Are you missing out on research promotion? Cronfa reaches further than you might think.

Some of you might have wondered if there is any point in putting your work in the university repository, other than the REF requirement. I have been taking a look at usage statistics and have definitely found an upwards trend . We have had an increase in over a thousand users since December so the site is getting attention – why not take advantage of that to showcase your work?

Where are the users from?

Since 1st December, although a large percentage of visitors came from the UK, there was use from 122 countries in total. This shows the top ten.


How do they find Cronfa?


The bulk of our users find us by keyword search (organic). A large number are also from links on other sites (a lot of them Swansea ones but some elsewhere). Direct users type in the url of the site so will be very familiar with it and a growing number come via social media with Twitter being the clear favourite.


Help to make Cronfa grow by adding your work and spreading the word.

Revisiting the “Versions Toolkit” for open access concerns

The Versions Toolkit Cover“Versions Toolkit” PDF here:

The 2008 Versions Toolkit from the LSE / JISC project is a handy piece of work that deserves re-promoting in light of the HEFCE REF Open Access policy (amongst others) which puts new emphasis on the “Accepted Version” of a paper. At 20 pages, the toolkit may seem weighty for its overriding message of “be organized and keep all your versions” but there are some excellent points inside that address concerns we have been hearing from researchers at our recent Open Access briefings:


The Problem of Losing Citations
Some staff have concerns about losing citations to their work if it exists in multiple versions in multiple places, for example an “accepted version” in institutional repositories (Cronfa, in our case) and the published version. The Versions Toolkit (p.9) points out that:
  • In their survey, over 70% academics stated that they would “cite the published version only, even though I have read the earlier version”.
  • An institutional repository will contain a link and full details of the published version, making it easy to cite the final version.
  • You can include a request “Please do not cite” in any earlier versions made available or indicate your preferred citation on the front page (p.11)
The Problem of Co-Authors
Some researchers have also mentioned the potential difficulties of having access to the “Accepted Version” if they are not the lead or corresponding author for an article. Others pointed out this will mean a need for improved communications and sharing, right from the start of co-authoring. The Versions Toolkit also puts this more strongly:
“When working with co-authors, protect your rights by requesting a copy of the final Accepted Version from the lead or corresponding author, so that you have access to your own work (p.10).”
The Problem of the Accepted Version Looking a Bit Scrappy
The Versions Toolkit (p.10) points out that if someone is looking to read your work, finding a free open version is their primary concern:
“For such readers it will be a huge benefit to be able to have access to the content of the paper at all, even if it is not the fully polished published version”
Notes could also be added to the beginning of the document to indicate any major variations or changes that occurred subsequently.

What about smaller publishers?
The Sherpa Romeo website is the “go-to” resource for information on what publishers allow you to do with your work. However, it does not include all publishers. The Toolkit notes:
“When negotiating with your publisher, if they do not have a policy on open access, point them to the ROMEO website. It will help you to explain what you are asking for and should encourage smaller publishers to develop a policy” (p.13)
What are the options when signing away your copyright?
Most publishers get authors to sign a Standard Copyright Transfer Agreement, thereby transferring copyright to the Publisher. The Toolkit points out there are ways of mitigating this, either by negotiating an author addendum reserving certain rights or an alternative “licence to publish” (p.12). There is guidance and sample wordings for these that authors can use.

Why bother with Open Access?
There are many, many arguments for Open Access but the Toolkit (p.10) puts it nicely in a nutshell:
“You have a community of readers made up of those researchers in your field who happen to have access to your book or a subscription to the journal. The decision for you at this stage is whether to make your work available to a wider readership”
As librarians, we frequently deal with requests from students and staff to access material for which the university does not hold a subscription. Increasingly, I advise them to check Google/Google Scholar for an archived version to see if there is a free version available. This is also supported by the recent report by Ithaka which studies how researchers research and the barriers to access that need to be minimized to “streamline access to scholarly resources”.

The Toolkit also has much useful advice on managing versions of documents and what to keep, working out what you can do with different versions, the pros and cons of methods of dissemination. Worth a read to familiarize yourself with the issues and opportunities!

Open Access Week Events at Swansea University

 OA International Open Access Week  (21st to 27the October) will soon be upon us and is a chance to catch up with the latest developments and to reflect on how far things have come and where the OA movement is taking us next. Swansea University staff can take advantage of two talks being held during this week to find out more about it:

Monday 21 October (12 to 2pm) SURF Room, Fulton House.   Open Access: From Biomed Central to F1000 Research. Rebecca Lawrence (Faculty of 1000)  will talk about the developments in OA publishing from the early days of BioMed Central to the success of PLOS and the most recent developments of open peer review, open data, and F1000Research.  

Swansea researchers will find this a fascinating insight into the world of Open Access publishing and will have a chance to consider the latest developments and how they might benefit or impact upon their research in terms of  publishing, impact and profile.

To book email:   Buffet lunch will be provided.

Wednesday 23 October (12 to 1pm) APECS, Training Room A, Grove. Open Access: Green? Gold? Confused? Caroline Rauter and Michele Davies(ISS) will be talking about the changing landscape and the impact of research openness beyond academia. They will also be explaining the role of ISS in supporting researchers using the Gold OA route. 

To book email:

Open Access may get another push from the Research Councils

Some academics are still sometimes concerned that publishing in an Open Access journal may not have the same kudos as a subscription journal with a high impact factor. But now, following Willets’ speech to the publishers last week, there is speculation that the Research Councils will consider making open access part of the “excellence criteria for qualifying articles” for REF post-2014. (See article in THES)

Of course, following the “Gold Route” (i.e. author pays model), we can see that often these open access journals can have high impact factors and the fact that they are freely available may increase the number of citations to articles. Journal Impact Factors are, after all, based upon the number of citations to articles published by a journal. The BiomedCentral stable of journals are all building good reputations and impact factors.

And, if authors follow the “Green Route” (self-archiving in an institutional or subject repository), they can publish in a subscription journal but still make their research outputs publicly available so long as they do so within the terms set by the publisher – or negotiated between the author and publisher.





Willetts asks Jimmy Wales to advise on development of UK “Gateway to Research” portal.

David Willetts, in a speech to the Publishers’ Association yesterday, set out the Coalition’s commitment to free Open Access to publicly funded UK research outputs. He acknowledged the role of publishers in scholarly communication and said that he wanted to work with them. Not only is there a need for public access to publicly funded research, he said, but there is also a need to make it more discoverable and to assist “networking between researchers and SMEs”.  To this end, he said,  Research Councils in the UK   “are now investing £2 million in the development of a UK  ‘Gateway to Research’ portal.  Jimmy Wales has been asked to advise on the creation of this portal, which it is intended “will enable users to establish who has received funding and for what research [and] provide direct links to actual research outputs such as data sets and publications”.

Read Willetts’ article in the Guardian

Let the light shine on your research publications!

It is Open Access week. Researchers, librarians, publishers, and research funders are all talking about Open Access. By publishing your work in an OA repostitory or OA journal, you will make it more discoverable by other researchers. The more people read your work, the more likely it is to get cited by others and potentially increase its impact.

As part of OA week, R2RC have published a new guide to publishing for research students: Optimize Your Research