In the first of our series of daily blog posts to mark International Open Access Week 2021, we’re highlighting the tools, support, and infrastructure available at Westminster to support Open Research beyond open access to scholarly publications.
Open Research (or, Open Science) looks different for each discipline, but it extends the principle of open access to research publications and research data to all aspects, methods, and products of the research lifecycle. Open Research improves the transparency, integrity, robustness, reproducibility, and reach of scholarly research. It is recognised as a key driver in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which call for public access to information for all, guaranteed by constitution, statute, or policy (Goal 16, Target 10); and it aligns with our commitment as a University to opening education to all: Open Research is a manifestation of our values and history.
While Open Research goes beyond open access to scholarly publications, our commitment to fostering Open Research practices at Westminster is underpinned by our Open Access Policy, which requires researchers to deposit a record of all outputs (including the full text and associated files where possible) to our institutional repository WestminsterResearch via the VRE.
Our institutional repository thus enables ‘green open access’, in which a copy of the accepted author manuscript is deposited (‘self-archived’) in the VRE and made available after any embargo period imposed by the publisher has expired. Some publishers are working with universities to change the current business model, in which open access to research is embargoed and in which UK universities are charged doubly – once for subscription fees to read research, and again for open access article processing charges (APCs) to publish research openly – towards a fully open access ‘read and publish’ model. One way they do this is via transformative agreements, which have the potential to break up big umbrella journal subscription packages. This will enable a shift away from current inequitable pricing models which have both vastly outpaced inflation and restricted open access to scholarly publications only to those who can afford it. You can find out about the read and publish deals you benefit from at Westminster, and the other options available to you to make your research open, in our blog post ‘How to Make Your Research Articles Open at Westminster’.
The University of Westminster Press is another key component of the University’s open research environment, publishing open access academic books and journals under open licenses from Creative Commons. The Press is widely recognised as a pioneer in not-for-profit ‘Diamond Access’, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. UWP authors are also encouraged to make the research objects associated with their research publications open access via a repository on the Dataverse Network. Open data enables reviewers and researchers to appraise both the material and the conclusions of research publications. In this way, UWP’s open access publishing model is able to offer a fully accessible resource and accelerate the efforts of the research community towards open research and research integrity.
Supporting and advocating for good research data management at every stage of the open research lifecycle is integral to Westminster’s open research environment. Working towards making data open where possible, and recognising the importance of reproducibility, the University is a member of the UK Reproducibility Network, a national peer-led consortium working to promote Open Research. On our dedicated Research Data webpages, you’ll find guidance for every stage from planning for openness to using research data repositories to publish and share your software or code. Later this week, we’ll be publishing a step-by-step guide to licensing your research data for re-use by others.
Persistent identifiers (PIDs) are a further core element of open research. Persistent identifiers provide and maintain unique and stable digital identifiers for research components such as authors (ORCID), institutions (Research Organisation Registry, ROR IDs), and publications (Digital Object Identifiers, DOIs). PIDs improve the integrity of research by authenticating identities and providing and maintaining stable digital links between authors, collaborators, grants, articles, and research data. You can read more on the RKEO blog about persistent identifiers and how to use them, and you can find guidance on the Researcher Support webpages on linking your ORCiD to the VRE and creating a DOI in the VRE for your research outputs and research data. Using PIDs facilitates the discoverability and citation of your research and makes your research FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable.
Beyond traditional text-based outputs and research data, our institutional repository includes an innovative, sector-leading focus on art and design, enabling open access to and data sharing of practice-based research and ensuring full accessibility of all our research. Later this week, we’ll be launching our newly developed ‘enhanced portfolios’ output type in the VRE, which will enable practice-based researchers to share and appropriately license images and videos, contextualise their practice with process and project narratives, and share practice-based research beyond text-based outputs.
You can also record and share your engagement activities – from exhibitions and workshops to media appearances and coverage – on your public-facing webpage using the new Researcher Profiles section Public and community engagement (PCE). Future development work in the VRE will embed RSS feeds from the institutional repository to your personal website, making it easier to record and share your research activities across platforms.
Help Shape Open Research at Westminster
We are encouraging all academic staff, researchers, and doctoral researchers to participate in a very brief (<5 minute) anonymous survey to capture current Open Research behaviours across disciplines and career stages at the University of Westminster. The survey has been designed by the UK Reproducibility Network. The anonymous survey results will be shared with the UK Reproducibility Local Network Lead Dr Samuel Evans (firstname.lastname@example.org), and they will be used both to identify training needs and to provide evidence to shape Open Research initiatives at the University. The questionnaire is provided as a Qualtrics survey, available here.
Whether you have ever heard of Open Research before or not, they want to hear from you!
We have a team available to support you in making your research open, so please get in touch:
Contact the Repository and Open Access Manager at email@example.com
Contact the Research Data Management Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the University of Westminster Press Manager via the UWP website: contact UWP
Follow the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office on twitter, and get involved using the hashtag #OAWeek