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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Archive for the ‘Full-text electronic documents’ Category

Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

“An online research resource for the history of genetics, including digitised books and archives from the Wellcome Library and partner institutions.”

The papers of twenty two scientists and organisations have been digitised, ranging in date from 1863 to 2008 and including Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick, James Sanger and the Medical Research Council Blood Group Unit.

[Source Wellcome Library: ]

Digital Culture in 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

“[Nesta has] published the results from the 2014 Digital Culture survey, based on the responses of 947 arts and cultural organisations in England. It’s only the second year of this major 3-year study, but we’re already seeing an interesting evolution in how arts and cultural organisations use technology.”

“In particular, where the 2013 survey uncovered relatively fast rates of technology adoption, this year’s survey paints a picture of organisations consolidating their digital activities and enhancing their impact.”

“Three out of four organisations (73 per cent) now say that digital technology is having a considerable positive impact on their ability to fulfil their mission effectively, up from 60 per cent in 2013.”

“When we established the Digital Culture study alongside the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we had the dual purpose to create a benchmarking resource for the sector, and measure the impact of the Digital R&D fund.”

“The survey findings suggest that the Fund is well-aligned with the main trends we’re seeing emerge in the data:

  • Significantly more organisations are using digital technology to generate alternative revenue streams,
  • Organisations are optimising their web presence for mobile and enhancing their use of social media to engage audiences, and
  • Increasing numbers are use of data and enhancing their data capabilities.”

To read the report go to:

To read more go to the Nesta blog at:

[Source Nesta blog as above]

50 years of social change

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It’s 50 years since the Economic and Social Research Council was established. In that time it has resisted outside pressure from many directions, and has brought economic and social science to bear on the most important issues of the day.

By David Walker

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) was born in the full flush of the 1960s’ push to modernise Britain. Higher education was expanding, the Fulton Report had recommended sweeping changes in Whitehall, and the political parties had come together in the belief that mobilising knowledge through social research would bring business, government and society into the brave new world.

Its tasks, then as now, were to fund postgraduate training and stimulate research, although the balance between the two has shifted. So has the ratio between ‘directed’ spending (where the research council steers the topics and priorities for investigation) and ‘responsive’ spending (where universities and other higher education institutions and researchers propose topics for research), with more money now going to projects and programmes regarded as ESRC themes and priorities.

[Source ESRC news: ]

Timeline report for superbug research

Monday, November 24th, 2014

“A new report which sets out the foundation for future research into antimicrobial resistance (AMR) [has been] published by the Medical Research Council (MRC). The report tells the story of key research achievements over the past thirty years, showcasing some of the best advances and providing the groundwork for a cross-Council collaboration on AMR research.”

“Antimicrobial resistance is a huge and complex problem for healthcare and agriculture. Antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections in humans and animals for 70 years, but these medicines are becoming less and less effective. No new classes of antibiotics have been discovered for 25 years and some strains of bacteria are now unharmed by the drugs designed to kill them.”

“The UK Research Councils have joined together in an historic initiative to tackle this global problem. A coordinated network of medical researchers, engineers, biologists, vets, economists, mathematicians and designers, will drive through new discoveries and advancements.”

“The AMR initiative, which has been heralded as a war cabinet for AMR research, pulls together all seven research councils and looks to deliver exciting new research projects.”

“The report offers a timeline and case studies in each area supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) , Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the Medical Research Council (MRC).”

To read the timeline go to:

[Source Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC): ]

New insights from Understanding Society

Monday, November 24th, 2014

“New findings from the large Understanding Society study, which follows people in 40,000 households across the UK, [has been] published in the report Insights 2014. This is the third summary of findings from Understanding Society, aiming to reveal an evidence-based picture of change in the UK.”

“”Insights 2014 reflects how the study has matured and is starting to address the sort of questions which only longitudinal data can really answer,” says the study’s Director Nick Buck.”

“”We interview the same set of individuals in households each year and this helps to explore how individual and family lives change over time. Uniquely, it can help us understand what factors are associated with movements in and out of states, such as poverty, and how this impact on people’s lives in the longer term.””

