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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Tigers, caterpillars and other wild things: children’s books in the 1960s

July 2nd, 2014

Monday 16 June – Friday 5 September 2014

MMU Special Collections Gallery, 3rd Floor, Sir Kenneth Green Library

“A delight for visitors of all ages, this exhibition features a host of much-loved characters and stories from children’s books of the 1960s selected from the Children’s Books and Book Design collections held at Manchester Metropolitan University Special Collections. It includes well-known publishers such as Ladybird and Puffin, and authors and illustrators including Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Alan Garner, Judith Kerr, Doreen Roberts, Maurice Sendak, Brian Wildsmith and John Wyndham.”

“Programmed as part of the Manchester Children’s Book Festival (26 June – 6 July 2014).”

[Source MMU Special Collections website: ]

Grief, grit and humour – Enduring War opens at the British Library to mark the centenary of the First World War

July 2nd, 2014

Runs from 19 June to 12 October 2014

“Christmas cards, letters, cartoons, posters and the manuscripts of celebrated war poets are among the collection on display for the first time in Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour, exploring the many ways those both at home and on the front line tried to cope with the enormity of the First World War.”

“With personal objects, such as letters, a handkerchief bearing lyrics for ‘It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary’, and schoolboy essays reacting to airship raids over London, as well as recruitment posters, humorous magazines and even a knitting pattern for balaclavas, the exhibition considers themes such as humour, faith, comradeship and family and looks at the contribution so many made to the war effort.”

“Exploring the importance of humour during the war as a way to express or mask anxieties, the exhibition includes a selection of caricatures, cartoons, humorous Christmas cards, a romance novel set in a munition factory and trench journals, magazines full of in-jokes and dark humour created at the Front to lift the troops’ spirits.”

Enduring War is part of the British Library’s support for the UK’s First World War Centenary programme, which includes leading the UK’s contribution to Europeana 1914-1918, the most important pan-European collection of first World War source material, and a brand new British Library First World War website with over 500 items from across Europe, articles by leading experts and teachers’ notes.”

[Source British Library press release: ]

UK Data Service guide: Depositing shareable survey data

July 2nd, 2014

“Those who own and manage large-scale surveys now have a compact and detailed guide to help them make their data more widely used by researchers.”

“The guide ‘Depositing shareable survey data’ was developed by a specialist team at the UK Data Service with extensive input from UK government departments, academic survey owners and survey producers.”

“The 16-page handbook takes the reader through the full data journey, from fieldwork planning to eventual user access. Correspondingly, all content is organised into five stages of the journey: Plan, Prepare, Negotiate, Deposit and Ingest. While the guide was specifically developed to support new depositors of large-scale surveys, the principles apply to a wide range of significant deposits.”

“The guide can feature as a useful check for owners and producers; it also suggests wording for commissioning tenders and briefs on considering any data sharing requirements. The aim is to encourage commissioning departments to include a standard paragraph requiring archiving with the UK Data Service in a timely manner and pointing to existing protocols for doing this.”

The guide is available free from the UK Data Service website at the link below.

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Open Access

July 2nd, 2014

I seem to have spent quite a lot of this academic year reading, writing, hearing about, discussing and debating Open Access with colleagues both in MMU and externally at meetings and conferences.  The outcome of much of this discussion has been consolidated into an excellent guide put together by my colleague David Jenkins which you can browse here: and via the library website.

I also wrote a series of blogs back in the Spring for the Research and Knowledge Exchange blog.  Here are the links in case you would like to have a look at, or revisit, them:

Blog 1: what is OA?:

Blog 2: different types of OA:

Blog 3: advantages and disadvantages of OA:

Blog 4: MMU’s response to OA:


Please get in touch if you would like me to come and share any of this with your Department or research group.

Longitude Prize 2014

July 2nd, 2014

“Antib​iotics was voted by YOU to be the challenge of Longitude Prize 2014.”

“In order to tackle growing levels of antimicrobial resistance, the challenge set for the Longitude Prize is to create a cost-effective, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use test for bacterial infections that will allow health professionals worldwide to administer the right antibiotics at the right time.”

“What happens next?

Now that the antibiotics challenge has been chosen, we want everyone, from amateur scientists to the professional scientific community, to try and solve it.”

“Nesta and the Longitude Committee are finalising the criteria for how to win the £10 million prize, and from the autumn you will be able to submit your entries.”

“Do you have an idea to solve the antibiotics challenge? Register your interest and we’ll alert you when submissions open in autumn 2014.”

To find out more go to the Longitude Prize website:

[Source Longitude Prize as above]

Biometrics and Privacy: Are we asking the right questions?

July 2nd, 2014

Ana Florescu at Nesta writes:

“Nesta’s Hot Topics event on Biometrics brought together experts in the field to discuss how new biometric measurements redefine our understanding of privacy and its worth in today’s society.”

“The  vulnerability of passwords is reiterated almost daily at the moment. The Heartbleed bug highlighting the fragility of a system based on passwords.  Yet alternatives like biometrics are still met with scepticism and concern by the public. Are these concerns rooted in genuine threat or has science fiction taken the lead in influencing perceptions of biometrics and their potential risks?”

“Passwords or Biometrics?

To get a better understanding of this, we transformed the registration process for this Nesta event into a mini experiment. At registration, attendees were asked to answer the following question:

If you had to choose between using a biometric measurement (e.g. fingerprint, retina scan) or a password to protect a private account, which one would you prefer and why?”

“The results showed an even split between the two; out of the 87 who answered the question, 39 chose biometrics, 38 chose passwords, while 10 suggested that a combination of both be used.”

