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Spotlight on Alan Bracey

23 April 2014

Alan Bracey

This week the spotlight is on Alan Bracey, Open Access Compliance Officer, UCL Library Services

What is your role and what does it involve?

I work in UCL’s Open Access Funding Team, helping researchers to make their papers open access. I’m responsible for compliance with funders’ open access policies, such as those of Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, as well as with UCL’s own publications policy.

The open access requirement for the next REF has just been announced. We can advise authors on how to comply, and there’s guidance on our webpages.

We’re currently seeing a tremendous take-up of UCL’s open access fund, which is available to everyone. Authors are excited about the benefits of making their research freely available. 

Promoting this message is a really enjoyable part of my job! You just need to contact us when a paper’s accepted: we’ll explain the publisher’s policy and do the rest. 

I’m also our resident tweeter: you can see what we're up to here

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I joined UCL as a temp at the end of August 2013, and have been in my current role since December. I came to UCL after returning from 90 days of cycling and camping in the American west. 

I covered approximately 3,800 miles through Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Colorado – an incredible experience! Before that I was a library assistant at the LSE, working on their institutional repository. 

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Since April 2013, Research Councils UK has required the papers it funds to be made open access. At UCL, the first RCUK year has been hugely successful. 

With the encouragement of Prof David Price, Vice-Provost (Research), and the help of the Open Access Team, UCL’s academics have embraced RCUK’s open access requirements. UCL has already exceeded the 45% compliance level required this year. 

The Open Access Team has developed a flexible, responsive service and works with publishers to make payment more efficient. 

We’ve put lots of effort into advocacy activities, creating a popular Open Access Guide and organising the first UCL Open Access Forum last October. Most importantly, we’re committed to making the whole process as easy as possible for academics.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?

I’ve recently been working on refining the systems we use to record open access payments, redesigning the forms and tables in our database.

I’ll soon be starting work to identify more RCUK-funded papers that haven’t been made open access yet and contacting researchers to help them arrange it. 

If you’ve published RCUK-funded papers since 1 April 2013 that are not open access, please let me know

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I could never decide on one favourite album, but some obvious contenders are: Rising by Rainbow; Live at the Old Quarter by Townes Van Zandt; Given to the Rising by Neurosis and Lover’s Rock by Love Joys. 

My top film is probably Paris, Texas, directed by Wim Wenders – for Harry Dean Stanton’s performance and the cinematography, which is incredible. 

I’m just about to finish Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been amazing, but my favourite novel would be either The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac or The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Ella Maillart (the Swiss traveller and writer), David Bowie, Virginia Woolf, Doris Lessing, Bill Bailey, Jack Kerouac, Buzz Aldrin, Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Christina Rossetti. 

I’d also have Ainsley Harriott as guest chef, Bert Jansch to play guitar for us and Sandy Denny to sing. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

Keep it up, you’re doing fine. And FYI: lottery numbers for 28 December 2013 are 16-24-25-30-34-45-49.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I once played trumpet in a concert at Euro Disney….

What is your favourite place?

Some of the best places I’ve visited are Cape Kolka in Latvia, Shimla in India, the Avenue of the Giants and Yosemite Valley in California, and Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. 

But London is my favourite!