Discussing the HEFCE and RCUK Open Access policies

Photo of Steven Hill from HEFCE presenting

Steven Hill from HEFCE

Both HEFCE and RCUK representatives were presenting at the “OA Advocacy Workshop: Joining the Dots” event in London on Friday so it was a good chance to hear discussion and debate about their respective open access policies (up on the HEFCE and RCUK websites). The presentations they used are below and I am simply highlighting the key points that appealed to me (and errors in interpretation are entirely my fault).

The RCUK policy in particular has been in the news as the first independent review was published today with some recommendations for change. Mark Thorley from RCUK alluded to this review in his talk but could not divulge details at the time. He emphasized that scholarly communication needed to adapt to a digital, networked world where anyone could publish and disseminate on the web – we need to ensure that quality peer-reviewed outputs are there – and freely accessible – to address the less well informed or researched viewpoints.

Steven Hill from HEFCE emphasized the simplicity at the heart of the new post-2014 REF Open Access policy – they want everything open access! This means increasing the uptake of open access options, boosting the use of repositories, urging researchers themselves to take action to achieve this:

He was quite frank that HEFCE were not opting for the path of least resistance and recognized they are setting an ambitious target. Someone asked about the promise of extra credit for institutions who embrace open access that has been mentioned in the REF policy – whilst nothing has been clarified on this, the example he gave was institutions embracing a CC-BY licence for a high percentage publications. He also mentioned that including monographs in open access requirements was something they hoped to address sooner rather than later.

Both speakers agreed that their emphasis was firmly upon improving the dissemination of research, even if there was a short-term cost which may cut into the money going directly for research.

Sarah Fahmy also gave an update on the many ways JISC are working to help the sector cope with the new open access demands. There are no guarantees that they will be able to get things in place for the start of the REF policy on 1 April 2016 but they are trying to develop at speed (“agile”). The overview was very similar to this presentation from Digifest which illustrates all the work going on at present:

Swansea University & Open Access

At Swansea, we have already been out spreading the word on the new REF Open Access policy and listening to concerns so we can support our researchers with these new demands on their time. We will be continuing this work next term but see our webpages or contact us at iss-research@swansea.ac.uk if you have questions or would like us to come and speak with your department / research group.

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Can I make my article available in Cronfa?


Can I make my article available  in RIS/Cronfa?

When you publish a journal article it is common practice to sign the copyright over to the publisher. They will often allow you some rights such as the right to deposit a post-print in an institutional repository. Sherpa Romeo is an attempt to simplify finding out what is allowed.

Green – archive pre-print and post-print (not intended to refer to green open access)

Blue – archive post-print (after refereeing)

Yellow – archive pre-print (before refereeing)

White – no formal archive arrangements

If you are considering making your work open access due to requirements for the next REF the  post-print is the one you need to consider. This is Sherpa terminology for the author-accepted manuscript – the author’s final version but without publisher formatting. It is best to keep your own copy of this as it is not always possible to extract them from publishers later.

Note that publishers rarely allow their formatted PDF to be put in a repository.


This is a Romeo green journal. An author’s manuscript would be fine to put in RIS / Cronfa.


This is a Romeo blue journal. Preprints cannot be archived but it would be fine to put the final author manuscript in RIS/Cronfa.

Yellow and white journals will often allow deposit of a post-print but with conditions such as an embargo period – this can be put into RIS so that your article does not become available until permitted.


In all cases you do need to notice any conditions set by the publisher.  Precise conditions are usually in the contract you sign with the publisher so it is best to keep a copy of these if you can. You will hopefully soon build up a picture of what to do for the journals you usually use.

Still confused?  Contact iss-research@swansea.ac.uk or your subject librarian for help.

Sherpa Romeo blog post in PDF format

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More SciVal Training at Swansea Uni

Bibliometric analysis has become increasingly important in evaluations of the research impact of individuals or institutions (such as the REF). SciVal, which uses data from the Scopus database (used for REF2014), is one of the tools that gathers and analyses this kind of bibliometric data. Within SciVal it is possible to analyse and benchmark individual researchers, groups of researchers and institutions based on a variety of different metrics.

