Humanities in Horizon 2020 – February Information Day

The RCUK National Contact Points for Horizon 2020 will hold two events in February 2015 for those interested in exploring Horizon 2020 funding opportunities. Both events will be held at the Research Councils in Swindon. index

An event on Humanities Opportunities in Europe will be held on 18th February. This will highlight funding opportunities for Arts and Humanities Researchers, including Marie Sklowdowska-Curie Actions, the European Research Council, Research Infrastructures, the societal challenge “Europe in a Changing World“, and the cross-cutting themes of “Science with and for Society” and “Spreading Excellence and Widening Participation“.

On the same day, there will be an “Open Surgery” for 1:1 advice on Horizon 2020 with the National Contact Point where you can sign up for 20 minute appointments in advance.

We recommend you sign up quickly if you are interested as places are available on a first come first serve basis with registration closing on February 13th (unless fully booked beforehand).


Researchfish RCUK Roadshow

goldfish by John Sullivan CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
goldfish by John Sullivan CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Earlier this week I went down to London to learn all about Researchfish, the system for collecting outcomes data recently adopted by all UK Research Councils. Here are some things I learned.

Key points: 

  • Researchfish is an online service which enables funders to track the impacts of their investments, and researchers to tell funders about the outcomes associated with their research grants.
  • Principal Investigators (PIs) create an account then input information about their outcomes and associate these with their grants by dragging and dropping on Researchfish. The user interface is relatively straightforward.
  • PIs can do this any time throughout the year (or assign a “delegate” to do it for them) but there is usually a one-month annual “submission period” where the information must be formally submitted to the funder. Only the PI can submit.
  • The RCUK submission period runs from 16th Oct to 13th November 2014.
  • All PIs with current grants as well as those which ended up to 5 years ago must submit a return to RCUK using Researchfish in this submission period by using the red “submit” button when it becomes available.
  • Sanctions will be implemented against PIs who do not submit a return. This includes an inability to apply for any further funding from RCs as well as withholding payments.
  • Two types of outcomes will be collected: “Common” outcomes, generic to all funders and grant types (e.g. publications, further funding, engagement activities, collaborations) and “Additional” outcomes which are specific to each funder. These additional outcomes are compulsory fields.
  • Lots of help and support is available: Researchfish has produced a short video (see below) on how to upload outcomes and they also host regular webinars for PIs; RCUK has produced a presentation highlighting the benefits of collecting outcomes as well as how to use Researchfish, and we will be providing training for Northumbria PIs next Wednesday 15th October between 1-2pm (relevant PIs should already have received an invitation to this).

ResearchFish v04 from Researchfish on Vimeo.


Researchfish has been used since 2008/09 to collect outcomes data from MRC/STFC and is now used by some 90 funding organisations around the UK. Prior to moving to Researchfish most RCs used the in-house developed Research Outcomes System(ROS) to track and report on research outcomes associated with grants. Realising it was unsustainable to use two separate and incompatible systems to record research outcomes, RCUK’s Research Outcomes Harmonisation project was established and in June this year RCUK announced that Researchfish had been chosen as the sole outcomes collection and reporting service for all Councils.

The biggest number of complaints received by Researchfish so far relates to PIs having to re-enter lots of data already collected by ROS. This was because not all data could be easily mapped from ROS into Researchfish fields, e.g. Further Funding in ROS was free text entry, whereas in Researchfish there are multiple categories available. This meant in many cases it was difficult if not impossible to import data.

University research managers are also lobbying RCUK to allow access to outcomes uploaded by their university’s PIs on Researchfish. Currently HEIs need to pay an additional subscription to access this data, although RCUK will publish submitted outcomes via its Gateway to Research system.


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).


EPSRC Design the Future

Do You Remember the Future by JD Hancock CC BY 2.0

Do You Remember the Future by JD Hancock CC BY 2.0EPSRC has recently announced the Design the Future call, which aims “to encourage adventurous research addressing future design challenges, researching the effect of new science and engineering on the designers and the design process, leading to the development of future products, processes, devices, services and industrial and infrastructure systems.”

What’s available?

Up to £300,000 in total for small, feasibility projects (18-months duration) that help develop innovative, exciting ideas on engineering design for future applications. EPSRC will review the portfolio of funded projects in 2016 and may then provide additional funding for extensions and further research and impact.

What are they looking for?

Adventurous research with the potential to lead to new products, processes and services. The research supported by this call should explore the following themes:

  • How engineering design can accelerate the adoption of new materials, new processes and new technologies
  • How engineering design can be more creative, more effective and allow for new design paradigms
  • How engineering design is conducted within organisational and manufacturing contexts
  • How engineering designers engage with users and other stakeholders.

How do I apply?

There are two stages to the application process. Stage 1 is a “concept audition” which consists of a short expression of interest form on the EPSRC website followed by a 2 minute pitch to a panel of academic and industry experts, then 10 minutes of questions.

Shortlisted applicants will then be invited into Stage 2, where the idea should be enhanced and developed into a research project that will be assessed at the main interview panel.

The initial concept auditions will be held at various locations in early December 2014, and the closing date for registration is 29th October. In order to attend you must complete the expression of interest on the EPSRC website. Early registration is advisable since EPSRC may operate a first-come, first-served policy if numbers are too high.

We advise you to contact your Faculty Research Funding and Policy Manager at an early stage to notify your intention to submit and for advice and guidance on the concept audition process.



RCUK-Brazil Research Partnerships Call

Brazil 2014 by Adrien Sifre CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Brazil 2014 by Adrien Sifre CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

RCUK has recently released a call for research partnerships with Brazil as part of the £375M Newton Fund, which we blogged about earlier in the year:

RCUK-CONFAP Research Partnerships Call Preliminary Notice – Deadline 17th Oct 2014

What’s the call about?

The aim of this call is to provide flexible short-term support for small-scale research and networking activities, with the objective of establishing sustainable collaborations between UK and Brazilian researchers, helping to build a community that will be better equipped to develop excellent research outcomes through this and future funding opportunities.

What will the awards fund?

The awards will be up to 12 months in duration and funded to a maximum of £50K (direct costs only at 100%) by RCUK with support for matched effort from CONFAP (Brazil). Funds can be used for travel, subsistence and other networking or collaborative activities, such as workshops, summer schools and exchanges (in either direction: from and to the UK). Funds can also be used to support direct research costs; funding for staff time will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Who can apply?

The lead UK applicant must be a current RCUK award holder and the lead Brazil applicant must be from a state whose FAP has signed up to the Newton Fund MoU. For the UK, there are a couple of exceptions: the AHRC exceptionally allows PIs who have been in receipt of an AHRC award within the last 5 years; the ESRC allows applications from researchers not currently in receipt of RCUK funding as long as they are part of a research group or cluster, in an institution eligible for ESRC funding, with a significant portfolio of externally funded research within the broad theme of the application.

What kinds of research will be funded?

Applications across all research council areas are welcome, as long as they make a strong case for UK-Brazil cooperation, but in particular the following areas have been highlighted as particularly welcome:

  • Health
  • Urban transformations
  • Food energy water environment nexus
  • Biodiversity and ecosystems resilience
  • Economic development and welfare reform

How do I apply?

There is a single form for both the UK and Brazil applicants, available here: This needs to be completed and submitted to (for UK applicants) and to (for Brazilian applicants) by the call deadline (17th October 2014). Potential applicants are encouraged to contact your relevant Research Funding Manager as soon as possible to discuss.


AHRC Delivery plan for 2015-16


The Arts and Humanities Research Council has published its Delivery Plan 2015-2016, which provides a high-level overview of their plan for the next two years. It also sets out the principles, priorities and approaches that will be used to achieve this plan.  The key objectives for 2015-16 follow from the central elements  set out in The Human World: AHRC Strategy 2013-18 .

2015-16 will see also the tenth anniversary of AHRC’s establishment as a research council, and a number of events will be planned to highlight the impact and reach of their work.

Alongside the individual delivery plans, a new Research Councils UK (RCUK) strategic vision will be published to set out how the Councils will work together to provide a vital contribution to economic growth and wellbeing within the UK. Once the document is published we will be sure to let you all know!



Assistive, Adaptive, Rehabilitative Technologies Sandpit

Eye_orbit_anatomy_anterior2 by Patrick J. Lynch CC BY 2.5EPSRC has recently announced a call for participants for its Assistive, Adaptive and Rehabilitative Technologies Sandpit, scheduled to take place 1st – 5th September 2014:

“The EPSRC is running a sandpit in the broad area of assistive and rehabilitative devices in order to try to engender a radical change in the research undertaken in this field in the UK.

The sandpit will be focussed on key research challenges within the sphere of intelligent and intentional assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative technologies. The challenges in this field are likely to need highly multidisciplinary solutions, hence we are offering researchers from a wide range of disciplines the opportunity to come together to innovate scientific and technological solutions to identifiable user needs.”

It is expected that up to £5M of EPSRC funding will be made available to fund projects arising from this sandpit. The deadline for the call to attend the sandpit is noon on the 5th June 2014 and the application is submitted online via the EPSRC website, rather than via Je-S:

Key challenges participants may be interested in could include (but are not restricted to):

  • New robotic components and solutions for prosthetics and rehabilitative devices (including sensory devices);
  • Bio-mechatronics;
  • New user-device interfacing and integration approaches;
  • Automatic identification of user intention;
  • ‘Learning’ and self-optimising devices;
  • Better understanding and design of the physical fit of a device;
  • New manufacturing approaches for personalised device;
  • Sustainability in terms of both manufacturing and device power and efficiency;
  • Use of new materials for assistive or rehabilitative devices;
  • Integration of evidence of device efficacy into design.

Participants will also be encouraged to consider how their proposed solutions fit into the clinical context “including the measurement and achievement of improved treatment, the importance of acceptability and user perceptions of technology, consideration of the affordability or cost-effectiveness of an innovation, and the extent to which personalisation or user-centred design can improve the efficacy of a device and the level of patient compliance.”

All interested applicants are encouraged to make early contact with their Research Funding and Policy Manager and Research and Innovation Lead to discuss their proposal.


Open Access, Research and Government Policy

Open Access storefrontBack in November last year I attended a couple of useful and interesting events on open access policy which involved a mix of publishers, academics and HE managers, and government representatives. I’ve been meaning to blog my notes for a while but the small matter of the REF intervened…

I haven’t edited these much so they are more or less my thoughts and snippets that I thought would be useful to others. I’m putting them up here to share and hopefully contribute to the ongoing debate on open access in HE. It’s a little long for a blog post, but I’ve summarised the key messages at the start of each section.

Westminster HE Forum on Open Access:

[important]Summary of event: This event was definitely the most diverse of the two in terms of participants as it involved a mix of HE, funders, publishing industry and policymakers on the panels and in the audience. This made for some lively debate particularly as the question of what value publishers actually add to the academic publication process came up frequently.

Key messages: Most funders already mandate OA, if not they are moving in that direction, but concerns surround how this is to be paid for – not all allow Gold OA costs as part of the grant. There was an interesting discussion of the OA landscape around Europe which showed a very mixed picture in the details, but a general trend towards OA as a requirement for publicly funded research. There was fierce debate about whether Gold is necessary, with OA advocates such as Harnad arguing strongly that increasing adoption of Green OA will eventually lead to worldwide adoption of OA without excessive costs. Publishers – needless to say – argued that Gold is a necessary part of the transition to sustainable OA.[/important]

