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Issue 3. January 2022



Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support

Dominic Tate,
Head of Library Research Support

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of the Open Research Newsletter! This year promises to be an exciting one for Open Research, with lots of positive changes imminent. This month, the University adopts its new Research Data Management Policy, which does much more to encourage FAIR data, in line with funder expectations. From April, the new UKRI Open Access Policy comes into effect, meaning that journal articles and conference proceedings will need to be made Open Access immediately on publication, in line with Plan S.  
Here in Library Research Support, during 2022 we will seek to increase our capacity to support the University’s transition to Open Research. We will run new events, such as the Open Research Conference planned for the Summer; we will increase the capacity in our training programme and build capacity on our services to support staff and students across the University. We will continue to measure our progress against the University’s Open Research Roadmap with the aim of co-ordinating activity to support the cultural change required to capitalise on Open Research and the benefits it brings.     
The pandemic has brought the importance of Open Research into focus in several ways. It has shown the importance of speed in scholarly communications and demonstrated that Open Research is now, for the most part, an essential part of the research process. At a time when public confidence in science can be fragile, Open Science offers us a way to build trust in research institutions and researchers. I think 2022 will be an exciting year for us all! 

If there is any Open Research activity happening in your area that you would like to see featured in future issues please send the details to the Editor, Kerry Miller (

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Interview: Citizen Science at Edinburgh University

Portrait photo of Eugenia Rodrigues

  An interview with Eugénia Rodrigues ,
  Lecturer in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies
  by Pauline Ward

Q: Could you introduce yourself to the readers? 
My name is Eugénia Rodrigues. I am a social scientist. I trained as a sociologist all the way through my undergrad through to PhD. I work in STIS, the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies subject area, located in the School of Social and Political Science. Within that group I try to merge STS and environmental sociology, this being a long-standing interest on my part. Slowly but surely through my work I’ve developed an interest in science, knowledge-making, public participation and also to a certain degree policy-making. I apply the Science and Technology Studies outlook to environmental topics, that’s my main research area.  

Q: How do you see Citizen Science in relation to other aspects of Open Science? 
Citizen Science has just developed and changed incredibly in the last few decades. And there’s no doubt new technologies have had a determining role in its developing. If you think of Open Science as a kind of access issue, I think Citizen Science has a clear role in that. There’s also the issue of open research data, the extent to which researchers have access to research databases and so on and the extent they can benefit from that.

But I think where Citizen Science can represent a really interesting opportunity is at the level of open collaboration. I think that’s where Citizen Science can place itself in this Open Science movement. As Citizen Science becomes a more institutionalised movement, it  becomes part of its nature to present this narrative of being inherently collaborative or co-created knowledge and science. So that is where I think Citizen Science can have a role in making (Open) Science more accessible. 

I do have a critical outlook on this. This is the narrative that is presented to everyone and it has excellent support institutionally in terms of international organisations and political institutions, both at the European level, in the US, and here in the UK. There’s huge support for Citizen Science to be developed and implemented as a new kind of research endeavour. I think that’s fundamental, it’s very positive, just the idea even of giving citizens a role in the system of knowledge production is revolutionary to a degree. I think that’s very interesting, and something that has motivated me to look into these initiatives. 

However, one of the things that motivates me personally in terms of research is to analyse the extent to which Citizen Science is really open to citizens’ involvement. There are some variations in terms of the classification of citizen science projects, for example at the level of participation; to make it simple we can say some projects are contributory by nature while others are more collaborative or co-created.

You can read the rest of this fascinating interview on the Edinburgh Open Research Blog 

Citizen Science Case Studies

Citizen Science can take many different forms as these two brief case studies demonstrate.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus

Pauline Ward
The Hedgehog-Friendly Campus campaign has included a variety of activities around the University of Edinburgh to protect hedgehogs, under the auspices of the university’s Sustainability team, and with the participation of the Estates team and numerous volunteers. The project is part of a UK-wide programme by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.  

Dr Elizabeth Vander Meer said:
“I coordinate the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign activities. Yes, I would say the campaign involves citizen science, in terms of the tunnel surveys, and night surveys we have recently undertaken. Both types of surveys, however, do not tell us how many hedgehogs we have on our campuses, but do let us know that they are present (so that we have to take action for them). We hold results […] for the tunnel surveys (from Easter Bush, King's Buildings, Pollock Halls, Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Peffermill and Firbush), so this consists of 5-day logs of footprints that have been noted in the tunnels as well as photos of the footprints and any other activity nearby. We have shared the footprints on twitter and other social media.” 

Learn more

Blogpost describing data collection:
Hedgehog rescue at the Edinburgh BioQuarter – Social Responsibility and Sustainability
For volunteering opportunities, please see the University of Edinburgh Hedgehog Friendly Campus twitter account
Biodiversity at the University of Edinburgh

Image: University of Edinburgh Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Metadata Games

by Scott Renton, MIMS Project Officer, Digital Library

The University of Edinburgh Library’s media repository ( is full of high-resolution digital images of the institution’s unique and valuable collections. Content flows in from BAU digitisation, projects, and reader’s orders and requests, amounting to (currently) nearly 300,000 images available using deep zoom through LunaImaging software, and the IIIF framework.

