Upload-A-Thon: research outputs & institutional repositories

Friday, November 18th, 2016 | Briar Ballard | No Comments

By: Alexander Ritchie


On Wednesday 23 November the University of Otago Library will be hosting the first OUR Archive Uploadathon. This drop-in event will be held in Central Library Seminar Room 3 between 9am – 4pm as the final part of the Library’s Maximise your Research Impact series.

The aim is for academic staff from all disciplines to deposit their Otago research into OUR Archive, and librarians will be on hand to guide staff through the process of uploading key details and the research outputs (where publishing agreements allow). Anyone interested in coming along on the day is strongly encouraged to create an OUR Archive account in advance.

What exactly is an ‘Uploadathon’?

Uploadathon is one of those Frankenwords, a combining of upload(ing) and marathon, and is one of many civic-minded –thons, like New Zealand’s fundraising Telethons of the late 70s through to the early 90s. Uploadathons are more about raising research profile than money though, and bring academics together with librarians to deposit their research into institutional repositories in order to make the work both more visible, and easier for funders, research participant communities, and members of the public to access.

What is an Institutional Repository?

For those that don’t know, an institutional repository (IR) is an online collection of research produced by scholars at a particular institution. At the University of Otago, this is OUR Archive, and it includes not only theses and journal articles, but also grey literature and conference papers and posters. Together with the related disciplinary repositories, such as arXiv in Physics and Mathematics, institutional repositories are synonymous with Green Open Access publishing, where scholars self-archive their work, having obtained any necessary permissions from the publisher and any co-authors.

 Why Would I Choose to Use One?

Dr Janet Stephenson makes a succinct and compelling case for the benefits of OUR Archive for the Centre for Sustainability in this short video interview – https://unitube.otago.ac.nz/view?m=oxRH9u8Os3U – but if you need more convincing, here are five reasons why uploading research to OUR Archive makes good sense:

  1. Visibility

Research is easier to find as search engines such as Google Scholar, and Aotearoa-based aggregators such as Digital NZ and NZResearch, harvest the metadata directly from the repository. Depositing work into OUR Archive and linking to that work from profiles on ResearchGate or Academia.edu can move research outputs higher in search engine results lists.

  1. (Open) Access

Institutional repositories are a way to enable public access to research. Self-archiving post- or pre-print versions of accepted research outputs is well established within certain sciences, and it not only broadens the availability of scholarly work, but helps ensure accountability to research participants, interested communities, and funders.  Most scholarly publishers allow archiving of a post- or pre-print of a published article, but do check the SHERPA/RoMEO site if you are unsure about your situation.

  1. Stability

OUR Archive uses the Handle system to provide a stable URL, the digital equivalent of a permanent address for your research in the shifting sands of the digital realm. This is particularly important for grey literature, and outputs like conference posters, where ongoing access can be difficult to maintain.

  1. Citing and Counting

Research within both the Natural and Social Sciences, such as this 2010 article from Gargouri et al. and this 2015 piece from Atchison and Bull suggest that there is a measureable citation advantage through making your work openly available. OUR Archive also provides individual page view and download counts for all deposited outputs.

  1. Open Sourced and Locally Supported

OUR Archive uses the open source repository software DSpace, and the Library has local support staff who manage the repository and troubleshoot any issues that arise. This means timely responses to queries, and help when something goes wrong.

The Library continues to develop the OUR Archive platform and interface and wants to hear how we can improve it, so please drop us a line @ https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/feedback.

OUR Archive Uploadathon | Wednesday 23rd November 2016 | Drop In Event 9am4pm | Central Library Seminar Room 3

We look forward to seeing you there!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Shiobhan Smith for her very useful report on OUR Archive which was invaluable in structuring this post.

Otago staff to have their say on OA

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 | Richard White | No Comments

We’ve just launched an Open Acess publishing survey. There has been plenty of illuminating international research in recent times that tells us what researchers think about open access. But in many other countries governments or funders are encouraging or mandating open access to the research they fund, whereas the context in New Zealand is quite different. This survey will give us a good sense of the extent to which Otago researchers are engaging with OA, their attitudes towards it and what support they need. Our results will be shared with the University community, including the University Research Committee.
A direct email has been sent to research staff with a personalised link but if you didn’t receive one you can follow the link below. Other people are welcome to do the survey too: you can identify yourself as an ‘other’ so we can filter our results.

Take the Otago Open Access Publishing Survey

Open Access. What is it and why should I care? – plus OA baking! (1pm, Mon 19 October, #OAweek)

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 | Richard White | No Comments


Image CC BY, openaccessweek.org

Why are governments, funders and institutions around the world mandating or encouraging Open Access? What does it mean for my discipline? My department? Me, as an individual researcher or teacher?

