Penetrating the grey

Grey literature

There is a lot of useful “grey” literature out there which is not easy to find with standard bibliographic tools – examples might be research reports, doctoral dissertations, conference papers and some official publications. By its nature it is not easy to find but some sources to try are:

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Are you ready for Open Access?

A public dataset on Figshare provides a record of publications that have been funded from the RCUK Gold Open Access block grant received by Swansea University for the period 1 April 2013 to 31 July 2014. If you are one of the Swansea authors who received funding for the fifty seven gold open access articles that were published in 2013-14, then you can stop reading now.

If you have never heard of the RCUK block grant which pays open access article processing charges for those choosing the gold publication route, please take a look at our research support pages for more information. Swansea University is in receipt of a grant from RCUK for the period 2014-15 to support open access.

Swansea University will be implementing an open access deposit mandate in 2015 in order to encourage free and open access to publicly funded research. Whilst we strongly encourage self-archiving in Cronfa, (the Swansea University institutional repository) using the green route, you may choose the gold route if you prefer and funding is available. You are free to publish in the journal of your choice.

The recently published HEFCE mandate outlines the forthcoming open access requirements for the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. It is applicable to:

  • All journal articles
  • All conference proceedings with an ISSN

The key elements of the policy will require you to:

  • Deposit a final draft of your article in an institutional or subject repository immediately upon acceptance for publication and no later than three months after this date. The Swansea University mandate will require you to deposit the final peer reviewed version
  • A bibliographic record must be made available in Cronfa, the institutional repository. Outputs should be made discoverable as soon as there is sufficient information for the output to be found via an internet search (e.g. journal name, title of paper, authors etc, and even DOI, ORCID if available).
  • Subject to the permitted embargo period, full text must be accessible as soon as possible
  • Outputs accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 are required to be open access to be eligible for REF

See SHERPA Fact – the Funders & Authors Compliance Tool

Open Access Week (20-26 October 2014)


ISS are keen to create a supportive environment to develop a positive open access culture. Please come along to the Open Access Lunch & Learn Session on 21st October 2014, in the APECS, Skills Training and Development Unit to learn more.  Book here:

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The tranSMART Foundation, a non-profit organization providing a global, open-source knowledge management platform for scientists to share pre-competitive translational research data, today announced the release of tranSMART Version 1.2. Incorporating functionality developed and tested by several hundred community members from around the globe, this version offers extensions in analytics and analysis, data loading, search and retrieval as well as improved developer tools and interfaces that facilitate the addition of new features in the future.

“tranSMART Version 1.2 is the culmination of a more than nine-month development and testing effort that began last November at the Foundation’s Annual Meeting in Paris and continued through a series of community
Hackathons and Testathons, as well as a community-driven testing and optimization process,” said tranSMART
Foundation CEO Keith Elliston. “I am extremely proud of what the community has accomplished this year and look
forward to the broad adoption of this platform across academia and industry to more effectively turn scientific
discoveries into medical breakthroughs.”tranSMART Version 1.2 incorporates functionality developed and contributed to a single, open-source codebasewith support for both PostgreSQL and Oracle. Community and member organizations contributed new features such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS), integration with the R statistical platform, cross study analysis,new data types, and new search and browse tools. This release, for the first time, provides the capability to integrate a number of different profiling data, such as mRNA, microRNA, and metabolomic, with genetic data based on individual patients. The connectors to commercial analytical platforms, such as OmicSoft andGeneData, as well as R, provide unprecedented analytical flexibility and statistical rigor. tranSMART Version 1.2 makes a giant step forward to becoming a true data management platform with the availability of browse and search capabilities. All future enhancements to the platform will be based on this new version.
“Version 1.2 features, such as R integration and cross study analysis are truly giant steps for tranSMART,
addressing the most important needs of tranSMART users at Pfizer and in the broader community and indicating
the shift from data platform towards robust analytic environment,” said Jay Bergeron, director, Translational and Bioinformatics at Pfizer and scientific coordinator for eTRIKS.

More information on the release of tranSMART Version 1.2, as well as a public demo version can be found at:

About The tranSMART Foundation
The tranSMART Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides an open-source, cloud-based, data-sharing
and analysis platform that enables scientists at universities, disease foundations, pharmaceutical companies, and government agencies around the world to share pre-competitive data in a way that saves money and time in
translating research findings into new therapies and diagnostic tools. Founded to steward the tranSMART
platform, the Foundation is headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts with Centers of Excellence in Ann Arbor,
Mich.; London, England; Boston, Mass.; and Amsterdam, Netherlands. The tranSMART Foundation can also be
found on the web at

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New Exceptions to Copyright Applicable to Research: Text and Data Mining

In June 2014 a number of exceptions to copyright came into force: ‘text and data mining’, ‘research and private study’, ‘education and teaching’, ‘archiving and preservation’ and ‘accessible formats for disabled people’.


