Monday, 25 March 2013

Institutional and Subject-Specific Repositories: Responding to HEFCE’s Call for Advice on Open Access


Earlier this month HEFCE invited advice on developing their open access policy in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Both EMBL-EBI, who run the Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) service, and the UK members of the Europe PMC Funders’ Group, strongly support HEFCE’s movement towards requiring that all outputs submitted to the post-2014 REF are published open access. However, both groups also have concerns about HEFCE’s exclusive focus on institutional repositories (IRs), and recommend that in addition to IRs HEFCE also include subject repositories, such as Europe PMC, as a valid archive for research submitted to the post-2014 REF.

You can read the full EMBL-EBI response here, and the full Europe PMC Funders’ Group response here.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Why I entered the Access to Understanding competition

By Emma Pewsey, Department of Materials Science, University of Cambridge.

I’m a relative newcomer to biosciences – at school, physics and chemistry were more my thing. However, starting a PhD on the corrosion of metal implants in the human body meant I needed to brush up on my biology. It was time to hit the medical journals.
It was easy enough to find papers. However, it was much harder to determine whether they were relevant. Abstracts seemed to compete with each other in squeezing the most technical terms into one sentence. I was lucky – I had plenty of time to go and learn what they meant. Most people don’t.
Once I’d broken through the jargon, I found many of the papers really interesting. I like interesting facts, and the majority of research papers are full of them. Therefore, it’s a shame that they’re so inaccessible to most people.
So I love the idea behind the Access to Understanding competition. I was surprised to learn at the awards ceremony how many non-scientists nowadays need to access research papers – from patient groups to teachers. My own participation in science outreach events has also shown me how much general interest there is in science. And making research more accessible should be a priority for all researchers – after all, who wouldn’t prefer their work to be read by thousands of people, rather than just a couple?
The competition also gave me an excuse to try some science writing – something I’d been meaning to do for ages.
Looking down the list of articles to choose from, I saw one I had to write about. Cortical thickness mapping to identify focal osteoporosis in patients with hip fracture? Yes please.
You see, I have a guilty not-so-secret. I love bones. They are the most fantastic objects in the universe. In particular, I love how they adapt to the forces which we place on them in our everyday lives to create a framework that supports our bodies that tries to be exactly as strong as it needs to be. But sometimes this goes wrong, and bones break. Thanks to the Access to Understanding competition, I got to read a fascinating piece of research that investigated why this happens in hips. If I hadn’t entered the competition, I wouldn’t have read it. I wouldn’t even have known it existed.
When I sent off my entry, I didn’t expect I’d hear anything back about it. I was just happy that I had a new set of interesting facts about hips to share with anyone looking for an interesting fact. I am delighted that winning has brought attention on the work done by Dr Poole’s group at Cambridge, and the range of work funded by Arthritis Research UK. And of course, I’m thrilled with the trophy that now sits in my living room!
My next writing challenge is completely different: a 60,000 word PhD thesis. I’ll make sure to include a lay summary!
Note: Emma recently won the 2013 Access to Understanding science-writing competition for her entry 'Hip, hip, hooray!' explaining research that investigated the causes of hip fracture in the elderly.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

A RESTful Web Service for Europe PubMed Central

Europe PMC is pleased to release a new RESTful Web Service, in addition to the existing SOAP service. Both Web Services can be accessed via the ‘Resources’ menu option on the Europe PMC homepage.

As with the SOAP based service, the RESTful service gives programmatic access to all of the publications and related information in Europe PMC. With the RESTful the results can be presented directly into your browser using HTTP URL syntax. The results can be returned in either XML or JSON formats. 

The new Web Service comes with a choice of modules designed to deliver Europe PMC content. Full details and examples are available on the RESTful page.

We hope that users will benefit from the new Web Service and feedback is welcome.

Follow us on Twitter: Europe PMC news and Europe PMC articles

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Access to Understanding competition winners announced

We were delighted to announce the winners of the Access to Understanding science-writing competition at an awards ceremony held last night (11 March) at The British Library in London.


Entrants to the competition were challenged to summarise a cutting-edge research article, communicating in a simple and accessible way what the research is, and why it matters, to an interested, non-specialist audience.

The overall winner, Emma Pewsey, a PhD student in material sciences at the University of Cambridge, was selected from among 400 entries from around the world for her entry, 'Hip, hip, hooray!', explaining research that investigated the causes of hip fracture in the elderly.
Claire Sand, King's College London, and Ian Le Guillou, also University of Cambridge, were jointly awarded second place for their entries 'Blood vessels from skin: the new frontier in tissue engineering', and 'Another brick in the wall', respectively.
                                  From left to right: Ian Le Guillou, Emma Pewsey, Claire Sand
A further six entries were commended by the judging panel, spanning basic through to clinical science, and including complex papers on stem cells, cancer and genetics. The short-listed and winning entries can all be seen here. The original articles are all freely available from Europe PMC.

The Access to Understanding competition aims to raise awareness amongst researchers of the increasing importance to the general public of being able to understand the outcomes of research which they pay for. Furthermore, it seeks to break down the barriers that highly technical research language presents to enabling understanding of research and encourages PhD students and early career post-doctoral researchers to develop their communications skills.
Coming up: guest blog posts from Ian, Emma and Claire, and a round-up of some of the fascinating discussions from the awards ceremony. Here and on the competition pages.

Monday, 4 March 2013

CC-BY: which publishers offer this license?

On the 1st April 2013, both the Wellcome Trust and the Research Councils UK will require that any article which attributes their funding and incurs an Article Processing Charge (APC) must be licensed using the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY).

This blog posting provides an update as to those publishers who publish high volumes of Europe PMC funded research and who have put information in the public domain to confirm whether they will offer a CC-BY option. 

The exclusion of a publisher from this list does NOT mean that they are not going to offer a CC-BY option; it simply means that information about this option is not in the public domain.

Over the next few weeks, I expect more publishers to make a public statement on this topic.  I will update the blog to reflect this.

Publisher (and link)
CC-BY option?
Comments

Yes


Yes

Yes
This information was posted in the BMJ’s response to the House of Lords OA Inquiry (page 36)

Yes



Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes


Yes
CC-BY licences will incur a higher charge

Yes


Yes


Yes

Yes



Yes

Yes
A limited number of journals continue to use the CC-BY-NC license, including Pharma related titles and journals published by Springer Healthcare.  For these titles, Wellcome and RCUK funded authors will not be able to use the “gold” OA route

Yes

Yes