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Getting an Octopus into a String Bag - The complexity of communicating with the research community across a higher education institution


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This is a presentation given to the Researcher to Reader conference held in London 15-16 February 2016 (
Abstract: Universities are, by their nature, tribal; but the tribes extend beyond disciplinary boundaries, with different administrative areas having their own behavioural norms. Increased expectations for researchers and their institutions to be accountable for their funding poses huge communication challenges, particularly for large devolved institutions. Many of these tribes are now having to work together in ways that they have not before, creating an unprecedented opportunity.

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Getting an Octopus into a String Bag - The complexity of communicating with the research community across a higher education institution

  1. 1. Getting an Octopus into a String Bag The complexity of communicating with the research community across a higher education institution Dr Danny Kingsley Research 2 Reader 15 February 2016
  2. 2. The OA policy landscape Three sets of rules in the UK. They are all different.
  3. 3. The MEANS and the TIMING all conflict RCUK – Green & Gold | HEFCE – Green only | COAF – Gold only
  4. 4. In place since 2011
  5. 5. The principles might be common…
  6. 6. What the researcher hears From Bill Hubbard Getting the rights right: when policies collide
  7. 7. First let’s talk some numbers The numbers are huge
  8. 8. Cambridge research
  9. 9. HEFCE potentially requires us to collect ALL papers • Don’t know how many we need to aim for… • Cambridge published approximately 8,000 articles and reviews in 2015 • We received 3,370 articles in 2015
  10. 10. Academia is tribal ‘Invisible colleges’ relate to the community people have with their discipline – this is NOT their institution
  11. 11. Disciplinary Tribes
  12. 12. And they have no time • Study in Cambridge of researchers showed they have about 20 minutes to devote to anything – ‘What does a researcher do all day?’ - • There are very few points in the publishing process where the researcher intersects with the institution – Publishing Experience Maps
  13. 13. This is Cambridge’s structure
  14. 14. One School There isn’t room on this slide for the three Institutes that are also associated with this School…
  15. 15. A whole other tribal system
  16. 16. And then there is the administration You Tube Cambridge in Numbers MsM
  17. 17. Ironic – where academic independence is sacred
  18. 18. Bloody hell Confusing and complicated policy landscape Academics hostile towards being told what to do A huge and unconnected institution
  19. 19. How we cut through the noise
  20. 20. Since October 2014
  21. 21. Upload your accepted manuscript – and tell us a bit about it
  22. 22. Huge engagement programme
  23. 23. Constant outreach Twitter: @CamOpenData @CamOpenAccess Newsletter sign up: Blog:
  24. 24. Postcards & banners All promotional materials can be downloaded from
  25. 25. We will do ANYTHING! Email signatures sent to all departmental administrators and librarians Drop-in sessions across campus Resorting to bribery!
  26. 26. So, how are we doing? Depends on how you look at it
  27. 27. As at 5th Feb 2016
  28. 28. But lots of our research is OA • About 56% of all eligible research available – Springer Compact – all publications OA – – developing compliance – Considerable no. works published OA • Other projects – Unlocking Theses programme – Academic-led publishing programme
  29. 29. Academics uninterested • In 2015 - 93 papers published in Nature, Science, Cell, The Lancet and PNAS • 33% of these papers were already HEFCE compliant • Of the remaining non-compliant papers we contacted 47 authors, made them aware of the HEFCE open access policy, and invited them to submit their accepted manuscript to the Open Access Service. • Less than 40% of contacted authors sent their accepted manuscript. • Therefore, even after direct intervention only 49% papers were HEFCE compliant • Could the HEFCE policy be a Trojan Horse for gold OA?
  30. 30. Confusing communications • Submitting a publication to the repository are different to submissions of publications to ResearchFish at the end of a grant – Research Operations Office run grants – Office of Scholarly Communications runs Open Access – Research Data Facility runs Research Data Management – Research Strategy Office runs the REF return
  31. 31. Last ditch? • Pushing to have a staff member employed for a year to find out: – Who is saying what to researchers – How they are saying it – When they are saying it • We need to have joined up communications that use the correct language, are timely and helpful
  32. 32. There are no guarantees in this game Dr Danny Kingsley Head of Scholarly Communication Cambridge University libraries @dannykay68