The nature of digital content’s provenance means that often the metadata describing images is scant; it’s reliant on readers, photographers or the project team providing subjects which describe an image. This burden leads to poor description, which results in poor search within the system.  

In a bid to tackle this, the Digital Library’s Development and Systems Team and Digital Imaging Unit collaborated to develop a games-based crowdsourcing application, entitled Metadata Games, enticing participants to tag randomly-generated images from the collections. Incentives, such as coffee vouchers and a real-time leader board, resulted in competitive tagging, and resultantly thousands of tags were harvested and pushed back into the system.

The team took the game to Library sites across the campus, developing two more instances of the game, one based on the Art Collection, with real-live artefacts on show at the sessions, and one based on the Towards Dolly genetics exhibition, entitled “Where’s Dolly?”. The team also partnered with Tiltfactor at Dartmouth College, who had developed a number of their own games; they took some of our content and pushed it into their games, allowing exposure to a new market.

Questions were raised around acceptance and veracity of tags, to address this validation of other people’s tags was an aspect of the game and resulted in points for the participants. Tags would only reach an accepted threshold for ingest if they were validated by other participants. It was also important to carefully mark on the resulting metadata that these tags were citizen- not academically-sourced.

Overall, it was a worthwhile activity: fun and innovative, and it made our collections that bit more usable.

More information:

*NEW* Research Data Management Policy!

Robin Riceby Robin Rice, Data Librarian & Head of Research Data Support Services

New RDM policy comes into effect

January 2022 marks the renewal of the University’s Research Data Management Policy, which has been updated from the landmark 2011 policy, following detailed consultation with numerous university committees.
Research Data Management Policy, University of Edinburgh 

What is the university's position?  

The policy states that the University’s commitment to research data management is directly related to research excellence and is grounded in its commitment to research integrity, data protection, and information security. 

The University endorses the FAIR data sharing principles for maximising data reuse: making data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.


What does the new policy mean for University researchers in practice? 

  • Researchers must create a data management plan (DMP) as soon as they make a research proposal (if the project will involve any research data). 
  • Researchers must include full costs to cover data management in grant proposals (such as for storing large or sensitive types of data).
  • Datasets, people and research outputs such as published papers should be linked together in the University's research information management system, Pure, using persistent identifiers such as DOIs and ORCIDs.
  • The Research Data Service exists to support staff and students in managing their data well – there are services to help you plan, store, share and archive your data, though researchers may use discipline-specific data repositories as well. Be informed of your options.
  • Researchers need to consider who has rights to access the data, using written agreements when necessary. Exclusive rights to data should not be given to others, such as publishers.

The Edinburgh Open Research Initiative (EORI) and Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea


The Edinburgh Open Research Initiative (website, Twitter) and Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea (Twitter, session blog, YouTube) are grassroots collectives of staff and students trying to promote uptake and awareness of Open Research practices and policies in Edinburgh. Contact: and  

A look back at a successful first semester of this academic year!  
We started the year with an introductory session about Easing Into Open Science with Dr Priya Silverstein. In October our very own EORI team member Dr Will Cawthorn shared his perspective as a PI in trying to encourage open research practices in his own lab. During the November session, Dr Gillian Currie from the CAMARADES group presented a very useful resource and fantastic example of integrating OR practices in educational materials: the Edinburgh University Research Optimisation Course. In December Dr Zachary Horne will have presented on Bayesian statistics in open research practices and the recording link and summary of the session will be available on our blog.  

In addition, this year we collaborated with Dr Alex Mitchell and Dr Hugh Rabagliati to create a resource for final year undergraduate Psychology students who are working on their dissertation: a mini course on open and reproducible research practices. View the recordings here:  
We are very excited to introduce our new team members who will be contributing to both the EORI and Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea!
  • Dr Emily Oxley – who is a post-doctoral researcher in Education
  • Sumbul Syed – who is a student in the MSc Mental Health in Psychology
  • Amelie Voges – who is a student in the MSc Psychological Research
  • Dr Bérengère Digard – who is a post-doctoral researcher in Psychology
  • Dr Rosalind Attenborough – who is a post-doctoral researcher in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies. 
Upcoming Edinburgh ReproducibilTea sessions:

Upcoming Training and Events 

*SAVE THE DATE* The first ever Edinburgh Open Research Conference will take place on the 27th of May 2022. Subscribe below to be the first to know!

All of our Semester 2 training and events are now listed and available for booking on our webpages

You may also be interested in the Developing your Digital Skills course offered by Information Services. This six month blended programme enables staff and students to develop their data skills no matter what their level of prior knowledge. To find out more and join the next available cohort visit

To have your future courses and events featured here please contact the Editor Kerry Miller.
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