Research Culture: Supporting Open Research at Bath

Posted in: Research Culture, Uncategorised

One of the five pillars of our Research Culture project is Open Research. This is an area of research that has gained increasing importance over the last decade, not least because many of our funders have formalised their expectations for open research in policies on open access and open data. I have been pleased to find that open research is becoming increasingly well established at the University of Bath. As a University we are now a member of the UK Reproducibility Network and are working with them across several key areas of open research – pre-prints, open software and code, sharing research data, pre-registration and open access. Many of our research community are actively engaging and promoting this agenda. We are particularly fortunate at Bath around open access and open data to have the benefit of our teams of experienced librarians providing guidance, resources, repositories, and expert advice.

I’m delighted to host this post from Cathy Pink, until recently Head of Library Research Services, reflecting on the work that we were able to undertake in this area funded by the Research England Enhancing Research Culture Fund this year. This also gives me the opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to Cathy’s replacement, Rachael Kotarski, who joins us on 20 March from the British Library where she was Head of Research Infrastructure Services.

I’d be pleased to hear your views on Open Research at the University and more broadly. Leave a comment below or drop me an email.

Best wishes


Open Research, and in particular Open Access (OA) and Open Data are well established at the University of Bath: our Open Access Mandate was published in 2011 and our Research Data Policy in 2014. However, there is still much work to be done, not least in how best to resource the growing demands for open access. The Library has procured a growing number of new ‘Read and Publish’ deals, which allow our researchers to make their articles open access in journals without the need to pay additional Article Processing Charges (APCs).

However, many journals still require payment of APCs to make articles openly accessible on publishers’ platforms. Unfortunately, budgets are tight and often used up well before the end of the financial year. We were delighted that the recent funding from Research England has allowed us to support the open publication of 50 research articles that wouldn’t normally have been possible at that time of year.

The Research England funding also allowed us to trial a new service, OAble, that interacts with publisher systems, providing Library staff with comprehensive information to help them better manage our OA grants in a single dashboard. This is enabling more efficient budget management across our OA grants and better strategic planning and allocation of funds.

We also used the Research Culture fund to support a new project in the Library to make our back-catalogue of digitised PhD theses more accessible online. The project is working to ensure that all theses written by doctoral students at the University, dating back to 1973, are accessible on the University’s Research Portal.

These eTheses have been available online for some time, though some documents have been hosted by the British Library rather than being on the University’s Research Portal. Once all the records are on the Research Portal, the eTheses will be assigned a persistent Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to aid citation and discoverability, and will be digitally preserved to ensure these important research outputs remain accessible for posterity.

Finally, we were pleased to be joined by one of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Departmental Coordinators, to help with a short project to update our website. This short term secondment was also funded by the Research England Enhancing Research Culture Fund. The work updated our guidance on how to incorporate open data in the consent process for participant-based research. Through better awareness for participants of how their data could be shared as part of the informed consent process, opportunities for openly publishing participant-based research data are maximised at the end of the project.

There is still much to be done to fully embed open research across all our studies and research outputs, but thanks to the Research Culture funding we are a little closer to achieving our goals.

Posted in: Research Culture, Uncategorised

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