Plan-S and the 2020 Wellcome Trust Open Access Policy

The Wellcome Trust last week confirmed its new open access policy, which will come into force for research articles submitted to journals after the 1st of January 2020. The current Wellcome open access policy continues until then but this policy is worth bearing in mind for future publication plans and grant applications. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also last week agreed to introduce the same policy. Moreover, the policy is broadly in line with the proposed changes to UKRI’s open access policy from 2020 as well as those of other major European funders, which have recently come together as a group called ‘Coalition-S‘ to roll out the new open access policy termed ‘Plan-S’. The various funders are aligning their policies partially to further the movement towards open access as default but also to simplify the policy landscape for researchers.

The new policy states that Wellcome-funded researchers can either publish in fully open access journals under the CC BY copyright license OR in subscription (‘hybrid’) journals as long as the journal allows the accepted manuscript to be released on Europe PMC at the point of publication with no embargo period and under a CC BY copyright license.* Open access fees will be covered for fully open access journals but will not be covered for hybrid journals, so it would only be possible to publish in a hybrid journal if it offered a 0-month green open access deposit policy. In addition, there will be no funding provided for non-open access publication fees, such as additional page and colour charges issued by publishers.

Wellcome will also introduce the policy that where there are ‘significant’ public health benefits to an article being shared widely and rapidly prior to publication, a pre-print (i.e. the final draft of an article before peer review) should be shared on a pre-print server as soon as possible. Following this, a list of recommended pre-print servers will be announced by Wellcome closer to the start of the new policy, but may well include platforms like BioArxiv, with which some publishers are already working.

The policy for UKRI (RCUK) and European Research Council-funded researchers is likely to be more-or-less the same as the above, but there may be slight variations on what green open access repositories are considered acceptable (e.g. in the current RCUK policy, MRC-funded authors, but not others, are required to deposit on Europe PMC). Communication about UKRI policy specifics should be forthcoming next year.

 

Journal Choice

Unfortunately many publishers of hybrid journals at the moment impose lengthy embargo periods on both their STM and Humanities journals. Cambridge University Press impose 6-month embargoes for most of their STM journals, as does The Lancet. However, most other Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, Wiley and Wolters Kluwer journals offer 12 month embargoes (often up to 24 months for humanities journals). Emerald is a rare publisher that offers a 0-month embargo as standard. Moreover, the copyright license allowed by academic publishers for accepted manuscripts is usually the CC BY-NC-ND, if not the standard “Copyright [publisher], all rights reserved” statement. Under Plan-S, the more liberal CC BY license is required to be applied to accepted manuscripts to enable wider re-use and dissemination of public or charity-funded research. In sum, this may mean, unless publishers change their policies, researchers will be limited to publishing in fully open access journals and a very small handful of policy compliant hybrid journals. As a result, a small group of researchers from various institutions have raised concerns about their academic freedoms being challenged (academic freedom here being defined as researchers not being able to publish in any journal they wish to).

However, Plan-S will likely deliver more benefits to researchers than restrictions to academic freedom. (Academic freedom may be more fairly interpreted as the ability to publish what you want, rather than where you want). The primary driver is to make sure funded research gets widely disseminated, particularly into the hands of those that cannot read journals through (expensive) library subscriptions. It is worth noting that some publishers of subscription journals are already compliant with Wellcome’s new conditions, such as the Royal Society, while many researchers already prefer to publish in fully open access journals (such as the PLOS and BioMed Central journals, Nature Communications, Scientific Reports). As an institution, we are signed up to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (or DORA), which commits us to considering the value of a piece of research not necessarily by where it is published (i.e. based on a journal’s impact factor), but to using a variety of measures of ‘quality’ in assessments, including in promotion and hiring procedures. This is a sector-wide movement, with many UK universities signed up, as well as major international funders like Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UKRI. It is also worth highlighting that assessment panels in the REF are expected not to use a journal’s impact factor or notions of journal prestige in their evaluation of research articles submitted for assessment, and funders’ grant committees are also expected not to use where an article is published as a proxy for quality. Researchers should therefore – in theory – not be disadvantaged by a limitation of journal choice. However, it is recognised there is much work to be done in enacting the DORA principles across the sector.

