Category: #OAWeek

Open access monographs are increasing the dissemination of documentary film research

Open access monographs are increasing the dissemination of documentary film research

As part of our blog series for Open Access Week 2018, we caught up with Geoffrey Cox, Editor of Soundings: documentary film and the listening experience, to chat about OA monograph publishing is changing the way documentary film research is discovered and read.

Documentary film research

The sharing of knowledge and discoveries is a fundamental of all scholarly research and especially so when it involves the illumination of practice, since it then can have an effect on the practice itself. Documentary film research involves those studying the medium as well as those involved in the making of non-fiction films, with the notion of practice-as-research sitting at the heart of the continuum between the two. Unlike fiction film, this has been true from the beginning of the form in the late 1920s, since the ethical dimension of documentary has always required philosophical thought by the filmmakers themselves. This is evidenced by numerous scholarly articles and books written from the outset by the likes of John Grierson (‘Father’ of the documentary), Basil Wright, Paul Rotha (all filmmakers) and numerous others in journals such as Cinema Quarterly and Sight and Sound in the 1930s. The issue of sound and music in documentary was and remains a key concern, since the development of documentary crossed over with sound’s introduction and early development, and so became bound up with the central concern of documentary of ‘truthful’ representations of the real world.

How does open access publishing impact filmmakers?

These ruminations in written form had a profound impact on what the filmmakers did as they developed different approaches to documentary style and elucidated different aims. Though commercial documentary practice today takes less obvious account of such thinking due to its more directly commercial and educative nature (especially on mainstream television), and the fact that the principles elucidated early on are still in play and naturally drawn on, this still remains very much true in more experimental forms (especially in cinema) and amongst those wishing to revisit and expand on those early forms. The issue of open access is therefore important as the dissemination of scholarly writing, whether from researchers or filmmakers has a direct impact on documentary practice. The intertwining of scholarly thought and practice is still a crucial dimension of documentary film so the availability of such writing to those outside of academia is very important since the cost of non-open access materials can be prohibitively high.

How can open access monographs increase dissemination?

I am both a documentary filmmaker and scholar of the medium, and coming from a music composition background, I have a keen focus on sound and music in documentary. I ran a conference at the University of Huddersfield in 2017 on documentary sound and this lead to the idea of an edited collection on the topic. Dedicated collections on sound and music in fiction film are numerous but rare on documentary so the idea seemed especially prescient. Given the importance of access and dissemination described above, the policy of Huddersfield University Press to offer free download versions of their publications was a key reason for approaching the press in the first place and I am glad to say that since publication in July 2018, the book has already had over 800 downloads. The book has therefore almost certainly been far more widely disseminated than would have been the case for any paid version.

You can purchase a print copy of Soundings for your bookshelf here

Open access publishing in pharmaceutical research

Open access publishing in pharmaceutical research

As part of our blog series for Open Access Week 2018, we caught up with Hamid Merchant, Editor of the British Journal of Pharmacy, to chat about how important and revolutionary OA publishing can be in the sciences.

A fantastic piece of research can only be appreciated fully if it can be accessed and read freely across the globe.  Often healthcare issues of developing nations are published in journals which are far beyond the reach of those nations, for instance Malaria and HIV. Open access publishing bridges this gap and allows anyone to access recent advances in science and medicine. In recent years, the ability to access scientific literature instantly using portable devices has made research more accessible, and open access publications can dramatically enhance this readership. Moreover, a great proportion of research is funded through research councils, non-governmental and charitable organisations, in other words, from public money; and it is unfair if it is not freely accessible by the public.

Thinking about impact and open access publishing

One of the major obstacles in open access publishing in science, however, is the poor quality and reputation of many open access titles, as many would compromise in quality if authors pay their publication fees. Another major factor is the ‘impact-centred’ research assessment in academia, which drives researchers to steer away from new but reliable open-access journals where a typical impact factor has not yet been established. However, the evolution in impact assessment and emergence of new open-source impact metrics is likely to strengthen and support ‘newer’ open access titles.

BJPharm is a fee-free open-access initiative to support the science and research in pharmacy supported by the University of Huddersfield Press. The fee free model for Open Access publishing is not easy. No income from publication means the journal needs an incredible amount of voluntary support. The success of the BJPharm lies behind the honorary team of editors, peer reviewers, and the invaluable support from the university press. The journal would not have been possible without invaluable contribution from the whole team.

How is open access publishing changing the way we think about research?

How is open access publishing changing the way we think about research?

As part of our blog series for Open Access Week 2018, we caught up with Franc Chamberlain, Editor of Performance and Mindfulness, to chat about how advances in open access publishing are impacting the way we think about research.

