Category / Post-award

Introducing Laura Zisa-Swann, your Project Delivery Officer.

I am the Project Officer within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Office covering the Faculty of Science and Technology.

I am responsible for providing professional and specialist advice and support to academic colleagues on all aspects of post-award R&KE activity, including advising on contracts and project deliverables, management of budgets and project management.

In metrics we trust?

Back in May HEFCE launched a Call for Evidence on the role of metrics in research assessment. The Independent review chaired by by Professor James Wilsdon,  University of Sussex and supported by an independent steering group, is tasked with building on the previous 2008/9 pilot exercise to explore the current use of metrics for research assessment, consider the robustness of metrics across different disciplines, and assess their potential contribution to the development of research excellence and impact.

HEFCE received 153 responses (44% from HEIs, 27% individuals, 18% learned societies, 7% providers, 2% mission groups, 2% other). With the majority – 57% – of those who responded expressed overall scepticism about the further introduction of metrics into research assessment.

As part of the review three stakeholder workshops have been held/scheduled on key areas of interest and debate:

To date, all have been well attended and very lively. I was able to attend the I workshop in Sussex with some 150 odd other delegates including members of the metrics review panel, metrics developers and providers, researchers, university managers, and a range of stakeholders from across the research and HE community.

The day contained many thoughtful contributions from a range of speakers including: Dr Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature; Professor Stephen Curry, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College; and Dr Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy, HEFCE. There was lively discussion about the value, potential role, and unintended consequences of metrics in research evaluation. If you are interested in the future role of metrics in research assessment, I would particularly recommend reviewing the presentations from David Colquhoun, Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at UCL and Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, the University of Oxford.

For further insight you could also check out the Twitter discussion, which has over 1000 tweets tagged with #HEFCEmetrics, Impact story have also helpfully encapsulated much of the story/discussion via Storify.

The results of the review will be announced at the end of March and published in the summer. The report will make recommendation againsts three time horizons:

(1) What can HEIs do to improve research management now;

(2) Suggestions for the next REF;

(3) The longer term, including identification of programmes for further work.

Introducing Eva Papadopoulou the New Research Ethics and Governance Advisor

Hi, for those who do not know me, I am Eva Papadopoulou and I have been since September 2014, the new Research Ethics and Governance Advisor.

I am responsible for providing support and advice to students and academic colleagues on all aspects of ethics queries, process and governance. I am part of the Project Delivery Team, for more info of the team, see Shelly’s yesterday post

I look after the Online Ethics Checklist, which filters all ethics applications and collaborate with students and colleagues of all Faculties for the progress of their ethics relating to Undergraduate, Masters, PhD and staff studies/research. I am also the secretary of the Science, Technology & Health Research Ethics Panel, the Social Science & Humanities Panel and the University Research Ethics Committee.

I have been working at BU for the last 9 years, first at HSC as the administrator of the PDU scheme, then moved on to be the HSC Research Administrator and two years ago moved to the R&KEOps and worked with Business School, SciTec and finally EU projects. I am a BU School of Tourism Graduate and received my MSc in Tourism Management at 2003.

Outside of work I am a happily busy mama to 4,5 year old Kally and trying unsuccessfully to teach her Greek, latest approach is to find all words that derive from Greek, so far so good, hmm. I like to travel, usually back home to Greece and the East of England to see the family and also enjoy reading, my Kindle is like my second child, cooking and watching films.


Third time lucky in Bangkok


Group photo of the delegates at the opening of the Researcher Links Workshop in Bangkok on November 2

Working with partners at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, a team from BU led and participated in a British Council Researcher Links Workshop in Bangkok from November 2 to 4.

For Professor Tom Watson of the Media School and Associate Professor Jirayudh Sinthuphan of Chula’s Faculty of Communication Arts, it was ‘mission accomplished’, as the Workshop had been postponed twice in February and May because of Thailand’s febrile politics.

“This time, there were no problems as Bangkok was about as quiet as it will ever be,” said Professor Watson. “As a result, the Workshop was attended by representatives of four UK and seven Thai universities who worked very well together”.

From the three days of collaborative working, four projects related the Workshop theme of ‘the impact of social media upon corporate and marketing communication in Thailand and UK’ emerged. They will be developed over the coming months into research actions, bids for funding and publications.

With Professor Watson were Associate Professor John Oliver (Senior Researcher), Dr Ana Adi (Deputy Workshop Coordinator), Dr Tauheed Ramjaun and Mona Esfahani, all from the Corporate & Marketing Communications academic group. Among the Thai participants was Dr Waraporn Chatratichart of the University of the Thailand Chamber of Commerce, who is a PhD alumna from the Media School.

“The Workshop also reinforced the existing relationship between BU and Chulalongkorn University as the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Dr Duangkamol Chartprasert, and Professor Parichart Sthapitanonda both took part as Senior Researchers,” said Professor Watson. “The BU-Chula relationship has great potential for research collaboration and staff exchanges. I hope that other BU staff will follow the opportunity that the Workshop has opened up.”


Signs of hope for getting interdisciplinary work published!

