New Open Access Blog

If you are interested in open access and scholarly communication there is new blog to monitor:

Open Access Blog: Open Access and Digital Scholarship at Imperial College London

“This  blog is dedicated to Open Access and related scholarly communication and digital scholarship activities at Imperial College London. It is managed by members of the Open Access project, a cross-departmental initiative that supports the transition to open access publishing at Imperial College. We will share  updates about  of the OA project as well as news about what is happening outside of the university.” from: about the Open Access Blog.


Using doctoral theses in your research: a guide to EThOS

EThOS – the national database for PhD theses (managed by the British Library) contains over 100,000 UK theses freely available to download and use for your research and has an additional 200,000 available to search and scan on demand.

The British Library has organised a free webinar to take place on 10 December at 11am GMT to find out:

  • how to search for and download theses
  • what to do if a thesis isn’t available
  • find out what happens to your thesis once it’s completed (for PhD students)
  • how EThOS works with UK universities to support the whole research cycle

This webinar is aimed at researchers, students, librarians and anyone interested in finding and using PhD theses.

Register at:

Meet the Digital Science team, 14.00-16.00, Thursday 28th November

The Digital Science team would like to meet researchers, research managers and / or librarians to discuss daily routine, working environment, tools used, and challenges faced. The objective is to better understand the problems faced in daily work, so we can build tools and solutions to solve those problems and help improve the pace of discovery.

If possible the team would like to spend an hour having yourself or colleagues take us through the daily routine, tools, and challenges. Following that the team would invite the group to a local cafe for an open discussion, also about an hour.  The team would hope to leave with a better understanding of the obstacles faced by those in research and academia, and, with luck, ideas for potential solutions to those obstacles.

If you would like to meet the Digital Science team, please email Ruth Harrison, in the Central Library.

Open Access Week 2013

As this week is the 6th international Open Access Week, an initiative to raise awareness of what open access is and what it means for research communication, this is a guest blog post written by Ruth Harrison, Team Leader Education & Research Support, Imperial College London Library.

Open access: what is it?International Open Access Week

Providing open access to your publications and other work means that there are no price or other restrictions to your research for other researchers, readers, students, the interested public, and anyone else, wherever they are. Open access aims to remove the barrier of subscription costs, and barriers relating to re-use and re-purposing of work.

What it is not about is providing access to poor quality non-peer reviewed work, and it is not about removing your right to be recognised as the author of your work. Peter Suber, a longstanding commentator and advocate of open access, addresses some open access misunderstandings here. (Read his book, Open access, published by MIT Press last year, for a short and comprehensive outline of where things currently stand. It’s available on open access…)

How do you do it?

Open access has been a method of making research work available online, free of charge, for over 10 years, and in some disciplines there is much more research available in this way than in others. See the arXiv – this is an example of researchers saying to each other we want to share our work, as well as get it published, and we want to make sure researchers in our field can access what we share without needing to have a subscription.

There are two main ways in which you and other researchers can make your work available:

  1. Self-archive your work, generally referred to as  ‘green’OA  –  put a copy of your journal article, conference paper, research data, into a repository. A use licence will be applied to this content so you will know what people can do, and you will retain your copyright to that original work. Publishers sometimes require you to wait for a certain period of time after the article etc., has been published before you can self-archive, but many do allow you to self-archive a version of your work at about the same time it is published.
  2. You can also choose to immediately publish your work on open access, generally called ‘gold’ OA, which means there isn’t a delay on making the work available to anyone who wants to read and use it. This usually also requires payment to the publisher of the work (although not always), and is the method of open access that many people have heard about.

Self-archiving (green)

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Bibliometrics Event at the University of Sussex

On Thursday 12 September I attended this event at the University of Sussex. For those of you who haven’t come across the term before, bibliometrics describe the ways that exist to measure influence or impact in the journal literature.

There were a number of speakers from various institutions and the presentations can be found on the Bibliometrics in Libraries page.

A few sessions I found interesting included the following.

Looking past  the usual metrics to help researchers demonstrate excellence to support  grant applications (Peter Darroch, SciVal Consultant, Elsevier) – this session gave a good overview of the types of metrics available as well as examples of when in your career it would make most sense to use different metrics. The overall message however was to think about what you wish to measure before using any particular metric and to treat all metrics with a health warning.

This session highlighted a blog that is worth a look if you are interested in scholarly communication – the Scholarly Kitchen:

“The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing is “[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking.” The Scholarly Kitchen…a moderated and independent blog aimed to help fulfill this mission by bringing together differing opinions, commentary, and ideas, and presenting them openly.” (from About the Scholarly Kitchen)

Article-level and alternative metrics: tracking other indicators of impact online (Jean Liu, – this was a presentation on the service and how their tool uses other ways to illustrate impact such as measuring blog posts, tweets, download counts and page views. This type of measurement is seen as complementary to traditional measures of impact.

Remember you can read about the many types of tools available to track other non-traditional means of impact in the  evaluation tools module that is part of our Blogs, Twitter, wikis and other web-based tools programme.

The h-index. Friend or Foe? (Ian Rowlands, Research Services Manager and Bibliometrician, University of Leicester) – this session talked about the h-index and how it can be used as well as what to watch out for. If you are looking for your h-index make sure you check a variety of different sources such as Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar as they may be different.

Finally, for more information about bibliometrics see our bibliometrics and impact factors web page and this Bibliometrics reading list in Mendeley.