All posts by Maria Angelaki

2019 That Was The Year That Was 

This is our traditional yearly blog about what we have been doing at the OSC in Cambridge. We are publishing it a little later than intended, but this is an indication of how busy the beginning of 2020 has been here in the Office of Scholarly Communication.

2019 saw us more in a ‘business as usual’ phase as we knuckled down and got on with supporting researchers in Cambridge. That aside, we still had some major developments in Open Research and this work will continue into 2020 and beyond.  

Policy changes 

2019 saw a number of happenings in the policy space at Cambridge. Most excitingly, the University’s Position Statement on Open Research was announced in February, making it one of the first UK universities to have such a statement. This demonstrates the University’s commitment to making open research a reality at Cambridge. 

Following on from this, in July 2019, the University together with Cambridge University Press  announced that they have signed up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). The newly created Open Research Steering Committee, headed by the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, will have oversight over the open research direction and the implementation of DORA. The Steering Committee and their working groups are currently looking into open research training, open research infrastructure (such as electronic research notebooks), Plan S and DORA. 

In December, an updated version of the Research Data Management Policy Framework was released. This update brings the policy framework in alignment with funder requirements and acknowledges the important roles that Principal Investigators, research staff and students, and University support staff play in good data management practices. It sits beneath the Position Statement on Open Research, with the documents being closely aligned. 

Open access news 

The Open Access Service made great strides towards automating many of its processes this year, headlined by the introduction of Orpheus and Fast Track. Orpheus is a custom database of publisher open access policies, and when combined with Fast Track for manuscript processing, it allows the Open Access Service to reduce the number of steps required to archive a manuscript in Apollo. In 2019, 8325 manuscript submissions were processed through Fast Track. In total, the Open Access Service responded to 13,609 submissions or enquiries in 2019, equal to 37 requests per day. 

Our Request a Copy service received 7,626 requests in 2019. One of the most requested items was “HIV-1 remission following CCR5Δ32/Δ32 haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation” (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1027-4), which received 77 requests. The authors of the paper responded to and fulfilled each request, enabling the readers to obtain free access to the publication, and well ahead of Nature’s six-month embargo. However, since the accepted manuscript is now out of embargo, it has received a further 326 downloads to date in Apollo. The success of the Request a Copy service once again demonstrates the need for access to scholarly research at the earliest opportunity. Embargoes, even ‘short’ 6 month embargoes, are a needless barrier to the University’s research outputs. 

Data news 

Aside from the update to the Research Data Management Policy Framework (see above), the most significant development from 2019 has been the continued evolution of the Data Champion Programme

We welcomed 40 new Data Champions (DCs) from across several Schools increasing the size of our network to 86. With such a large cohort of Champions a new idea of creating departmental hubs was initiated to increase collaboration and the sharing of practices by Data Champions from the same areas. This has proved really successful in both Chemistry and Engineering, with a more coordinated approach having the effect of greater productivity from the Champions in those areas in engaging others with data management. 

In 2019, the Data Champions also tried out a mentoring scheme for the first time whereby established Champions support new Champions in finding their feet and give them ideas about how to provide support to their own community. This has proved to be a great success and the scheme is being run for a second year for the new cohort of Champions joining in early 2020. 

Finally, a new paper on the Data Champion community was published, Establishing, Developing and Sustaining a Community of Data Champions, by DC alumnus James Savage and our colleague Lauren Cadwallader in Data Science Journal. 

Thesis news 

The requirement to deposit an electronic copy of a PhD thesis in order to graduate has become normal business now. In 2019, 1197 of theses were deposited with 47% being made fully open access. In addition, around 100 requests to digitise historical theses were received from their authors and 1015 requests for scans of historical theses were received from requesters. 


In 2019 we took a broad perspective and examined how training was contributing to promoting and supporting Open Research at Cambridge. The Task Group on Open Research Training, comprised of representatives of several libraries and colleagues from other areas of the University, conducted a number projects to understand where we are at the moment and plan a strategy for the future. The details of that work will be presented at the RLUK 2020 conference in March but, as a ‘sneak peek’, here are some of the conclusions we drew: 

  • We’re stronger together: researchers will benefit if we build stronger communication between training providers. 
  • Open Research training should not be seen in isolation to the rest of research, rather it should be a key component of the way students learn to do research. 
  • Postdocs and senior researchers want to learn independently, we can support them with better-presented information online and by facilitating events and dialogue. 
  • We want to be able to constantly improve our training and demonstrate impact by exploring ways to evaluate ourselves, while also being aware of the lurking danger of irresponsible metrics in our own evaluation.  