Phil Ward, the Deputy Director of Research Services at the University of Kent attended a British Academy funded workshop for early career researchers and promised signs of hope for interdisciplinarity in publishing.

Focusing on the work of Sarah Campbell, the Editorial Director of Rowman and Littlefield International(RLI), a small scale academic publisher, Phil wrote the following in a blog post on Research Fundermental:

Traditional Academic Publishing

Traditionally, academic publishing has replicated the silos of academia. Book lists mirror university departments, so you have lists for Philosophy, Sociology, Politics, Linguistics, and so forth. Each of those has a Commissioning Editor – somewhat akin to a Head of Department. The list is integrated into (and dependent on) the community it serves: the authors, reviewers and buyers are all, essentially, one and the same. As such, it tends to be quite inward looking: they know who will be interested in their titles, they know the conferences they go to, and if they happen to attract a reader from outside of the community it is (as Sarah says) ‘a fluke’. This insularity is exacerbated by university libraries. Academic publishing is expensive; it doesn’t have the economies of scale of mainstream publishing, and as a result it tends to be only the institutional libraries that buy the volumes. Thus, the publishers cater for the needs, the demands and the categorisation of the libraries.

The Times, They Are A-Changin’

RLI Core Disciplines and themes

However, technology is changing this, and RLI are taking the opportunity to rethink things. Rather than setting up twelve distinct lists, it has set up four ‘core disciplines’ (Philosophy, Politics, Cultural Studies and Economics), around which other disciplines and themes overlap, merge and rub. You have gender and anthropology, but also postcolonialism, social movements and the environment. This has inevitably created some problems internally amongst the commissioning editors as to what their remit is, but this shouldn’t be visible externally. What has made this possible is technology. Social media has allowed RLI to identify and advertise to people across and outside traditional silos, using key words, and ebooks, open access, and print-on-demand have all drastically brought down publishing costs and have made smaller communities, and cross-disciplinary ones, viable.

Getting Interdisciplinary Works Published

This is all very positive, and give me hope for the future of interdisciplinarity. But that doesn’t mean that those working across disciplinary boundaries have been given a golden publishing ticket. You still have to work at it, and Sarah offered the following tips to preparing your book proposal:

  • Define your book and your potential audience. Is it: 
    • an interdisciplinary work for a multidisciplinary audience? That, suggested Sarah, is hard to pull off; 
    • an interdisciplinary book for a multidisciplinary audience? Easier to make the case, but the potential market is smaller and more niche; 
    • an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary work for a single disciplinary audience? This fits more easily with the traditional publishing model, and would thus be easier to market; 
    • or a single discipline book with the potential to appeal to more than one audience?
  • Define your overall theme and objective. It might be interdisciplinary, but it still needs to cohere. 
  • Think about keywords. How will an interested audience discover your book? 
  • What are the existing networks? Are there conferences, or groups on social media? Demonstrate that they exist. 
  • How advanced is the dialogue within the network? Is it just beginning, feeling its way, and establishing parameters, or is it more established? If your planning an edited collection, this is even more important, as they tend to be, by their very nature, looser and less focussed.

**The full programme, including recording and powerpoint slides of sessions of British Academy sponsored workshop ‘Pushing the Boundaries: Early Career Research and Interdisciplinarity can be found through this link.

Money available for you to publish your articles Open Access! – International Open Access Week

Back in April 2011 we launched the BU Open Access Publication Fund. This is a dedicated central budget that has been launched in response to, and in support of, developments in research communication and publication trends. The fund is also to support research in complying with some of the major funding bodies who have introduced open access publishing requirements as a condition of their grants.

The fund is available for use by any BU author ready to submit a completed article for publication who wishes to make their output freely and openly accessible.

If you are interested in applying to the fund then you need to email Pengpeng Hatch in RKEO with the following information:

  • Name of the open access publication
  • Confirmation this will be a peer reviewed paper
  • A short justification (1 paragraph) of why it is beneficial for your research article to be published open access
  • The cost of the open access publication
  • Likely publication date
  • Likely REF Unit of Assessment (UOA)
  • A copy of the paper

If you have any questions about the Fund then please direct them to Pengpeng via email.

Further information: BU Open Access Fund policy

Knowledge Should Not Be Trapped Behind A Paywall – International Open Access Week

(article originally published on, 2 October 2014)

Now in its eighth year, Open Access Week is an international event that celebrates the wide-ranging benefits of enabling open access to information and research–as well as the dangerous costs of keeping knowledge locked behind publisher paywalls.

From October 20 to 26, academics, researchers, and curious minds everywhere will be encouraged to learn about the various hurdles to open knowledge and share stories of positive advancements in the effort to make open access the norm in scholarship and research.

Whether you’re looking to learn more, to champion open access policies, or to raise awareness in your community, there are plenty of ways to get involved in Open Access Week. Read on to find out why we fight for open access to knowledge and how to take part in Open Access Week activities.

Why Open Access?

