Open Access in Action – OA week event at University of Leeds

The Hindawi Team visit Leeds - Hindawi Blog

On the 25th October we were honoured to be invited to take part in an Open Access event at the University of Leeds. Open Access in Action was an event timed to promote OA week and also publicise the new Research Hub space created in the Edward Boyle library.

The event was well attended by both research staff and members of the library research support team who manage Open Access at the university, together with the document and data repositories. It promised an interesting mix of perspectives from the library and researchers from both STM and humanities fields, plus a selection of publishers, all discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by Open Access.

Dr Stella Butler (University Librarian) opened with the way that new scholarly communication routes are changing the role of the library. Some of the major challenges are associated with internal compliance with the new requirements handed down by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) for the next REF (Research Excellence Framework exercise). These views were echoed by Professor Lisa Roberts (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation) who claimed that the current repository deposit rate of 44% is ‘keeping her awake at night’. More work needs to be done to bring that number up to 100% and this should be a combination of both mandation and advocacy.

Professor Helen Gleeson (School of Physics and Astronomy) highlighted that mandation will only get you so far and more needs to be done to clearly highlight the benefits of Open Access to the researcher. She also highlighted challenges in certain fields, such as Physics, where there is an accepted and well used preprint server such as Archiv. Researchers in these fields are confused about the benefits of supporting the university repository when their work is already open access. For a Humanities perspective, Professor Malcolm Heath (School of Classics) highlighted the strong usage that his papers received from the White Rose repository (a collaborative repository run by Leeds, Sheffield and York Universities) and made the point that the drivers for Open Access are sometimes more about the desire to consume open information rather than share openly.

The publisher sessions were equally interesting with Tom Grady (Press Manager, White Rose University Press) highlighting the work they are doing in providing an Open Access library press to publish research from the three member universities. Aimee Nixon (Head of Open Access, Emerald Group Publishing) shared the results of their author survey that highlighted the fact that for areas outside of STM, the growth of Open Access adoption has been slow. This was a trend that she felt would be changing in the next few years with more outputs considering Open Access as an option.

In the Hindawi presentation we shared some analysis into the way that the publisher landscape has changed over the last few years and then went on to look at ways in which publishers could help address some of the administrative challenges of Open Access publishing.

The starting point was data on the growth of articles published under a CC-BY license. The data shared was provided by the members of OASPA and illustrates the tremendous growth of CC-BY articles in fully OA journals, growing from 40,000 in 2010 to 160,000 in 2015. What is equally apparent is the rise in the number of articles published under a CC-BY license appearing in Hybrid journals (shown below in the light green).


Number of Published Articles by OASPA members under a CC-BY licence - Hindawi Blog

This data was combined with a discipline analysis looking at which fields of research are adopting Open Access more readily.  The following visualisation was created using data from DOAJ (full Open Access Journals) for articles published in 2015.  Whilst Medicine and Biology are still the fields publishing the most Open Access articles, other fields are starting to emerge strongly.  Engineering, Computer Science and Agriculture all now show significant adoption of Open Access which could indicate the broadening of the appeal of Open Access or it could be that mandates are starting to have a wider effect across more areas of research.  The profile on the right shows the data just for Hindawi journals and is interesting in its over-representation of Mathematics articles compared to the ‘All publishers’ view.

Articles published by discipline - Hindawi Blog

For the final section of the presentation the focus shifted from big picture Open Access landscape to the practical things that publishers could do to make the system work more efficiently and take some of the burden away from the researchers and libraries.  The chosen example was the use of ORCID as it is starting to get some significant traction especially in the UK.

In March Hindawi implemented a requirement for all corresponding authors to have an ORCID at the point of article acceptance (for more detailed background on this click here). Once an article is published then we pass all of the article metadata including the associated ORCID’s in a feed to Crossref. Crossref can then automatically update an individual’s ORCID account with the metadata from the newly published article without any researcher intervention.

Leeds University Article Process - Hindawi Blog

Many institutions have implemented Research Information Systems to manage the publications of their researchers for reporting purposes. Most of this development has been driven by the reporting requirements of the Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF) but  institutional development of public profiles for researchers has also played a role. Symplectic Elements is one of these systems and it allows the linking of ORCID accounts to Elements profiles – if that is done then institutional profiles could be automatically updated as soon as an article is published.

Overall this event was a great opportunity to learn about what Open Access means to different stakeholders in the scholarly communication lifecycle.  There are challenges to overcome but there is also a great desire to drive the adoption of open scholarly communication for the overall good of research.

The text and images in this blog post are by Hindawi and are distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).