Author Archives: drsamoakley

About drsamoakley

Research Librarian at Swansea University

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:

BooKChapPercent

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:

BookChapPercentOA

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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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

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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: iss-research@swansea.ac.uk.

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Do metrics reflect your academic achievements?

A chess piece wearing a golden crown

Universities already have their world rankings (and some REF areas) assessed with metrics. Individual researchers may well find they are being asked about their own metrics. This post lists four places to check your bibliometric profile and consider how well it reflects your work. It’s worth doing this, particularly to identify where metrics may NOT be capturing what you consider your successes. Simply claiming “metrics don’t work” or have limitations for your area is not as effective as demonstrating it!

There is no one definitive place to get an accurate count of your publications and citations: each source listed below indexes a limited amount of scholarly content and the figures will reflect that. This is particularly a problem for subject areas that are not well covered (typically Humanities/Social Sciences) and which do not publish primarily journal articles. Older papers (and older citations) can also be missing, although content coverage seems to be expanding on most services.

Scopus

Swansea University has a subscription to Elsevier’s Scopus database which is the source used for university rankings and some REF UoAs. You will have a profile on Scopus if it has indexed at least one of your papers and it takes the affiliation of your most recent paper. If you have more than one profile, you need to correct this: there is a “Request Author Details Correction” on a profile page; it can take a few weeks for this to get processed.

On your author profile page you can see:

  • Total number of papers indexed by Scopus (you may want to consider what’s been missed)
  • Total number of citations to your papers on Scopus: sort your list of papers by “Cited By” to see your most highly cited (how many have not been cited at all?)
  • Your Scopus h-index
  • A graph showing citations over time: this will tail off as it takes time for citations to accrue

SciVal

Scival (another Elsevier product) uses the same citation data from Scopus to give you further statistics. SciVal uses a limited date range (check the top of the page for the options) so you may see less papers/citations on SciVal than on Scopus.

SciVal can tell you:

  • How many of your papers were in the top 10% most cited worldwide.
  • How many of your papers were published in the top 10% of journals: you need to select a journal metric for this: “CiteScore” is Elsevier’s version of the Journal Impact Factor; “SNIP” attempts to normalise for your subject area.
  • Your Field Weighted Citation Index: this metric should not be used if you have under 50 papers, and even for higher numbers should be treated with caution.

With both Scopus and SciVal metrics, you may wish to compare yourself against colleagues in the same field: comparisons across subject areas will not work as citation and publication patterns differ.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar does not give a detailed list of what it indexes which weakens its case for robust use of its metrics. However, it is much more comprehensive than Scopus or Incites in terms of content, particularly for Humanities and Social Science areas. Comparing your content here against Scopus can give an idea of how much is being missed when Scopus metrics are used.

To see your metrics you will need to create a profile (example here): there is a good guide here on the ImpactStory blog. You can then see:

  • Total citations
  • Your Google Scholar h-index
  • A graph of your citations over time

You can also use the “Follow” button to get alerted to new citations. Google Scholar gives a count of citations for each paper – click on the number to see what is being counted. This is likely to be (much) higher than on Scopus/Web of Science, partly because more book data is included but also perhaps some less scholarly sources.

The Publish or Perish software can be used to perform further analysis on Google Scholar data and Anne-Wil Harzing’s site has much information on how it can be used.

Incites

We have recently blogged about using Incites which is Clarivate Analytics’ citation analysis tool. It can also give you an author overview:

  • Citations
  • Which journals gave you the most citations
  • Areas of work which are most highly cited

Incites uses data from the Web of Science, so a different database with its own set of content. Comparisons suggest citations and coverage are roughly similar / slightly less than Scopus (Scopus is expanding its content – particularly book data – more rapidly).

Altmetrics: do they tell a different story?

The site ImpactStory can be used to set up a quick profile and gather your altmetrics, as well as some citation metrics. This may provide additional information on your scholarly activities – how does this compare with your citation metrics?

If you do explore your personal metrics, please let us know! We have been doing some work with specific departments on how well different sources of metrics represent their outputs and all evidence is useful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All you need to know about metrics?

The range of metrics (or indicators) being used to measure research impact is growing and the issues around them are complex. If you are interested in exploring this area there is an excellent resource produced by 3 Irish academic libraries: MyRI Measuring your Research Impact.

The tutorial is particularly recommended: it is very thorough, considers all the pros and cons of the different metrics and has short videos of academics discussing how they are using (or not using) metrics. The MyRI tutorial is also available for re-use and adaptation under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 licence.

Swansea University has subscriptions to many of the products mentioned (you will need to click onto the “Online” tab to get the link that routes via our login):

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