Heart of Worcestershire College – 2014’s Association of Colleges Beacon Award winner for effective use of technology in further education – will tomorrow be hosting ‘Fast track to FELTAG’, an event designed to help colleges adopt a complete blended learning model and meet the FELTAG recommendations.
The event will feature a number of expert speakers, including Paul McKean, Jisc FE and skills customer advocate. Here, he talks to Gemma Ellis about how Jisc is supporting this move towards a blended offer and how colleges can take advantage of Jisc services.
Advances on access to university for students of all backgrounds shows that taking a wide approach to widening access pays off
RCUK’s OA policy prefers researchers to use a gold OA model, asking for payment of an article processing charges (APC) at or soon after the point of acceptance.
Neil Jacobs, head of scholarly communications support, and part of the review panel comments:
“Jisc welcomes this review. As it comes at an early stage in the implementation of the OA policy there is currently only a limited amount of evidence, but it’s clear that Jisc is doing the right things to enable the sector to meet changing requirements.
The RCUK OA policy implies a huge change to the workflows associated with the journal supply chain and it will take time for universities, publishers, and others to embed them. The review tells us there are clear signs that this adaption is taking place, but also clear signs that considerable administrative burden remains on universities.
Nevertheless, I believe the answer is not for the Research Councils to turn away from universities as partners in the implementation of the policy, but to engage with them to get the infrastructure and workflows in place to make them work.”
As well as administrative burden the policy has caused to universities the review also mentions the impact on them of the absolute costs of paying APCs (the costs incurred when publishing an article). It states “further transparency on what is being paid in APCs by institutions to publishers will be crucial in helping to change behaviours and ease the transition towards open access”.
At Jisc we have been supporting this process through a standard data template, and many universities are now sharing data on their APC payments openly. Once this information is gathered together we will be able to provide reports on these payments across education and research, giving a level of transparency never previously seen in this market.
Other Jisc work that supports implementation of this policy includes:
- Guide for publishers - to inform publishers about steps they can take to reduce the admin burden that features so strongly in the RCUK report.
- Jisc Monitor - which is helping universities to keep track of publications, compliance with OA policies, and expenditure on APCs, allowing funders to see the impact of these policies and adapt them as needed
- RIOXX - which provides the metadata for repositories required by RCUK
- CASRAI pilot - working groups, including one focused on a fuller metadata profile to meet a wider range of funder reporting requirements
- ORCID – an author identifier, specifically recommended by the report which allows a researcher, funder or university to search and find research outputs for an individual, helping them to meet the requirements
- Total cost of ownership – Jisc is negotiating offset deals with many publishers to reduce the risk that costs to universities and funders rise massively as they pay both subscriptions and APCs during a transition period.
The report highlights that RCUK's open access policy is being implemented alongside the Research Excellence Framework OA policy, which states that articles should be deposited into a repository at the point of acceptance by a journal.
This dual establishment of policies has created both challenges and opportunities, the different approaches seeming to require researchers to establish multiple workflows. What they have in common, however, is that they demonstrate the importance of the point at which an article is accepted for publication by a journal – both policies encourage that this is now properly managed with universities.
However, the review did find that there is some confusion around these polices and what is required; Jisc is undertaking work to standardise the language used by research funders, universities and publishers in describing their OA policies.
We see this review as a positive step on the road to an OA world and looks forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders, including the new higher education institution practitioner group recommended by the report.
We’ve been notified by the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) that at least one institution has been the victim of a type of 'phone hacking', whereby fraudsters make use of weaknesses in internet-connected phone systems to take control of them, and then make large numbers of outgoing calls to premium-rate phone numbers, in which the fraudsters have a financial stake.
There’s the potential for universities to lose a large amount of money (maybe in the hundreds of thousands) in a very short space of time if it is not discovered promptly. You can read more information about how this works in this New York Times article.
UCISA have sent out a communication asking universities to be extra vigilant over the next few days in case universities are targeted next.
They advise that it may also be worth looking back through phone logs for unusual (and expensive) activity and ask that universities also consider how they might combat this fraud if it was to occur overnight, or on the weekends.
