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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Some Open Access resources

October 28th, 2014

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

The aim of the DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books.  It is open to all publishers who publish academic, peer reviewed books in Open Access.  The DOAB is a service of the OAPEN Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to Open Access publishing of academic books.

OAPEN Library

OAPEN provides a platform for the full text dissemination of Open Access books and provides services to publishers and libraries. The OAPEN Library contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences:

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to quality open access, peer-reviewed journals. It contains over 10,000 journals of which nearly 6,000 are searchable at Article level.

The Directory of Open Access Repositories OpenDOAR

OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories and is one of the SHERPA Services including RoMEO and JULIET, run by the Centre for Research Communcations (CRC) at the University of Nottingham.


Search OAIster to locate and access digital documents held in more than 1100 Open Access repositories. The content includes journal article pre-prints and postprints, research papers, theses, technical reports, image collections, audio files, movies and datasets. MMU’s e-space is among the repositories searched by the service. OAIster is part of WorldCat, the world’s largest library catalogue.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE)

BASE is operated by Bielefeld University Library, Germany and is one of the world’s largest search engines for academic open access web resources.

BASE provides more than 60 million documents from more than 3,000 sources. You can access the full text of about 70% of the indexed documents. – an example of a subject repository

ArXiv is the granddaddy of subject repositories going back to the early 1990s.  It gives open access to nearly a million e-prints (electronic pre-prints) in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics.

e-space, MMU’s institutional repository

e-space aims to capture and preserve the intellectual output of Manchester Metropolitan University and make it freely available over the Web creating a showcase for research at MMU.

e-space contains pre-prints (journal articles submitted for peer-review), post-prints (final versions of papers that have gone through the peer-review process and have been accepted for publication), book chapters, working papers and conference presentations.

Open access is not enough on its own – data must be free too

October 28th, 2014

“Academics have been encouraged to make their research freely available, but their data also needs to be open to scrutiny.”

“If your research has been funded by the taxpayer, there’s a good chance you’ll be encouraged to publish your results on an open access basis – free at point of publication and with reuse and redistribution rights.”

“This [] article makes publicly available the hypotheses, interpretations and conclusions of your research. But what about the data that led you to those results and conclusions? Isn’t the underlying data just as important to support the quality of the findings?”

“A huge amount of data is being produced by scientists every day, but too often key information is left to rot in an Excel document on someone’s desktop, or handwritten in a notepad that is later thrown away.”

“Increasingly, policymakers and funders are introducing data-sharing and stewardship policies to solve this problem. Funders want to see this data being properly described, stored, shared and reused, to realise its full potential. Data producers are also somebody else’s data users, and they have also come to the same realisation. Open data ensures that the scientific process is transparent, helps others to reproduce results and can even help speed up the process of scientific discovery.”

[Source Guardian Higher Education network: ]

The Academic Book of the Future

October 28th, 2014

“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Library are launching a two-year research project which will explore the future of academic books in the context of open access publishing and continuing digital change.”

“Dr Samantha Rayner, Director of the Centre for Publishing at the University College London (UCL) will lead the project ‘Communities of Practice: The Academic Book of the Future’. Alongside colleagues Simon Tanner and Professor Marilyn Deegan from King’s College London and Nick Canty from UCL this multi-disciplinary team will engage with the publishing and academic community to better understand the current landscape of academic publishing. A combination of large scale scoping work and more focussed mini-projects will ensure that opinions, approaches and ideas are included from the UK and beyond.”

[Source Arts and Humanties Research Council (AHRC) news: ]

Introducing #OpenCollections [in Europeana]

October 28th, 2014

“#OpenCollections highlights some of the most interesting and high quality collections from around Europe.”

“So why do we call them open collections and not just ‘beautiful collections’? Open Collections can be re-used without restrictions, and we believe that culture should be shared with minimum restriction. Works that are open because either copyright has expired, does not exist or permission has been given to freely copy, modify, remix and print the material – subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.”

“This is important for us to highlight because a lot of cultural objects from the previous century are still protected by copyright. This means that you as a user can’t just make copies or modify the work without consulting with the rights holders. A work that can be considered ‘open’ does not have these restrictions.”

“By highlighting the open collections, it not only becomes easier for you to find some of the best material available in Europe, but we also like to support the great work being done by the museums, libraries and archives that make these collections available to you. In this way, we want to bring European culture closer to a worldwide audience. And the good part is, you can share it as well! This is the material you can share freely via social media or use in your own remixes, websites, apps, educational material, and whatever else you can think of.”

[Source Europeana blog: ]

[Wellcome Trust] Keeping open access simple

October 28th, 2014

“The Wellcome Trust believes that access to the published outputs of research should be open and unrestricted. But, argue Robert Kiley, Head of Digital Services at Wellcome Library, and Chris Bird, Senior Legal Counsel for the Wellcome Trust, policies and licences designed to support open access publication must also be easy for researchers to understand and use.”