“The Insights report is focusing on three key areas to shed light on how society has changed over time: ‘Living in recession’, ‘A diverse UK’ and ‘Family ties and social connections’.”

Insights 2014 can be found at:

[Source Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) news: ]

Using big data to map the UK video games industry

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

“In ‘A Map of the UK Games Industry’, we have worked in partnership with Ukie [The UK Interactive Entertainment Association] to develop a new approach to measure and map the video games sector. Instead of relying on official industry (SIC) codes, or surveying ‘known’ games companies, we have tried to leverage ‘found’, online data about the sector.”

“Gaming websites like MobyGames and review sites such as GameSpot contain a wealth of information about games products that we have scraped to build a list of games companies. We have then established which of these companies are UK based, and extracted information about them (including their postcode and, where available, financial data) from Companies House.”

“This allows us to identify games companies through their creative outputs (revealed by the consumers and journalists maintaining the websites we use as data sources) rather than the box they tick in the business register when they get started.”

“It also results in a high-resolution, timely dataset with interesting information that is not available from official sources. For example, we have been able to look at the platforms that different companies target.”

To view the report go to:

[Source Nesta blog: ]

How can charities overcome the challenges of going digital?

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

“When national charity Carers UK wanted to reach more people, in a simple, practical and affordable way, it created ‘Jointly’. Jointly is an app designed especially for carers and it combines group messaging with other useful features including to-do and medication lists, calendars and much more.”

“The app has been downloaded more than 2,000 times and 12 employers and service providers are now offering Jointly to their employees.”

“Carers UK are a great example of how charities can harness the power of digital technology to have a greater impact on the people they help. The increasing take-up and reducing cost of smartphones and other technology presents a great opportunity for charities to reach more people and deepen their services for existing users.”

“Along with increasing reach, digital tools and services can be cheaper for people to access, personalised to specific groups, and delivered in ways that fit with people’s lives – so on their phones or online.”

“So, given all the benefits, why aren’t more charities developing innovations that digitise their products and services? A quick scan of the sector reveals that whilst some charities are leading the way in areas such as digital fundraising and social media (think #nomakeupselfie, the Ice Bucket Challenge, or the new #wakeupcall), relatively few are actually adapting their delivery models to digital.”

“Yet this isn’t because charities are simply not interested or behind the times.  Our new report, ‘Going Digital’ explores the unique set of challenges that charities face on their journey to digitising components of their work.  Key issues include how to develop or bring on board new skills, having a clear idea of the audience the tech is aimed at, keeping focused on strategy, getting input from partners, and knowing where to go for additional funding.”

To read the Going Digital report go to:

To find out more about Jointly go to:

[Source Nesta blog: ]

Some Open Access resources

Tuesday, 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.

Support for researchers in the Arts and Humanities post-doctorate

Monday, 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:

Music industry must change definition of talent

Monday, October 20th, 2014

“Millions of aspiring musicians are being denied the chance to develop careers in the creative industries because companies, colleges and the media haven’t evolved their understanding of talent for the digital age, according to a new report.”

“The Channelling Talent report, published by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), concluded that “these days David Bowie probably wouldn’t make it past the X-Factor auditions” and recommended that during a time of flux for the industry, that executives, educators and journalists would do well to take a critical look at what they mean by talent.”

“The report was funded by University of Manchester and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) through the Music Communities ‘pilot demonstrator’ project.”

“Examining the mechanisms that generate, develop, promote, recognise and reward talent in music, it came as no surprise to many of the research participants that being wealthy, well-connected and good looking provides a fast track to success. Yet others pointed to a worrying set of consequences for young people aspiring for careers in music. One study highlighted that 95% of front covers of NME in the last two decades featured men; a former NME editor responded saying there were no women of note.”

“The RSA found the potential for financial reward for “bedroom musicians” is limited as live music becomes the only remaining profitable part of the business. This fuels fears that only the already affluent will be able to pursue music as a career – despite growing evidence of the broad benefits to all of participating and practicing music.”

“The report called on the big and the small players in the music industry to do more to live up to their own standards of supporting creative expression and commercial success, taking steps to ensure that norms of talent are constantly questioned.”

[Source AHRC news: ]

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