At Jisc we offer a telephony purchasing service that enables customers to purchase a range of telephony services from pre-qualified suppliers for use over the Janet network. We essentially act as a broker, meaning that contracts are between customer and supplier.
We have contacted suppliers on the telephony purchasing service to inform them of this activity to make sure they are aware of the issue and are able to provide support.
Our advice for universities would be to ensure that any software on telephone services is up to date as this helps to reduce the security risk.
If hacking or unusual activity takes place we advise universities to contact our computer security incident response team (CSIRT) helpline, 0300 999 2340, where our experts would be able to offer them advice.
As we approach the crucial UN climate negotiations in Paris, we need to make the student voice too powerful to ignore.
In her opening keynote at the Student Sustainability Summit, tar sands activist Crystal Lameman spoke on her experiences of opposing fossil fuel companies.
Researchers from across the country are set to benefit from the development of new services which look to overcome the biggest challenges facing the research community, through our research data spring.
Research data spring is an initiative to create innovative partnerships between researchers, librarians, publishers and developers to develop new solutions to common research problems. Such problems include data being difficult to find and therefore re-use, and different data management systems being poorly integrated, making it difficult for researchers to work with one another.
Rachel Bruce, deputy chief innovation officer at Jisc, said:
“While the new Research Councils UK policies and the Horizon 2020 data pilot are laying the foundations for research data management (RDM) to be part and parcel of what researchers do, there is still a need to make access and re-use of data as painless and as rewarding as possible. By inviting those working in the sector to contribute their ideas we hope to foster innovative partnerships.
Our aim is to develop new solutions and protocols that will make it much easier for everyone to find, share and retrieve research data across different subject areas and disciplines.”
When the project launched 70 ideas for solutions were submitted. 44 were shortlisted for further consideration at a workshop in late February. Following discussions and collaborative development work, some projects merged leaving 27 pitches. Subsequently, 17 strong ideas were selected for funding by a panel of judges.
The projects include:
- Developing RDM tools for small and specialist intitutions
A consortium comprising Arkivum, CREST, the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), Leeds Trinity University and the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) which aims to develop a package of RDM tools and services for small and specialist institutions. For example, UCA is looking to work with EPrints to implement an open source approach to research data management in the visual arts which would benefit the researchers that are working with large, complex, multimedia data and datasets. This means that visual arts data, which is currently managed extemporarily, will be automatically preserved, curated and made available.
- Unlocking theses data
The University of East London has been awarded funding for a proposal to unlock UK theses data. The organisation’s idea is to introduce students to persistent identifiers and the new data sharing standards. There are several benefits to this, including universities being able to raise the profile of their doctoral research and researchers having easy access to a wealth of data from PhD theses. The project has prompted significant interest from other institutions, including St Andrews University and the London School of Economics who have volunteered to pilot the project.
- Data vault for archiving
The University of Edinburgh and the University of Manchester have received funding to develop a data vault that will ensure active data, data which is currently being used, can be fully archived, so it is not lost and is pushed out for other projects. This will mean researchers are able to empty their active storage (cloud, external drives etc) while properly archiving the data, so that it can be made accessible and will be physically usable in the long term.
Over the next three months the successful project teams will work on their ideas, bringing news of their progress to another workshop in summer, when they will decide the next steps and pitch for further funding.
Following this, more funding will be released for selected projects enabling continued development of prototypes ready for a final showcase event in summer 2016.
To find out which projects have been selected for funding, and for updates on progress between now and next year’s showcase, please visit the research data management blog and research data spring project page on our website.
Get just one friend to register to vote so you can all have a say. And be heard.
This week on MPs Questions, Cardiff Central's MP Jenny Willott, Lib Dems, and PPCs Jo Stevens, Labour, Richard Hopkin, Conservatives, and Chris Von Ruhland, Greens, Anthony Raybould, UKIP, and Martin Pollard, Plaid Cymru, today address general election issues on Twitter.
NUS Journalist Emma Jacobs looks at the damaging effect of hidden costs students face when they reach higher education.