Of particular relevance to the research community will be the ability to use automated text and data mining technologies, to assist with processing large amounts of data for non-commercial research purposes. All types of copyright work are covered by this exception. It will no longer be necessary to obtain permission from the copyright holder to copy the work for analysis, provided the researcher already has lawful access to the content, for example, by using subscription content. The requirement to acknowledge the use of copyright works in these circumstances would probably be impractical and it would be acceptable to refer to the databases where the works were lawfully obtained. Prior to this exception, most non-commercial text and data mining concentrated on using licensed material, or documents published using the open access route. This exception will give a huge boost to those that want to mine facts for the benefits of efficiency, developing new knowledge and the broader societal and economic benefits that it may potentially bring.

In her recent blog post Extracting more information from scientific literature, Jacqui Hodgkinson explores the pros and cons of using automated systems versus manual text mining of published research. Expect to see both commercial and open source text mining applications proliferate to unlock the potential of text mining, now that the main barrier to using it effectively has been removed.

Further information is available from:
Content Mine project:

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“Wild writing” or “Global Common Room”? 6 perspectives on academic blogging


Many academics have taken up blogging with enthusiasm as a way of sharing and promoting their research online or as a more reflective way of working. For others, the idea of blogging is an addition to a heavy workload and comes with anxiety about public scrutiny and plagiarism. There have been several interesting articles this year which focus on different reasons – and justifications – for blogging:

1. Mark Corrigan discusses the concept of a “thriving academic blogosphere” which opens up “a distinctive space between academic research and journalism” – read more on the LSE Impact blog.

2. Pat Thompson reports on a small study of academic bloggers which found that blogging (and commenting) functions as a “global common room”  – read more from the Guardian’s Higher Education Network.

3. The idea of blogging as a “vehicle for intellectual exploration” is discussed by Mark Corrigan and also echoed in a discussion of academic writing on the patter blog which quotes Gerald Raunig’s “Factories of Knowledge, Industries of Creativity” on the restrictions of academic writing:

“Wild and transversal writing is tamed and fed into the creativity-destroying apparatuses of disciplining institutions”

4. Sasley and Sucharov discuss blogging as a place for “moral activism” within the context of social engagement and a way of expressing one’s non-scholarly identity – read more on the LSE Impact Blog.

5. Is blogging what policy makers want to read i.e. more easily digestible content than full reports or academic articles? This study of US policy-makers explores this potentially impact-boosting benefit of blogging.

6. This article from the Guardian on the current emphasis on demonstrating impact from research focusses on blogging and highlighted our very own Katharina Hall’s successful “Mrs Peabody” blog in connection with REF 2014.


(If you are interested in starting a blog there’s a recent “top 10 tips for academic blogging” article from the Guardian or this article by Mary Hunt has excellent advice on style and approach. The LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is also a great ongoing source of articles on all aspects of engagement and social media.)

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Keeping up to date with journal literature

In these busy times it is useful to have simple ways of keeping up to date with the literature coming out in your subject area. Some useful tools are:



Zetoc alert will send you listings of the journals your are interested in by email or RSS feed. It is also possible to set up an alert for keywords, although it is best to choose very specific terms if you don’t want to be deluged with email. A guide to Zetoc is available.


Select a list of journals to quickly check on the latest content. A couple of clicks will take you to the actual article if we have a subscription. You can find JournalTOCs at

Database Alerts

Some databases allow you to create alerts so that if you carry out a particularly useful search you can be alerted to new articles on that subject in future. For example,

Web of Science



When you have carried out a search you will see this create alert option at the left of the screen. Note that this only appears in the Web of Science Core Collection, not the default all databases search. 



These options appear near the top of the screen once you have carried out a search. You can choose to have an email alert or RSS feed.

On Proquest databases such as ASSIA, MLA and British Humanities Index you will see a set alert option as below:


On Ebsco databases such as Cinahl and Medline you need to select Search history to set up alerts.




If you have a tablet try the Browzine app which allows you to create your own listing of journals to read in an attractive format. It will also store favourite articles for you to come back to.

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RIOXX version 2 (beta) released

RIOXX is a project aimed at making it easier to track research outputs and attribute them accurately to funding streams. It is also a metadata standard for repositories designed to take into account the requirements of the next REF. The ISS Open Research Group will be monitoring the development of RIOXX to ensure that RIS/Cronfa can support the requirements of research funding bodies.

RIOXX: linking research outputs and funding streams

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