Wellcome Trust

  • Policy is OA as soon as possible
  • Supports green and gold with strong preference for gold, but gold funding is eligible grant cost
  • Compliance is 65% general upward trend
  • CC BY requirement from April 2013
  • Currently spend £4m per year to support OA
  • If Wellcome funded everything through OA it would cost £9m, but that would only be 1-2% of total spend
  • Market may be dysfunctional, so double-dipping etc happens
  • Have commissioned research into Gold OA with RCUK RLUK etc
  • Discussing Green vs Gold is not helpful any more
  • Was part of Finch review
  • UK is not alone in this process of transitioning to OA
  • Horizon 2020 APCs are in the grant
  • Lots of US funding agencies accept APCs as eligible cost in grant
  • (… But RCUK does not!)
  • What about people not funded through grants?
  • What about humanities and social sciences? How might research funders cope with this?
  • Has there been any progress on OA for books and monographs?
  • How does the argument for Green > Gold work? How will the market suddenly flip from Green to Gold?
    • Springer not sure. But whole Springer portfolio allows Green.
  • What about books/monographs?
    • Springer: Books, totally agree no progress. Question of time.
    • Wellcome: requires monographs and book chapters to be available.
    • Wellcome: we all want to be at the place where publications are freely available.
  • How much is too much?
    • Imperial: need an evidence base to determine how much it’s worth paying.
    • Harnad: goal is not Gold, it’s open access. Only the UK mandates Gold. As we approach 100% OA, institutions will cancel journal subscriptions.
    • Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers: if all we want is accepted version, then we go Green, but if we want the ‘value add’ that publishers provide in terms of the ‘version of record’ then we need to go Gold.
British Embassy Prague, Science attaché – A European perspective on OA
  • 50% of scientific papers published between 2008-2011 are now available for free
  • It’s already happening
  • Spain is only EU country with clear OA legislation at national level
  • Denmark: prefers Green. Funder mandates. Should be OA providing it’s accepted by the journal in question
  • France: mix of Green and Gold = Platinum, no details of what this means or how to bring it about
  • Germany: prefers Green. 6 months for STEM subjects. Gold is considered a ‘parallel route’
  • Netherlands: no official policy but all universities have signed Berlin declaration since 2005. Dutch association of universities have reached agreement with Springer such that all publications by Dutch authors will be freely available next year.
  • Similar concerns and questions across Europe as in the UK: e.g. licensing, CC BY, if gold where do we get the funds?, if green how do we set optimum embargo periods?
Martin Hall, VC Salford – New colonialism in the knowledge economy: Opportunities in the ruins of book publishing
  • Changing nature of research by allowing publication to make reference to data source through hyperlinks etc
  • The power of the hashtag, allows aggregation of massive amounts of information
  • The importance of the copy of record, vital importance of the research repository
  • Repositories will serve as archives for data sets as well as publications
  • OAPEN offers shared open access platform to get material out there
  • Opportunity for social sciences and humanities to learn from previous discussion in science publishing
  • Social media: MOOCs closely connected to publication and OA publication. Coursera likely to be commercialised. Used to outsource 101 teaching courses in US. Implies loss of jobs among junior staff. MOOCs used publications in OA repositories, dependent on OA model.
  • Books: strange that there’s so little movement on this. Is it so different to the journal area? Driver for Finch came from BIS, which was about driving business-oriented innovation. OA publishing may have greater impact in humanities and social sciences than on sciences. Format of papers haven’t changed in transition to OA. But book format constrained very much by format. Might this change? Used correctly digital publishing may have transformative effect on the way arts and socsci publish.
  • Are repositories publishers? No reason why they can’t become primary place for publication. Would be better to develop sensible consortia to do this together. Gets away from ridiculous competitiveness between universities.
  • Is difference between author accepted version and publisher version different enough to pay Gold for? It’s an open question for debate. Need cost-benefit analysis.
Wolfram Horstmann: maximising potential of OA 
  • Commercialisation of results, text mining
  • Government needs to support universities to optimise exposure of research through OA in institutional repositories
  • Pre-publications could be used for text mining etc, so there is an advantage of Green
  • Trend is that there is a growth in journal titles, but also a rise in mega-journals
Mark Ware Consulting
  • How will it benefit SMEs? Large range of SMEs, covers everything from window cleaners to biotech consultants
  • Difference between access to knowledge and tech transfer
  • Main barriers to research for SMEs are paywalls and discoverability
  • Deepdyve and Proquest Udini provide discovery portals, as well as new business models
Nicholas Canny, ERC chair on OA policies
  • Recommending to deposit in institutional repository and discipline repositories because this is the best way to reach the widest possible expert audience – though Harnad disagreed.
  • OA can be paid for through grant if cost is incurred during grant
  • Embargoes: 12 months for HSS and 6 months for STEM
  • OA on its own is not sufficient to draw attention of industry, which is why ERC have developed Proof of Concept grant to work with business/industry
Phill Jones, Macmillan Science and Education
  • Discoverability problem of Green OA
  • Institutional repositories are difficult to find and navigate (disputed point!)
  • Readcube trying to create a single portal for access – publishers well placed to solve this problem
  • Green OA model enables you to be much more agile and innovative
  • Knock on effect to ECRs. Presumption that publishing in high impact journals is the only way to get research out there. Lowered barrier to publication, eg data sets.
  • Economic shift away from library and publisher towards author
  • Incentivises publishers to make it easier to publish, broaden types of publication
  • Discoverability is key for Green
  • Funding is key for Gold – awareness raising
  • Ensure there is an appropriate IR compliant with Openaire EU standard
  • No clear understanding of what a publication is, introduce quality controls?!
  • Upload author manuscript on OA IR
  • Ensure there’s a DOI
  • Increasing amount of “born digital” publications, need to urgently give higher recognition to these journals
  • “Quality”: not talking about removing peer review, but shifting away from impact citation/view potential determined by editors, towards research quality determined by academic peer review
  • Can language used be changed in the paper? A lay abstract? Nothing to do with OA. Kudos providing services to authors to make papers more discoverable, eg lay summaries, using social media
BIS select committee
  • Select committee rejected Govt report recommendations on the basis that not enough evidence had been presented. Saw it as propping up a dysfunctional market.
  • Does Green maintain status quo? Or does Gold?
  • Where is the funding coming from for humanities and social sciences?
  • Govt needs to do more to come up with a model which will deliver open access