When we say “open access” we are referring to the practice of making scholarly research available online for free upon publication (or soon after). Open access policies should aim to remove barriers and encourage scholarly and educational reuse of research. Copyright restrictions sometimes undermine scientific ideals of openness and collaboration; good open access rules help to bypass traditional copyright limits by encouraging full use of open licensing systems that enable sharing.

Reasons for supporting open access policies abound. From maximizing taxpayer funded research to increasing the exposure and use of publications, facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration, and enhancing the overall advancement of scholarship, the need for open access is more important now than ever. As tuition prices continue to rise and Internet adoption is at an all time high, trapping knowledge behind prohibitively expensive paywalls is a disservice to scientists and problem solvers across the world. Progress is stifled.

Research institutions, academics, and the intellectually curious are increasingly embracing the open access model for research worldwide. Open Access Week is about keeping the dream of easy-to-access knowledge alive. And we have a chance to connect this global momentum toward open sharing with the advancement of constructive policy changes on the local level.

This year’s theme is Generation Open. We’ll be focusing on the importance of students and early career researchers embracing open access, and exploring how changes in scholarly publishing affect academics and researchers at different stages of their careers.

What You Can Do

There are all kinds of ways to get involved. We invite you and your community to join us for this exciting week of action. Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post or place an op-ed in your local newspaper or on-campus publication. Find out if your campus has an open access policy and tell your story about why open access is important to you. Let us know if you write something.

  • Share on social media: simply spreading the word is important … and easy! Post your thoughts about open access and share articles and media that EFF will be posting throughout the week. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

  • Host a screening and discussion about the film The Internet’s Own Boy, a powerful documentary that tells the story of activist and innovator Aaron Swartz, who also was a passionate and outspoken advocate for open access. Here is our guide to help you organize a screening of this important film. Be in touch if you decide to organize a viewing.

  • Print and share handy guides to help people in your community get up to speed on why we demand open access to research. There’s one on Diego Gomez’s case and one on the open access movement more broadly.

EFF has long been a leader in the open access movement. The Internet should be a place where we can share ideas and get educated, unimpeded by unfair paywalls. We are thrilled to join forces with dozens of organizations across the world for this year’s Open Access Week to spread message loud and clear: research should be free, available, and open for everyone’s benefit. Generation Open, here we come.

Celebrate International Open Access Week at BU — 20 to 26 October 2014

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

WHAT IS IT?       Open access is free, unrestricted access to peer-reviewed scholarly research literature and data.

WHY DO IT?       Publicly-funded research should be made freely available to the community who support it


To the members of public

  • Allows access to journal articles without restrictions of costs and time delay
  • Reveals the latest medical discoveries and breakthroughs (which may save your life)
  • Gives crucial information  freely to medical professionals, students and nurses in developing countries so saving thousands of lives
  • Enriches the educational experience of millions of students and teachers around the world (who otherwise cannot afford subscriptions to prestigious journals)

To the academics

  • Removes  barriers  to networking and sharing research
  • Increases exposure and use of publications
  • Facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and new discoveries
  • Increase usage, citations and impact

Please visit the links below to hear from our academics about some of the Open Access research that is available to you:

Get involved. Participating in Open Access Week can be as simple or involved as you like. It can also be a chance to let your imagination have full rein and come up with something more ambitious, wacky, fun.

Celebrate Open Access at BU and join us in these exciting events. No need to register, just turn up.For more information about

  • The International Open Access Week and how you can get involved or help out;
  • Open access in general;
  • how to publish your article open access

Please get in touch with Pengpeng Hatch (, tel: 01202 963154).

All logo and colour scheme attributed to :

Researchfish is now LIVE

Image sourced from The Academy of Medical Sciences

On 4 June 2014, RCUK announced that the Researchfish system will be used to replace the Research Outcomes System to collect the outcomes of the research that they fund. The RCUK Outcomes Harmonisation Project was then established to oversee the successful implementation of Researchfish as a harmonised outcomes collection service for all Research Councils by September 2014 for this purpose.

Researchfish is now live and all Principal Investigators for grants funded by AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC or NERC should have been notified by RCUK and have
received registration emails from the Researchfish system. With this implementation, the Research Councils UK will now follow a common annual timetable for grant holders to confirm that the information in the system is complete and up-to-date. The first harmonised ‘submission period’ will run from 16 October – 13 November 2014.

It is vital that all RCUK grant holders engage fully with the new Researchfish system. Please take note of the following:
  • The first harmonised ‘submission period’ will run from 16 October – 13 November 2014.
  • Researchfish is offering a series of webinars for researchers to learn how to use Researchfish. You can click on this link to register.
  • All affected grant holders will shortly receive an email from RKEO as a further reminder and a calendar reminder of the harmonised ‘submission period’.
  • RKEO will be providing two presentation sessions in the first week of October to help grant holders understand the initiative behind adopting the Researchfish.

    Image sourced from the Aquaculture New Zealand website

– Talbot Campus – CG04 – 11.30am to 12.30pm – 2nd October 2014

-Lansdowne Campus – EB202 – 11.30am to 12.30pm – 3rd October 2014

For more information on this, please get in touch with Pengpeng Hatch. (Tel: 01202 961354; Email: