The McClay Library Expansion Project – February 2019 Update

This is the latest in a series of regular updates planned for the 2018-19 academic year which will keep you informed on progress of the McClay Library Phase 3 expansion project.

The project is progressing well with most of the work currently concentrated in the area which is being extended outside Short Loan and in the courtyard area behind Borrower Services.

Some staff relocations are planned for early March but these are not expected to impact on service delivery in any way.

No particularly disruptive work in the main Library area is anticipated over the next few weeks and anything likely to cause a disturbance will be carried out as early in the morning as possible. However, due to the major works that are being undertaken there may be some background noise.

If you have any particular feedback or questions, please contact:

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Plan S – A response from Library Services

Library Services at Queen’s University Belfast welcomes the formation of cOAlition S and supports the aim of Plan S to make publicly funded research fully and immediately Open Access.  We welcome the commitment to end hybrid journal publishing and believe that the Coalition should support more financially viable, innovative and transparent business models such as the Open Library of Humanities.  Although green open access (OA) via an institutional repository is incorporated in Plan S, we believe there should be a greater emphasis on this route.

 Is there anything unclear or are there any issues that have not been addressed by the guidance document?

 The areas where we would appreciate further clarity and consideration are listed below.

  • Plan S appears to place a strong emphasis on the APC model for Gold open access. How would the Coalition prevent publication-fee and APC based journals from maximising their revenue by simply increasing the number of papers they publish and lowering the standards of peer-review?
  • A number of our academics have raised their concerns about a dominant APC model. How does Plan S ensure that unfunded researchers, early career researchers and those working within the humanities are not excluded post 2020?
  • We support the call for greater transparency concerning APC costs and agree that they should be capped. It is difficult to understand the justification for charging thousands of pounds per journal article. We also object to the imposition of mandatory page charges and colour charges by certain publishers and scholarly societies. Further clarity is needed on how this APC cap will be implemented in practice.
  • We believe the Coalition should be more explicit in its support for not-for-profit, academic led publishing platforms such as the Open Library of Humanities.
  • Plan S appears to undermine the role of green open access and institutional repositories. We believe it would be a mistake to diminish the role that green OA has to play post 2020. We believe the UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL) should be explored. It would grant researchers the freedom to publish in any journal they choose and still meet the requirements of Plan S.
  • Our institutional repository is based on Pure, so clarification would be helpful about whether off-the-shelf products, such as this, will be compliant with the technical requirements for Plan S OA repositories.
  • Currently, there are differences in the OA policies of a number of major research funders, which causes confusion for researchers. Therefore, we believe it is vital that the OA policies of the Plan S national funders, charitable foundations and supporters are aligned and hope that the requirements of the new UKRI OA policy will match those for the post 2020 Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • The use of the term “science” in Plan S to cover all disciplines including the arts, humanities and social sciences may alienate some researchers. It would be more inclusive to employ a broader range of terms.
  • We would welcome further details about how compliance with Plan S will be monitored because, in our experience, the process of monitoring compliance with existing OA policies is labour intensive, relatively inaccurate and not scalable.
  • We believe that the concept of “OA platforms” should be much more clearly defined in Plan S because it is difficult to distinguish them from OA repositories.

Are there other mechanisms or requirements funders should consider to foster full and immediate OA of research outputs?

 We believe that the following requirements should be considered:

  • ORCID is recommended in Plan S but we believe it should be a requirement for all researchers because of its potential to improve the efficiency of the scholarly publishing infrastructure.
  • We commend the endorsement of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) in Plan S but greater efforts are required if research is to be judged on its own merits rather than where it is published.

 Comments from Queen’s academics in response to Plan S.

 “We risk excluding authors unable to pay article processing charges.”

“Plan S threatens the future of the learned societies and not-for-profit publishers.”

“Principle 4 states OA publication fees are covered by funders or universities; my concern is that funding will increasingly be directed toward university research strategies”.

 “The fact Plan S includes the term ‘scientific’ opens up possibilities for a University to determine who is or is not scientific”.

 “I’ve seen nothing in any of the OA plans that assuages the concerns of publishers and/or scholars regarding OA requirements pertaining to books”.

 “Plan S seems to be replacing one commercially dominant system with another. What is to prevent the new, for-profit, open access publishers increasing their revenue by publishing as many papers as they can? How does that improve the quality of research?”