 

The Embargo Problem

We should also bear in mind that traditional publishers have had a long time to change their policies: the current MRC and Wellcome Trust policies have both been around for over 10 years, yet many publishers still impose non-compliant green open access conditions. Moreover, academic publishers have controlled the mechanisms by which researchers can effectively disseminate their work for decades (also read this more provocative recent Twitter thread). Therefore, it is perhaps unfair – as the signatories of the open letter above have claimed – to claim that funders are limiting academic freedoms through their open access policies. A publisher can make a hybrid journal compliant by simply reducing its embargo period; it is not necessarily the case that journals like the Lancet (owned by Elsevier) or Nature (owned by SpringerNature) need to become fully open access to become compliant with the Plan-S proposal. A journal therefore does not need to necessarily radically alter its business model. In some sense it may be more beneficial for subscription-based journals to follow this route rather than publishers whole-sale turning subscription-based journals into open access ones, since unfunded researchers will continue to be able to publish in them. On the other hand, if publishers make their subscription-based journals open access, they will need to allow some mechanism for unfunded researchers (in the UK as well as around the world) to be able to afford to publish in them either through fee waivers or otherwise. Alternatively, in the long-term we might see more alternative open access models emerge to deal with the expensive business of publishing (see a recent blog post on this here). Platforms that allow free open access publishing are already established (e.g. Open Library of Humanities, Gates Open Research, Wellcome Open Research, and various other independent journals), often supported by grants or institutional contributions.

It is perhaps time to put the pressure on major commercial publishers to make sure researchers can still publish in all their journals, rather encouraging funders to relax their open access policies. The policies underline the importance they put on ensuring the vital work they fund is not hidden behind paywalls. We can also offer more support to initiatives like DORA and similar ones like the Leiden Manifesto. Paywalls are only profitable to publishers and not to researchers. Publishers have not gone out of business by delivering 0-month embargoes on their journals (see Emerald, The Royal Society, Sage), and so the onus is on the publishers to respond to legitimate concerns of researchers and funders enacted by the new Plan-S policies. The next few months will be intriguing, as we will likely see other organisations join the Coalition-S group of funders, and we will see publishers’ responses to the upcoming policies: will they establish new open access journals, make existing hybrid journals fully open access, or deliver compliant green open access policies for existing hybrid journals?

 

We will continue to monitor the publishing landscape and funders’ policies and communicate any major updates. Do get in contact with the Research Publications Team in the Library & Archives Service if you have any queries about open access policies, and follow our open access Twitter account for ongoing news and views.

 

*A hybrid journal is a journal which publishes a mixture of open access and closed-access articles available only to subscribers (authors have a choice of paying for open access or not), whereas a fully open access journal only publishes open access articles (and usually involves a fee, but not always).

Congratulations to Fergus McBean awarded 2018 Civil Service Use of Evidence Award

MSc Public Health: Health Services Management alumnus (2011), Fergus McBean has won the prestigious 2018 Civil Service Use of Evidence Award.

The Civil Service Awards, supported by EY, are a highly respected and prestigious cross-government programme to recognise and celebrate the wealth of inspirational individuals and innovative projects within the civil service. Fergus received the award for leading a ground breaking piece of work to use weather forecasting and cholera risk modelling to better inform cholera prevention in Yemen, work that was inspired by articles published in the Lancet on the cholera epidemic in Yemen (the articles can be viewed here and here), and was featured on the BBC website.

Fergus decided to study an MSc Public Health at LSHTM in 2011 as it is a “world-renowned public health university with an incredible alumni network.” “The most important skill I learned at LSHTM was the approach and interrogation of evidence. It is a skill I have used time and time again in providing advice to DFID for the past 5 years.”

