Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Attitudes towards open access

RePosit questionnaire: some key findings (Part 2)

Earlier this year, we distributed a questionnaire as part of the JISC funded RePosit project. The Part 1 blog post looked at the overall awareness of local systems at the University of Leeds, motivators and de-motivators for research paper deposit and the type of support depositors wanted.
The questionnaire also asked some general questions about researchers' attitudes towards open access. We can compare our results with those of the recent 'Unlocking Attitudes to Open Access' survey coordinated by the Repositories Support Project - results to similar questions in green.

Q. How do you feel about the principles of Open Access?
Strongly in favour: 53% (63%)
Mildly in Favour: 27% (22%)
Neutral: 8% (8%)
Mildly Against: 3% (3%)
Strongly Against: 1% (2%)
Don't Know: 8% (2%)
It's likely our 'don't knows' are higher because we targeted both academics and research support staff.

Q. If your research funder required you to deposit copies of your articles in White Rose Research Online or another open archive, what would be your reaction?
I would comply willingly: 56%
I would comply: 36%
I would comply reluctantly: 6%
I would not comply: 2%

Q. If the University required you to deposit copies of your articles in White Rose Research Online or another open archive, what would be your reaction?
I would comply willingly: 44%
I would comply: 36%
I would comply reluctantly: 18%
I would not comply: 2%

Q. Would it be acceptable to you that an "author final version" is held in the Repository? The "author final version" is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted version for publication, but does not contain publisher typesetting.
Yes: 67% (77%)
No: 33% (23%)
Our question used the same wording as the RSP question. The reason for the greater reluctance to use author-created versions at Leeds compared with the average across RSP institutions is not immediately clear. If we break down attitude by role we find all research roles have above average concern about versions:
Professor, Reader, Senior Lecturer, Senior Research Fellow: Yes 69%; No 31%
Lecturer, Research Fellow: Yes 56%; No 44%
Graduate Student, Post-doctoral Researcher: Yes 66%; No 34%
(Administrator Yes 80%; No 20%; Other Yes 80%; No 20%)

Lesson learned: we need to promote the author-created version positively - and understand more about researchers' version attitudes.

Monday, 14 November 2011

1000th electronic thesis added for University of Leeds

We have just added the 1000th electronic thesis for the University of Leeds to White Rose Research Online. The theses are a mixture of those digitised from print (by the the Leeds Digital Library digitisation studio or the British Library's EThOS Service), plus new 'born-digital' etheses deposited by their authors.
The 1000th thesis is written by Helen Robinson from the Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences.
Robinson, Helen (2011) Action identification in chronic pain: how do people construct meaning in action? D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.
It is online at:

Congratulations to Helen who was the lucky winner of a £25 Amazon voucher. We asked Helen to tell us about her research and about what prompted her to deposit her ethesis in White Rose Etheses Online. Helen writes:

"My research supervisor and I wanted to apply Action Identification Theory (AIT) as a possible way of understanding how chronic pain interference relates to sense of meaning in life. Action Identification Theory holds that every action has different 'levels' of meaning. High levels confer greater meaning and are preferentially sought but when the action is interrupted lower level identities with reduced meaning are elicited. We therefore hypothesised that interference to action caused by chronic pain ‘down-regulates’ levels of action identification thus effectively draining meaning from life. To test this out we needed a measure of action identification level. We developed a new questionnaire and administered it to undergraduate and postgraduate students to ensure it had satisfactory internal consistency and test-re-test reliability. In the second stage of the research we administered our measure to chronic pain patients using a forced choice card-sort method. Patients also completed the Meaningful Life Measure and measures of pain intensity, pain interference, depression, withdrawal from activity, acceptance and optimism. As we expected, pain interference negatively correlated with meaning in life and action identification level positively correlated with meaning in life. However, interference and action identification were not significantly related to one another. Furthermore, they did not significantly contribute to variance in meaning in life when the effects of depression, acceptance and optimism were controlled for. We concluded that further work is necessary with a larger sample of chronic pain patients to reliably understand the process of action identification in chronic pain.

In completing my research I found White Rose Etheses a useful resource for quickly and easily searching for recent theses in the field of chronic pain. I found it helpful to consider the various different theoretical perspectives of other researchers when developing my own research questions. As my research was the first study of its kind insofar as applying action identification theory to chronic pain, I wanted to make it openly available to others in the hope that they may be encouraged to pursue this new direction for study."

We're confident that by depositing in WREO Helen has brought her thesis to a very wide audience and that this may indeed encourage others to 'pursue this new direction for study.'

Monday, 24 October 2011

OPEN ACCESS WEEK: What did we learn from the University of Leeds Reposit questionnaire?

Earlier this year, we distributed a questionnaire as part of the JISC funded RePosit project. The project reviewed the relationship between central research information systems (concentrating on Symplectic Elements) and open access repositories.

We had a great response (362) to our online questionnaire from a good mixture of academics and administrators across all Faculties.

Lessons learned: the questionnaire timing was good. 4th July - 5th August; £100 Amazon voucher provided a useful incentive (91% of respondents gave us their email so they could be entered into the draw).

Our lucky winner, drawn at random, was Dr David Owens from the Institute of Health Sciences. David is pictured above receiving congratulations from the University Librarian, Dr Stella Butler.

Some key findings for Leeds (Part 1)

1. Awareness

Awareness of Symplectic is good; awareness of the repository not as good – though there is a wide variation across different roles. Overall awareness of the White Rose Research Online Repository has risen across all staff roles compared with the results of a 2008 questionnaire (distributed as part of the JISC funded IncReASe project).

Lessons learned
  • Awareness levels for White Rose Research Online are best (71%) amongst more senior University staff (Professors, Senior Lecturers). We need to increase awareness – particularly amongst Lecturers and Research Fellows.
2. The ‘new’ deposit route (via Symplectic)

Researchers at the University of Leeds deposit their papers into White Rose Research Online using a “Full Text Tab” in Symplectic Elements (i.e. the University’s Publication Database). We hope the deposit process is straightforward – but is it?

Those who had used the “Full Text” tab to deposit were reasonably positive about the experience: 71% thought deposit was quick; 61% though it was easy. On the other hand, 33% thought upload was confusing. Of course, these rating are from a relatively small number of respondents who had used the deposit tab to deposit their research.

We asked “Would you recommend that a colleague uses the Symplectic interface to upload to the institutional repository (White Rose Research Online)?” Only 7% said ‘no’ but 58% said ‘don’t know’.

Lessons Learned
  • We need to improve awareness of the Symplectic based deposit route.
  • This deposit route should be closely monitored to make sure that the process is as simple and transparent as possible.
  • More widespread uptake of the new deposit route is needed to gather representative feedback on the depositor experience.

3. Who Deposits and Why

There weren’t many surprises here about motivators/inhibitors – our findings are similar to other research. The biggest deposit motivators were the desire to share research and to raise individual profile.

Why don’t people deposit? We know awareness is an issue but taking this out of the equation, the main inhibitors were: (i) worries about copyright (ii) not enough time (iii) not knowing how to upload. Some depositors pointed out OA was already taken care of for their work either through a subject repository (arXiv) or because they publish in OA journals.

Deposit (using the Symplectic based deposit tab) is usually undertaken by the author but a significant minority of authors have their work deposited by administrative staff. Depositors would like to re-use their deposited content in various ways, the most popular being:
  • URL for dissemination to publicise the work
  • Evidence of impact
  • Statistical reports showing usage

Lessons learned

  • More copyright reassurance is needed.
  • A simple, online deposit guide may help.
  • We need to close the feedback loop with depositors – regular (but not overfacing) reports on their deposit profile, uptake by their School and Faculty, and, importantly, download statistics
4. What support do depositors want?

Online guides and copyright support were the most popular from the options we offered in the questionnaire. However, many respondents gave us free text answers and their suggestions were: admin support, a better understanding of the benefits of deposit, bulk upload options, automatic harvesting (from personal web sites), a link with the University web site.

Depositors want information about the repository by email, and want online support (an e-tutorial).