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Plan S: Making Open Access a Reality by 2020 – feedback invited

In September 2018 an open access initiative (Plan S) was launched by an international consortium of research funders (Coalition S), including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Plan S requires that, from 2020, “scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms”.

In addition, Plan S contains 10 key principles, including:

  • Authors retain copyright of their publication with no restrictions. All publications must be published under an open licence, preferably the Creative Commons Attribution Licence CC BY.
  • Where applicable, Open Access publication fees are covered by the Funders or universities, not by individual researchers; it is acknowledged that all scientists should be able to publish their work Open Access even if their institutions have limited means;
  • In case such high quality Open Access journals or platforms do not yet exist, the Funders will, in a coordinated way, provide incentives to establish and support them when appropriate; support will also be provided for Open Access infrastructures where necessary;

The Open Access Team would welcome feedback or comment on Plan S and its implementation.

Please could all feedback be emailed to by Wednesday 6th February.

The Library will be submitting its response to Plan S on Friday 8th February.

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ukpressonline – Trial Access

QUB staff and students have trial access to ukpressonline until 28/02/2019.  ukpressonline is a gateway to over two million pages of the 19th-21st Centuries’ newspapers, from 1835 to today, all as published on the day they were published and all searchable by name, word, phrase and date.  Titles include Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Worker and Morning Star.

You can access ukpressonline here.

Please let us know what you think of this resource by completing this short survey –


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Access to Safari e-books ending

The library’s subscription to Safari e-books is coming to an end. Where possible, books which were accessible via the Safari platform have been replaced with e-books from other suppliers. Alternatively, books are being made available in hardcopy.

If you have any queries about continued access to books which were hosted on the Safari e-book platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Irene Bittles, subject librarian in the EPS Team (email:

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Primary sources: an introduction for history students

Bunting Collection, Special Collections Reading Room, McClay Library, Queen's University Belfast

What do we mean by primary sources? Why are they important for students of history? How do you find them at Queen’s?

During this brand new course Deborah Sherlock (Subject Librarian, HAPP) and Louisa Costelloe (Assistant Librarian, Special Collections) will take you through what to expect (and how to avoid pitfalls) when dealing with primary sources. We will look at key issues such as navigating Special Collections at Queen’s, using primary sources databases, evaluating sources and citing primary sources in your academic work.

There is a wealth of primary source material available to students at Queen’s that we want you to access easily and feel confident exploring.

The course will run in the McClay Library on Thursday 28th February 2.30-4.00pm and Thursday 7th March 9.30-11.00am . Spaces are limited so booking is essential. Please reserve your place here.

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Problem with Full Text linking now resolved

The problem with Full Text linking from Article Search and other full text databases should now be resolved.

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Problem with Full Text linking

There is currently a problem with Full Text linking on Article Search and other full text databases.

The problem is a universal issue, affecting other institutions. EBSCO engineering teams are currently investigating the issue.


If full text links are not working, you can still access full text of the article.

Take a note of the journal title and the issue and year details


Go to Queen’s University Library and on Library Catalogue search for e-journal title

or go straight to Library Catalogue 


Locate the record

click on the dates in the record to access full text


Locate the year, volume and issue


Access full text PDF or HTML of the article


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Restriction on the use of the RCUK Open Access Block Grant.

The University’s RCUK Open Access Block Grant for 2018/19 is almost exhausted. The Open Access Team has therefore had to introduce a restriction on the use of the fund for the payment of Article Processing Charges (APCs).

The Open Access Team has ring-fenced the remaining allocation to pay APCs for fully Open Access journals only (i.e., journals where an APC is mandatory and not optional).

In most cases it is possible for RCUK funded authors to comply with its Open Access policy by making papers Green Open Access (i.e., uploading your Accepted Manuscript to Pure which will be made freely available after a specified embargo period).

The restriction in the use of the block grant will commence from the 4th February 2019 onwards.

If you have any questions regarding this restriction please email

For further information on ‘gold’ open access funding please visit the Open Access webpages.

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New journal: Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology

The Library is pleased to offer access to the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, as requested by the QUB Centre for Public Health.

Access the journal via the Library Catalogue:

(It will also be listed in the Library’s E-Journals A-Z.)

All issues from the year 2014 to present are available.

If you have any questions about this journal, please contact Richard Fallis, Subject Librarian for Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.

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