Open Access: Measuring the costs to universities of implementing RCUK policy

[important]Summary of event: This event was co-organised by ARMA and London Higher (a consortium of London universities) so it was very much populated by HE policy and research manager types (like me). However, it was useful to get a sense check of what other institutions are doing around OA and how the sector is preparing to implement RCUK and HEFCE policy in the run up to the next REF.

Key messages: Green tends to be preferred route for most HEIs unless Gold is necessary to meet a funder mandate. Having said that, even institutions which had a significant RCUK block grant to fund Article Processing Charges haven’t seen a major draw on those funds. OA to research data is a big unknown and lots of uncertainty exists around this. At the end of this event there was a useful final discussion session which acts as a good summary of the current state of OA in the HE sector.[/important]

Geoff Rogers – PVC Brunel, Chair of London Higher Research Excellence Group: Introduction

  • Context of RCUK policy, concern around emphasis on Gold, embargo periods etc.
  • Wrote to RCUK and BIS in early 2013 expressing concerns
  • Evolving picture, still trying to understand what’s happening and share experiences
David Price – UCL, Setting the Scene
  • OA is a solution to the problem of inaccessible research, paywalls
  • OA right in principle and a key way to disseminate research, yet it’s difficult to implement
  • Finch report contentious because strong recommendation for Gold OA and no one picked up need for extra money
  • RCUK first policy in July 2012 was too hasty, back-pedalled and we have latest iteration of OA policy
  • Publishing community is now alert to ‘threat’ of Green OA and are policing it
  • Sept 2013 BIS select committee report criticised Finch for Gold emphasis, prefers Green
  • HEFCE policy for OA in REF 2020 sets 2016 as start date for eligibility
  • Problems… Policing of embargoes more prevalent, lack of APC controls, double-dipping, rest of world swinging to Green over Gold
  • Price wanted a national subscription service (!?) for all institutions and SMEs – concern that current situation helps international industry more than UK industry and costs UK more to do this
  • UCL context: 9000 research outputs per year, publication ‘core to business’
  • Researchers select ‘most effective dissemination channels’ so OA no threat to academic freedom at UCL
  • 275,000 items on repository, 20,000 OA full text, 1,000,000 downloads on those items
  • Big challenge is compliance
  • No discrimination against younger, ECRs, etc, it’s UCLs responsibility to make it OA if it’s been funded by RCUK. Short by 2000 RCUK publications given RCUK OA fund (£2M). UCL put aside money to develop approach to OA.
  • Considering going directly to publishers every year and asking who’s published from UCL over last year and then making them Gold
  • UCL press, ‘overlay’ journals, and OA monograph publishing service