“In April 2013 we simplified our open access policy: now, where we pay an open access fee our research must be published under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). Why did we do this? Because we passionately believe in the power of sharing knowledge, and because CC-BY is the strongest available tool to deliver access to and re-use of our funded research. We also believe that CC-BY has become the globally recognised open access licence. Now, The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) has published a new set of open access licence and is encouraging its publisher members to adopt them: unfortunately, we feel this can only confuse the picture.”

To read the rest of the blog go to:

To read the Wellcome Trust’s OA policy go to:

[Source Wellcome Trust blog as above]

Jisc Scholarly Communications

October 28th, 2014

I have recently discovered a blog from Jisc on ‘Scholarly Communication’ which contains many references to Open Access:

Here is Jisc’s statement about the intentions of the blog:

“Jisc’s work in scholarly communication recognises the changes brought about by the affordances of networked, digital technologies, which bring new possibilities and perturbations into a system that was relatively stable until the advent of the internet.  One of these affordances is Open Access.  This blog is a place where Jisc will share project news and advisory group work and ask for feedback on this. All other announcements support, guidance and resources are made available through the Jisc website.”

Some recent topics have included:

  • Helping institutions comply with the REF open access policy
  • Jisc’s evidence to the review of the RCUK OA policy
  • Collecting and sharing APC data

[Source Jisc Scholarly Communications blog as above]

Elizabeth Gaskell’s House

October 20th, 2014

The Gaskell’s beautifully restored home on Plymouth Grove is now open to the public.  I visited earlier this month and was very impressed with the transformation.  If you have any interested in Elizabeth Gaskell’s writings, or in early Victorian domestic architecture, or in the social history of the period I would urge you to go along.  Details of the opening times, along with a programme of special events and activities, can be found on their website at:

Support for researchers in the Arts and Humanities post-doctorate

October 20th, 2014

“The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the British Academy have announced the results of a detailed survey which highlights the kind of issues faced by Arts and Humanities researchers in the period immediately following doctoral study. Many early career researchers are on fixed-term contracts and 92% of those surveyed expressed concern at their career development and the prospects of achieving a permanent position.”

“The report, [Support for Arts and Humanities Researchers Post-PhD,] gives insights into the diversity of roles, opportunities and employment which researchers who work for research organisations undertake immediately after their doctorate, and their needs and aspirations at this stage of their careers. The research was conducted by Oakleigh Consulting Ltd by an online survey and interviews with a selection of research organisations in the UK and with early career researchers (ECRs) in the arts and humanities.”

“The report suggests elements of good practice which would provide better support and advice to help alleviate the concerns and overcome the challenges identified in the survey.”

To view the report go to:

Botulism’s genetic triggers found

October 20th, 2014

“Clostridium botulinum bacteria produce the most deadly toxin we know of. Scientists from the BBSRC strategically-funded Institute of Food Research (IFR) have discovered genes that are crucial for its germination, which may present a new way of stopping these deadly bacteria growing in our food.”

“Botulinum spores are found throughout the environment. If they contaminate food, under certain conditions they can germinate and reproduce in our food, and generate a neurotoxin. This is when they become dangerous, as anyone eating this can develop botulism, a rare but potentially fatal condition. Stringent measures are taken by food manufacturers to stop this happening, and fortunately botulism outbreaks are now quite rare. But until now, we’ve known surprisingly little about the germination process.”

“Botulinum spores only germinate in a suitable environment, for example in the presence of nutrients which they sense through specialised receptors. These receptors then trigger a chain of events that lead to the spore becoming viable.”

“Clostridium botulinum has had its genome sequenced, and by comparison with other bacteria it is possible to identify genes that look like they might be involved in the spore germination process.”

“The researchers at IFR systematically turned off these candidate genes to see which were crucial for germination.”

“The research, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens [Open Access], identified two sets of genes that C. botulinum needs, and which must act together for the spores to germinate in response to the correct stimulus, in this case the presence of a nutrient amino acid. This allowed them to build a much better understanding of exactly how the spores germinate.”

Reference: Brunt J, Plowman J, Gaskin DJH, Itchner M, Carter AT, et al. (2014) Functional Characterisation of Germinant Receptors in Clostridium botulinum and Clostridium sporogenes Presents Novel Insights into Spore Germination Systems. PLoS Pathog 10(9): e1004382. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004382

[Source BBSRC news: ]

Digimap webinars and training

October 20th, 2014

“Digimap have scheduled some short webinars on the use of Digimap, every Wednesday afternoon in November at 4pm.”

“Webinars are open to any interested staff or students.” Have a look at their Events page for full details and booking forms:

Digimap training required?

“The Digimap team is currently planning the Digimap workshop schedule for the next few months.  If you are interested in attending or hosting a workshop we’d like to hear from you.”

“There is no charge associated with hosting a workshop and Digimap do all the administration.  We just need you to help us with finding and booking a suitable PC lab, that is open to attendees from other institutions.”

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes

Digimap team

[Source email from Digimap support]

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