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:

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
  • 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.


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


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:

At present the following publishers are covered:


Find out more about Altmetrics


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:

Revisiting Google Scholar


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


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.