Extended Opening Hours for Students from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences – You Said, We Did

The McClay Library offers 24-hour opening to support students during the Semester 2 Examination period.

Following demands from students and the School, the McClay Library has also offered extended hours outside term-time for students from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences who continue to sit exams.

However, we continued to receive feedback from students in the School of Medicine who relied on increased library opening times during the run up to their exams.

You said:

I understand that most Queen’s students are finished exams by this stage but we aren’t and it’s not fair that we don’t have the same availability of facilities to study just because of our semester dates.

This year, therefore, the McClay Library will also open overnight during the first 2 weeks of June.

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Library Help Drop-In Sessions – Biological Sciences

Library Help Drop in sessions are running throughout March and April for students from the School of Biological Sciences.  No need to book, just come along if you need help with literature searching, finding articles, using databases or reference management.

Monday 4th March 9.30am to 12.00pm
Thursday 7th March 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Monday 11th March 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Friday 15th March 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Tuesday 19th March 12.00pm to 2.00pm
Thursday 21st March 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Monday 25th March 9.30am to 12.00pm
Thursday 28th March 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Tuesday 2nd April 9.30am to 12.00pm
Friday 5th April 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Monday 8th April 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Thursday 11th April 2.00pm to 4.00pm
Tuesday 16th April 9.30am to 12.00pm

Where: Biomedical Library Office, Ground Floor MBC Building, Lisburn Road.

Contact: Patrick Elliott, Subject Librarian Biological Science

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Document Delivery for Staff and Post-Graduate Research Students – You Said, We Did

With an increase in staff and post-graduate research students working from home, we wanted to investigate the desirability and feasibility of establishing a document delivery service for these customers. Between August and December 2018, we have been satisfying Inter Library Loans requests for articles which were actually available in QUB Libraries, by scanning and emailing the article directly to the requestor. In the past, we would have sent an email giving the location of the article, so this would be a vast improvement for the customer.

The pilot was very successful and we received 100% positive feedback from participants who said:

  • Thanks so much for this. Brilliant service!
  • Thanks very much for your help. It is a ★★★★★ I think this does the job very well but people might still want to know the details of their location in the library for say viewing colour images etc. A colour scan may be a useful idea also.
  • This is perfect, thank you. I’ve also filled in the survey and, as discussed with your colleagues on the third floor, this is a valuable service. 

Staff found that the increase workload did not create additional pressure for them. Library Management Team assessed a report on the pilot and the feedback from participants. The following recommendations have now been implemented:

  • The Document Delivery Service is now offered by all QUB Library branches.
  • The Document Delivery Service is offered to QUB staff and QUB PG Research students as standard.
  • When the article has colour plates, for example, a colour scan should be considered.
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Library Communication – You Said, We Did

We wanted to make sure that we were communicating with you in a way which makes sense for you and is the most useful. One way we assessed this was to hold a Focus Group in partnership with the Students Union, where we met with a number of students.

Following the event we have implemented or are planning to review the following:

  • We have adjusted all of our recall notices to warn students that their accounts will be blocked once a recalled item becomes overdue.
  • Our senior management team has set up a working group to review our marketing/social media/communication and they will take on board your preference for email rather than social media as a communication tool.
  • Senior Management Team will also consider your other suggestions at the Annual Planning Meeting in May. These include:
    • Producing a regular Library Newsletter for researchers
    • Considering revising the Library home page with more obvious links to the Subject Guides and Library Help
    • Targeted promotion of Special Collections to undergraduate modules who require access to the collection
    • Considering ‘Open Day’ induction to Library in Semester 1 reading week

We will continue to monitor our communication methods through our annual customer satisfaction survey and will let you know about any changes to our current practises when they occur.

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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: library@qub.ac.uk.

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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 openaccess@qub.ac.uk by Wednesday 6th February.

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

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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: i.bittles@qub.ac.uk).

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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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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 openaccess@qub.ac.uk

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

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