Subscribe: Keith Russell's blog
Preview: Keith Russell's blog

Keith Russell's blog

My views on ICT for higher education and academic research in The Netherlands and sometimes further afield. Also notes on life in general, you may even run into some personal things.

Updated: 2018-03-06T01:25:25.594+01:00


Interviewing on ANDS and RDA, in the Netherlands


Just in case you were wondering what it is like in Australia in the research data landscape? I am afraid I can´t tell you yet as my visa has not yet come through. Meanwhile I am still working for Knowledge Exchange and am quite busy organising workshops and planning the future of the initiative.

However, Andrew Treloar from ANDS can tell you all about the landscape and he will be at the SURF office on Friday 4 October for a seminar ´Data Infrastructure and the Scholarly Ecosystem of the Future´. I will be interviewing him not only on the Australian landscape but also on the challenges of coordinating infrastructure across national boundaries. This is an area in which the Research Data Alliance is active and I am looking forward to hearing from Andrew on the development of this initiative and finding out where and how this will be of interest to Dutch institutions.

With a big thank you to DANS for arranging for Andrew to come to the Netherlands as visiting fellow and being willing to host this workshop.

Moving to ANDS in Australia


(image) As you might have guessed from the last posting, I will be leaving Knowledge Exchange. I am really looking forward to starting work as Partnership Program Manager at the Australian National Data Service, ANDS for short. The Australian Commonwealth Government's Department of Industry, Innovation, Science Research and Tertiary Education has had the foresight to fund and support the development of ANDS at a time when other countries had not even started considering the value of Research Data as a very important research asset. This has allowed ANDS to become a leading organisation worldwide in setting up services like ‘Research Data Australia’ and ‘Cite My Data’I am really looking forward to learning about the Australian landscape at work and discovering some more of the physical Australian landscape at the weekends. I will be starting work on 1st of September at the ANDS office at Monash University
in Melbourne.

Four and a half years at Knowledge Exchange


Digital Author Identifier Summit in London
It has been rather quiet on this blog. The main reason is that I put most of my energy in communicating work related stuff through Knowledge Exchange, through the website, twitter, etc. The past years at Knowledge Exchange were very lively and taught me a lot. Working with the partner organisations has shown me the value and richness of the different cultural backgrounds and approaches. I have learnt a lot from the insights of the experts. What is also great is the variety in interests of the partner organisations ranging from research funding, infrastructure funding, innovation, libraries and tackling the range from hard to soft e-infrastructure. In my view the true power behind KE is the interaction between the experts in the partner organisations and countries. It was always really inspiring to bring a group of experts together and to see how quickly discussions arose and the speed in which great ideas could be developed. The years have been quite lively, some really relevant reports were released and workshops organised. The initiative has recently been expanded with the fifth member, CSC. The challenge is now to balance large expectations and ambitions with the limited scale which is KE. It never has been a large initiative and its power has been to pick out the small ground breaking activities where it is really useful to bring knowledge together, share, develop this further and start a debate. I trust this will continue to lead to valuable results in the future.

Book on Access to Research Data in the Netherlands


The book Toegang tot Onderzoeksdata (Access to research data) is the fifth publication which has appeared in the SURFshare series and treats the sharing of research data. In this publication an overview is offered of what has already been accomplished. Existing Dutch and international initiatives are discussed, findings from studies summarized and publishers and funders explain which role they expect to play in encouraging the sharing of research data.

Although the book is in Dutch, two of the interviews are also available in an English translation.

Chapter 7 : Data in Australia and the Netherlands: perseverance and dedication is required
An interview with Andrew Treloar (ANDS) and Jeroen Rombouts (3TU Datacentrum) comparing the situation in the Netherlands to Australia.

Chapter 13: It is essential for research data to be linked to publications
An interview with Eefke Smit (STM) on the role that publishers would like to play in improving access research data.

