Recommended reading to help inform open research strategy and practice: a blog

Photograph of Michelle Dalton

Posted by Aislinn Conway

14 March 2024

In this blog post, Michelle Dalton highlights and reflects on a selection of recent publications that have provided her with valuable take-aways to inform both strategy and practice. Michelle is Head of Academic & Research Services at University College Dublin Library, with strategic oversight for the areas of open research and scholarly communications, research data management and citizen science. Her research interests include research culture, research evaluation, and open research skills and training.

‘One of the aspects I enjoy most about working in the area of Open Research is the pace of change. Fortunately there is also an abundance of excellent research being published by the community to help make sense of this ever-changing landscape!’

 JISC: A review of transitional agreements in the UK

Transformative or transitional Open Access agreements are a relatively new feature of the scholarly landscape. Whilst it is still early days to determine if they have had a material impact on publishing patterns and behaviour, the comprehensive data in this report provides some early indicators for how things may play out in the longer term. Two findings in this report really stood out for me:

In the UK there has been a steady decline in the number of green-only articles – approx 4% over each of the last four years – indicative that some researchers are now choosing TAs as a route to OA when they previously would have self-archived. What does this mean for the purpose and priorities of institutional repositories in the long-term?

The heterogeneity of systems, T&Cs, and workflows across different TAs still cause an administrative burden for institutions, requiring both significant human and financial resources. I wonder, when we look at the true costs of TAs and OA publishing, is this ‘hidden’ cost being captured?

Brayman, K., Devenney, A., Dobson, H., Marques, M., & Vernon, A. (2024). A review of transitional agreements in the UK. Zenodo.


The Second Digital Transformation of Scholarly Publishing: Strategic Context and Shared Infrastructure

This Ithaka S+R report builds on the previous work of last year’s landscape review and looks at the second transformation being faced in scholarly publishing (the transition from print to digital being the first): shared infrastructure that is fit for purpose.

Interestingly, the report finds that many of the infrastructure gaps that still persist are not due to a lack of technical solutions, but rather the result of different strategic, governance, or business perspectives. In this context, achieving agreement and alignment between stakeholders on the broader purpose of critical infrastructure seems as important as ever.

 Bergstrom, T., Rieger, O. Y., & Schonfeld, R. C. (2024, January 29). The Second Digital Transformation of Scholarly Publishing: Strategic Context and Shared Infrastructure.


Making Research Data Publicly Accessible: Estimates of Institutional & Researcher Expenses

Anyone who works in the area of research data management support knows one of the biggest challenges is getting an accurate picture of the financial costs involved, as well as who pays for them. This report, based on a survey across six research-intensive academic institutions in the US, finds that the average spend on research data management and sharing (DMS) by researchers was approx $30,000 (or 6% of the total grant awards). Unsurprisingly DMS costs comprised a higher proportion of smaller grants (15%), than larger grants. Looking at spending across institutional units (including both staffing and infrastructure), libraries had the greatest average annual cost, followed by IT. Whilst based on a limited sample, the estimates here may provide a useful starting point for the necessary budgetary ask.


Hofelich Mohr, Alicia, Jake Carlson, Lizhao Ge, Joel Herndon, Wendy Kozlowski, Jennifer Moore, Jonathan Petters, Shawna Taylor, and Cynthia Hudson Vitale. Making Research Data Publicly Accessible: Estimates of Institutional & Researcher Expenses. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, February 2024.


Digital Scholarly Journals Are Poorly Preserved: A Study of 7 Million Articles

Digital preservation can be one of those topics that is hard to convey the importance of to those outside the field – that is, until data gets lost or damaged and then it becomes all too clear. Many may take it for granted that the well-established major scholarly publishers and their content will be around forever, but this study brings into sharp focus the very real risks. From an analysis of over seven million journal articles with DOIs, approximately 28% appear entirely unpreserved in the archives sampled. A stark warning.

Eve, M. P., (2024) “Digital Scholarly Journals Are Poorly Preserved: A Study of 7 Million Articles”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 12(1). doi:

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