The following speakers then responded to the context talk and gave different views…

Cathy Urquhart – Manchester Metropolitan

  • Embargo periods for OA getting longer
  • Finch report best estimate was that it would cost sector £50-60M
  • Different environment at MMU, 300 publications per year, less resource
  • Green is preferred route for MMU, but they are going to set up APC fund (but not much money), Library will manage this fund, negotiating with publishers where necessary
  • MMU got £11K from RCUK for 2013/14 (similar ballpark to Northumbria)
  • Making REF 2014 outputs OA to see where costs lie in advance of 2020
  • Monitoring equal access to APCs
  • Will support Gold if funding is available from funder.
Trevor McMillan – Lancaster University
  • Divide figures from UCL by 5 to reach Lancaster’s figures
  • 30-35% science so big concerns about AHSS side of debate
  • 10 years ago debate was whether money should be put into repository – eprints vs DSpace
  • Lots of promotion around ePrints and resource in terms of Library staffing
  • 10-15% of total repository deposits have/had? full text
  • Only publisher PDFs were put into repository, but concerns from maths etc where working papers were more common – still policy, but fraying at edges
  • Using PURE which allows integration into University web pages of repository content
  • OA policy effectively says Green as standard, unless money exists to go Gold from elsewhere
  • Got £160,000 from RCUK and only spent 20% of this (similar to St Andrews experience)
  • But £25K made available for non RCUK funded research and this has all gone
  • Not expecting reduction in journal subscriptions, so OA is additional money (double dipping)
  • Publishers are starting to come out with deals, eg IEEE deal. Social Sciences directory institutional rate for OA journals. Will they create reputation and get traction with academic colleagues?
  • Worry about % compliance rates for HEFCE. Imagine having to say to people they can’t be included in REF because they have to hit OA compliance rate. Targets are a serious worry.
  • OA to research data is a major issue, even RCs are starting to worry about this.
Oriana Baddeley – University of the Arts
  • Small in some interpretations of a University, but large in terms of a monotechnic – only returning to one UoA!
  • UAL research online – 4000 live records, 37% have downloadable content, developed as part of KULTUR project funded by JISC customised for non text outputs
  • 15% of text based return is journal articles, lots is books etc
  • Firmly committed to Green
  • Lots of investment in staff because IR cannot easily automate non journal, non-standard content
  • Invest money on picture reproduction rights charged by journals to authors
  • Lots of QR income is to pay publishers for reproduction rights
  • APCs will be in addition to above costs. Will end up spending more
  • Self-archiving
  • How can universities collaborate with each other to solve some of these issues?
    • Collaborations around arts and humanities are important
    • Need to have debate
    • Is the future about disciplinary responses to OA rather than institutional response?
  • How much have universities been setting the agenda, and how much have we been responding?
    • Good in setting up IRs, but since then on the back foot
    • Sector didn’t see it coming, a bit naive. Need to start thinking now about open data question because that’s the next tsunami
  • How many universities thinking about retaining copyright as in Harvard’s case?
    • Not an option for those lower down the tree
  • Say more about national subscription model
    • Finland have an agreement with publishers that entire population has access to publications. Current UK subscription bill is £120M and some publishers have indicated this would rise by 20%
    • Netherlands tried this and got less than 200 applications for access. What problem are we really trying to solve here? Is there really a lack of access, do people want access? Do people know that this is available?
  • MOOCs
    • Real issue about OA is about timing. MOOCs may not rely on information produced in embargo periods.
    • Issue about copyright of images which MOOCs material may rely on.
  • Culture change and ensuring compliance?
    • Both carrots and stick required
    • Effective research is not just disseminated but engaging from the start
    • “Hitting people with bigger carrots”. Tie to HR processes, eg promotions and appraisals. Make process of uploading as painless as possible.

