Waving goodbye to REF 2021

Last week, staff in the Library waved off 12 boxes of books and other publications authored by current and former Durham staff as a final (for now) step in our university’s REF submission. This submission involved a huge commitment from staff across the university, across professional support and academic departments. Colleagues from across Durham University Library and Collections service have been involved in collecting publications, enabling open access and reviewing compliance with REF requirements, supporting Impact case studies and providing support for our poor academic colleagues tasked with drafting Research Environment statements.

Here we provide some brief figures to show some of the effort made to be able to wave off the final boxes one sunny morning last week…

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Foraging for theses

Recent headlines have highlighted concerns over unscrupulous third parties attempting to make money off the back of researchers by attempting to sell (for pennies) copies of Masters and Doctoral theses online. These have been taken from universities around the UK, including Durham University, and resold without permission (and often in breach of copyright). But for many years, Durham and other universities around the world have endeavoured to provide free access to theses, moving from what was previously rows of shelves of hard bound theses in our libraries, to digital repositories sharing the knowledge and expertise of our community online.

We often get asked by students, staff and others outside of the university if we have a specific theses available, or how to access theses and dissertations more generally, so we thought we’d highlight some of the resources available to you and why we make our theses available.

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#OpenAccessWeek2020: DRO is for book chapters too!

When we speak to colleagues about open access, often in short 5-10 minute briefings at Boards of Study, the focus is usually on ensuring open access to journal articles and conference papers. But a significant amount of research published at Durham comes in the form of long-from publications; books, monographs and chapters in edited volumes. In many cases we can make some or all of these open access as well. So let’s have a closer look…

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#OpenAccessWeek2020: A conversation with Professor Clare McGlynn QC (Hon)

International Open Access week is not only an opportunity to share the amazing open access research from Durham University and engaging with the wider open access community; it is also about getting to know our academics and the research process, helping us to understand a little bit more about the work that goes into the final article we download from the publisher’s site or repository. This year, we are so grateful to Professor Clare McGlynn QC (Hon) for taking the time to answer questions about her research.

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#OpenAccessWeek2020: Open Access articles and teaching

The current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it the (even more) urgent need to provide online access to journal articles and books.  This is not always easy or possible to do via subscriptions, and it is certainly not always affordable.  It makes it more important than ever that we look to those high-quality resources that are openly available and consider how these can be utilised successfully for teaching purposes. 

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We are your library… wherever you are right now.

To all of our amazing colleagues across academic and professional support departments, and our wonderful students, whether you’re playing football in the field outside the Bill Bryson Library, or at home caring for family and loved ones, our thoughts and best wishes are with you at a time which many of us are trying to struggle for normalcy as everything is changing rapidly around us.

University Library and Collections colleagues are working flat out (both on campus, and working from home – we’ll be sharing pictures and experiences in the near future!) to try to ensure that our existing collections are made as accessible as possible and we are providing support wherever we can, in challenging times (see our web pages for more details and updates including click & collect services, expanded virtual library help and live chat support).

But we are also working with publishers and library colleagues at other universities to ensure we can ease access online to resources wherever we can, for both students and staff. We have highlighted some of those new developments below:

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