David Cameron recently announced that he wants to take Employment Support Allowance (ESA) benefits away from people suffering from obesity and alcohol or drug related problems, if they refuse to have treatment. He noted that he wanted to incentivise people to get treatment and lead a fulfilling life through work, explores NUS Journalist James McCrory.
Research data spring is a project aiming to find new technical tools, software and service solutions to improve researchers’ workflows and the use and management of their data. In Februrary we held a sandpit workshop at Aston University, where selected ideas were explored and developed. In this podcast we hear from project lead Daniela Duca and a number of the participants.
Creative Commons attribution information Lorraine Estelle©JiscAll rights reserved
After 12 years at Jisc, Lorraine has decided to take up a position with Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER), an international initiative that sets the standard for the recording and reporting of online usage statistics. She has supported the organisation since its launch in 2002, and will replace outgoing project director Peter Shepherd when he retires this summer.
Lorraine will be a very hard act to follow; and that daunting task will be taken forward very ably by Keith Cole as the new executive director for Jisc digital resources. Reflecting the crucial importance within digital resources of the library consortium, Liam Earney will support Keith as director of the Jisc Collections division.
Keith, who is the current deputy director of Jisc digital resources and former director of Mimas, said:
“Our sector is undeniably going through a significant period of change. Important steps have already been taken by Jisc to widen access to digital resources to further and higher education, but there is more to be done before we can claim a fairer landscape for all.
I look forward to taking over leadership of Jisc digital resources at such an exciting time and extending the positive impact of this vital work to the whole community.”
Martyn Harrow, chief executive, Jisc, added:
“I would like to thank Lorraine for the significant time and effort she has given to Jisc over the years. Her work has been absolutely invaluable for Jisc and for our communities UK-wide. She leaves Jisc very well positioned, as Keith says, to take this important agenda further forward. I wish her all the best in her new venture.”
Today we are launching the 'Commission for Work' report. The report is the culmination of written and oral evidence from a diverse range of 12 commissioners – Trade Union Congress to British Chamber of Commerce - brought together by NUS in the first collaborative approach to tackling youth employment issues.
On Mother's Day there will be many students giving flowers and gifts, but there will be a lot of students receiving them as well. We asked students mothers to tell us about their experiences of motherhood while studying at the same time.
Teachers, IT managers, librarians, lecturers and research managers from across the UK were given the chance to discuss the positive impact of technology on further and higher education and discover new tools and approaches to its use at this year’s Jisc Digital Festival.
Held in Birmingham on 9-10 March, the largest Digital Festival yet presented the best digital talent under the theme of ‘connect more’. And featured a diverse line-up of digital innovators and leading technology organisations, including internet giant Google.
During his keynote speech on day one, Simon Nelson, chief executive of the UK MOOC platform FutureLearn, announced that the platform will be making some units from its courses available openly online – without the need to register.
Carole Goble, professor in the school of computer science at the University of Manchester called for research to be reusable and shareable during her talk on day two. Carole highlighted the 'research object' work she is doing to ensure research can be created faster and is replicable.
Bob Harrison, chair of the Teaching Schools New Technology Advisory Board, called for a significant shift in the culture of the further education sector to not only survive but to thrive in this technology driven era. He said that the further education model is no longer fit for purpose.
Martyn Harrow, chief executive at Jisc, said:
“How we connect technology and education is a journey that we’ve only just started. The Digital Festival has demonstrated just how important this is to institutions and has really celebrated all the great digital developments that are happening in the sector.
We’re looking forward to continuing to develop ideas and help institutions to use the best technology in the most effective way, now and in the future. This will all help the UK retain its position as the world’s most digitally advanced education and research nation.”
Other sessions throughout the two-day event included how to effectively use augmented reality in the classroom, how to implement BYOD (bring your own device) policies, internet safety and why open access research data is important.
Stats about the event:
For many students starting university taught them not only about their subject, but also about money. Students are finding that the cost of living and studying is going up, and the loans and grants they receive simply do not cover everything, reports NUS Journalist Mariya Hussain.