Alongside the strategy work, we continued to expand the training we offer on Open Access, Research Data Management, publishing, copyright and more. A growing number of departments have requested sessions and we have partnered with PLOS and the Office for Postdoctoral Affairs to deliver a regular session on peer review. We delivered 56 sessions, reaching over 800 researchers and librarians. In addition, we have offered a session about complying with the REF Open Access requirements to departments; the Open Access team outdid themselves by delivering 20 sessions to individual departments in just over three months. 

Outreach activities 

In 2019 we hosted several events, from workshops to a one-day symposium dealing with open access monographs, FAIR data, preprints, reproducibility in social sciences, Plan S developments in the USA and open research in STEMM.  

Of notable interest is the Symposium on Open Monographs held in October at St Catharine’s College. This one-day event brought together researchers, funders, publishers and learned societies to discuss the benefits and challenges of an open landscape for academic books. The recordings are featured in the OSC YouTube channel and most of the presentations are available in our institutional repository, Apollo. A summary of the key themes that emerged from this symposium were later presented in Unlocking Research. 

October would not have been complete without celebrating Open Access Week. During the week we shared various blogs and online resources and we were delighted to announce the launch of our popular Research Support Ambassador Programme as an open educational resource designed to give learners either an introduction or refresher on key elements of research support. 


Apollo has participated in a joint pilot study with Jisc, Symplectic and Sheffield Hallam University to look best approaches to integrate the Jisc Publications Router and the research information system Symplectic Elements, via institutional repositories. This pilot has involved working together to look at how well Elements could capture details of articles that Router had sent to our repositories. Router currently works with EPrints and DSpace repositories, the platforms used by Sheffield Hallam and Cambridge respectively. 

Symplectic’s Repository Tools 2 (RT2) integration module was used to harvest Apollo and de-duplicate them against any existing Elements records. We tested how well this worked for repository records deposited automatically by Router, looking in particular at the volume of duplicate publications and how early after acceptance notifications were received from Router. The study demonstrated that Router and Elements are technically compatible when used in this way. As a result of this pilot, Jisc and Symplectic are now happy to offer this solution to institutions more widely. 

Some excellent work behind the scenes has resulted in Jisc publishing a series of blogs last November. Their third blog showcases the ORCID IDs in Research Data Management workflows at the University of Cambridge and how a workflow has been implemented in order to create seamless links between researchers and their works using identifiers and different services. Such solutions improve visibility and discoverability across systems, reduce duplication of effort in entering information and avoid identification errors.

This work was made possible by Agustina Martínez García of the Office of Scholarly Communication, Owen Roberson of the Research Office, and Dean Johnson of University Information Services (UIS) who were amongst the winners of the professional services recognition scheme two years ago for their effective collaborative work on the integration of Symplectic Elements and Apollo. 

According to the blog, as of September 2019, 25,550 articles, 1,329 conference proceedings and 1,100 datasets in Apollo have ORCID IDs. 

Saying a big thank you 

2019 saw the departure of the University’s first Head of Scholarly Communication, Dr Danny Kingsley. Many of the achievements of 2019 were due to hard work Danny put in before her departure and for this we’d like to thank her for all she contributed. 

Published 26 February 

Compiled by: Maria Angelaki 

Image showing that this blog post is under CC-BY licence.

Contributions from Agustina Martínez-García, Bea Gini, Maria Angelaki, Lauren Cadwallader, Sacha Jones and Arthur Smith.

Embarking on a career in open access

Lorraine and Olivia started working as Scholarly Communication Support in the Open Access team at the Office of Scholarly Communication (OSC) in the University Library this summer. In this interview, they share their experience of starting a new role in the field of open access, from the perspective of their respective backgrounds in academia and publishing. 

What does working in Scholarly Communication Support entail and what are your responsibilities in this role? 

For the first few months joining the Open Access team we both started looking at “Fast Track deposits”, the simplest route of depositing author’s manuscripts into Apollo, the University of Cambridge institutional repository. This system allows the team to process items more quickly than the manual Apollo deposit. Since its launch in September 2018, it has considerably helped to reduce the workload as manuscript submission for archiving in Apollo continues to increase in view of the upcoming REF2021. On a daily basis, we also deal with queries from tickets created on the Open Access Helpdesk, contacting authors and publishers when further information is required and manually depositing manuscripts on Apollo while also updating their records on Symplectic Elements, the University’s research information management system.