Fergus formed valuable relationships while studying at LSHTM. After he graduated he continued to have access to tutors, academics, professors and even the Director of LSHTM, Professor Peter Piot at times (during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa). He found that LSHTM staff were always willing to understand, discuss and help address challenges.

Fergus told us that he feels honoured to be recognised for his work in the Yemen by being awarded the 2018 Civil Service Use of Evidence Award. “The messages of support and encouragement I have received since being nominated and winning have been great. I should say though that this could not have been completed without a team effort within the UK Department for International Development (DFID) with the research and evidence climate team and external partners at the Met Office, University of Maryland, University of West Virginia, NASA, and UNICEF.”

Fergus is currently a Humanitarian Advisor at DFID. Looking to the future, he said “I hope that we can build off the momentum of the work we have done to date, expand it to other countries and increase the timeframe that the Cholera Risk assessment is valid for – from 4 weeks to 8 weeks.”

Fergus’s advice for current students is to make the most of the opportunities you have to introduce yourself and reach out to anyone affiliated with the School. “The networks and contacts you make during your time at LSHTM can be invaluable later on.” “Take the knowledge you receive and don’t be afraid to apply and challenge it in order to find new ways of making an impact on people’s health.”

Congratulations Fergus on your award, we are proud to have you as part of our alumni community!

Senate House Library Membership Event

All School staff and students are entitled to free membership of Senate House Library. This is an excellent resource which gives you access to thousands of online resources. It also entitles you to use their study space and borrow library items.

On Tuesday 4th December, from 13:00-15:00, we will be holding a Senate House Library membership event in the Library. Staff from the Membership Team at Senate House will be visiting the School to register new members.

You can find out more about Senate House Library on their website, and explore their online catalogue, and databases list.

To become a member, pre-register online, then come to the Library between 13:00 and 15:00 on 4th December to complete your registration. 

 

Senate House Library [Stevecadman (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

If you are not based in London, School staff and students can apply for online only membership by completing the ‘Request Senate House Library Access’ form on Service Desk.

 

Postdoc opportunity with the ALPHA Network

Research Fellow in Demography & Health
Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Closing Date:  Wednesday 09 January 2019
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: EPH-DPH-2018-13

An exciting opportunity is available for an ambitious demographer, statistician, or epidemiologist with the Network for Analysing Longitudinal Population-based HIV data on Africa (ALPHA Network). The ALPHA network brings together ten collaborating African research institutes that conduct population-based HIV surveillance in eastern and southern Africa and is coordinated by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Among others, the ALPHA Network harmonizes diverse data sets into a common format so as to conduct comparative studies and meta-analyses on pooled data sets.

The Research Fellow in Demography & Health will join a team of analysts in London to work on a 3-year research project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to estimate HIV incidence and mortality, and in the comparison of population-based estimates with those emanating from routinely collected data in health facilities.

The successful applicant must have a PhD in the relevant subject, including demography, medical statistics, epidemiology, or reproductive health (or equivalent working experience in these fields); expertise in the analysis of large and complex (longitudinal) datasets; proven ability to use statistical analysis software (preferably Stata or R); and strong quantitative skills, preferably in the area of demographic estimation. Further particulars are included in the job description.

This full-time position is available as soon as possible for the duration of one year, with the possibility of further extension.  It will be based in London in the Faculty of EPH and in the Department of Population Health, at Keppel Street, Bloomsbury. The salary will be on the Academic pathways Grade 6 scale in the range £39,304 – £44,634 per annum (inclusive of London Weighting). The post will be subject to the LSHTM terms and conditions of service.  Annual leave entitlement is 30 working days per year, pro rata for part time staff. In addition to this there are discretionary “Director’s Days”. Membership of the Pension Scheme is available.

Applications should be made on-line via our website jobs.lshtm.ac.uk. The reference for this post is EPH-DPH-2018-13. Applications should include the names and email contacts of two referees who can be contacted immediately if shortlisted. Any queries regarding the application process may be addressed to . Inquiries about the position can be directed to Georges Reniers ()  or Emma Slaymaker ().