View the book as a pdf or the translated chapters

Open Research Data Day 18th May


On 18th of May SURF will be organising a Dutch day for Open Research Data. Speakers will include scientists who have benefited from sharing research data, but also key stakeholders and the Dutch national research funder. The session will close with a discussion on what the next steps should be. Who is going to be bold enough to take these steps. This is not limited to funders, but also the role that research libraries, data centres and (very important) publishers can play. And what about the universities of applied sciences, do they have a position in this?

Registration for this afternoon seminar is still open at:
(The event is Dutch speaking throughout)

Publicatii augmentate - Enhanced Publications in Romanian


I am very pleased to announce that our film on Enhanced Publications is now also available with Romanian subtitles. I hope researchers at Brasov and in the rest of Romania will find this useful.
width="480" height="295" src="" frameborder="0" allowFullScreen="">

Submission fees, a viable option for OA journals?


Knowledge Exchange has just released a report bearing the title ‘Submission fees – A tool in the transition to Open Access?. The general conclusion is that there are benefits to publishers in certain cases to switch to a model in which an author pays a fee when submitting an article. Especially journals with a high rejection rate might be interested in combining submission fees with article processing charges in order to make the transition to open access easier. In certain disciplines, notably economic and finance journals and in some areas of the experi¬men¬tal life sciences, submission fees are already common.

The report has also sparked a discussion for example on the Scholarly Kitchen blog on whether this might be a viable option for OA journals in the future.

Upheaval on student thesis in Utrecht


A Dutch news site mentioned that a student´s master thesis was being withheld by the Utrecht city council as it would contain critical information on a Youth scheme in Utrecht. According to the thesis youths with a criminal background would have collected funds for internships without actually doing any work.

See: and

The thesis is now available on the University library website and I was really chuffed as it was a student from social sciences, so it has been included in the collection I have helped to set up years ago together with the university library.
It is now scoring as best downloaded thesis:

For the tweets on this see:

Video on Enhanced Publications


Just in case you were wondering what all those SURF projects were about which took place on Enhanced Publications, a video has been made explaining not only what they are, but also how they have taken shape in different disciplines.

I especially like the animation at the end of the film as it shows how this fits in to linked data.
The video is only available in Dutch at present, will be available with English subtitles soon.

Watch the video at:

Digiman wins again!


Sadly not with an embed. The Planets have just produced another brilliant cartoon movie encouraging institutions to follow six steps to ensure materials are saved safely. Enjoy at:

Workshop on creating enhanced publications


Just a quick plug from my work. On the first of April (no, this is not a joke) we will be organising a workshop on creating enhanced publications (EPs). Participants will learn a little background on what enhanced publications are and hear some first hand experiences from projects done in 2009 on EPs.
And after lunch they will be able to get stuck in creating their very own EP. They will get a crack at using the EP editor developed in the ESCAPE project to create a map linking various objects and entities. We will also show some alternative editors which are in development or should be out soon. These are the LORE editor and the Word ontology add in.
There are still a limited number of places available. Please note that the workshop will be in Dutch and will take place in Tilburg.
Further information

New NARCIS is online


The new interface for the Dutch portal to research output from all research libraries is online:

The interface is improved so it is now much easier to narrow down your search when searching through the over 200.000 Open Access publications available.

Idea management, an interesting tool


A tip from my colleague Maurice Vanderfeesten: if you are looking for a platform to collect, share, rate and manage ideas: perhaps Spigit? It isn't free but does seem to offer some very interesting and quite possibly valuable tools. Of course there are polls and voting, but you can also keep up 'stocks and shares' of ideas...
Reminded me of a face to face session I had at the computing department at Utrecht University. They have a decision making room with facilities to support just this sort of activity. See the webpage on 'beleidslab' (in Dutch). You can also rent this room with a moderator.

Evaluation of a year of Weblectures


I left Utrecht University almost a year ago and I was very interested to hear that they had evaluated the first year of the more widely available Weblectures service at Utrecht University. The report (in Dutch) can be found here.
A very quick and dirty interpretation: Students and staff do not all fill in surveys ;-) response rate was 33%. Students are enthousiastic, teachers slightly less but they are too. Teachers are not changing their teaching to adapt to the new possibilities. They are interested in learning more about the opportunities on offer.

Thoughts on request for information by OSTP


The American whitehouse Office for Scientific and Technology Policy has issued a request for information to discuss options for improving public access to results of federally funded research. Interestingly this is not on whether publically funded research should be publically available, but rather on how this can be achieved.

They ask a large variety of questions which I will not even begin to address one by one. It did start me thinking what my own personal humble opinion could be on this matter. Regarding a policy on open access I would have a number of suggestions: publications should either be directly available in open access or with a delay of no more than six months. A sustantial part of the funding (10%) should be dependent on this public availability. If it is not available for another six months then the funding should also be withheld for these six months. A fee should be reserved for paying for a publication fee if the journal requires this. I do not feel it is necessary for the policy to demand either the green (repository) or the gold (OA journal) road. This is something the market will also adapt to.

It would be valuable to have an overview of all the research results. The funding council could provide an overview of research, not the actual publications but persistent links to the articles offered by either a journal or a repository.

In the request for information they clearly don't ask for policy on data. This would be an interesting next step....

LORE a tool for creating enhanced publications?


A tool (firefox pugin) called LORE will allow you to register relationships between resources and thus constructing a compound object. This could be used to create Enhanced Publications. There is a great blip video at

Autumn School a success


The Autumn School on Tools for researchers finished yesterday. This proved to be very interesting. Though the topic was rather broad this also allowed for the exchange of insights across disciplines and at different levels of tooling. Common issues are: responsibility for the tool (is it for the IT department, the research group itself or the library), how to discover and manage researcher demands (usually come up with just in time requests), sustainability (how to ensure maintenance, development and archiving) and open source vs closed source software.
Typical for the Netherlands is the challenge faced by the universities of Applied Sciences (HBOs). They have only recently been given the responsibility to undertake research. This raises questions on: which research should we be doing, what is our position relative to the research universities and which tools do we need.

Animation on the Elements by Tom Lehrer


This does bring back memories. Having a chemist as a dad means you learn all sorts of strange quirks of science. Excellent animation by the way :-)

(object) (embed)

Tools for Researchers Autumn School


Just a quick plug from my work ;-)
Sorry, this is in Dutch, but the actual activity will also be in Dutch...

Van 2 tot 4 november 2009 organiseert SURFacademy in samenwerking met de Universiteit Leiden de Autumn School ‘Tools voor Onderzoekers’.

Er zijn veel (generieke) tools die handig kunnen zijn bij zowel het verrichten van onderzoek, als het communiceren over en publiceren van de resultaten. Deze Autumn School biedt de gelegenheid om kennis te maken en ervaring op te doen met deze tools. De Autumn School richt zich op onderzoekers en ondersteuners voor onderzoekers, werkzaam aan universiteiten en hogescholen.

De school start met een inleiding op het onderzoeksproces en geeft een overzicht van het brede scala aan tools dat van belang kan zijn. Vervolgens worden hier vier thema’s uitgelicht. De tools zullen in de vorm van presentaties en workshops worden uitgediept.

· In het thema e-science/grid computing wordt uitleg gegeven wat deze technologie inhoudt en de mogelijkheden die deze biedt voor onderzoek. Aan de hand van voorbeelden wordt getoond hoe deze techniek in projecten is toegepast.

· ICT biedt ook mogelijkheden om onderzoeksdata gemakkelijker op te slaan en te delen. In dit thema worden voorbeelden gegeven van faciliteiten voor het online opslaan en delen van onderzoeksdata.

· Onderzoekers werken meestal samen in nationale en internationale teams. Deze samenwerking kan met collaboratories worden ondersteund. Verschillende samenwerkingsomgevingen worden getoond die zijn gebruikt in het onderzoek en ervaringen worden gedeeld.

