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Post on new ERC policy

Stevan Harnad has asked us to post a link to his blog: http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/1070-BiorXiv-Deposit-Institutionally,-Export-Centrally.html

Read his latest post – a response to the updated ERC open access guidelines.

ERC revises its open access guidelines

The ERC has released revised guidelines on open access for all the researchers it funds.

“…an electronic copy of any research article, monograph or other research publication that is supported in whole, or in part, by ERC funding be deposited in a suitable repository immediately upon publication. Open access should be provided as soon as possible and in any case no later than six months after the official publication date. For publications in the Social Sciences and Humanities domain a delay of up to twelve months is acceptable.”

“…[The Council] strongly encourages ERC funded researchers to use discipline-specific repositories for their publications. If there is no appropriate discipline specific repository, researchers should make their publications available in institutional repositories or in centralized ones”

“The recommended repository for Life Sciences is Europe PubMed Central and for Physical Sciences and Engineering arXiv is recommended”


“ERC funded researchers [are reminded] that open access fees are eligible costs that can be charged against ERC grants, provided they have been incurred during the duration of the project”

Remember that you can use Symplectic to deposit your research in Exeter’s repository, ORE.  In this way you would be fully compliant with ERC policy.


Guidelines on Data Retention for EPSRC-funded Research Projects

All projects in receipt of EPSRC funding are required by the Council to comply with the requirements below.  All current and future researchers and research students funded by EPSRC are affected by the research data policy.

EPSRC-funded research data must be securely preserved for a minimum of 10 years.


  • Not all data needs to be preserved and not all data needs to be stored online.  Appraise and select data for retention carefully.
  • Deposit essential data in the University repository, ORE.  Essential data would normally cover:
    • Data underlying published research
    • Data required for validation, verification or replication of results
    • Data that is unique or significant to the community
  • If not suitable for open access data can be embargoed in ORE or held securely by the researcher/research group.
  • Data not held centrally in ORE should be stored following the guidelines available on the Library’s Research Data Management web pages.
  • Data should be uploaded via the ORE interface rather than via Symplectic.  NB.  The IT Infrastructure Team has developed a new data upload tool for transfer of large datasets to ORE.  In order to use this pilot tool contact  

Appropriately structured metadata (bibliographic information) describing the research data should be published on open access within 12 months of being generated.


  • Create a record in ORE describing your data and, where possible, upload the data itself.
  • If data cannot be made public a metadata-only record is acceptable but must contain details of the reasons for access restrictions, for example:
    • Commercially confidential
    • Contains sensitive personal information
    • Contains other information covered by the Data Protection Act
    • Contains third-party copyrighted or licensed material for which permission cannot be obtained
  • Metadata must be sufficient to allow others to find it by searching and to understand dataset contents and potential for re-use.  See an excellent example of a dataset record from the Marine Renewable Energy Group.

 Research data in non-digital format should be stored for the long-term in a format permitting access and re-use if required.


  • Follow University guidelines for storage of paper records.
  • Data containing confidential information should be kept in an access-controlled environment.
  • Consider digitisation of analogue data if feasible and legally permissible.

Published research papers should include a short statement describing how and on what terms any supporting research data may be accessed.


  • If you have already deposited your data in ORE include the handle (aka persistent identifier – equivalent to a DOI).  For example, http://hdl.handle.net/10871/682
  • If the data cannot be made openly available include contact details of the main author/PI in case of query.
  • Further advice can be found on the Library’s open access web pages.


The Open Access and Data Curation Team can advise and assist with queries relating to compliance with EPSRC policy, data storage, data upload and dataset description.  Contact us on


ORE Repository

EPSRC Policy Framework on Research Data

The Library’s Research Data Management web site

Exeter’s Information Security Policy

Review of ResearchGate : Pros and cons and recommendations

A number of researchers have asked about ResearchGate and whether it is worth using.  I did a little research and tested it myself and these are my thoughts:

ResearchGate is a networking site for researchers, particularly those engaged in broadly scientific research.