“Out of the 39 who chose biometrics, 20 made reference to specific measurements: 8 mentioned fingerprints, 8 retina scans and 4 voice prints.”

“Why biometrics?

Those choosing biometrics justified their choice by arguing that biometric measurements are more convenient, they can’t be forgotten, and they are perceived to be more reliable and secure than passwords. (Some made it explicit that this is their personal perception, and were unsure of the validity of security standards.)”

“Why not?

Most of those who chose passwords explained their choice by highlighting the limitations of biometrics. Some of the most common ones mentioned were that biometrics are too invasive, they can’t be renewed or transferred and that the technology is not mature enough. The main concerns were about potential bio-hacking and theft risks (e.g. chopped fingers, swapped eyeballs), as well as the lack of transparency and trust in how and where biometric information is stored and subsequently used.”

To read more go to:

[Source Nesta blog as above]

Improvements to the ORCID Researcher Identification System

July 2nd, 2014

“Telling Jane Smith from John Smith might be easy in person, but when you’re searching academic libraries, it can prove a little trickier. The Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) system (of which the Wellcome Trust is a member) aims to help solve this problem, and lots more besides. Jonathon Kram, from the Evaluation team at the Wellcome Trust explains more…”

“There are a lot of busy and productive scientists out there, generating a vast amount of information as they document their research. In the Evaluation team of the Wellcome Trust’s Strategic Planning and Policy Unit this leaves us with a bit of a challenge (albeit a pleasant one) – how do we go about monitoring and evaluating this wealth of information?”

“One of the many problems is with disambiguation (as highlighted in this post last year), which can make it hard to see which research belongs to which researcher. How can you tell whether two ‘J Brown’s are the same person?”

“ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID, is an answer to that problem which is growing in popularity – over 700,000 live ORCID IDs as of writing. Researchers take ownership of a single online profile detailing their works, keywords, affiliations, other names and funding which can then be used to pre-populate services such as FigShare.”

“The list of organisations which incorporate ORCID identifiers keeps getting longer as the importance of unique and open IDs is realised throughout the field.”

To read more got to:

[Source Wellcome blog as above]

MMU E-Trial: Journal and Highly Cited Data (Thomson Reuters)

June 23rd, 2014

Runs until 30/09/2014.

The publisher’s blurb reads: “Journal & Highly Cited Data is the module name for Journal Citation Reports and Essential Science Indicators which are now supported on the InCites platform. This is part of a larger initiative by Thomson Reuters to provide a single environment for research and bibliometric assessment & evaluation.”

“This switch will provide a single resource to help institutions make the most informed decisions to support programmes and policies. Journal Citation Reports and Essential Science Indicators on the InCites platform combine to help you easily benchmark and compare your institution’s research activities. You’ll be able to easily compare individuals, institutions, and publications, plus pinpoint emerging trends and influential researchers, using this new platform.”

“Journal Citation Reports and Essential Science Indicators will be supported on a re-designed and unified InCites platform for assessing and evaluating research performance with new features and capabilities that include:

  • Improved data clarity with indicators based on publication year.
  • New trend data views and visualizations.
  • Easily save and export reports.
  • Drill down to access and explore the underlying data that informs Journal Citation Reports metrics.
  • Easily analyze and compare journal trends over time.
  • New exploratory environment promoting discovery and easier analysis.
  • Personalisation options to support your workflow.”

Direct links for these resources are:

Journal Citation Reports:

Essential Science Indicators:

and access is via IP address.

[Source MMU Library]

Data Sharing: Creating Incentives and Changing Cultures

June 23rd, 2014

“A new report from the Expert Advisory Group on Data Access (EAGDA) discusses the need for a fundamental cultural shift in the research community to incentivise and support researchers in sharing data. Dave Carr, Policy Adviser at the Wellcome Trust, highlights some of the key challenges addressed in the report.”

“At the Wellcome Trust we believe there is a vast untapped potential in research data. We are committed to working with our funded researchers to support them in making data available to others to access, combine, and re-use in innovative ways. It was this goal that led us to establish EAGDA in partnership with the MRC, ESRC and Cancer Research UK in 2012 to provide strategic advice on data access issues and to help us address the considerable challenges in putting our policies on data access into practice.”

“Over the last two years, EAGDA has helped to shape our thinking on how we can work with our research communities to facilitate wider access to the rich datasets generated by cohort and longitudinal studies, while anticipating and responding to emerging ethical, technical and legal issues.”

“The resulting report emphasises the significant progress and investments made by the partner funders in supporting data sharing. Nonetheless, EAGDA rightly highlights that we need to do more. In particular, the work indicates that the costs to researchers of sharing data are not always adequately anticipated or provisioned; that there is typically very little, if any, formal recognition for data sharing in key assessment processes; and that many researchers do not have access to the infrastructures and skills they require to share data effectively.”

To read the report go to:

[Source Wellcome Trust blog: ]

Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures and Medical Prescriptions

June 23rd, 2014

“Over a century ago, it was not uncommon to find cocaine in treatments for asthma, cannabis offered up as a cure for colds, and other contentious substances offered as medical prescriptions. This engaging collection from the U.S. National Library of Medicine brings together sections on tobacco, alcohol, opium, and marijuana. Visitors can learn about how these substances were marketed and also view a selection of digitized items culled from its voluminous holdings, including advertisements, doctor’s prescriptions, and early government documents. In the Education section, educators can look over lesson plans, check out online activities, and explore online resources from the National Institutes of Health, such as, ‘A Guide to Safe Use of Pain Medicine’ and ‘College Drinking: Changing the Culture.’ [KMG]”

To access the collection go to:

[Source Scout Report 6 June, 2014: ]

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