· Als laatste thema zullen een aantal Web2.0 tools worden gepresenteerd die kunnen worden ingezet op verschillende plaatsen in het onderzoeksproces.

Naast de tools in deze thema’s wordt u bij deze Autumn School ook gevraagd een eigen tool mee te nemen die u kunt delen met de andere deelnemers. Dit kan een tool zijn die aansluit bij de eerdere voorbeelden, maar het kan ook een hele andere tool zijn.

Voor meer informatie, waaronder het volledige programma en de mogelijk om je op te geven, zie:

Het SURFacademy programma wordt gezamenlijk uitgevoerd door SURFnet en SURFfoundation, in samenwerking met de Nederlandse universiteiten en hogescholen. De bijeenkomsten van de SURFacademy staan open voor iedereen die werkzaam is binnen het Nederlandse hoger onderwijs.

Datum: maandag 2 november 2009 t/m woensdag 4 november 2009

Kosten: € 150

Locatie: Leiden

Open Access week: activities in the Netherlands


19-23 October is the international Open Access week. There will be a lot of activities in the Netherlands to promote Open Access. You can find a (hopefully quite comprehensive) list here.

Video on Open Access


A great little video on Open Access, created by Sparc...

(object) (embed)

Open Access 101, from SPARC from Karen Rustad on Vimeo.

Can I reuse research data? The answer according to Dutch law


A new report has just been published on the legal situation regarding the reuse of research data, according to Dutch law. This report was commissioned by SURF and has been written by CIER. The report (in Dutch) can be found here.

Of course this is quite complicated legal stuff, so to keep it simple there are a few standard questions which have been answered. This straightforward explanation can be found here.
(Don't forget to read the disclaimer though)

Great holiday in Slovenia


(image) I have just returned from a great holiday in Slovenia. I was very impressed by the beautiful landscapes: mountains, waterfalls, lakes and hills. Ljubljana is a small but very attractive and friendly capital. The mediterranean was hot but beautiful. Piran was very pretty, yet rather busy. But most of all I was impressed by the original Karst: rills, gulleys, Dolines, huge sinkholes, natural bridges, a veeery large Polje and of course the caves. I was especially impressed by the huge canyon in the Skocjan cave.

A golden road with a green lining?


As more and more organisations are realising the benefits of open access a discussion is still taking place on the road to take to Open Access. I do wonder where we will go? Perhaps there will not be two separate roads, Green and Gold. Perhaps the future is Gold OA, if enough publishers will adopt this model. This would certainly make it a lot easier for researchers, rather than having to also add their publication to a repository. A number of publishers are past experimenting on switching their business model to earning their income from article processing costs. It would be helpful if the research funders mandate Open Access to all their funded research. This is now taking place, as the NIH, Welcome trust started off and now also EUROHORC and ESF have taken position.

However (Institutional) Repositories will probably continue to exist. Not all materials are published in journals (take grey literature, data and learning materials for instance). However: nobody wants to refer to the same publication in different places. The journal is where the articles are and where traffic and publicity goes to.

Institutional Repositories can still perform a valuable function for archiving reasons and can form a place to collect all the research materials together. The questions remains who will provide aggregations which collect usage statistics and citation scores and will provide persistent identifiers.

Comparison of Costs and Benefits of Open Access for UK, Netherlands and Denmark


The Houghton studies on the costs and benefits of Open Access from the UK (commissioned by JISC), the Netherlands (commissioned by SURF) and Denmark (commissoned by DEFF) were compared in a study commissioned by Knowledge Exchange. Noticeably in all three countries benefits can be achieved by switching to an open access model. The benefits are different in the three countries though, these are mainly due to difference in scale between the three countries and how the education is organised in the three countries.

On the 22 June 2009 this combined report was discussed in a seminar with various members of the European commission and other European bodies present. At this seminar not only the report was presented, but responses from various stakeholders and implications for funders were also discussed. Two speakers from the European commission gave a presentation on the activities they are undertaking in the field of Open Access.

For the details please see :
The photographs of the seminar can be seen at: