Symplectic, the platform for SRI Publications Database, will be upgraded to a new version on Monday 6 July. The process will start at 10 am and will take a full day to complete.

During this period you will not be able to access Symplectic. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please note that staff web pages will also be affected by this upgrade. Automatic updates from Symplectic will be suspended for about 3 weeks, as some additional work is required to synchronise the new version with staff pages.

picWhat’s new in the upgraded version?

  • The platform has been redesigned following feedback from users. The new interface has a fresh look and feel, to help you navigate and use Symplectic more easily than before.
  • The publications view has been greatly improved. You can now have a one-page view of a publication and all its aspects. The page displays all bibliographic and bibliometric data, all record views by data source and all the publication’s connections and keywords. Repository deposits are shown on the left-hand side, in addition to the entire event history of the publication. A limited view is offered to users not associated with a publication.
  • A new on acceptance workflow has been designed, to support compliance with HEFCE’s policy:

– manual data entry is much more streamlined, allowing you to enter data more quickly and easily than before;

– the system checks for duplicate records;

– the workflow includes on-screen deposit reminders, new metadata fields and guidance at every step of the process.

New user guides will be available shortly on the SRI website. If you need further guidance on using the platform, please contact sriopenaccess@surrey.ac.uk.


ResearchGate and Copyright

ResearchGate is an online network for academic researchers, particularly focused on the sciences. It allows you to connect with colleagues, share research interests, ask questions and provide answers to research problems. The platform also offers the opportunity to upload copies of your papers. Rogers (2015) estimates that by February 2015 around 80% of ResearchGate users had uploaded at least one full text to the site. Whilst this is an excellent way to gain visibility and promote your research, it may lead to problems with the copyright policies of publishers.

If you use ResearchGate, you must take care to check which version of your work you are permitted to upload, and whether it can be uploaded at the time of publication or if an embargo must be applied. It is vital to consult your publishing agreement prior to uploading a text on ResearchGate, as different publishers allow different versions of academic papers to be uploaded to repositories and author websites: the author’s pre-print, the author’s accepted version, or the published version.

If publishers become aware that an incorrect version is being shared or an embargo is not applied then they are likely to issue take down notices or even sue authors for breach of copyright.

To get the most out of ResearchGate without risking a breach of copyright, please read the Copyright Transfer Agreement or licence that you signed to see how you are allowed to share your paper.  You can also check open access policies on the journal’s website, or by using Sherpa Romeo, a site that allows you to search for policies by journal title or ISSN. However, it is important to remember that these are only a guide: your own copyright agreement is the definitive source of information.

Getting help on copyright

The SRI team can give you further advice on copyright. Please note that we do not perform copyright checks on papers that are uploaded in ResearchGate. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are in line with your journal’s policy.

We do, however, monitor the content of the SRI Open Access repository, and offer detailed advice on what can be posted there. Please also note that SRI Open Access supports compliance with the next REF: ResearchGate does not. HEFCE does not consider that you are complying with their Open Access policy if you deposit your papers in websites like ReseachGate or Academia.edu.

Useful links

Surrey Research Insight: The University of Surrey’s Open Access Repository

SRI Open Access: Information about Open Access provided by the University of Surrey’s Open Access Team

Sherpa Romeo: This allows you to easily search for journals to consult their open access posting policies.


Rogers (2015) How do scientists share on academic social networks like ResearchGate? http://blog.sciencebite.com/how-do-scientists-share-on-academic-social-networks-like-researchgate/ [accessed 19/06/2015]

SRI recently interviewed Dr Christopher Wiley who is Senior Lecturer and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts. His interview provides a fascinating insight into his broad areas of research – with mentions of Michael Jackson, Les Miserables and Frozen. Read more of Dr Wiley’s work on the SRI open access repository http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/view/creators/Wiley,_C.html or follow him on Twitter @Chris_Wiley

In your chapter ‘Putting the Music Back into Michael Jackson Studies’, you discuss the implications of an audience’s knowledge of an artist’s biography altering their perception of the artist’s work. Could you explain how and why this occurs?

My work on Michael Jackson was borne of my wider interest in musical biography (the subject of my doctoral dissertation), which examines how biographies can reveal much information about the values and preoccupations of the authors who wrote them and the reading communities for which they were produced. In much the same way, it is inevitable that a reader – or listener, or viewer – will bring their pre-existing knowledge of an artist’s biography to bear on their interpretation of that artist’s output. How can we not think of the controversies surrounding Jackson’s fading skin pigmentation when we hear him sing ‘it don’t matter if you’re black or white’, or of those serious allegations (never proven) of child sex crimes when we see children prominent in his music videos? One facet of my research on musical biography investigates the relationship between a subject’s life and their works, and that’s the reason I was drawn to studying Jackson in the first place: it would be difficult to name an artist whose output is more widely consumed, and whose biography (including its highly controversial aspects) is more widely known.

As an academic who researches and teaches music, do you feel a responsibility to bring the focus back to the musical output of artists who may have had a controversial past or led an unconventional lifestyle?

Without wishing to overlook or obfuscate the seriousness of some of the controversies with which artists have been associated, I do believe that researchers have a responsibility to contribute to public discourses according to their disciplinary specialisms – for instance, in my case, shedding some uniquely musicological light on Jackson’s musical output where little previously existed. Given the research-led nature of much university teaching, mine was a study that benefited from being cultivated in the crucible of the classroom; and one of the most thought-provoking challenges I have ever received came from a student who remarked that claims about academia’s social responsibility may be well-meaning, but they are compromised by the extent to which views set forth in scholarly monographs reach widespread public audiences in reality. It was truly heartening to be able to respond that in the new era of open access, academic research is more widely disseminated than ever before – and that my article on Jackson was freely available online. It is even more reassuring to be able to track downloads and confirm that others are indeed engaging with my work!

Your range of research is very broad, covering Music for Television, Musical Theatre, Historical Musicology, and many other subjects. Could you tell us about a particularly innovative or interesting way you have seen music used either by a director or performer during your research?

I’m teaching a class on Musical Theatre at the moment, and several recent examples of innovative or interesting uses of music spring immediately to mind. In the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, director Tom Hooper opted to record the cast’s singing live during filming wherever possible. While this was by no means the first time ever that live vocals on film had been attempted, the sheer scope of activity of the film’s sound department, coupled to the use of live piano accompaniment on set, meant that Les Misérables broke much new ground. I remember seeing the film at the cinema on the day of the première and thinking that the sense it gave of the actors’ physicality – that the characters onscreen were genuinely singing – could be extraordinarily persuasive. Let’s hope that others will follow Hooper’s lead in future film productions of musical theatre works.

The world of musical film has also recently been taken by storm by Disney’s Frozen, and particularly by the ubiquitous song ‘Let It Go’ – a subject on which I contributed expert comment to an article published last December in The Telegraph. Disney seemed to dominate the arena of film song in the early 1990s and it would be great to think that Frozen might herald a return to the era that saw Disney receive five Academy Awards for Best Original Song in the space of seven years between The Little Mermaid and Pocahontas. Finally, I might mention Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revolutionary adoption of the television talent discovery show format as a means of casting principals for revivals of shows including The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver!, The Wizard of Oz, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Some of my thoughts on that fascinating phenomenon are already available on Surrey Research Insight.

Would you be able to tell us what you are currently researching?

You’ve already mentioned the broad-ranging nature of my research activity, so it may not altogether come as a surprise when I say that I’m currently working on two projects in completely different areas! One is an essay on eighteenth-century literature, focussing on aspects of the role played by music the early novels of Samuel Richardson and Frances Burney, together with a glimpse forward to Jane Austen’s works of fiction. The other is a journal article on student evaluation of teaching, which seeks to establish students’ perspectives on the standardised module evaluation surveys that have become prevalent at many UK universities in recent years. In the medium term I’m also preparing a monograph on musical biography, focussing on the original incarnation of the renowned Master Musicians biographical series, so I remain very much active within my primary area of research specialism as well.

According to Cogent OA, an open access scholarly publisher which is backed by Taylor and Francis, there can be freedom on Article Processing Charges (APC) and they are setting a trend.

Cogent have announced a new trial for APC payments called ‘Freedom APCs’. This new model offers an increased flexibility for authors to ‘choose’ the amount that they pay for APC.  The aim of this new trial model is to explore how the APC amount selected by an author relates to their “career stage, subject area and location etc” in order to remove barriers from open access publishing. The trial model will also act as a research project with the global OA community to influence decisions about the affordability of APC payments, and encourage wider discussion about open access pricings.

Under their new model, Cogent OA requests authors to investigate all funding opportunities for their work, including “their funding agency, institution or company” and to then decide on the price that they feel they are able to pay – although they are keen to state that the amount selected is ultimately the decision of the author.

In Cogent OA’s press release Bryan Vickery, the Director of Cogent OA, said that

We wanted to go further than an all-or-nothing waiver program, and really evaluate what authors are able or willing to pay. We appreciate that not all researchers are the same. Some are established in their careers and well-funded, others are just starting out, or working in regions of the world with limited financial resources.

The ‘Freedom APC’ model launched on the 30th March 2015, and an initial analysis of the data collected will be made available in 2016.


‘Under embargo until Monday 30th March 14:00(GMT) – Cogent OA launches Freedom APCs’ http://news.cision.com/taylor—francis/r/under-embargo-until-monday-30th-march-14-00-gmt—cogent-oa-launches-freedom-apcs,c9746553 [accessed 01/04/2015]

‘What are Freedom APCs?’ http://cogentoa.tandfonline.com/page/aboutCogentOA/authors/apcs [accessed 01/04/2015]

Last week the Wellcome Trust has published information highlighting how much money it has contributed towards article processing charges (APC) in the 2013-14 year. The details indicate that around £4.7 million was spent on making 2556 articles open access, with an average APC payment costing £1837. The data goes further to compare the number of articles published in fully open access journals or hybrid journals, i.e. journals which require a subscription but offer paid open access for single papers.

Robert Kiley’s analysis (See table below) emphasises that there is a continued preference for papers to be published in the traditional hybrid journals, rather than the fully open access journals. He implies that this trend may prove difficult to break due to the pressures on many academics to ensure that their work is published in high impact journals.

Wellcome Table 2

The Wellcome Trust’s blog also explores the problems of the significant difference between individual APC costs in fully open access journals and those which are subscription based. Wellcome’s data shows that the average APC payment in Elsevier journals was £2930, which is £1816 higher than the average cost in PLOS, a fully open access publisher. This may seem troubling as hybrid publishers are simultaneously generating income through subscriptions. The blog notes with interest that FWF, the Austrian Science Fund, has recently imposed a price cap on the APC of hybrid articles, as an attempt to control the ineffectiveness of the hybrid market. We can only wait to see if this is enough to influence both the author’s view towards open access publishing and the publisher’s own prices.

Additionally, Kilney discusses that it can be difficult to monitor whether publishers are complying properly with the Wellcome Guidelines, noting that 13% of APC papers were not available on PubMed Central, although some of these may be made available once the final, published version is produced. He estimates that this equates to around £480,000 of funded APC money! Therefore, Kilney states that in the future this compliance to deposit OA papers in PMC must be addressed as a priority.

I feel that the Wellcome Trust’s report is particularly useful in clearly exposing the discrepancies in APC costs across publishers, and the apparent differences in author attitude and behaviour towards fully open access and hybrid journals, which will hopefully influence a fairer system of funded open access publishing in the future. Similarly, it is useful in identifying the possible issues around compliance and depositing which will need focusing on in the future.



FWF, New Policy for Open Access and Publication Costs, < https://www.fwf.ac.at/en/news-and-media-relations/news/detail/nid/20141219-2097/> [accessed 04/03/2015]

Robert Kiley, The Reckoning: An Analysis of Wellcome Trust Open Access Spend 2013-14, <http://blog.wellcome.ac.uk/2015/03/03/the-reckoning-an-analysis-of-wellcome-trust-open-access-spend-2013-14/>[accessed 04/03/2015]


From 2017 publications will need to be OA immediately, no embargo period allowed!


Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Open Access Policy

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to information sharing and transparency. We believe that published research resulting from our funding should be promptly and broadly disseminated. We have adopted an Open Access policy that enables the unrestricted access and reuse of all peer-reviewed published research funded, in whole or in part, by the foundation, including any underlying data sets.

As of January 1, 2015 our Open Access policy will be effective for all new agreements. During a two-year transition period, publishers will be permitted to apply up to a 12 month embargo period on the accessibility of the publication and its underlying data sets. This embargo period will no longer be allowed after January 1, 2017.

Our Open Access policy contains the following elements:

  1. Publications Are Discoverable and Accessible Online. Publications will be deposited in a specified repository(s) with proper tagging of metadata.
  1. Publication Will Be On “Open Access” Terms. All publications shall be published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Generic License<http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/> (CC BY 4.0) or an equivalent license. This will permit all users of the publication to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and transform and build upon the material, including for any purpose (including commercial) without further permission or fees being required.
  1. Foundation Will Pay Necessary Fees. The foundation would pay reasonable fees required by a publisher to effect publication on these terms.
  1. Publications Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. All publications shall be available immediately upon their publication, without any embargo period. An embargo period is the period during which the publisher will require a subscription or the payment of a fee to gain access to the publication. We are, however, providing a transition period of up to two years from the effective date of the policy (or until January 1, 2017). During the transition period, the foundation will allow publications in journals that provide up to a 12-month embargo period.
  1. Data Underlying Published Research Results Will Be Accessible and Open Immediately. The foundation will require that data underlying the published research results be immediately accessible and open. This too is subject to the transition period and a 12-month embargo may be applied.

Symplectic recently carried out a usage analysis (among all Symplectic customers) and have found that IE8 is used by 3.8% of users which generates 5.4% requests.

This confirmed their suspicion that the majority of users are using modern browsers and they have made the decision to stop support of IE8 from the December 2014 Release (4.12.) This means that Symplectic will not fix any bugs related to the IE8 web browser from Dec 2014.

What versions of browsers are supported by Symplectic Elements?

Browser Version  Notes
Firefox Latest stable version supported Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (when browsers are maximised).
Chrome Latest stable version supported Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (when browsers are maximised).
Internet Explorer  Versions 9.0, 10.0 Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (when browsers are maximised).

‘Compatibility View’ is not supported.

Safari Version 6+ on OS X and above Minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (when browsers are maximised).