Further details:    Job Description

 

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The ALPHA Network is hiring a postdoc

Research Fellow in Demography & Health
Department of Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Closing Date:  Wednesday 09 January 2019
Interview Date: To be confirmed
Reference: EPH-DPH-2018-13

An exciting opportunity is available for an ambitious demographer, statistician, or epidemiologist with the Network for Analysing Longitudinal Population-based HIV data on Africa (ALPHA Network). The ALPHA network brings together ten collaborating African research institutes that conduct population-based HIV surveillance in eastern and southern Africa and is coordinated by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Among others, the ALPHA Network harmonizes diverse data sets into a common format so as to conduct comparative studies and meta-analyses on pooled data sets.

The Research Fellow in Demography & Health will join a team of analysts in London to work on a 3-year research project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to estimate HIV incidence and mortality, and in the comparison of population-based estimates with those emanating from routinely collected data in health facilities.

The successful applicant must have a PhD in the relevant subject, including demography, medical statistics, epidemiology, or reproductive health (or equivalent working experience in these fields); expertise in the analysis of large and complex (longitudinal) datasets; proven ability to use statistical analysis software (preferably Stata or R); and strong quantitative skills, preferably in the area of demographic estimation. Further particulars are included in the job description.

This full-time position is available as soon as possible for the duration of one year, with the possibility of further extension.  It will be based in London in the Faculty of EPH and in the Department of Population Health, at Keppel Street, Bloomsbury. The salary will be on the Academic pathways Grade 6 scale in the range £39,304 – £44,634 per annum (inclusive of London Weighting). The post will be subject to the LSHTM terms and conditions of service.  Annual leave entitlement is 30 working days per year, pro rata for part time staff. In addition to this there are discretionary “Director’s Days”. Membership of the Pension Scheme is available.

Applications should be made on-line via our website jobs.lshtm.ac.uk. The reference for this post is EPH-DPH-2018-13. Applications should include the names and email contacts of two referees who can be contacted immediately if shortlisted. Any queries regarding the application process may be addressed to . Inquiries about the position can be directed to Georges Reniers ()  or Emma Slaymaker ().

Further details:    Job Description

 

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Competition for 2019/20 ESRC Post Doctoral Fellowships is now open

The UBEL-DTP has just announced that the competition for ESRC one year postdoctoral fellowships is now open, with a preliminary deadline 21st January.

The call is open to applicants who have completed their PhD at a research organisation that is part of a DTP or CDT and who are within 12 months of having completed their PhD. At the submission deadline the applicant must either have been awarded a PhD or have submitted their thesis and passed their viva voce with minor corrections, with the expectation that the PhD will be awarded by the fellowship start date. Proposals are particularly encouraged if they involve the use of advanced quantitative methods (AQM) or data analysis.

Full details can be found at https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/current-students/postdoctoral-fellowships-2/

 

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Optimizing community health worker programming through supervision

Authored by Kok Maryse (KIT Royal Tropical Institute)

After an extensive and careful development process, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched the new WHO guideline on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programmes. Recognizing that community health workers (CHWs) can effectively deliver health services at community level, the guideline aims to

assist national governments and national and international partners to improve the design, implementation, performance and evaluation of CHW programmes, contributing to the progressive realization of universal health coverage”.

Many governments in low- and middle-income countries have formally integrated or are in the process of integrating CHWs in the health system. There exists a huge variety of CHWs between and within countries: paid or voluntary, those with specific or general roles and tasks, working for government or non-governmental organizations. Most have in common that they are from the communities that they serve, and have a minimum level of education related to the roles and tasks they perform, but no professional or para-professional education.

When looking at the new WHO guidelines, we see that the WHO suggests that supportive supervision should take place in CHW programmes, which includes strategies such as coaching and mentoring, the use of observation of service delivery, performance data and community feedback. This recommendation is conditional, because of the low certainty of the evidence available.