ResearchGate is free to join and currently has about 3 million users mainly in the sciences.  It offers the following benefits to researchers:

  • Sharing publications
  • Connecting with colleagues
  • Seeking new collaborations
  • Obtaining statistics and metrics on use of uploaded publications
  • Asking questions of researchers around the world that have the same set of interests
  • Job seeking or recruitment


ResearchGate incorporates many elements of familiar social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:

  • Creating profiles
  • Liking and following researchers and their publications
  • Endorsing the skills of others
  • Ability to bookmark favourites
  • Ability to comment or send feedback
  • Ability to share news items and updates easily and quickly


ResearchGate links researchers around selected topics and specialisations – these can be chosen or edited at any time by members.  Members can track and follow the research publications of others in their field.

Members can upload copies of papers (either pre- or post-review) and the associated raw data.  All will be searchable.  Non-peer-reviewed material can be added only through manual file upload.

Researchers are encouraged not only to upload successful results but also those results from failed projects or experiments – the latter are stored in a separate but searchable area.

ResearchGate finds publications for members from a number of major databases, for example, PubMed, arXiv, IEEE, RePEC and CiteSeer enabling automatic creation of a publications list.  Lists can also be created or added to manually or importing from a reference management database such as EndNote.  It also appears to trawl University web sites and repositories so that if you have papers in the Exeter repository, ORE, it is very easy to create profiles and publication lists.  Members will be asked to accept or decline publications (as is the case with Symplectic, for example).

Members are automatically subscribed to a co-author’s feed, so that they can see work from and connect with their co-authors’ co-authors.

ResearchGate offers the ability to search and filter on a variety of topics: author, institution, journal, publication, and so on.

Members can request a copy of a paper from the author if it is not freely available.

Full text publications uploaded to ResearchGate are indexed by Google.

ResearchGate contains useful information about journals, such as impact factors, metrics and some details of open access policy – in this respect it is useful for bringing information together into one place.



ResearchGate claims to have 3 million users but it is not clear how many of these are active accounts that are maintained and updated regularly.

A quick trawl of Exeter members shows that many profiles contain only a small number of publications and many appear not to have been updated for some time.

A high percentage of ResearchGate members are postgraduate and other students (may be a drawback for established researchers).

Some members have complained about unwanted email spamming.  To avoid receiving several emails a day, unwanted updates or followers, be sure to manage your Notifications and Privacy settings both of which can be accessed through Account Settings.

Many of the publications that are available through ResearchGate are actually uploaded illegally in terms of publisher open access policy.

Putting a copy of your paper on ResearchGate will not mean that you are compliant with funder policy.  On the contrary, you may be in breach of publisher policy.  You will still need to upload a copy of your paper to ORE via Symplectic if you are funded by any of the UK Research Councils, Wellcome, NIHR and ERC/Horizon 2020.  New University policy from 1 April 2013 also requires researchers to put newly published research in ORE.


The more effort you put into maintaining and regularly updating your profile, the more you will get out of ResearchGate.

ResearchGate is not a replacement for depositing a copy of your research in Exeter’s repository, ORE.  It is recommended that you deposit the legal copy of your paper in ORE and then link to that on networking sites such as ResearchGate. NB, when you submit your paper to ORE the Subject Librarian team will check for you that it is a legal copy.

The extent to which ResearchGate will be useful to individual researchers depends on the researcher’s aims.  If the aim is to promote work then ResearchGate alone will probably not suffice.  Consider using ResearchGate in conjunction with other sites such as Academia.edu, Mendeley, Google Scholar or figshare.  Activity and membership varies from one site to another and from one discipline to another, so researchers will need to investigate for themselves in order to evaluate potential value.

If you do use a variety of sites, this is where the advantage of having your paper in a single, freely available place, i.e., ORE, will come into play as you can simply link to the paper and know that anyone anywhere can get secure, long-term and free access.  There will be no need to undertake multiple publication upload.  Note that all ORE repository content is indexed by Google and Google Scholar and typically appears at or near the top of search results.

The University of Utrecht has produced a very useful guide to increasing the visibility and impact of research and the use of metrics to track impact.  Although written for Utrecht researchers, there is a great deal of generic advice that can be applied to any discipline.

Find out more about open access, ORE and publisher policy from the Library web pages, contact the or ask your Subject Librarian.

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