data.ncl reaches half a million views

During the summer months data.ncl, Newcastle’s research data repository, reached over 500,000 views from datasets and code archived from researchers across the University. Reaching this milestone affords us the opportunity to take stock of how far we have travelled in openly sharing data as data.ncl was only launched in spring 2019.

It equally provides an indication of the reach data can have when it is archived and becomes findable, searchable and citable. Records in data.ncl have been viewed from as far away as Chile and New Zealand while the three countries who view and access data most frequently are USA, Netherlands and the UK – showing the global and national interest in research created at Newcastle University. In addition to views, data.ncl has enabled 215,000 downloads and preserves over 1200 records for future reuse.

“The long-term archiving and sharing of datasets through data.ncl is a significant part of our support for Open Research. Seeing datasets being viewed, accessed and reused shows there is real value in giving data a second life through data.ncl” said Professor Candy Rowe, Dean for Research Culture and Strategy. Professor Brian Walker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research Strategy and Resources added: “Reaching this milestone shows Newcastle University is committed, along with UK government and other research funders, to the conduct of Open Research that is available to and used by as many people as possible for as long as possible”. 

All researchers and PGRs can freely archive and publicly share data from their research through data.ncl. Archived data obtains its own DOI (Digital Object Identifier) for inclusion in research outputs, including publications. To help increase engagement and impact archived data is indexed by Google Scholar and Google Dataset search. Data collections can also be created to group together data records produced from a project or research theme with its own DOI to increase discovery. This can include records of data held in discipline specific repositories to create a full showcase of the data produced by a research project. 

The Research Data Service has reviewed and approved hundreds of datasets and these are a few highlights:

  • The Coral Spawning Database brings together a huge international effort that includes over 90 authors from 60 institutions in 20 countries to openly share forty years of coral data in one place for the first time. The intention is for this database to grow over time so the data isn’t set in stone and can be added to as the research progresses. Dr James Guest said: “Coral reefs have been declining in health for decades and are severely threatened by climate change. It is, therefore, more important than ever to share large datasets on these ecosystems so that they can be used to guide management of reefs in the Anthropocene”. James added: “When we were looking for a suitable data repository for the Coral Spawning Database, data.ncl was the obvious choice because it was so user friendly and has excellent support from the Research Data Service at Newcastle University”.
  • Through National Lottery Heritage Fund, Dr Nicky Garland mapped and shared a number of features of Hadrian’s Wall including forts, towers, and road systems. The aim was to make the data open and accessible to allow researchers and the wider community to engage with Hadrian’s Wall and its conservation and research. The data records are proving to be very popular and are clearly supporting the aims of the WallCAP project. “In terms of our project decision to use data.ncl – it was a no-brainer! WallCAP will generate a considerable amount of data and we want that data to be readily accessible. Having a secure digital archive that provides DOIs that can be easily incorporated into academic publications is not only convenient, but essential in this era of data-proliferation” said Dr Rob Collis, Project Manager.
  • The Dental Micromotor Handpiece Dataset was one of the first open data examples of Newcastle University responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic. James Allison, Clinical Fellow, explained: “Our project looked at how we can use novel dental drill designs to reduce the amount of aerosol produced during dental procedures. This is important because concerns over transmitting viruses in these aerosols caused dental services to shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our work showed that these drills produce less aerosol and therefore reduce this risk, allowing them to be safely used in dental practices. This also helped dental students get back to treating their patients at the School of Dental Sciences and in other institutions in the UK. We felt it was important to share our data on data.ncl so that it was available to other researchers looking at the same problem, and also to those developing guidance and policy documents to inform their decisions.”
  • Ali Alammer was a PhD researcher who shared his underpinning code for a biologically inspired machine vision model (En-HMAX), which rapidly processes 2D images with minimal computational requirements. Ali explained: “With a hierarchy of only six processing layers, the model was capable of extracting formative and unique representation to objects and scenes. It had also achieved comparable performances to existing state-of-the-art architectures including deep learning. I archived the code for research reproducibility purposes as it has a wide range of applications that includes surveillance and robotic vision.”

The Research Data Service runs data.ncl and supports researchers in planning, managing and sharing research data. For further information please visit the research data management website or contact rdm@ncl.ac.uk.

Newcastle University and Elsevier

The contract between academic publisher Elsevier and UK Universities is due for renewal in December 2021.