Olivia and I are now being trained to respond to researchers’ funding queries and to process invoices for journals’ open access fees from the RCUK and COAF block grants. In order to do this we have had to learn more in depth about open access requirements and Research Councils’ funder requirements.

More recently, we have been working with Units of Assessment to support them with the open access component for REF (Research Excellence Framework) compliance, attending training sessions and reviewing Unit of Assessment outputs for eligibility. This has involved researching and interpreting the REF 2021 requirements for open access to disseminate effectively to academics and administrators. It has been illuminating to gain the perspective of different faculties, the way that they have to engage with REF, and their grapples with open access compliance. 

What are your respective backgrounds and how did you decide to start working in OA? 

Lorraine: Prior to working in open access, I completed a PhD in History of Art in Cambridge, looking at specific intersections between early modern artworks, medicine, and theories of the imagination. I also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at CRASSH (Centre for Research in the arts, social sciences and humanities) for one year. 

I first became interested in OA and Scholarly Communication during my studies as a PhD representative for my peers in History of Art between 2017 and2018, the year that electronic deposits of PhD theses via Apollo became a requirement. There were anxieties from my peers around this new requirement, especially in relation to the open access feature: what would this mean for publishing their first monographs from their PhD thesis as Early Career Researchers? Would publishers still be interested in their work after it had been made OA? And, especially, what about the hundreds of copyrighted images present in their theses? It would have taken months to obtain permission to reproduce all of those images. During this time, I liaised with the OSC, the head of the AHRC  Doctoral Training Partnership programme (as part of the RCUK, the AHRC also has its own open access requirements that apply to PhDs), communicated with faculty staff during meetings, and reported the advice I had gathered to my peers. I see this new position in the OSC Open Access team as an excellent opportunity to understand better what happens behind the scenes of an institutional repository and gain more knowledge about the broader picture of open access in academic research. 

Olivia: I left academic publishing with a sense that the model was broken. Expensive paywalls restrict access to those seeking to access information and academics were becoming increasingly disenchanted with the publishing model. These issues particularly hit home following two separate instances. The first, a letter sent to the publisher by a prisoner seeking further information on a criminology text, one which was prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to such an individual. The second, a cuttingly written forward by an academic around monograph publishing and the ivory towers in which university elites and academic publishers co-exist. 

Academic publishing very much feels like the other side of what I am doing with open access, making research as freely and widely available as possible. 

How do you think your past experiences have helped you to have the necessary skills for working in OA? 

Lorraine: As a Cambridge student, I acquired a good knowledge of Cambridge’s unique research and teaching landscape (Schools, Faculties, Departments, Colleges, Research centres, etc.). My academic background also meant that I had hands-on understanding about the process of research, publishing in a peer-reviewed journal, and even submitting my outputs through Symplectic Elements. These were really helpful starting my new role: understanding how researchers work is crucial in scholarly communication and definitely helps me to advise and communicate with researchers better. I am, for instance, particularly interested in the relationship between open access and third-party copyright (especially images from cultural heritage institutions, i.e. galleries, libraries, archives and museums) and the challenges it brings to researchers in the Arts and Humanities. 

Olivia: I have found my previous work in publishing an asset working in open access because of my knowledge of the editorial and production process as well as publishing revenue models. I am familiar with the time scales for journal articles and books production as well as publishers’copyright requirements which I have found I am using on a regular basis. Working extensively with academics in a production role, I am aware of the competing pressures placed on them and their need for clear and accessible information on fulfilling publishing commitments or REF compliance.

Now that you have started your new roles, what are the tips you would give to someone interested in starting a career in OA? 

Picking up from last year’s blogpost, and from our own experience: keeping up to date with developments, attention to detail, supporting academics and seeking support from the open access community are four key areas when starting in a career in OA.

Keeping up to date with developments and attention to detail

Publisher’s and funders’ open access policies change very quickly, as do the methods we adopt within the team to cope with the workflow and with the challenges brought by REF 2021. Anyone starting a career in OA needs to keep up to date with changes, be capable of doing in-depth research about those, and be comfortable admitting not knowing everything! The landscape is constantly changing and having an awareness of new proposals and initiatives makes the big picture much clearer. 

Supporting academics 

Give academics a break. It will take you a while to feel confident with policy and guidance and for you, it is your whole job. For the academics submitting their papers and contacting the repository, this is one small part of their role; you need to guide them through it as painlessly as possible. 

