Author: sarah.jones

Incentivising open practices

While some studies have shown that researchers share data because it’s the right thing to do [1], direct benefits clearly have a tangible impact too. Several research papers have demonstrated a boost in citation rates across a range of disciplines when underlying data are shared [2]. There have also been repeated calls over the years for good practice to be recognised as part of tenure or promotion criteria, though few concrete examples of doing so have arisen to date.

In his keynote at the Repository Fringe conference earlier this month, Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost, reported that UCL have done exactly that – there is now explicit recognition of open practices in the Academic Careers Framework.

“All research outputs are available through Open Access wherever possible”

This means that academics will be rewarded for open practices, whether that be making their published works available open access, sharing research data, or undertaking work in an open way. The addition is intentionally broad to recognise any contributions towards open scholarship. The provision is a threshold criterion, which is expected of all academic colleagues embracing the new Framework. Academic colleagues are free to submit examples of their Open approach to sharing their research outputs and the impact that this sharing has.

What was particularly encouraging to hear was that the University didn’t receive any resistance to this change. Typically the difficulties in updating policy and mandating openness are put forward as a barrier, but in their year-long consultation with Faculty, this provision was accepted.

Mirroring policy structures on a European level, the University has also established its own Open Science Policy Platform to coordinate work across all areas of open scholarship and ensure the institution leads developments in this field.

Another impressive development at UCL is the introduction of the first fully Open Access University Press. Paul noted how this has transformed monograph publishing and distribution, citing examples of textbooks with over 100,000 accesses, whereas 400 copies is considered a good level of sales for the traditional publication route. Authors also explained their choice in opting for the Press over other routes, considering openness to colleagues in developing countries a key factor.

The progress made at UCL to recognise and support open practices will undoubtedly help speed forward the culture change. It should also inspire other institutions to follow suit. If you have policies requiring the management and sharing of research outputs, recognising and rewarding those who act on these should also follow.

For the full presentation Paul gave with Tiberius Ignat of Scientific Knowledge Services in Switzerland, see the University of Edinburgh ERA repository.

[1] The 2016 Jisc DAF study of 1,185 UK researchers found that the highest reason cited as a motivation for sharing data was that “Research is a public good and should be open to all”. See slide 20 at: https://www.slideshare.net/JiscRDM/daf-survey-results-research-data-network The e-Infrastructures Austria study of 3026 Austrian researchers found that 54% of respondents considered research data to be a relevant scientific output, noting this as the fourth highest incentive to share. See question 16 in the full report at: https://phaidra.univie.ac.at/detail_object/o:409318?SID=10009269

[2] For example see the references in the SPARC Europe briefing paper on “The Open Data Citation Advantage” at: http://sparceurope.org/open-data-citation-advantage

On the right track(s) – DCC release draws nigh

Eurostar by red hand records CC-BY-ND
Preliminary DMPRoadmap out to test
We’ve made a major breakthrough this month, getting a preliminary version of the DMPRoadmap code out to test on DMPonline, DMPTuuli and DMPMelbourne. This has taken longer …

RDA-DMP movings and shakings

An update on RDA and our Active DMP work, courtesy of Stephanie Simms

RDA Plenary 9 
We had another productive gathering of #ActiveDMPs enthusiasts at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) plenary meeting in Barcelona (5-7 Apr). Just prior to the meet…

Privacy and Academic Research

This guest blog is courtesy of Marlon Domingus, community lead research data management at Erasmus University Rotterdam. It reflects on their experience of supporting privacy in academic research, providing an infographic as a case study.

It is not easy to make a case against safeguarding privacy in general. As citizens we expect our government and the businesses we purchase services from, to take the necessary measures to protect the data we are willing to share with them, given a specific context.

In the same way citizens, patients, data subjects or any other terms we use for participants in our research, expect their data to be protected by the researcher. If we make privacy the default in our research design, and document this in our data management plan, we can manage the sharing of data post-research more easily. This data sharing helps to contribute to debates in society and enables responsible public-private collaboration.

So, no sensible person objects to safeguarding privacy, a basic right for all. But, this begs the question of HOW? Not only within your own research projects, but also within the collective entity we call the “university”. To paraphrase Robert Maynard Hutchins: ‘a university is not only a series of schools and departments held together by a central heating system’, but also by safeguarding privacy for students, faculty, staff and data subjects. This aspiration can be seen as a moral maxim to:

‘Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.’

— Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)​​

The infographic provides a helicopter view on implementing privacy in academic research. The images lead to underlying information; the frog perspective of safeguarding privacy yourself. 

Please share your views and comments with Marlon

Privacy and Academic Research

This guest blog is courtesy of by Marlon Domingus, community lead research data management at Erasmus University Rotterdam. It reflects on their experience of supporting privacy in acadmeic research, provising a detailed inforgraphic as a case study.

It is not easy to make a case against safeguarding privacy in general. As citizens we expect our government and the businesses we purchase services from, to take the necessary measures to protect the data we are willing to share with them, given a specific context.

In the same way citizens, patients, data subjects or any other terms we use for participants in our research, expect their data to be protected by the researcher. If we make privacy the default in our research design, and document this in our data management plan, we can manage the sharing of data post-research more easily. This data sharing helps to contribute to debates in society and enables responsible public-private collaboration.

So, no sensible person objects to safeguarding privacy, a basic right for all. But, this begs the question of HOW? Not only within your own research projects, but also within the collective entity we call the “university”. To paraphrase Robert Maynard Hutchins: ‘a university is not only a series of schools and departments held together by a central heating system’, but also by safeguarding privacy for students, faculty, staff and data subjects. This aspiration can be seen as a moral maxim to:

‘Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.’

— Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785)​​

The infographic provides a helicopter view on implementing privacy in academic research. The images lead to underlying information; the frog perspective of safeguarding privacy yourself. 

Please share your views and comments with Marlon

DMP themes: And then there were 14…

We issued a call for input on the DMP themes in late September and received feedback from across the UK, Europe and the USA. Many thanks to all who responded. It’s really helped to confirm our thinking.
 
We asked a few specific questions:

RDA in the UK: what role do you see?

This week saw the first RDA UK workshop hosted by Jisc in Birmingham. The Research Data Alliance is a community-driven organisation aiming to build the social and technical infrastructure to enable open sharing of data. Members come together throu…

A common set of themes for DMPs: seeking input

When the DCC revised DMPonline in 2013, we introduced the concept of themes to the tool. The themes represent the most common topics addressed in Data Management Plans (DMPs) and work like tags to associate questions and guidance. Questions within DMP …

FOSTER in Scandinavia

It was EARMA (#earmaac2016), the annual gathering of the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators in Lulea this week, and Ivo and I were there donning our FOSTER hats to speak about open science in Horizon 2020. Ivo talked about the impact open science can have on proposals, sharing reviewer feedback he’s collated to show how positively (or negatively!) things can be perceived. It shows the strength that can be added to proposals when support is provided by the institution, and echoes the positive experiences we’ve seen in the UK where universities help researchers to craft robust DMPs. 
 
 
My contribution to the conference is thanks to Vanessa Ravagni of the University of Trento. She proposed a session on Horizon 2020 to explain how open science is a key part of the daily workflow for research managers. I set the scene by explaining what is required by the European Commission in the Open Research Data pilot, and Vanessa and Niahm Brennan of Trinity College Dublin gave examples of how they have been supporting researchers at their universities. Both picked up on the need to engage with researchers to understand their concerns and Niahm gave a great list of typical questions, which resonate with what we’ve heard at DCC. The overlap between ethical approval processes and DMPs also came out in discussion and salutary lessons were shared about researchers being distraught at having to destroy really valuable data as this was written into consent agreements unwittingly. 
 
It was a fleeting visit to Lulea for the FOSTER team, but enough time for dinner and a drink with the Trinity College Dublin cohort. Working our way through the gin menu and watching the sun slowly dip was the perfect end to the day. Next year EARMA will be in Valetta in Malta. It will be a few weeks earlier on 24-26 April, so all those planning to submit papers get ready to write your abstracts soon. 

 
The FOSTER Scandi tour continues next week. We have a fully booked workshop on Wednesday 29th June on Open Science at the Core of Libraries. We’ll be demonstrating the FOSTER portal and doing group activity to define learning objectives and plan the content for new courses. Come prepared to work!

The 20:51 sprint (Roadmap team-building: UK edition)

This week we hosted the DMPTool team to flesh out our plans for ‘roadmap’ – the joint codebase we’re building together based on DMPonline and DMPTool. The key focus was reviewing and prioritising tasks for an initial release. &n…