Given the widely accepted importance of supervision in improving CHW performance, we introduced a group supervision intervention in four countries in 2014/2015: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique. In two countries, the group supervision, conducted by trained CHW supervisors, was complemented with peer supervision. We followed the CHWs involved over the period of one year and found that the intervention was said to raise CHW motivation, however, we did not measure an increase in motivational outcomes. In our paper, we discuss various reasons on what could have caused the differences in qualitative and quantitative findings. The most important one might be the recognition that the complexity of CHWs’ interface role (between communities and the health sector) and the multiple factors, besides supervision, that could contribute to CHW motivation make it difficult to proof the effectiveness of complex interventions on, in this case, improving CHW motivation.

Despite this, the mixed-methods study does provide evidence that is useful for consideration in CHW policies and programing. Aspects of the intervention that made the supervision to be perceived more supportive were

  • the problem-solving focus
  • joint responsibilities and team work
  • cross learning and skill sharing
  • the supervisor taking a facilitating and coaching role and, to a lesser extent,
  • empowerment and participation of supervisees in decision making

While we think this study contributed to addressing the evidence gap on different combinations of supportive supervision strategies for CHWs as mentioned by the WHO in the new guideline, we recognize that further research is needed, that looks into issues such as performance tracking and supervision frequency. A recent tool enabling to measure perceived supervision of CHWs could be of help.

This work was part of the REACHOUT consortium.


Image credit: REACH Trust

Group Study Area

In semester 2 of the last academic year, Library Staff undertook a feedback project to improve the group study area in the Library (also known as the Wellcome Gallery). We used a range of feedback techniques to find out why students used the space, what they thought of the space, and how we could make it better for them.

Following on from the project, we made a number of changes to the space over the summer, and now we’d like to find out what you think. From 12th to 23rd November we’ll be asking you for your feedback. We’ll have feedback sheets out in the space, or if you prefer, you can use our online feedback form.

What we learnt in 2017/18:

  • The AC unit noise is too loud
  • More group study space is needed
  • The space is popular for group and solo study
  • The food and drink rules need to be relaxed
  • The relaxed environment is popular
  • The study carrells are too dark to use
  • The space is cluttered
  • There are not enough power sockets.

What we did in 2017/18:

  • Relaxed the food and drink rules
  • Kept a mixture of group and solo study spaces
  • Removed clutter
  • Moved the study carrells to an area with better lighting
  • Kept the relaxed environment
  • Added extra study spaces
  • Added extra power sockets
  • Added large laptop connector screens.

We’ll also be running a week of user experience observations from the 15th to 21st November. Three times a day, members of library staff will walk round the Library spaces and record user behaviour. For example is the user working alone or in a group; are they using a laptop and/or books? No personal information will be recorded and library users will not be approached or interviewed.  We use this information to learn more about why people use the library, which are the most popular spaces, and to help guide our decision making about the library space and services.

You can find out information about our previous feedback projects on our Student Portal pages.

 

 

 

Poetry of War: Sir Ronald Ross and the First World War

Sir Ronald Ross is best known for being the discoverer of the malaria vector in 1897. His discovery brought him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1902, the first Briton to be awarded the prize in Medicine. What is less known is Ross’ love for literature, in fact, Ross was a prolific writer of novels and in particular, poems.

Throughout his life, Ross’ poems focused on subjects close to his heart, like the devastation of malaria as seen in Indian Fevers:

Indian Fevers

In this, O Nature, yield I pray to me.

I pace and pace, and think and think, and take

The fever’d hands, and note down all I see,

That some dim distant light may haply break.

 

The painful faces ask, can we not cure?

We answer, No, not yet; we seek the laws.

O God, reveal thro’ all this thing obscure

The unseen small, but million-murdering cause.

 

Written before his discovery in 1897, Indian Fevers demonstrates the frustration of Ross unable to help those who have been inflicted with malaria, knowing that discovering the cause of the disease can help with prevention.