Seek support 

You cannot and do not know everything about open access. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful expert colleagues who can help, so it is really important to know how to work within a team and keep building the necessary knowledge as a group. 

Published 25 October 2019

Written by Lorraine de la Verpilliere, Olivia Marsh

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Image Copyright and Open Access in the Arts and Humanities

Copyright is a crucial topic in the Humanities because researchers in several disciplines (especially history of art, my field of study) rely on images for their work and because publishers usually require authors to pay copyright holders for permission to reproduce those images – failure to do so would make the author and the publisher liable for copyright infringement. 

At the OSC Symposium last 2nd October 2019 (Open Access Monographs: From Policy to Reality), Dr Nicola Kozicharow’s presentation on ‘Open Research Publishing in the Humanities’ made quite an impact on the discussions of the day. This early career historian of art, specialised in 19th– and 20th-century European and Russian art, talked about the challenge of publishing when third-party image copyright is involved. She detailed the difficult and sometimes grotesque situations that she and her contributor faced when publishing her first co-edited book Open Access, tracking down image copyright holders and paying exorbitant reproduction fees (1).

Not many academics outside the Arts and Humanities know about the invisible labour and material cost involved when working with images. Researchers struggle to find images on various heritage institutions’ websites (or GLAMs, as we call them – i.e. galleries, libraries, archives and museums), and pay to obtain digital images ‘for private use’ when the original work is unavailable or located too far. They often end up paying again in order to re-use those images when publishing their research. Even more frustrating is the lack of consistency between different institutions with regard to the amount of the fees and to the exemptions granted. If you beg the museum repeatedly and reach out to curators, you may have a small chance to have your permission fees waived (but still often in return for providing a free copy of your book/article). However, when sales department/companies act as intermediaries between researchers and museums, this kind of trick is most likely to fail, and the chances of opening the discussion about the absurdities of the fees get even slimmer. In 2018, Bridgeman Images, one of those ‘Image companies’, obtained the exclusive right of selling and licensing all images from Italian national museums, which was catastrophic news for art history (see their statement here).

The situation feels even more unacceptable when it concerns out-of-copyright works of art. In this case, heritage institutions in fact do not own copyright over the work as it has fallen in the public domain. Most GLAMs, however, manage to keep control of these works’ images by banning photography (the famous ‘no photo’ policies in permanent collections or temporary exhibitions) and by creating copyright by making their own photograph of the work that they subsequently sell to researchers. 

 An article by medieval art historian Kathryn M. Rudy published in Times Higher Education (also quoted by Kozicharow at the symposium) is a good example (2). There, Rudy detailed specific examples she encountered in her career and broke down the (shockingly high) real cost of working with images – she claims that the fees to publish images for her academic work since 2011 total £24,000 from her own pocket.* “The more successful I am, the poorer I get”, she says. The article went viral on academic Twitter networks and retweets and comments shine a light on the fact that many scholars face similar problems – one user ironically pointed out that it would be much cheaper to include with each book sold a packet of postcards from the museum than paying their prohibitive reproduction fees! (@winchester_books). 

This thorny issue of image copyright permissions in research publications is sadly not new. In the last couple of years, however, historians of art in the UK have succeeded to keep the issue at the front of the public debate. Back in 2017, an ‘End-fees-for-images’ campaign was started by Dr Bendor Grosvenor and Dr Richard Stephen. Along with 28 leading British art historians, they openly called for UK national museums to abolish image fees for out of copyright works of art in a letter published in The Times (3). Many other researchers in the field quickly added their names to this call through a petition on This campaign was supported in parallel by Grosvenor’s blog, Art History News – his strong presence in the media as a BBC4 presenter and on social media (@arthistorynews) also helped to promote the campaign.

This campaign revealed that there are in fact tools in the UK’s legal arsenal that art historians could use to limit fees. The 2015 Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations (RPSI), for instance, which “prevents publicly funded bodies from commercialising public assets” including publicly owned pieces of art. These regulations “do allow image fees to be charged, but only to cover the actual costs involved, and a very small ‘profit’”(4). They remain, however, very little used and barely known – both by researchers and museums. Interestingly, during the OSC’s Open Access Monographs symposium, it was also brought up that ‘fair dealing’ exceptions to copyright by way of quotation for the purpose of ‘criticism or review’ have not often been used by researchers and applied to visual material (5). Both RPSI and ‘fair dealing’ by quotation are in the end quite complex legal tools and, understandably, no art historians nor their publishers want to take the risk of a court case. We also have to take into account the wish of scholars to preserve good relationships with national heritage institutions in the UK – as images are their primary materials, their academic work depends on it entirely! 