Swansea University library is hosting 2 training sessions by Dr Matthew Walker from Elsevier on their SciVal database on Wednesday 18th March. There will be an overview session for new users at 9.30am and an intermediate session for those who have already used Scival at 11am.

The sessions are open to staff and research students. Please sign up on our Eventbrite page if you would like to attend:

More information on SciVal: http://www.elsevier.com/online-tools/research-intelligence/products-and-services/scival
Access SciVal (on campus): https://ifind.swan.ac.uk/discover/Record/771232/Holdings#tabnav

Please contact iss-research@swansea.ac.uk for more information on this session or access to SciVal.

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“Getting REF-ready” resources

We had the first briefing today on the new HEFCE open access policy that will govern the post-2014 REF submissions. Lots of good questions and comments! We will be running more sessions over the coming months (years?) but the key information is available here:

Contact iss-research@swansea.ac.uk if you would like us to come and speak with any gatherings of researchers. The next open-to-all session on March 18th is almost fully booked but we will announce more dates soon.

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Getting REF-ready: find out more about the new REF Open Access policy

We are running some general briefings for any Swansea University research staff who wish to learn more about the HEFCW open access policy (and the University’s own Open Access mandate) and what it means for them:

“Getting REF-ready: what you need to do for HEFCW’s new open access policy”

This briefing will give an overview of HEFCW/HEFCE’s open access policy which governs which papers will be eligible for the next post-2014 REF. HEFCE state that “The author is responsible. It is a feature of this policy that it places a responsibility on authors to deposit their work and consider their open access options” so all Swansea University researchers need to be aware of these new requirements. Come along to find out what needs to be done when you have a publication accepted and how we can support you with this.

There are 2 sessions scheduled:

More information: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/iss/researchsupport/open-access or contact iss-research@swansea.ac.uk.

HEFCW/HEFCE Policy information: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/rsrch/rinfrastruct/oa/policy/

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What can the library do for postgraduate research students? A lot!

Photo from the back of a PC room showing librarian Clare Boucher in action

One of our library training sessions – librarian Clare Boucher in action!

I was lucky enough to get to meet some of our new postgraduate research students at an introduction to the Postgraduate Research Skills Development programme run here at Swansea University. It was a good opportunity to promote all the different kinds of support we can offer here in the library. We teach some sessions on the Skills programme but help and resources are also available online (on our Blackboard site and our website) and in person, via a one-to-one meeting with subject librarians.

What can we help a research student with? A lot!

  • The resources they need for their research: not just books and articles (accessed via our iFind systems) on their subject but also more general resources such as books on research methodology, resources on how to create research posters, our DVD collection, the Wellbeing collection, our thesis collection to see examples of other PhDs.
  • Accessing material we don’t have in stock here or subscribe to: our document supply service can help or the SCONUL access scheme can be used to visit other libraries.
  • Reference management software: we run regular sessions on EndNote and EndNote Online (the software recommended at Swansea University) but there are also other free options such as Mendeley or Zotero that can help manage references and PDFs.
  • Working smarter: this could mean getting some extra search tips or database skills, setting up an efficient current awareness stream and alerting services, apps or tools to make your research more mobile or easier.
  • Thinking about publishing? We run sessions in collaboration with academics on publishing your first book and your first journal article. We can also advise on open access, journal impact factors, copyright, creative commons licenses…email us on iss-research@swansea.ac.uk.
  • Developing an online academic presence: registering for an ORCID, the pros and cons of academic social networking sites, using social media to publicize your research, building a professional web presence (or at least monitoring what is being said about you!). We have sessions and information on all these and more!

All research students are encouraged to come and meet with one of their library team at any point in their studies – details are on the Subject Support website pages – or contact the dedicated Research Librarians on iss-research@swansea.ac.uk. We’d be glad to discuss all or any of the above topics!

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