Ross in 1917, with the poem, ‘The Anniversary’, but here, Ross looks at how the world has forgotten the importance of his discovery and the lives it has saved since:

The Anniversary

 

Now twenty years ago

This day we found the thing;

With science and with skill

We found; then came the sting –

What we with endless labour won

The thick world scorned:

Not worth a word to-day-

Not worth remembering.

 

O Gorgeous Gardens, Lands

Of beauty where the Sun

His lordly raiment trails

All day with light enspun,

We found the death that lurk’d beneath

Your purple leaves,

We found your secret foe,

The million-murdering one;

 

And clapp’d our hands and thought

Your teeming width would ring

With that great victory – more

Than battling hosts can bring.

 

Ah, well-men laugh’d. The years have

Pass’d;

The world is cold –

Some million lives a year,

Not worth remembering!

 

Ascended from below

Men still remain too small;

With belly-wisdon big

They fight and bite and bawl,

These larval angels! –but when true

Achievement comes-trifling doctor’s matter-

No consequence at all!

 

R.C. Ross, courtesy of Sherborne School Archives

R.C. Ross, courtesy of Sherborne School Archives 

 

Ross also wrote extensively about the First World War, in his poems, ‘Duty’, ‘Farewells’, ‘Black August’, and ‘Apocalypse’, poems about the devastation of war and the loss it brought. Yet, it is his poem, ‘The Father’, written in 1918, that shows us Ross’ personal loss. In 1914, Sir Ronald Ross’ third child, Ronald Campbell Ross, 2nd Lieutenant in The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), 2nd Battalion, died on 26th August at the : he was 19 years old.

The Father

Come with me then, my son;

Thine eyes are wide for truth:

And I will give thee memories,

And thou shalt give me youth.

 

The lake laps in silver,

The streamlet leaps her length:

And I will give thee wisdom,

And thou shalt give me strength.

 

The mist is on the moorland,

The rain roughs the reed:

And I will give thee patience,

And thou shalt give me speed.

When lightings lash the skyline

The shalt thou learn thy part:

And when the heav’ns are direst,

For thee to give me heart.

 

Forthrightness I will teach thee;

The vision and the scope;

To hold the hand of honour:-

And thou shalt give me hope;

And when the heav’ns are deepest

And stars most bright above;

May god then teach thee duty;

And thou shalt teach me love.

 

I dream’d, a wintry sunlight

Fill’d all the misted air,

And through the golden dead leaves

My son and I walk’d there,

 

And said, “We twain together

Will turn the fateful page;

And I will give thee all things

And thou shalt warm mine age.”

 

But sudden an Angel stood there

And took his hand from mine;

The chill mist damp’d and darken’d;

They faded line by line.

The Angel cried in anger,

“Thou shalt not lead, but I;

Ye old men make the evils

Whereof the young men die.”

 

A stronger hand than mine, son,

Shall guide – a greater truth:

And I will keep rememberance,

And thou shalt – keep thy youth.

 

The lake laps in silver,

The streamlet leaps her length:

And I have still my wisdom,

But thou, not thou, thy strength.

 

The fog fills the moorland,

The wind whips the reed:

And I have still more patience,

But where is now thy speed?

 

The heav’ns are the blackest,

The stars hid above:

Oh, God hath taught thee duty,

More deep than any love.

 

Cold, cold November,

Tell me why thou are so sad.

“When leaves are falling,

Shall I then, or thou, be glad?”

 

Why sigh so often,

All ye passing gusts of wind?

“For the pale and beauteous,

We have left, and thou, behind.”

 

Why weep ye, grey clouds,

O’er the black and blasted heath?

“For the cold and beauteous,

That we see, and thou, beneath.”

 

Cold, cold, they lie there,

There our noble dear son lie;

But, hear ye Angels,

Did they not die in honour?

 

Cold, cold, the answer

From the mocking mistral came,

“They died in glory;

But their glory is your shame.”