During the Open Access Monograph symposium, the comment was made that this issue of high image reproduction fees as a barrier to Open Access publication was a misconception – that the real problem was instead about wider ‘digital’ and ‘online’ issues. However, the fact remains that permission fees are much higher if the image falls into the following categories (often used in image permission fees forms): ‘worldwide’, ‘online’, and ‘freely available’. How is this supposed to encourage researchers in the art and humanities to publish their research Open Access? We could, however, also frame the issue in a more positive way – what if Open Access itself could help humanities researchers deal with images better? Dr Kozicharow acknowledged the great support she received from Open Book Publishers (OBP) in allowing her to reproduce as many colour images she needed for her book. Kathryn M. Rudy, in her recent book also published with OBP, was able to display images in an innovative way (6). In order to contain costs, when images were already widely available, she instead added links on stable GLAMs websites – even QR codes in the case of the printed edition! Perhaps art historians should see open access publishing as a good opportunity to find innovative ways to think about solutions for images. Of course, there remains the problem of how Open Access is perceived in the Humanities, open access books not being sufficiently reviewed and often not deemed legitimate enough in the process of securing permanent positions and promotions – but this is a separate issue. 

What would be needed to help with image permission costs in art and humanities publishing?

In light of the growing requirements for open access publications, there should be better financial provisions to support researchers from universities and funding bodies. A recent report on Open Access from the Universities UK Open Access and Monographs Group, however, shows that there is a growing acknowledgement of the impossible situation faced by specific disciplines who rely on third-party material when publishing – such as history of art or archaeology. The UUK OA Monographs group notably recommended that “Given the already complex nature and expense of re-use clearance for illustrations and other third-party rights material in books, and the additional complexity and expense introduced by OA, an exception should be considered in any OA policy for books that require significant use of third-party rights materials” (7). 

Most of all, cultural heritage institutions have to do better. It does not seem unreasonable to be able to reproduce an image for free with the appropriate credit to the institution when a work of art is in the public domain. Some institutions worldwide have already started making their image collections open access or at least free of copyright fees for researcher’s publications. For example, Gallica, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France’s digital library, just changed its policy in favour of the latter. Positive changes such as these, that benefit the public and research, are being recorded and supported by the excellent Open GLAM initiative, funded by the European Commission. The new EU copyright directive (provided it can apply after Brexit?) should give the final push to get there, as it will allow free re-use of images of works of art in the public domain, even for commercial purposes.

Published 25 October 2019

Written by Dr Lorraine de la Verpillière 

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*Correction: The  £24,000 figure in fact corresponds to fees Rudy paid to obtain the high-res image files for her academic work since 2011. The figure gets even higher when including the said images copyright fees – in the same article, she mentions for instance a £5,683 invoice from the Bodleian for the reproduction cost of her next book.

If you are a researcher at Cambridge University and need more information about third-party copyright, the following resources are for you:


Architecture & History of Art: Copyright and plagiarism

Copyright for Researchers 

Copyright helpdesk: email 

Face-to-face training sessions [available to Cambridge University only]

Copyright: a survival guide (for PhD students in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences) 

Do You Really Own Your Research? Copyright, Collaboration, and Creative Commons 

Your faculty or department may also run bespoke sessions, asking your librarian is the best way to find out.


(1) Louise Hardiman and Nicola Kozicharow, Modernism and the Spiritual in Russian Art: New Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2017,

(2) Kathryn M. Rudy, ‘The true costs of research and publishing’, Times Higher Education, August 29 2019 (Url:

(3) Matthew Moore, ‘Museum fees are killing art history, say academics’, The Times, November 6 2017 (Url: accessed: 10/10/2019)

(4) Bendor Grosvenor, ‘Why museums should abolish image fees (ctd.)’, Art History News blog, August 20 2018 (Url: accessed: 10/10/2019)

(5) Amendments to the The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in the UK law since 2014,

(6) Kathryn M. Rudy. Image, Knife, and Gluepot: Early Assemblage in Manuscript and Print. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2019, 

(7) Universities UK Open Access and Monographs Group, ‘Third-party rights’, in Open access and monographs evidence review, October 2019, p. 10-12 (PDF: accessed 13/10/2019).