Curating Swansea University Theses

A pebble dressed up as a graduate with a scroll.

From October 2017 all new PhD students have to make an electronic copy of their thesis available online. Information about this is available on our LibGuide. Existing and former PhD students can also participate in the new e-thesis service to make our Swansea University theses open access on the institutional repository Cronfa.

We are also awaiting completion of a project to digitize 1000 older theses (see the original news item from June 2017). This work is being undertaken by Proquest and the resulting full text PDFs will be available both on Cronfa and on Proquest’s Dissertations and Theses database.

Swansea University already has over 180 theses that were digitized via part of the Ethos service run by the British Library. This offers digitization of a thesis for a fee and the thesis is then made available for all users on Our theses that have been digitized in this way are linked from our library catalogue iFind or can be found using the Advanced Search option on Ethos: enter “Swansea” as a term for “Current Institution” and check the box for “Limit search to items available for immediate download”.

The library catalogue iFind remains the main source for all Swansea University theses. The print copies are held in the thesis store and can be consulted in the library (however many of these are away for digitization with Proquest at the moment).

The Library Research Support Team is working closely with our metadata and cataloguing experts to improve access to the university’s theses collection – we will post more information on e-theses over the next few months to support the launch of this new service. Contact us on with any queries!

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Can we make more book chapters open access?

Image of a yellow book tied up with a string bow

Yesterday was a snowy World Book Day which coincided with some work we are doing to look at Swansea University’s book outputs within the context of open access.

Books and book chapters are not currently covered by the HEFCE REF Open Access policy but the university open access policy states “Wherever possible researchers will be expected to make all published research outputs available as Green Open Access”. There has also been mention of (as yet undefined) credit for going beyond the scope of the REF open access policy – book chapters would be an obvious area to demonstrate this. HEFCE have indicated that books will be subject to open access requirements for REF2027 (so likely to cover any books published after 2020) and Steven Hill recently blogged about the challenges with this for monographs.

The REF policy has implications for how we (the Library Research Support Team) work: with the staff we have, we check and chase up outputs that are covered by the REF Open Access policy (journal articles and some conference proceedings) but we do not as a rule follow up open access options for book chapters, nor have we been asked to do so. However, we are exploring what we can reasonably do to encourage wider uptake of open access for book chapters. The reasons for this go beyond compliance – evidence suggests that the open access advantage for books is clear as well as the implications of rising costs of academic books vs limited library funds. There are also discovery implications: not all book chapters have DOIs and not all are well indexed or available electronically. Inclusion in our repository (which gets indexed by CORE and Google Scholar) helps to promote all our book chapters to a wider audience.

It’s useful to contextualize this work at our university with data from our repository Cronfa: since 2014, we have published 620 book chapters, compared with 8113 journal articles. Book chapters by College are shown below:

Book Chapters

Total book chapters published per College at Swansea University

(For non-SU readers, COAH is Arts & Humanities; CHHS is Human & Health) More meaningful perhaps is to view book chapters as a percentage of total College outputs since 2014:


Book Chapters as a percentage of total outputs per College at Swansea University

Unsurprisingly, Arts & Humanities and Law are the Colleges where book chapters have greater significance and where work in this area could potentially have the greatest impact. An analysis of book data from REF2014 also draws out the significance of books to these subject areas (focusing on humanities in particular). It’s also worth noting that in our repository, certain STEM publications which have an ISSN and an ISBN get automatically labelled as “Book Chapters” which may more appropriately be seen as conference proceedings or journals (e.g. Lecture Notes in Computer Science). We do include these in our work checking REF open access so that may explain their stats here.

Many publishers do have a self-archiving policy that covers book chapters; how many book chapters have been made open access on our repository? Looking again at chapters published since 2014, 10% of them are available open access on Cronfa but more of these are STEM publications:


Percentage of book chapters open access on Swansea University’s repository, by College

It would be useful to know how many of these book chapters are Gold open access but we do not record this information unless the author enters it on their record. We do not have an institutional fund for open access.

The question – can we make more book chapters open access? – is not easy to answer for the following reasons:

  1. Who is the publisher? Our repository is unmediated and many records have incomplete or dirty publisher data. To address this issue systematically would involve substantial work to tidy our book data. We do not have the resource for this at present (a source of great frustration to librarians who like tidy data!)
  2. How do we find out the publisher’s policy? Book chapter green open access policies not only vary per publisher but often by series within publisher (e.g. Springer). Many publishers also allow a single chapter of a monograph to be made open access on a repository – permissions for this differ again and also often differ by type of book (e.g. reference, textbook). Publishers get taken over by other publishers, further complicating the situation. The clearest answer is probably in the agreement signed by the author – we do not have access to this.
  3. Do authors have this information more readily to hand? And do they have the accepted version? Do they have the time to devote to this in the face of competing priorities? The library has a clear role in advocacy here, but the answer may still be ‘no’ if authors don’t HAVE to take this step.

This post is an initial outline of the challenges we face in trying to make more book chapters open access: discussions and comments very welcome…

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Research Councils UK endorse responsible metrics

The movement for responsible metrics gained further momentum in the UK with RCUK releasing a press release this month to announce that they are signing the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) and issuing new guidance in support of this:

Central to this guidance is a steer to not place undue emphasis on the journal in which papers are published, but assess the content of specific papers, when considering the impact of an individual researcher’s contribution.

