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April 2020
Welcome to the April edition of the Open Research newsletter and many thanks for taking the time to check it out. We hope you are well during these challenging times.

The Open Access and Research Data Management teams of the University of Cambridge are working remotely and are available to assist the Cambridge research community with its open access and research data management needs. Please email us at and respectively.

Likewise, at the Cambridge University Library all our Departmental and Faculty Libraries are closed until further notice, but we are open to users online. A webpage with FAQs is available to update users about future developments.

UKRI: Guidance for the research and innovation communities

UKRI have launched a single web portal for streamlined grant and innovation applications and guidance for researchers currently holding UKRI standard grants that wish to repurpose their funds for COVID-19. An open letter to the research and innovation community from Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, highlights UKRI's key role in supporting research and innovation so that the UK can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic as strongly as possible, and gives the latest updates on the progress made since his last message at the end of March. 

Further info

cOAlition S publishes updated criteria for Transformative Journals

Earlier this month, cOAlition S announced the updated criteria for Transformative Journals following a public consultation. Some of the changes include:
  • A change to the threshold when a journal must flip to full Open Access from 50% of to 75% and removal of the commitment to flip by December 2024
  • A reduction of the annual growth target for the proportion of content which must be published in Open Access from 8% to at least 5% in absolute terms and at least 15% in relative terms, year-on-year
  • Simplification of the guidance and removal of all the “recommended additional criteria”
Following the above announcement, publisher Springer Nature welcomed the decision on 8 April and committed to transition the vast majority of its Springer Nature-owned English language journals that are not already Open Access, including Nature and the Nature Research journals, to become Transformative Journals subject to acceptability of certain requirements which are due to be published.

Further info

Cambridge Open Engage

At the beginning of April 2020, Cambridge University Press (CUP) officially launched Cambridge Open Engage, an early and open content and collaboration platform. It is now open for direct submissions from researchers.

Developed in-house and in consultation with researchers, it is designed to provide researchers with the space and resources to connect and collaborate with their communities, and rapidly disseminate early research by publishing early and open research outputs. These include preprints, presentations, working papers, conference posters and grey literature. All content is open and free to the reader, and free for the author to upload.

Further info

Open Research Community launches, connecting experts worldwide

Earlier this month, the Open Research Community (ORC), an interactive platform was launched, offering users worldwide the opportunity to expand their professional networks on the topics of Open Access (OA), Open Research and Open Science.

The platform makes selected content available free of charge and enables direct exchange between individuals and groups of users, and is an initiative of Knowledge Unlatched (KU). Its mission is to support the worldwide exchange of information on future-oriented research and OA publishing by bringing together libraries, publishers and researchers.
Further info

Scholarly publishers are working together to maximize the efficiency of peer review during COVID-19 pandemic

The group of publishers and scholarly communications organizations — initially comprising eLife, Hindawi, PeerJ, PLOS, Royal Society, F1000 Research, FAIRsharing, Outbreak Science, and PREreview — is working on initiatives and standards to speed up the review process while ensuring rigor and reproducibility remain paramount. The group has issued an Open Letter of Intent and is launching an initiative to ensure a rapid, efficient, yet responsible review of COVID-19 content. The initiative is asking for volunteer reviewers with suitable expertise relevant to COVID-19, from all career stages and disciplines, to add their names to a “rapid reviewer list“.

Further info

More Cambridge University Library resources available

Cambridge University Library continues to increase the resources it is making available for students, staff and visitors during the COVID-19 outbreak and has published a catalogue for its growing database of academic resources ranging from historical press archives to scholarly magazines on pop culture, from Early Modern printed books to specialist medical journals.

Further info

Open letter to government calling for changes to copyright law

Research Libraries UK (RLUK) have coordinated an open letter to the Secretaries of State for Education and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, calling for copyright rules to be relaxed to enable remote learning and research during the COVID-19 crisis. In particular the letter asks for the following:
  • A statement from government that s171 (3) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 can be used as a defence by public libraries, research organisations and educational establishments for as long as thecurrent crisis lasts.
  • Emergency legislation or immediate soft-law initiatives to ensure that the infringing activities in normal circumstances are not actionable by rightsholders.
  • Compulsory licensing and government compensation for rightsholders allowing whole items to be copied and accessed remotely.
Further info

Europe Must Take Urgent Copyright Law Action To Support Distance Learning & Research During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) calls on European commissioners, member state governments, publishers and authors to urgently help libraries, universities and other educational establishments, so that they can continue supplying researchers, teachers and students with access to books, archives and other instructional materials. With nearly all schools, libraries, and universities closed in Europe, institutions are scrambling to provide online research, teaching and learning. In a statement issued on 9 April LIBER highlights the need for guidance, flexibility and immediate action to respond to such unprecedented times.
Further info

Higher Education licence terms relaxed during COVID-19 crisis

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) announced that as of 9 April and following consultation with its members and educational publishers, they will be temporarily relaxing key terms of the Higher Education Licence until 30 June, or sooner if institutions re-open, to give academics, libraries and students increased access to learning resources during this difficult period. The Higher Education Licence Amendment Addendum is available on their website together with the list of partcipating publishers.

New resource for books added to Think. Check. Submit.

Think. Check. Submit. announced a new addition to its resources, a checklist for authors wanting to verify the reliability and trustworthiness of a book or monograph publisher. The checklist for books offers sound advice along the lines of the recommendations already offered by the journal checklist.
Further info

RLUK Review 2019

Research Libraries UK (RLUK) has published its annual review covering the 2019 calendar year. The review provides an overview of the work undertaken as part of their current strategic plan, Reshaping Scholarship, and highlights areas such as digital scholarship, licensing and copyright, supporting open infrastructure, digital shift, the Special Collections Programme, and the RLUK Space Programme.

Blogs we've enjoyed

Research Skills Programme brought to you by Cambridge University Libraries

The Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) in collaboration with several libraries across the University has created an online course on research skills for the students, researchers and staff of the University of Cambridge with particular relevance for PhDs and postdocs. Modules are being released each week, covering:

  • Publishing academic monographs
  • Copyright and licenses
  • Research Data Management
  • Searching the literature
  • Building your online profile

In addition, a virtual drop-in offers researchers the opportunity to ask questions in person.

These online courses are open to everyone. Enjoy learning!

Cambridge Digital Humanities (CDH)

Distance and Depth, Computers and Close Reading
On 27 May, CDH will hold an online event with Martin Paul Eve, Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London and author of 'Close Reading with Computers'. Discussants will include Ryan Hauser (Post-Doctoral Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge) and Caroline Bassett (CDH Director). If you are interested in attending please email the organiser.

CDH Easter term online training
– Introduction to Text-mining with Python
– Handwritten Text Recognition: an introduction to Transkribus
– Introduction to Computer Vision for Humanities
– Machine Reading the Archive: end-of-programme workshop
– Game Design Workshop
– Mapping the Past: Introduction and Advanced

More information will be updated on the CDH website as soon as available.
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