Afternoon session

Alma Swan – assessing costs and benefits to UK HEIs

  • ARMA issues:
    • Lack of author engagement
    • Disciplinary concern, eg arts and humanities
    • No system for monitoring publication practices
    • Impact factor still critical which makes advocacy difficult
    • How to spend RCUK funds?
    • Lack of ownership of OA agenda within institutions
    • What about other types of output?
  • SCONUL briefing:
    • Lots of helpful contextual information, based on case studies done at 8 institutions
    • Looked at advocacy, staffing, institutional position on OA, management of APC funds
  • RIN study:
    • Policy making practices
    • Focused heavily on research intensives
    • Looked at how 2012 pump priming money had been used
  • None of existing studies have looked at costs. London Higher report will focus on this aspect
  • Sample representative of UK HE sector
  • Questions:
    • Implementation and planning
    • Support for Gold and Green OA
    • Costs £££ how have you spent money from RCUK?
  • Alma Swan: if you want to be involved in this
Final discussion
  • Strong preference for Green among research intensives and research led institutions
  • Some institutions using RCUK block grant on a first-come first-served basis, and therefore concern about what will happen when this fund runs out (though Kent, St Andrews, Lancaster reported low demand for this)
  • Some are spending RCUK money on Green OA implementation – no one using this money for repositories
  • Some institutions had APC fund before RCUK block grant (Nottingham), many didn’t – often run by the Library
  • Having fund taken over by a third party does not necessarily reflect a cost saving
  • Final action plans not yet developed (many still evolving), but interim plans are in place in many cases
  • No rigorous compliance activity going on – this is seen as the major issue
  • Lead responsibility generally lies with Library, but research offices often involved in compliance activity/reporting to funders – often APC funds administered by Library
  • Some institutions getting involved in setting up OA journals, will self-publishing become increasingly important?

NEMODE: Digital Economy Small Grants Available

Living on credit cards by Images of Money CC BY 2.0Those who were interested in yesterday’s post about a recent EPSRC call for New Economic Models for the Digital Economy may be interested in the open call for NEMODE 3K small grants [PDF].

NEMODE is one of four RCUK-funded networks within the Digital Economy theme: “NEMODE’s research domain is multi-disciplinary; it includes for example, considerations of the latest technological developments through computer science, operations research and data analytics, marketing, social anthropology, behavioural psychology and operations management.”

Part of its remit is to fund small research grants and placements activity. To this end they have an open (i.e. no deadline) call for small scale research projects of no more than 3 months duration and £3K FEC. NEMODE has identified a number of sub-themes which it is interested in funding through this call, including:

  • The concept of value in the digital economy
  • Intellectual property issues in the digital economy
  • Privacy, consent, security and trust in the digital economy
  • Virtual property
  • Crowd funding

The expected outputs of a 3 month grant would be, for example, a case study with associated literature review or a technical report, as appropriate to the topic selected. Applications are a maximum of 2 pages, written to two simple headings given in the guidance notes [PDF].

Although there are no formal deadlines, there are a number of review dates throughout the year when applications will be considered. These are: 1st Feb, 1st June, 1st Sept, 1st Dec.

In addition to the 3K small grants outlined above, NEMODE also has a “call for interest” in digital currency inspired by David Wolman’s BBC piece on the end of cash. They are currently seeking informal expressions of interest via email. See their calls page to find out more.


Check Your Open Access Compliance With SHERPA/FACT

Following the recent RCUK announcements on their open access policy, it’s becoming increasingly important for academic authors to ensure that the places they publish comply with funder OA policies.

RCUK and Wellcome Trust have jointly sponsored SHERPA/FACT (Funders’ and Authors’ Compliance Tool) which can help you to check whether the journal you want to publish in complies with the Open Access policies of the funder of your research. The tool itself is a simple text field where you identify the journal you want to publish in. You also need to select the relevant funder using a check box and the article status (i.e. whether it has been submitted for publication or not).

For example, say you’ve been funded by the Wellcome Trust and want to publish an article in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, you’d simply fill in the details and you’d get the results page below which clearly shows that you are able to comply with the funder’s open access policy because the funder will deposit your article in the Europe PMC open access repository either at the time of publication (paid option) or six months following publication:



Another example: an ESRC-funded publication in the Journal of Social Policy would not be able to comply with the funder OA policy unless they paid for the open access publication option:



This is a recently released Beta version of the tool and SHERPA encourage feedback to: