringe, an annual event for information professionals, developers, repository and research managers to discuss and share ideas and issues around repositories and open access.

Along with the other Jisc OA Pathfinders, we were asked to talk about our project and the work we plan to do. Our workshop focused on a few key questions which have arisen from our project team’s initial discussions as well as the work that we’ve already undertaken around open access advocacy and policy development:

  1. In our institutional OA policymaking, do we aim to strike an “optimal balance” between Green and Gold OA, or do we favour one over the other?
  2. Do all stakeholders in our institutions see this the same way as us?
  3. As institutions with limited resources to address the challenges posed by OA, can we use these policies to positively influence other aspects of our institutional culture, e.g. publishing behaviour?

After a brief introduction to these questions and the project, the participants split into groups and discussed who the key open access stakeholders were in each of their institutions, what their motivations were for engaging with OA, and what they wanted to achieve with OA. Each table-based group included a mix of institutions and perspectives, including participants from HEFCE, RCUK, JISC and other non-HEIs so there was a really good mix of views. Here are a few commonly occurring stakeholders, grouped by internal/external to HEIs:

Internal HE Stakeholders

  • Research admin/managers
  • Library staff
  • IT
  • Finance
  • University/Faculty/School senior managers
  • Researchers (but see below on the distinctions that can be drawn here)
  • Legal office
  • Comms/Marketing
  • Students (but these could also be users)

External HE

  • General public
  • Research users (e.g. charities, government, industry, SMEs)
  • Funders
  • Publishers
  • Collaborators

Some of the key motivations for OA are captured below:

  • Increasing citations
  • Developing research collaborations
  • Increasing research income
  • Policy compliance
  • Preservation and archiving
  • Demonstrating impact
  • Making researchers aware of the costs of publishing
  • Giving access to research


Following this, groups were then asked to position the stakeholders on a continuum from Green to Gold OA. This was a deliberately blunt tool, as often a particular stakeholders’ position with respect to Green/Gold differs depending on the context, but it was nevertheless effective in starting a conversation about the different needs and drivers of the various people involved.

This exercise prompted some interesting discussions, such as whether “researchers” could count as a single stakeholder or whether we need to distinguish between different research disciplines and career stages with regards to OA. One of the groups which I took part in felt we couldn’t simply lump them together, for example because some STEM disciplines may feel more comfortable and familiar with a Green route to OA, while senior researchers may want funding for Gold to ensure the highest possible impact from their work.

A couple of groups distinguished between Researchers-as-producers/authors and Researchers-as-readers, and felt that the former group would sit more towards the Green end of the spectrum and the latter at the Gold end.

In the concluding feedback session there was a diverse range of opinions, including the view that it’s not possible to strike a balance between all of the stakeholders involved! Here are a few thoughts from participants grouped by area to give a flavour of the discussion:


  • The public don’t really care whether it’s green or gold – they just want access!
  • Where different stakeholders sit on the Green/Gold spectrum is difficult to tease out and depends on motivation.
  • Within group differences outweigh between group differences
  • Within some groups there are different hats, eg costing, research managers.


  • Two groups: funders and publishers aren’t getting involved in the messy business of implementation
  • The only person who benefits from Gold in the long run is the publisher.
  • Ideological discussions: should we be asking publishers to give a transparent breakdown of Gold costs?


  • Discipline specific differences: In one institution it was felt that Law just want to publish – and don’t care about OA, but at Northumbria the School of Law is setting up OA journals.
  • Green/Gold OA doesn’t matter to (some) academics – they’re interested in status of journal


  • Funders: Wellcome wanted to be Gold so provided a wider framework.
  • Wellcome researchers just rely on Wellcome to publish and perhaps don’t deposit?

We’d like to thank everyone who came along and participated in the session. The debate was really positive and fruitful and we’ll be using the outcomes from this workshop to feed into a survey and our first project workshops, to be taking place in October. As always, we’ll keep the blog updated so if you’re interested in following the progress of the project please either bookmark this page or subscribe to the blog.”


Open Access at Northumbria: the key issues

Lockless Keys by plentyr CC BY-SA 2.0This post by Ellen Cole is cross-posted from our Jisc-funded OA Pathfinder blog:

“I’ve worked at Northumbria University since January 2011 and have seen many changes to how we ‘do’ Open Access. This is an attempt to summarise where we are with our systems, policies and governance, in another post I’ll talk about how we work with researchers to support their OA endeavours.

Though Northumbria researchers have pursued OA by other means, our efforts as a University have mostly centred around our institutional repository, Northumbria Research Link (NRL). NRL has been around since 2008 in a number of guises and is now a key part of the research workflow at Northumbria and central to our efforts to deliver OA.

NRL currently contains 12946 records, 25% have full text attached. Of our 6305 journal articles, 24% have full text attached. In addition to mediating deposits to NRL, the Scholarly Publications Team (me and 3 Scholarly Publications Assistants) has recently been administering the payment of article processing charges (APCs), and preparing for the implementation of our new University Open Access policy, which mandates the deposit of accepted author manuscripts  to NRL and provides institutional funds for the payment of APCs where funder policy requires or where seen as advantageous by the faculty.

In my view, these are key issues in the development of OA at Northumbria:

  • The repository is central to the research lifecycle, with metadata re-used in multiple research administration systems. Our researchers use an online Personal Research and Innovation Plan (PRIP) to compile their recent research activities and plan their future activities. Details of their published work are harvested from NRL, so the researcher must deposit in NRL to ensure their research is reviewed in the PRIP process. This has perhaps diluted the OA function of the repository, but provides a great opportunity to start talking to researchers about OA.
  • Using NRL metadata for institutional purposes (the REF2014 submission, PRIP) has provided us with a rich data set to use to analyse our research activity. This enabled us to create detailed cost models for a range of scenarios to deliver OA, ranging from the cost of simply making everything available green and making everything available gold, with various positions in between, such as only making ‘REF-able’ items available in a gold format.
  • There’s a shared understanding that OA is about more than just compliance with funder policy, and could be a great opportunity for increasing access to our research. In turn, this could help meet our institutional goals of increased research impact. This has informed our decisions in formulating an OA policy: were we satisfied with an all-green route that may be fully policy-compliant, if paying an APC could lead to immediate, free, global access to our research, potentially increasing its reach and impact?
  • Cross-university partnerships have been crucial to the development of NRL and OA. Though services are often library-managed and administered, our accountability is to a much broader community, including both researchers and other support services.

The University has a growing research profile and aims to increase the volume and improve the quality of research, consultancy and scholarly activity. As external funding for OA – BIS ‘pump prime’ funds, RCUK block grants  – was provided based on previous research activity, there is a shortfall in this funding. The institutional fund is an attempt to address this, to ensure our researchers have the same options open to them as researchers at institutions in receipt of greater external funds. Another route to OA for our authors will be a new journal publishing platform managed by the University Library.

This is a really exciting, busy, time to be involved in research support at Northumbria. We have a lot to do, but there’s an appetite here, and with our project partner Sunderland, to come up with some creative solutions to the challenges OA presents.”


OAIC: Facing the Open Access challenge together

This is a cross-post from our Jisc OA Pathfinder blog:

Yesterday I attended the first physical meeting in Jisc’s Open Access Implementation Community (OAIC) in London. The OAIC is a network of librarians, research managers and other administrators – basically everyone working in UK HE who has a stake in implementing Open Access requirements of funders and HEFCE.

Jisc and the OAIC are arranging a series of events (workshops, webinars etc.) to enable the Pathfinder projects and the community to learn from each other and share best practice. These events are a great opportunity for everyone to get together and share things that have worked (and what hasn’t!) so that we can more effectively address the challenges posed by OA.

All of the Jisc OA Pathfinders were invited to attend yesterday’s event to deliver short “lightning talks” on what our projects aim to do over the next two years. Although the proposals had already been circulated around the Pathfinder group, I found it useful to hear other projects talk about their aims and scope in person. It was great to meet the other Pathfinder teams and to start to think about synergies and overlaps of our projects.

Here’s my presentation of our Pathfinder:

The event was well attended with representatives from a range of organisations – not just the Pathfinder projects. It was also good to see a mix of library and research support staff involved. The projects each had unique elements, although some (our own included) had areas of overlap. For example, several Pathfinders aim to produce “toolkits” and case studies.

This means it will be important for us all to work together to ensure we’re not duplicating effort and that the toolkits and outputs we create are complementary and of value to the sector as a whole. Jisc are aware of this and next week’s Programme meeting for all the Pathfinder projects will be a good opportunity to start a dialogue on how we all work together.

The afternoon was a chance for us to brainstorm the key problems we’re facing in groups – and then to propose solutions. It was interesting that many of the groups came up with advocacy and clarity around procedures and systems as two key areas to address. The others were compliance (with RCUK and HEFCE’s REF requirements), and the mismatch between publishers and funders.

Jisc Map slideThe apparent proliferation of projects, standards and stakeholders was also raised. At one point Neil Jacobs produced a slide with a baffling array of arrows and nodes: CASRAI, RIOXX, Monitor, Publications Router, Sherpa ROMEO, OpenDOAR, OpenAIRE… One of the tasks ahead for both Jisc and the Pathfinders must be to find a way of distilling all of this down into easy-to-understand workflows and procedures for both academic staff and administrators.

While I really enjoyed the day, I do wonder whether the location needs to be varied a bit for future meetings. I appreciate that London is relatively straightforward for most travellers, but it would be good to have more Northern OAIC meetings every so often.

The Twitter hashtag for the event was #oagp (OA Good Practice) and this gives a good flavour of the discussion at yesterday’s meeting.


Survey to help major research project understand how you use books

Domesday-book-1804x972 - Public DomainOAPEN-UK, an AHRC and Jisc-funded project on open access monographs, is currently running a survey to understand how researchers in the humanities and social sciences use books, and especially monographs.

The survey design has been informed by a range of funders including HEFCE and Jisc, and the findings will help build an evidence base for future policies to support monograph publishing in the UK.

No identifiable data will be made public or shared beyond the OAPEN-UK project team. All respondents to the survey can enter a prize draw to win up to £100 of Amazon vouchers.

I hope you’ll spare 10-15 minutes to participate, and to help the researchers understand what you want as both authors and readers of books.

The survey can be found here: 

The deadline for completed surveys is 6th June.

If you have any questions, please contact the survey researcher, Ellen Collins, on”


HEFCE Open Access Policy for post-2014 REF

Open Access promomaterial by biblioteekje CC BY-NC-SA 2.0HEFCE has today released its open access policy for the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.

I was intending to write a short summary this morning, but I’ve already been beaten to it by the ever-excellent Martin Eve, who’s got a “Really Short Version” in four bullets, and an extended abridged version if you want to dig a little deeper.

Martin’s full summary is posted below thanks to the magic of open access (Creative Commons Attribution license to be specific). This guide is aimed at academic staff, so it doesn’t cover some of the stuff around “discoverability” of outputs since that will largely be handled by institutional repository staff. (Incidentally, you shouldn’t worry about the veracity of this account – Martin’s version has already been praised by Ben Johnson, the HEFCE policy manager who co-authored the original policy, on Twitter):

The Really Short Version:

  1. Submit journal article.
  2. Check journal policy at (the bits on “post-print” are the thing to pay attention to).
  3. On acceptance go to your institution’s repository and create a record. Upload your author’s accepted version setting the embargo as per SHERPA/RoMEO [at Northumbria repository staff are available to help with this and check it’s set it correctly].
  4. That’s it.

The Geekier Longer Version
Source: “Policy for Open Access in the Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework“, March 31, 2014


  • Applies to all: journal articles and published conference papers (with ISSN) accepted after 1 April 2016. (Paras 11, 13)
  • Exempted: monographs (“and other-long form publications”), edited collections (without ISSN), non-text outputs, data. (Para 14)
  • Outputs to which this applies are subject to open access deposit, discovery and access requirements. (Para 16) It is anticipated that the “discovery” requirement will be met at the institutional and technological level.
  • “Credit will be given” to institutions exceeding the letter of this policy in a future “research environment” component. (Para 15)
  • “Non-compliant outputs will be given an unclassified score and will not be assessed in the REF.” (Para 42)

Deposit Requirements

Authors MUST:

  • upload the “accepted and final peer-reviewed text” to “an institutional repository, a repository service shared between multiple institutions, or a subject repository such as arXiv”. (Paras 17, 19)
  • do so “as soon after the point of [firm (Para 19)] acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after this date”. (Para 18)

Allowable exceptions:

  • the author did not work at an HEI at time of acceptance.
  • “it would be unlawful to deposit, or request the deposit of, the output”.
  • “depositing the output would present a security risk”. (Para 36)

Authors MAY:

  • upload a subsequent version as a supplement or replacement if the publisher allows it. (Para 19) If a replacement, it must also fulfil the access requirement (Para 33).

Access Requirements

Authors MUST:

  • allow others “search electronically within the text, read it and download it without charge”. (Para 25)
  • respect any ‘embargo period’ (an open access delay) specified by the publisher. (Para 25)
  • but an embargo MUST NOT be longer than 24 months for panels C and D and 12 months for panels A and B. (Para 30)
  • regardless of whether publisher specifies delay, you MUST deposit at time of acceptance (deposit requirement)
  • no specific license is required. It is suggested that CC BY-NC-ND could meet the above provisions. (Para 25)
  • if provisions are made to allow text-mining, which could include more liberal licensing, then credit will be given in the “environment” component. (Para 34)

The ONLY allowable exceptions:

  • third-party rights couldn’t be obtained for material within to be made OA
  • the embargo period was above the maximum allowed, or the journal disallows deposit, but the venue was “the most appropriate” (Para 37)