The Publishing Trap!

As part of the Open Access Week 2017, the Drill Hall Library hosted an event for researchers, based around playing the new game created by Chris Morrison and Jane Secker: The Publishing Trap. This game is designed to help inform researchers about the publishing process – each player or team takes the role of an academic and the game follows their career from finishing their PhD to their..erm…deaths and beyond. You can find out more about the game on the UK Copyright Literacy website. The event was open to researchers from all three universities based at the Medway campus, and there were research support staff from each university on hand to play the game with researchers and answer any tricky questions that might crop up.

Here are some pictures from the event:


Shiny new game!


Deep in thought…


Cakes decorated by Jane

Some of us had played the game before, as a test run, when it was still a prototype, so it was very exciting to see the finished product. It is a really useful and entertaining way of learning, teaching and thinking about the publishing process, so I hope we can use it for researchers at CCCU in the near future.

Other useful links about The Publishing Trap:


Medway Researchers Room opens

Last Friday I attended the opening of the Medway Researchers Room at the Drill Hall Library. This is a dedicated room on the first floor of the library (I didn’t realise how much space is actually up here). There is space for relaxation, group work or individual study, as well as a screen to practice presentations with. It’s a nice space, quite bright and comfy, so I hope it gets used to its full potential. There were a lot of people at the launch – probably about 50 (?), including lots of actual research students!  There is a big white board in the room which researchers were encouraged to write questions and suggestions on. The Drill Hall’s research support team) provided packs for all the researchers attending the opening:


(There was also a notebook and pen, but a certain toddler took a shine to it!) I think it would be good if we could create something like this pack to give to new researchers – for example, when we deliver sessions as part of the Researcher Development Programme.

The opening of the room was a good opportunity for the researchers to get together over tea and cake – it seemed like a lot of them hadn’t met before and it was good to see everyone chatting and making new friends, and of course it was also useful for them to meet library staff. It was especially good for the researcher from CCCU as she hadn’t met any other research students until that point! The Drill Hall Research Support Team are hoping researchers will use their space for social as well as study purposes – this plan seems to be going well as they’ve already had a request to set up a researchers’ dating site!

CPD25: Researchers and repositories

On Wednesday (11th May) I attended two events hosted by CPD25: Engaging and Supporting Researchers and Open Access and Repositories.

Engaging and Supporting Researchers

Although both the talks at this event were very interesting and informative, they weren’t quite what I was expecting – which was how to engage and support researchers from a library perspective in a higher education institution (i.e. what I’m trying to do as part of my current role). The first talk was by Glenn Cumiskey from the British Museum, about digital preservation at the British Museum. This was really fascinating – digital preservation is not an area I’m very familiar with, although it turned out that lots of what he had to say is quite relevant to my work with the institutional repository. It was also thought-provoking from an archives perspective (which also comes into my current role, albeit in a minor part), and also my other role as a cataloguer/metadata person. As I managed to write down his ‘five Vs’ – things to be taken into consideration when dealing with data – I will share them with you:

  • Volume (of data)
  • Velocity (the rate at which data is created)
  • Veracity (of metadata – can be inaccurate, go what is good enough for now [interestingly different from the ‘traditional’ view of cataloguing]
  • Value (of the data – we should not keep data that is not of value to the organisation)
  • Variety (of formats – issues such as software/hardware dependence, small publishers that may not be here in 1o years’ time, etc.)

Glenn finished his presentation by talking about what data should evoke, using the Lampedusa Cross as an example.

Next up: Mahendra Mahey. He spoke about British Library Labs, and about the weird and wonderful things people have done with British Library data sets and online collections. His slides are available on SlideShare.

Open Access and Repositories

The afternoon started with Andy Tattersall talking about altmetrics –  alternative measures of  the impact/influence/engagement of/with research, using social media rather than traditional methods such as citations and journal impact factors. It was great to learn about something I’d previously only had a vague awareness of. I think we definitely need to look at how we could use altmetrics with the repository – maybe looking at engagement with the library research Twitter feed (which includes a feed of new items on the repository). I also wrote down five points Andy made about the value of altmetrics, so here they are:

  • Altmetrics complement, not replace, traditional metrics
  • They help people understand how research is being received and used, and by who(m)
  • Almetrics are not intended as an indicator of quality
  • They can help provide further evidence of engagement and societal impact
  • They give credit for research outputs other than articles

You can see altmetrics in action, as it were, on many journal articles, wherever you see the altmetrics ‘donut’.

Andy has written a lot about this subject, including a blog post on the CILIP website. This video might also be useful if you want to find out more:


Stuart Lawson was next, with an overview of Open Access, which I do know a bit about. Although I didn’t know about Sci-Hub. I was sort of shocked by it(s existence), but then I have led a (mainly) quiet and innocent life. I was also quite impressed. Anyway, possibly the less said about that the better…I enjoyed Stuart’s talk and obvious enthusiasm for his subject…and now I know it’s possible to do a PhD about Open Access!

Christina Emery from Knowledge Unlatched spoke next. I’m afraid I didn’t make many notes, partially because I’d read a lot about Knowledge Unlatched for one of my appraisal objectives! It is a good idea, I think. Here is a handy video to explain what KU is all about:

Finally, Lara Speicher presented about UCL Press, the UK’s first fully Open Access university press. I learned a new concept/acronym/word: BOOC – book as open online content. I’m quite interested in this because (a) its relationship to Open Access monographs, which I’ve been researching for one of my appraisal objectives, and (b) because I’m interested in books and can be done with them in terms of different formats, arty stuff, their meaning and how humans related to them as physical (or not) objects, and their relationship to the electronic world.

There is a Storify of the tweets from the Open Access and Repositories sessions and you can follow the tweets from the Engaging Researchers sessions using .