CORE Ambassador: Nick Sheppard

Nick SheppardNick has worked in scholarly communications for over 10 years, currently as Open Research Advisor at the University of Leeds. Previously he was Research Services Advisor at Leeds Beckett University. Nick is interested in effective dissemination of research through sustainable models of open access, including underlying data, and potential synergies with open education and Open Educational Resources (OER), particularly underlying technology, software and interoperability of systems.

Q: What does Open Access means to you?
We live in the age of information where the world’s knowledge should be immediately and easily accessible to the majority of humanity. Instead much primary research is restricted to those that can afford it, whether to read under traditional subscription models or, under an APC based model, to publish at all. Meanwhile fake news is propagated freely with potentially disastrous consequences for our democracy, our ecology and global equality. Sustainable and affordable open access to research is essential for a well informed global population, the first step to building a better society. 
With equity as the theme of this year’s Open Access week we will be exploring issues of equality including gender imbalance within the academy and how our University’s research can better benefit the Global South. Early plans include a gender analysis of Leeds research outputs and a Wikimedia editathon focussing on women scientists and encouraging researchers of all genders to properly cite Wikipedia with open access research.

Q: How do you think that CORE’s mission is important?
As an aggregation of global open access research, CORE provides an essential tool to discover and reuse scholarly and research material. A high quality global knowledge base that can be text mined or used to develop tools to counteract the spread of disinformation, to automatically add citations to Wikipedia for example, or an alternative to the concealed algorithm of Google.

One of the three libraries at University of Leeds, where the White Rose repository is developed and administered.

CORE can help surface related content from its global corpus [consortial repository] via its sophisticated text mining technology adding real value for our research community. 

Q: How do you use or plan to use CORE at your institution?
A: We advocate the CORE search engine in advocacy and training sessions to illustrate the reach and potential of Open Access. The CORE Recommender has been part of the White Rose Research Online (WRRO) repository since October 2016. As a consortial repository of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, WRRO is one of the biggest repositories in the UK with more than 70,000 full text records. In 2019 so far, there have been over 2 million downloads, nearly a quarter of a million per month, from over 200 different countries around the world (source IRUS-UK). CORE can help surface related content from its global corpus via its sophisticated text mining technology adding real value for our research community.

Q: Why did you decide to become a CORE ambassador? 
A: Over the past 15 years vast amounts of resources have been poured into the repository infrastructure both in the UK and globally. The UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR), for example, has well over 600 members across UK HE, an unseen army promoting Open Access to research. By aggregating OA research and providing a cohesive suite of tools, and through its ongoing research and development, CORE is building on that investment and helping to provide an information solution for the future.