The impact of open access outside academia

By making research from a wide range of disciplines available to me, Open Access enables me to broaden and deepen my knowledge not only only in my own field but across other disciplines. But does it do that in a way that is substantially different from the old subscription model? I don’t think that it does because one of the privileges of working within an academic institution has always been access to the latest research via institutional subscriptions to relevant journals. The shift from paper copies of journals to electronic versions improved access, but only within the academic community. Open Access makes this material available to everyone and, as such, is less about making research material available to me and more about improving access for those outside of the academy. I was reminded of this latter point the other day when my partner, a freelance dramatherapist, was writing a report on some work that she’d been doing with a client and wanted to access an article that examined a particular issue that had arisen. The article wasn’t available through Open Access and it was going to cost her $35 just to be able to read it online. The result was that she submitted her report without being able to examine the research findings presented in the paper and without being able to discuss whether her own work supported, contradicted, or extended them. In this case, and in many others, the inability to access research publications lessens the quality of the debate within the public sphere. 

Has open access had an effect on my attitude towards my research?

Do I behave differently as a result of OA? When I first started publishing in academic journals I took comfort in the fact that some of the things I wrote would only be viewed by a small number of people. I can imagine that if I was just starting out now that I might be paralysed by the thought that anyone with access to the internet could read my paper rather than a small constituency of like-minded researchers but, on the other hand, if download and citation figures are anything to go by, most papers in my field only have a small readership even now.

Time for a change in mindset?

As I think about it I wonder if I really ought to change something in my attitude towards open access. Most of the things I write are in a reasonably clear and accessible language and, I think, are open to a non-specialist readership but I still publish too much of my text output in books which are not open access. Why is that? I think that I’m holding onto an idea that books and book chapters are more accessible to the general public than journal articles but OA has changed that. I don’t mean that I should give up on books (in whatever format), but that I should pay more attention to whether what I publish should be Open Access. As soon as I ask my self that question, though, I realise how little social media has appeared in my thinking as I have been writing this short piece. The only moment that I remember thinking of it was when I was thinking about the accessibility of my work and I thought about the various social media groups where I share ideas.

Open Access Publishing – a handy infographic guide from the University of Huddersfield Press

Open Access Week 2018 -what does open knowledge mean in education?

Open Access Week 2018 -what does open knowledge mean in education?

As part of our blog series for Open Access Week 2018, we caught up with Professor David Powell, Editor of Teaching in Lifelong Learning, to chat about what this year’s theme, designing equitable foundations for open knowledge, means to him.

This summer, I heard Professor Milena Dragićević Šešić, of the University of Arts, Belgrade, speaking about how ‘academic capitalism’ (Dragićević Šešić 2018) shapes the publishing and reading of our research. The main point Milena made was that her University expected her to publish in highly-rated, prestigious journals, though the irony was that her own students could not access her articles because they were published in fee-paying journals and her University could not afford the subscription. To me, that is shocking; it seems neither fair nor acceptable.

Part of my work as director of the Education and Training Consortium and HUDCETT is to edit the University Press’ Teaching in Lifelong Learning: a journal to inform and improve practice, which is aimed at teachers and trainers from the further education and skills sector and those who research it. The sector is poorly funded compared with schools and universities, and its staff and work are under-researched and thus largely invisible outside the sector. The journal aims to address this by offering new writers an opportunity to publish their work and because we are an open access journal then teachers and trainers from the sector can access this research because it is not locked away behind a subscription. For me, making research freely available is at the heart of socially just education; it’s moral and ethical praxis (Mahon, Kemmis, Francisco, and Lloyd, 2017), levelling the academic playing field, and making knowledge accessible to all. As such, in a small but important way, open access publishing is, in my view, ‘changing, for the better, the world we live and practise in’ (Kemmis, McTaggart, and Nixon, 2014, p.27).


Dragićević Šešić, M., (2018, August) Educational challenges and ethical dilemmas in time of academic capitalism: is “expanded professionalism” a solution for a sustainable and inclusive society? Keynote at Association of Teacher Educators in Europe Annual Conference, Gavle, Sweden,

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., and Nixon, R. (2014b) The action research planner: doing critical participatory action research. Dordrecht: Springer.

Mahon, K., Kemmis, S., Francisco, S., Lloyd, A., (2017) Introduction: Practice Theory and the Theory of Practice Architectures. In: Mahon, K., Francisco, S., Kemmis, S., Exploring Education and Professional Practice through the lens of practice architectures. (pp1-30). Singapore: Springer.

You can access Teaching in Lifelong Learning on our website.

Publishing open access research in healthcare

Publishing open access research in healthcare

As part of our our #OAWeek series we caught up with the Editor of the British Journal of Pharmacy, Hamid Merchant, to find out why he is so passionate about open access in healthcare research and what some of the challenges and achievements have been for the journal in its first year.

Why is open access important in healthcare?

Open access is the future of research! Think about a fantastic piece of research that cannot be accessed and read freely across the globe, how this could benefit society?

The more we would like patients and carers to get involved in their treatment, the more access to reliable scientific resources is needed. The inability to access scientific literature freely by the public can be a major obstacle.

Let’s take an example. Malaria is a massive public health issue in African countries, and the top research in Malaria is published in journals which are far beyond the reach of those nations. Open access publishing bridges this gap and allows anyone to access recent advancements in science and literature which are particularly for the benefit to the public health, safety and their well-being.

