We show international leadership in curating and opening up world-class cultural heritage and research collections, and in pioneering open science to increase UCL’s scholarly impact.
The UCL Research Institute for Collections (RIC) brings together academics and specialists to promote and support research in the humanities and sciences using UCL’s range of exceptional collections.
The RIC officially launched on 9 May at an event welcoming over 50 staff and students, who took the opportunity to engage with collections from across UCL’s globally important museum, rare book and archive collections.
The audience heard from Adam Gibson, Professor of Medical Physics and Heritage Science, about his collaborative imaging work with UCL Special Collections, and then spent some time interacting with curators, collection managers and researchers who showed items featured in recent projects.
Professor Adam Gibson:
“I have worked with colleagues in UCL Special Collections for more than 10 years and have enjoyed developing our cross-disciplinary collaboration. When we had our first imaging system installed, I asked whether they could provide a first test sample and they offered a manuscript fragment of a Gospel which is one of the oldest items in the collection. After that, the collaboration only grew and we have now used multiple image techniques which have led to publications and presentations. I’ve found all the staff open to suggestions and requests, and very patient when explaining conservation and the history of the objects to a physicist!
The RIC was launched as a virtual space in September 2021. Since then, it has established itself as a hub that acts as a focus for collaborative partnerships, events, projects and funded fellowships.
In summer 2023, we also welcomed three visiting academics on RIC fellowships based around UCL collections.
LCCOS continues to be recognised as an international leader in Open Science.
The UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship led a global collaboration to deliver the Geneva Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI13), a series of webinars on Open Science held between 4-8 September 2023.
All the sessions were recorded and can be viewed on the OAI13 conference website. Within a week of the conference start, 1,120 separate individuals had watched content in the webinars, from 74 countries across the globe.
Each day was devoted to a different Open Science session. The speakers were drawn from across the globe to create a diverse cohort with many coming from developing countries and the global south. It was a truly global cast – of speakers and audience.
What were the main takeaway messages from each session?
Session 1: The Future of Publishing
Will national licences (copyright reform) deliver full Open Access or is progress to be made by individual universities and funders to deliver OA infrastructures?
Session 2: The ownership of scholarly infrastructure
Who is going to pay for the development and maintenance of community-owned scholarly infrastructures, and how much will they cost?
Session 3: Diamond Open Access
Is Diamond Open Access, where there are no read or publish fees for individual users/authors, actually the future for published outputs?
Session 4: UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
A significant global move to Open Science, with signatures from 193 member states, providing a framework for global activity.
Session 5: Research evaluation and assessment
Unless evaluation practices change, we will not have Open Science as the ‘new normal’. Change in research culture is a fundamental requirement.
OAI meetings take place every two years, with Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost (LCCOS), chairing the Organising Committee. The results of OAI13 have exceeded our expectations. We now need to build on the results to help deliver an Open Science world.
Open Science Conference and Workshop
In April, the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship hosted the annual conference as a hybrid event, welcoming people onto campus for the first time since 2019.
The theme of the event was ‘Open Science and the Case for Social Justice’ and one of the highlights of the day was a co-production workshop around the challenges of equity in authorship which will feed into the university’s upcoming authorship statement.
You can watch recordings from the conference via the Open@UCL blog.
Launch of UCL Citizen Science Academy and Certificate
The UCL Citizen Science Academy is a joint venture between the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity and the Office for Open Science & Scholarship. It launched in May 2023 with an event attended by members of UCL and representatives of our local as well as international community.
At this event 49 people were awarded certificates across seven projects in four countries (UK, Lebanon, Kenya and Tanzania). Not all awardees were able to attend the event, but all projects were represented.
Inaugural Open Science & Scholarship Awards
This year the UCL Office for Open Science & Scholarship and the local chapter of the UK Reproducibility Network ran the first Open Science & Scholarship Awards at UCL.
All UCL students (undergraduate, postgraduate taught, and postgraduate research) and staff from any department/discipline, including professional services staff, could apply or be nominated. We received over 50 applications and the awards were presented during Open Access week in October 2023.