Newcastle University subscribes to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect at a cost of £1.1 million for the current subscription deal which enables University members to access Elsevier journals online.

The UK Universities sector – on behalf of its researchers and students – entered negotiations with Elsevier with two core objectives: to reduce costs to levels UK universities can sustain, and to provide full and immediate open access to UK research.

Open access to research allows for greater impact, expanding access worldwide and the potential for collaborative work to benefit the national and international research community.

Elsevier is now the only major publisher that does not have a transformative open access agreement in place. Subscription costs to Elsevier’s journals are high and continuing to increase but do not include an open access agreement. Transformative agreements are also supported by cOAlition S research funders and, from April 2022, UKRI’s new policy is similarly supportive.

Therefore, a key practical aim of the negotiations is to secure a transformative agreement with Elsevier, which will support the core objective of immediate open access publishing.

UK Universities began negotiations in March 2021. Representatives from the sector will sit on the official negotiation team and Jisc facilitates the overall negotiations.

Jisc has produced the following video which highlights the key issues involved and has also produced some background information about the negotiations.

The Library will provide more detailed information about the aims of the negotiations and news of any progress over the coming months via this blog and on the Research Services website.

John Williams

Photo credit: King’s Walk June 2013 by John Donoghue.

New UKRI Open Access Policy published

UK Research and Innovation logo

After its long awaited review UKRI announced its new open access policy on the 6th August. The policy will apply to publications acknowledging UKRI funding and aims to make UKRI-funded research freely available to the public. It aligns with Plan S and the Wellcome Trust open access policy, and there is a strong indication that the policy will align with the open access requirements for the next REF (due to be published in November 2021). UKRI have pledged continued and increased funding to support the implementation of the new policy.

The policy will apply to:

  • Peer-review research articles submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022
  • Monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024.

Summary of changes

Articles (from 1 April 2022)

  • Must be open access immediately upon publication
  • CC BY licence must apply (with some permitted CC BY-ND exceptions)
  • No embargoes
  • APCs for OA in hybrid journals no longer permitted
  • A data access statement is required (even if there is no data)
  • Biomedical research articles that acknowledge MRC or BBSRC funding are required to be archived in Europe PubMed Central 

Books, book chapters and edited collections (from 1 January 2024)

  • Must be open access within 12 months of publication
  • CC BY licence required
  • Open access can be either published open access or by deposit of the Author’s Accepted Manuscript in an institutional repository
  • Images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content should be included in the open access content however more restrictive licences can apply for third-party content.

The University will be providing training and guidance before April 2022 to support implementation of the policy.

You can read the full policy documents here: https://www.ukri.org/our-work/supporting-healthy-research-and-innovation-culture/open-research/open-access-policies-review/

Welcome to ‘Opening Research’

Welcome to Opening Research, the blog for Library Research Services at Newcastle University. Library Research Services are aimed at, but by no means exclusive to, all Newcastle researchers and Professional Services staff in research-related roles, offering support and advice throughout the research lifecycle. Our team can offer help and expertise on:

These are all areas that are impacting on the work of our researchers today and we can help you understand the various policies and options researchers are presented with before, during and after the research process. It is important to us that we help researchers comply with their funders’ requirements, but we would like to go beyond that by promoting and advocating for good research practice and culture. Therefore, we intend the blog to be more than just a tool to communicate our services to you. We would like to use it as an opportunity to engage those involved in research and research support in discussions and debates about what is happening in the research landscape today.

I have been working in academic libraries for over 27 years, the last 17 at Newcastle University and for most of that time I’ve been directly supporting researchers one way or another. From RAE and REF submissions, to establishing open access platforms publishing Newcastle research, to liaising with publishers and consortia to get the best subscription and publishing deals possible, and I have never known as much change as that which is taking place now. For example:

  • Are you aware of Plan S?
  • Have you heard of DORA?
  • Do you know that Newcastle University has agreements with publishers that allow you to publish your papers open access at no cost to you?
  • What are the proposed open access requirements for the post-2021REF?
  • Who is challenging the established research culture in institutions and why?

These are just some of the current issues that will impact on researchers working lives and we will be discussing in future blog posts. We hope you find them interesting and encourage you to join the debate or start the discussion yourself.

Amanda Boll
Head of Research Publications and Data Management Services