Discovering the impact of your work with ImpactStory


ImpactStory has been around for a while – we used to recommend it in our “Stand Out and Be Counted” sessions as a great showcase for a researcher’s all-round profile and a way to track altmetrics. It then went through a period as a paid-for service but now, happily, it’s re-launched and free!

It’s extremely easy to set up a profile if you have an ORCID (and if you don’t, here’s plenty of reasons why you should) and you then get an instant profile that pulls in your publications and all kinds of information about the impact these are having (or not). The ImpactStory blog outlines what you can find there and how you can use it. Looking at an example profile gives an idea of the wealth of evidence that the site covers.


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Don’t fall victim to predatory publishers


Have you received emails asking you to submit a paper to a journal or conference? Researchers are increasingly being bombarded by unsolicited solicitations to publish and these should be treated with extreme caution.

The model of authors paying to publish open access has had the undesirable side-effect of spawning an industry of low quality, sometimes fraudulent, publishers and copy-cat journals to try and get authors to part with money to get published. Emails may reference your previous research or conference presentations; the journal may be a close imitation of a well-reputed one in your field. The pressure on academics to publish means that some of these emails will succeed – unfortunately, it is not just the loss of money that is at stake but also reputation:

One dodgy publication in your publication list brings all the others into question. If you are attaching that publication list to a research grant application, it works against the whole submission. (“Are my publications any good?“, The Research Whisperer blog, 22 Mar 2016)
You may already be wise to this but please don’t assume your colleagues or PhD students are – help us spread the word that this is happening and that there are resources available to help evaluate where to publish.

We have already blogged on some places where you can explore legitimate places to publish. The Think, Check, Submit website also offers good advice on approaching the question of where to publish. Their video is below:

Think. Check. Submit. from Think. Check. Submit. on Vimeo.

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Filenames in the Research Information System

Whats in a name

A few tips on naming your files for the Research Information System:

  • You may have noticed that RIS does not accept filenames with a space or special character such as such as: ! # $ % & ‘ @ ^ ` ~ + , . ; =  so you may need to rename your file before adding it.
  • If you are using more than one word you can separate them with an underscore or perhaps capitalise each word as in ThisIsMyArticle.
  • When you are naming your file consider the end user who will download it – it will be more useful to them if the name gives some indication of what the document is and perhaps who it is by than if it is named something like  article.pdf. You want your reader to be able to recognise and cite your article!
  • Although you want your filename to be descriptive it is best not to make it too long as that can be problematic in some computer systems. 255 characters is the limit for windows systems.
  • We would also advise you to convert your author manuscript to PDF (on many PCs this can be done in Word using File – Save as). This means that your user does not have to have your version of Word and allows your work to be accessed by anyone anywhere, the aim of open access.

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The REF Open Access policy is now in operation…


The countdown is over – the REF policy is now active

Any papers accepted for publication after 1st April 2016 must now comply with the REF’s open access policy. The university expects all papers to be compliant even if you do not anticipate that they will form part of the REF – the university’s own open access policy  applies to all publications produced by our researchers.

To ensure you comply with the policy:

  • Take action when you have a paper accepted for publication
  • Enter details of the publication onto RIS including the accepted date
  • Upload your accepted manuscript into RIS
  • Check the copyright for the journal using the Sherpa Romeo database
  • Use the “Publish to Cronfa” link to make your file open access, setting an embargo period if required. The system will delay publication until the date you specify.

The REF policy limits embargo periods to 12 or 24 months so contact us if you find the journal exceeds this.

We are here to help: Please send us your accepted manuscript and details of the publication including the date of acceptance.

Quick guide to uploading files to RIS (PDF)

Guide to using RIS (PDF)

(We have some briefing sessions next week if you want to learn more or ask questions.)

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Open Access briefings in April

With the start of the REF Open Access policy on 1st April, we are running two more open access briefing sessions next week for any researchers who aren’t sure what they need to do. Booking is essential:

There will also be a slightly different session on Thur 14th April, 12-1pm in the SURF Room, Fulton House, Singleton Park campus. This is a general, introductory overview of Open Access (not focussed on the REF policy, although that will get a mention): all staff are welcome and no booking is required. This is one of the ISS staff sessions – see our website for further topics.

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REF Open Access & Gold OA


The REF open access policy (which comes into effect on 1st April 2016) was not designed to compel authors to pay for gold open access. In the original policy they state: “Institutions can achieve full compliance without incurring any additional publication costs through article processing charges”. Instead the focus of HEFCE’s policy is encouraging researchers to take the free “green” route of uploading their papers to institutional repositories.

Do you need to pay for gold open access for the REF?

No, only in one situation: HEFCE have a limit on the embargo periods permitted for the green self-deposit route (12 months for Panels A & B, 24 months for Panels C & D). If you have had an article accepted for publication in a journal which has an embargo period longer than HEFCE allows then you will need to pay for gold open access so that your paper is eligible for the REF unless you can justify an exception. We have a central fund available for RCUK researchers; an agreement is also in place that covers many Springer journals.

What do you need to do for the REF if you paid for gold open access?

If you have paid to publish open access you don’t have to upload a version of your paper to RIS to comply with the open access policy for the REF but it is still strongly encouraged (see below).

What you DO need to do is to set the drop-down box in RIS for “Processing Charge” to “Paid” and add details of the funder(s) in the following box (separate multiple funders with a comma):


This will flag in the system that this is a Gold OA paper and we will not then chase you up for your accepted manuscript! ISS staff may upload a copy of the paper where permitted to the repository, particularly if you have used our RCUK fund.

The policy background

If you have paid to publish a paper via the “Gold” route, then you are covered by the exception stated in policy section 38f: “The output was published as ‘gold’ open access (for example, RCUK-funded projects where an open access article processing charge has been paid)”. However they do still “strongly encourage these outputs to be deposited in a repository to facilitate preservation, aggregation and text-mining”.

HEFCE adjusted the policy back in 2015 and this is the wording of their section on “Gold open-access outputs”:

“We further recognise that many papers will be published as ‘gold’ open access, and will therefore be available as the final published version-of-record2. We believe that there are significant benefits to the deposit of gold OA outputs – repositories support the effective preservation, aggregation and text-mining of research material. However, we recognise that when publishing as gold OA, authors typically prefer to deposit the final published version instead of the accepted manuscript, and that in some cases this will not be available within three months of acceptance. In light of this, we have decided to introduce an exception to the deposit requirements for outputs published via the gold route. This may be used in cases where depositing the output on acceptance is not felt to deliver significant additional benefit. We would strongly encourage these outputs to be deposited as soon as possible after publication, ideally via automated arrangements, but this will not be a requirement of the policy.”


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Exploring altmetrics


The colourful donut

We are taking part in two sessions this week on the topic of altmetrics, “the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship”. See the altmetrics manifesto for the original explanation and justification; the Wikipedia article has further background. Reasons why altmetrics are worthy of a researcher’s attention and time:

  • Discover who may be talking about your research online
  • Discover what is being said about similar research in your field (with a view to interesting them in your own research or evaluating its impact)
  • Compiling evidence of research / impact either on a personal or a project level. Altmetrics are a measure of attention (not quality), which could also be said of traditional citation counts, so should be contextualized where possible.

Swansea University had three papers in the Altmetrics Top 100 Articles for 2015 (see the news story “Swansea University scores hat trick in top 100 articles “).

Where to view altmetrics is the major supplier of altmetric data with their distinctive colourful bagel graphic which is found embedded in many other sites too. This web page gives an overview of what the bagel is and what it’s counting.

No altmetrics available? This FAQ related to the Altmetric donut gives some reasons why this may be so: they didn’t start collecting activity until 2011, not all journals are supported and not all articles have a recognizable identifier (or DOI).

Books and book chapters are also not currently well supported for altmetrics although there are developments in this area such as the Springer “Bookmetrix” portal.

Can your boost your own altmetrics?

Altmetrics register online activity. No researcher would want to be accused of “gaming” their metrics yet all researchers are encouraged to maximize their impact and to promote their research themselves as much as possible.

Researchers with an existing active online network and understanding of the world of social media will inevitably be at an advantage here. However there are also others who may be on social media already who can help: the publisher, the institution and/or research office, collaborators or community / commercial partnerships.

There is much on the web about maximizing research impact using social media. Here are some examples, including several from the LSE Impact blog which publishes frequently and reliably on this topic:

As mentioned above, using altmetrics to check out who has been talking about similar papers and including them in your network can be a useful strategy.


Comments and useful resources for exploring altmetrics are welcome!


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