Our opening event for OA Week offers an introduction to OA, its demonstrable benefits to the scholarly pursuit and the challenges it presents. This session will provide a broad overview of current developments in OA and examine what the future might hold.

We’ll also be launching a survey of Otago staff, which asks about practices in and attitudes towards OA publishing.

Come along and share your experiences or bring your questions.

As an added bonus there will be open access baking. You’ll have to come find out what that is!

When: 1 – 2pm Monday 19 October 2015
Where: Central Library Conference Room 3 (1st floor East end, see floorplan)
Online: join virtually via Connect

How luxury journals are damaging science, writes Nobel Prize winning scientist

Friday, December 13th, 2013 | Richard White | No Comments

2013 Nobel Prize winner for Medicine Randy Schekman has published an article in the Guardian outlining how he thinks journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science. He writes that he has committed his lab to avoiding these luxury journals and advocates for Open Access journals instead, calling on university committees and funding agencies not to judge papers by where they are published, since it should be the quality of the science, not the journal’s brand, that matters most.

He begins:

I am a scientist. Mine is a professional world that achieves great things for humanity. But it is disfigured by inappropriate incentives. The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement mean the biggest rewards often follow the flashiest work, not the best. Those of us who follow these incentives are being entirely rational – I have followed them myself – but we do not always best serve our profession’s interests, let alone those of humanity and society.

Read the full article by the Guardian.

Tasman Declaration on Open Research

Friday, April 19th, 2013 | Richard White | 68 Comments

The Tasman Declaration came out of the Open Research Conference (mentioned previously on this blog) held in Auckland in February, representing the collective voice of the diverse group of participants, including researchers, lawyers, librarians, research infrastructure providers, technology consultants and software developers from NZ, Australia, the US and the UK. The declaration calls on Australian and New Zealand research communities, institutions, policy makers and funders to make publicly-funded research open:

Publicly funded research should be openly available to maximise return on investments into research, and to increase participation in research and its translation beyond the traditional research sector.

“Open Research” is about removing barriers for society to benefit from research, by ensuring open access to and reuse of research papers, data, materials, metadata and code, and by developing the supporting practices and policies.

In the absence of a good reason, research outputs should be made available with as few restrictions as possible and as soon as possible.

Read more about the story behind the declaration or read the declaration itself in full.

Add your voice by signing it.


Everybody’s doing it (except us)

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 | Richard White | No Comments

They’re doing it in the UK. In Australia too. And in the US, they’re going to be doing it more than they already were. I’m talking about open access publication of research.

In 2012 a public petition was made to the Whitehouse proposing that the public should have free access to the outcomes of scientific research that they have funded. Over 65000 people signed and this week the Obama administration has responded with a resounding, “Yes, we can.” While the US National Institutes of Health has had a public access policy for years (which “requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to the digital archive PubMed Central upon acceptance for publication“), the announcement this week goes much further. Any research with a budget of over $100m will be expected to be made publicly available within 12 months of original publication. “The logic behind this is plain,” says the statement, to provide access to taxpayer-funded research to innovators in industry, science and the public generally. It cites the “great success” of the NIH policy, which is to be used as a guide to other agencies now coming under this new one.

The discussion that has ensued has centred on the fact that 12 months after publication is hardly lightening fast and the level of budget threshold  (which sounds like a lot to NZers). Nevertheless, it is generally being hailed as a landmark announcement in the adoption of Open Access as the default.

A key reason for this is that the statement also “requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with Federal funding.” This goes further than the UK’s Finch report and the announcements by Australia’s funding bodies in recent times.

In any case, from a NZ perspective, it is becoming clear that everybody is going OA except us – but the question is no longer if but when. While the NZ government has established NZGOAL and issued its Declaration on Open and Transparent Government, it has so far been silent on research by organisations like Otago. It can only be a matter of time before this changes, given developments around the rest of the world.

Aus/NZ Open Research Conference, Auckland 6-7 February

Sunday, January 13th, 2013 | Richard White | No Comments

An Australasian Open Research Conference is to be held at the University of Auckland on 6-7 February. This will be an important event for researchers interested in openness to explore with like-minded people the rapidly-developing world of open research, publishing and data in the New Zealand and Australian contexts.

The line-up for Day 1 looks to be a fascinating blend of practical exemplars of those already working in the open space and discussion of high-level policy/strategy (non-profit and commercial). Sessions will be led by some of the movers and shakers in openness from both nations. Day 2 will be a barcamp-style, participant-led session looking to explore the themes of Day 1 and in more concrete terms examine how openness can be advanced in our research communities.

Read more on the conference web site.

(Otago people: please let me know if you are planning on attending – it’s important we have representation at this conference and have people who can report back to our community about what transpired).