Researching learning and teaching

At Swansea University there is an active learning & teaching community committed to improving practice and engaging with new technology, supported by our excellent SALT team. Academics here are also encouraged to complete a Postgraduate Certificate Teaching in Higher Education or seek HEA Fellowship recognition. All of this requires engagement with the published research on learning and teaching to ensure that changes made are evidence-based and good practice identified.

Following conversations with staff and requests for support with literature searching, we wanted to create a resource that would help anyone who is taking on the challenge of engaging in an entirely new subject area, both to research and to publish. So we have created a LibGuide for the Scholarship of Learning and Teaching (SoTL):

Screenshot of the SoTL LibGuide

SoTL LibGuide (English) / Ysgoloriaith Dysgu ac Addysgu (Welsh)

On there you will find tabs that address some of the issues that staff have raised:

  • Selected introductory material to the field of Scholarship of Learning & Teaching (SoTL)
  • Suggestions for top places to search for literature on higher education
  • Links to top SoTL journals, to read and to publish in
  • Information on SoTL and the REF
  • Plus: a place to suggest your own resources

We have been lucky enough to engage with teaching staff at a couple of events this year and have sought to learn from them what would be most useful to support activity with SoTL. Subject Librarian Philippa Price will be continuing work in this area so contact her for more information: p.price@swansea.ac.uk

The Library Research Support Team in 2018: a roundup

It’s nearly the end of a busy year for the Library Research Support Team. There is an overview of our activities on our web page (specifically our Team Remit) but the bulk of our work is in the area of open access: supporting researchers in meeting the requirements of the university and REF open access policies (and any additional funder policies), administering our grant from UKRI for Gold open access, administering the university’s e-theses collection and supporting the uptake of ORCiDs in our research community.

In 2018 we have:

  • Checked over 1980 records on RIS and chased up any that needed files uploading in order to be compliant with the REF and university Open Access policies (Engineering does this work in-house but we cover the other 6 Colleges/Schools).
  • Answered over 300 queries by email, phone and in person. Most of these are on open access, ORCiD or RIS. Contact us at iss-research@swansea.ac.uk
  • Revamped our website and moved content to new LibGuides; published 20 blog posts and lots of tweets.
  • Run 17 sessions on open research topics including two Open Research Cafe events supported by a grant from SURF and co-organised with Rebecca Kelleher.
  • Processed 50 applications for the UKRI Gold open access fund, totaling around £65k
  • Processed 66 new PhD theses for the new E-Theses portal and added a 1000 older theses as part of a retrospective digitization project

This is in addition to work supporting copyright, bibliometrics/Scival, the Postgraduate Skills programme and participation in the wider Welsh/UK Scholarly Communications community.

Open Access Success

Thanks to the diligence of our researchers, we are currently seeing excellent levels of compliance with the REF/university open access policy. In 2018, we saw 3290 new full text downloads appear on our repository Cronfa, with a further 939 waiting for the publisher-imposed embargo to end before they become open access. We are now encouraging authors to take advantage of book chapter self-archiving permissions and we have over 100 of our more recent chapters available for download now.

Dec2018OASlides

Changes in the team

The team is seeing some changes at the end of the year: Penny Lauder (Scholarly Communications Assistant) has already taken on an additional part-time role as Impact and Engagement Officer on the EPSRC-funded CHERISH digital economy centre, celebrating impact of their many interdisciplinary projects; Anna Zasheva has increased her hours in the team to cover. Sam Oakley (Research Librarian) will be leaving at the end of 2018 to take up a new post at the University of Glasgow; Susan Glen will continue 2 days a week in the role of Research Librarian until the post is filled on a full-time basis.

We wish all our researchers and readers a happy and successful 2019!

 

Guides for Open Access at Swansea University

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We have just updated a few of our guides to Open Access for Swansea University researchers:

More resources for Open Access can be found on our new LibGuide.

Getting hold of an accepted manuscript for green open access

Most journal copyright policies permit the self-archiving of the accepted manuscript (or post-print). This is the final author version of a paper and we get many queries about identifying and obtaining this version. A new resource from Open Access Button promises to be helpful: Direct2AAM.

The guides, available for most major journals, provide easy to follow instructions for authors to obtain an Author Accepted Manuscript from their journal submission system, where the AAM is stored during the publishing process.

Access the resource here: https://openaccessbutton.org/direct2aam

At present the following publishers are covered:

AAM

Find out more about Altmetrics

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Altmetrics track mentions of a publication across a wide range of sources including news, policy and social media. Find out more about how to tap into this evidence of impact: we are running a session on Thursday 29th November 2018 1-2pm on Park Campus, in Training Room 1 in the library. You can book on via the Course Catalogue in ABW or send us an email if it’s easier: iss-research@swansea.ac.uk

Revisiting Google Scholar

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There are many good reasons to spend some time with Google Scholar, as well as caveats in respect of its credentials. It remains a serious contender for academic literature searching; for example, a couple of recent papers:

Although Google Scholar is easy to use, there are a wealth of features worth discovering for academic researchers. We have just updated our library guide to Google Scholar which may be of interest to research staff and students. This is now in two parts:

  1. Google Scholar for Literature Searching” (PDF, and the Welsh PDF) which covers useful features such as linking Google Scholar to Swansea University’s paid subscription content, using cited reference searching and referencing.
  2. Google Scholar Profiles” (PDF, and the Welsh PDF) for anyone who publishes papers, highlighting the benefits of setting up a Google Scholar profile to track citations and enhance the discoverability of your work.

The Twitter account @GScholarDigest is worth following if you are interested in ongoing academic research into Google Scholar.

REF Open Access policy: determining the date of acceptance

Calendar

A key feature of the REF Open Access policy is that papers must be deposited in RIS within three months of acceptance for publication. We therefore need to record the date of acceptance in RIS for every journal articles (or serial conference proceedings paper) so that we can prove this was done. For many papers, the date of acceptance is displayed on the publisher site or PDF. For some journals however it is not easy to determine what qualifies as the “date of acceptance”, particularly if an article has been requested or the route to publication is not straightforward.

The REF Draft Guidance available now has this to say about dates of acceptance:

‘Date of acceptance’ means the date given in the acceptance letter or email from
the publisher to the author as the ‘firm’ accepted date.

They go on to clarify:

Outputs that are published by a journal or conference proceedings which does not require peer review are within the scope of this policy. In this instance, the author’s final accepted version must be deposited. The date of acceptance in this instance should be taken as the date that the publisher confirms that the article has been received from the author and will subsequently be published.

If you are still unsure what counts as the date of acceptance, please get in touch with the Library Research Support Team and we can advise.

 

Swansea University’s electronic theses: find out more

books classroom college desk
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Swansea University introduced a new electronic thesis submission process in 2017 so all new students are required to make their thesis open access on Cronfa (unless there is a compelling reason not to). Our growing collection of open access theses showcases the excellent research outputs of our students and the university’s commitment to open research.

It’s important that all those involved in the process – students, supervisors, administrators – understand what is required in terms of the submission process and considerations around copyright. There is information on the E-theses Libguide and we are also running a session on Wednesday 3rd October 2-3pm on Park Campus in Training Room 1, Level 2 West, Library & Information centre. Sign up via ABW (staff only) or just come along!

Contact the Library Research Support Team for more information: iss-research@swansea.ac.uk

 

Making a paper open access step-by-step

This post is a walk-through of the process for making a journal article open access on our institutional repository, as required by REF / SU’s open access policy.

If you can pay for “Gold” open access with the publisher (including a CC-BY licence), then your paper will be compliant. You may wish to consider using one of the Springer journals covered by the UK open access agreement with that publisher. This gives free open access publication to SU staff and students in one of the applicable titles. We have funding for open access for UKRI researchers.

Scenario: you have written an article and you want to submit it for publication.

Check that the journal allows you to comply with open access requirements: use Sherpa Romeo. If you have a research funder, check your funder’s policy as it is likely to have more restrictions.

Points to check on Sherpa Romeo are:

  1. If there is an embargo period, is it longer than 12 months (STEM) or 24 months (social science/humanities)? If so, this will not comply with the REF open access policy. You can still submit to the journal but you will need to produce evidence for the REF that you considered other journals and only this one was suitable.
  2. Do they allow you to upload the accepted version (post-print) onto an institutional repository at a minimum? Published version would be even better. If not, you can still submit to the journal but you will need to produce evidence for the REF that you considered other journals and only this one was suitable.

Acceptance: Your paper is peer reviewed, a few changes are requested and then you are contacted to say the paper has been accepted.

  1. Create a record on RIS with the information you have: title, journal, date of acceptance.
  2. Upload the accepted version: this is your final version which includes any changes made following peer review. Convert a Word document to PDF. If you are allowed to make your paper immediately available before publication, use the “Publish to Cronfa” link next to the file in RIS to make it appear the next day.

Your paper is finally published (either online, early, or in an issue of the journal).

  • Once the article is published, use the “Publish to Cronfa” link next to the file in RIS to set your full text file to release to Cronfa either immediately (if there is no embargo) or on a date in the future.

Whenever your paper becomes open access, be sure to promote it with a link to the Cronfa page so that readers can find the full text. You can track views and downloads on Cronfa and there will also be information on altmetrics (social media activity) and citations if these accrue.

Locating open access papers

Google_Phone

Making a paper open access serves no purpose if that paper is not findable by its potential readers. These may be other academics, students or interested public.

In recent years there’s been an increase in open access discovery tools to help readers quickly locate the full text of an article which is paywalled. Most of these tools have pros and cons; none of them fully index the full spread of legally available open access papers in institutional and subject repositories. Some of these will link with the library’s subscriptions to give access to the full text, as well as any freely available copies on the web. Check our library’s access using iFind’s “Articles & more” search tab (see below).

How can a researcher find full text for a paper they need to read? This quick overview assumes a search for a specific known paper (not a general search on a topic):

  • Google Scholar: this is the academic search engine version of Google. It is excellent for turning up open versions of papers and usually displays a link straight to the paper on the right. However, institutional repositories are not always well indexed by Google Scholar so it can miss free content. You can link Google Scholar to the library’s subscriptions; it also has its own browser button.
  • Unpaywall: an open access discovery service that is being integrated into many databases and sites. You can also use their browser extension to get a colour-coded padlock with (hopefully) direct access to a PDF. Our repository – Cronfa – is not yet indexed by Unpaywall so its coverage is good but not comprehensive. Unpaywall also has the facility to bulk-check a list of DOIs which may be useful.
  • Open Access button: another open access discovery service which also has its own browser extension. Cronfa IS indexed by open access button but, again, its coverage will not be complete.
  • Kopernio: another browser plugin to help find OA content.
  • The university library iFind service does include some open access content but coverage of free material is not as good as some of the above. However, it does provide authoritative access to the university’s subscription content which will give the publisher version of a paper after logging in (IF we have a subscription to that journal).
  • Google is not an academic search engine but many use it for discovery. Open access papers are often indexed by Google and including the search command “filetype:pdf” can help to locate full text. You can also include quotes around the title to make your search more precise.

If you do a lot of literature searching it is definitely worth installing one of the browser extensions to find an open version of a paper but it is also worth remembering that, if one is not available, a focused Google search may still turn up a copy in a repository that has not yet been indexed by these services.

Comments welcomed if you use any of these tools!