Bringing accessibility and credibility together

Many open access journals in the field lack credibility and a rigorous peer-reviewed process, and may accept poor quality publications if authors agree to pay their fees. The reputable journals offering optional open access incur a substantial upfront payment to cover their publication costs, and hence many authors cannot afford to publish open access in a journal with a credible reputation. The BJPharm bridged this gap in reputation and quality, yet offered a free service to authors and readers across the globe. The next month also marks the first anniversary of the journal.

The first year of BJPharm

The fee free model for Open Access publishing is not easy. No income from publication means the journal would need an incredible level of voluntary support. The success of the BJPharm lies behind the honorary team of editors, peer reviewers, and the University Press. The journal would not have been possible without invaluable contribution from the whole team.

BJPharm has successfully published two issues over the past year. We have been proud to maintain the integrity of the quality peer review process BJPharm and have attracted good quality submissions across the globe over the past year.  The journal has also teamed up with the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Great Britain to publish the proceedings of the 8th International PharmSci meeting held in September 2017 at Hertfordshire in a special issue. For the first time, this will enable a fee-free access to the research presented in this prestigious meeting of pharmaceutical scientists in the UK.

You can access all of the BJPharm content online via the University Press

Ways in which a writer approaches poetry

Ways in which a writer approaches poetry

Ford Dagenham is one our authors published in I You He She It – a collection of short stories and poems developed out of the Grist project. As part of #OAWeek we asked him to discuss his writing processes and and how he keeps himself on track when writing poetry.

You can read the Grist collection online, open access here.

You can read more around the author on their blog.

The Poetry Process

(readings prose submitting etc are another story)

I write poetry waking up. Not weekends. Days off are ok.

After a day or two off I get the itch. Without being dramatic, who I am unravels.

I post the mornings poem on the blog then I pat myself on the back.

I keep notebooks for poetry and story ideas. I use Notes in my iphone. People assume I am another addict to the glass. I enjoy this misconception.

I look OUT and IN.

I wrote rules down. Its like a blueprint, a distilled list of elements.

I often ignore it.

If I write something that feels dead, it probably is. Its unlikely to merit a funeral.

I resuscitate dead work. Halve its word count. Then its bones show. Then I add flesh and hats.

The delete key is liberation. Often a way out of the swamp.

I repurpose bad work. A bad line ON PURPOSE is ok, even funny.

I delight in accidental rhymes.

Rhyming on purpose is a forced endeavour, lending an expectation that can destroy natural flow.

I find a neighbours minutiae a gift on dead-end mornings.

I stop and start something new. Freshness is spring air and old work can improve like ignored wine.

Distractions can be material. Also they are distractions and inevitable.

Better to not read others work at all, than read it with a mental red pen.

Beware the vacuum, tho it can be informative, like a mirror.

If I write just bare branches, then I add flowers and leaves.

Sometimes a poem is done before you are. Notice this.

I try to be universal and personal. Brand names, song lyrics, ad tags are reality.

I sometimes try for a new language, which sounds poncy.

I enjoy a good typo.

I use no punctuation. When I do use punctuation, its either like a day at the seaside or a horrible school trip.

Writing is a state born of continued trying.

Writing is HEALTHY. That tortured genius lark, I don’t buy it.

My blog says ‘a poem or pic a day until I die or don’t’. This gives me discipline and flexibility.

My blog is the one most important thing that keeps me writing.

I write for me and my dozen regular readers and occasional zines. This is enough.

Moving water is good for inspiration. Like fire. Constant motion. The bath counts and washing the dishes.

Rejection letters/emails are difficult for editors to write. Have empathy. I thank them for a good rejection. I been read. Good.

Rape yourself with kindness.

I dig deep. I skim light.

If I go stale, its often because the music has stopped.

Read poetry. Lots is just guff. Read anyway. Broadly. Dart and prod. Reading poetry on the toilet one morning (counts as running water) I wrote six poems none of which was shit.

I try to be aware of my thoughts. They are journeys.

Songs stuck in my head get new words for the melody.

If I borrow or steal, I credit it in the poem or in the title.

I try not to judge. If I judge I make it clear I’m judging. Then I judge myself.

Have an opinion. Don’t be blind to other opinions.

I have realised I am writing this in the voice of Alan Partridge.

Beware of voices in your head. Or be aware of voices in your head. They are not all for you.

I think in my gut. Head-space is chaotic, don’t spend all day there.

Rarely am I writing the worlds most important poem. But I try to.

There WAS a thousand excuses to not sit down and tap anything out.

There IS a thousand reasons TO sit down and tap something out.

I try not to write about writing. Sometimes I of course do.

I attempt authority. Probably it is fake. We are not all Moses. Its important to believe what you write. Or how will the reader? Don’t be Dan Brown.

I don’t worry about titles. I make it up at the last minute. They can be changed.

If you have a good line that won’t fit, there’s your title.

Use the first line as the title, then the reader hits the ground running.

No title is fine.

A number as a title hints at a secret order.

A title of a COLLECTION is more important. Be understated. The work will fly higher.

Imbibe what you need to. But its YOU that writes, not blended chemicals.

Today I am a sober poet. No one has ever done a harder thing.

I keep calm. Too angry is fine. I wrote one of my best poems when angry with the council housing office.

I read Ferlinghetti’s 2001 inaugural address.