Their action plan (PDF) is a neat summary of responsible metrics considerations. The statement was released the day before HEFCE’s Responsible Metrics event in London on Feb 8th.

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“Career Management for Early Career Academic Researchers” – free online course

A free online course (“MOOC”) starts on 5th March 2018 on the Futurelearn platform: “Career Management for Early Career Academic Researchers”. The course is a collaboration between Glasgow, Sheffield and Edinburgh universities. They state “this course is for academic researchers – both postgraduate researchers (PhDs) and early career researchers (post-docs). The course focuses primarily on the UK context but others may also find the content useful.”

More information and a sign-up link on FutureLearn

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Web of Science developments

Those of you who use  Web of Science for your research may be interested in the following developments:

  • There will be changes in the way open access is flagged up to distinguish gold final versions from green ones. Also they will be marking hybrid open access papers as open access which has not been possible before.
  • Web of Science are working in partnership with Impact Story and have bought Publons which allows peer reviewers to get credit for their work.
  • Emerging Sources Index – this indexes journals which do not yet meet all the Web of Science standards but are still peer reviewed and meet certain standards. It is included in the core package from 2015 onwards. You will search it as part of the Web of Science core collection but it can be filtered out using the Web of Science Index filter at the left of the screen.
  • The citation report has been redesigned to have a clearer graphic.  WOS graphic
  • There is now a chrome extension which will allow you to jump from a word in chrome to do a search in Web of Science.
  • The marked list has been expanded to hold up to 50,000 records.
  • Accessibility has been assessed and there are some features, such as fixed menus rather than drop downs which are designed to improve the user experience.
  • Web of Science will start indexing early access articles provided they are peer reviewed and accepted so that information is available earlier. They will be labelled early access until the full article appears. Initially these articles will not be taken into account for Journal Citation Reports though this will be considered after 2018.
  • There is now a company library guide for Web of Science with tutorials, guides, etc.


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Filed under Library Resources for Research, Research News

Responsible metrics & UK HE

HEFCE’s “Forum for the Responsible Use of Metrics” currently have open a survey for institutions (one response per institution is required) to find out how institutions are implementing policies on the responsible use of metrics:

Responses will be used in order to develop advice to the sector on practical ways to implement the culture of responsible research metrics using the principles/frameworks outlined above. It will also inform any recommendations the Forum makes to UKRI. Based on the responses received the Forum will consider whether to develop an agreement with similar ambitions to DORA, utilising The Metric Tide report, which aligns with the UK research base.

The Metric Tide report came out in 2015 and included recommendations for institutions (p.12ff). Some institutions have developed policies on responsible metrics – a list can be found at the top of this page on the Bibliomagician blog. Lizzie Gadd also published this article on the same blog which reports on her annual surveys of the bibliometrics community. It will be interesting to see if the HEFCE survey shows similar results.

Institutions are assessed partially on metrics for the world rankings and for some areas of the REF. Metrics can also be used for funding decisions, promotion, job applications, decisions on where to publish (e.g. using the Journal Impact Factor or other rankings of journals). This is more common in some subject areas and countries than others. If you want to learn more about responsible metrics, the Leiden Manifesto video is a good introduction to the issues:

The Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics from Diana Hicks on Vimeo.


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Open Access & the REF: an update


HEFCE announced further clarification on the rules for REF2021 yesterday (PDF here) and this included some decisions on outputs and open access (on p.8). Key points are:

  • The policy is felt to be working in that more papers than ever before have been made open access.
  • The original policy stands with respect to the timeframe for researchers to act: papers must be uploaded to RIS within 3 months of acceptance.
  • However, there will be an exception to cover papers that miss this deadline but are uploaded within 3 months of publication.

The rules around this crucial timing issue have varied during the REF period so a summary is given below:

Papers accepted for publication before 1 April 2016 do not need to comply with the REF open access policy in order to be submitted to the REF (however they are encouraged to be made open access).

Papers accepted for publication between 1 April 2016 and 1 April 2018 need to comply with the REF Open Access policy to be submitted: for this period, the full text of the article needed to be uploaded into RIS within 3 months of the date of online publication (unless the paper was published with Gold Open Access on the publisher site or one of the other exceptions can be applied). Papers that were not uploaded to RIS within 3 months of publication (or which failed to meet other conditions of the policy e.g. minimum embargo period) cannot be submitted to the REF.

Paper accepted for publication after 1 April 2018 will need to comply with the REF Open Access policy to be submitted: the full text of the paper must be uploaded into RIS within 3 months of acceptance for publication (unless the paper was published with Gold Open Access on the publisher site or one of the other exceptions can be applied). It will be possible to claim an exception for papers that miss this deadline but which are uploaded within 3 months of publication. Papers that are not uploaded to RIS within 3 months of publication (or which fail to meet other conditions of the policy e.g. minimum embargo period) cannot be submitted to the REF.

The Library Research Support team checks for REF compliance and reports on this to Research Directors & REF staff. We are currently seeing around 85-90% of papers complying with the REF Open Access policy. We will be doing further publicity in 2018 to ensure all researchers are aware of what they need to do and know that we will be glad to help with any questions:

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