News in brief

April 4, 2013

Research facilities

See and share

A national database to allow equipment and facilities to be shared across the sector has been launched. Led by the University of Southampton and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the database is designed to allow institutions to contribute to and access data from a selection of UK universities. Launched on 20 March, it is designed to provide a national “shop window” for research equipment, supporting the need for greater accessibility and efficiency in the sector in light of funding restrictions on equipment introduced by Research Councils UK in 2011. The service builds on regional portals established by university consortia N8, M5 and GW4, and is part of the Data.ac.uk initiative.

Anglo-Indian collaboration

Attack of the cybercriminals

Research Councils UK and India’s Department of Science and Technology brought together researchers from both countries for a four-day workshop in New Delhi on cybersecurity. The event, which ran from 24 to March, discussed a range of topics including the potential consequences of cybercrime and the implications of privacy and security breaches in social media. Helen Bailey, deputy director of RCUK India, said: “We need a clearer understanding of our current and future vulnerabilities and the inadequacies of current approaches, along with innovative solutions to tackle the important challenges.” The workshop forms part of a growing research relationship between the UK and India, with the value of co- funded projects increasing from just under £1 million in 2008 to more than £100 million today.

Open access

1994 Group: extend the embargo

Research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council should not be made freely available on institutional open-access repositories until three years after publication, according to the 1994 Group. The mission group for small research-intensive universities made the recommendation in its submission to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s consultation on open access. Research Councils UK’s open-access policy, which came into force on 1 April, requires ESRC- and AHRC-funded research to be made available after 12 months if researchers choose the “green” repository-based route. The submission adds that funders’ “unquestioning” preference for the journal-provided “gold” model “leaves institutions to bear all the costs of publication while publishers, frequently commercial…profit from publicly funded research”.

Institutional review

BPP moves fast to please QAA

For-profit-owned BPP University College has passed all parts of its institutional review by the Quality Assurance Agency after correcting potentially misleading information in its literature. The changes were made after the watchdog said that “information about learning opportunities…requires improvement to meet UK expectations”. Some information contained on the college’s website and in its printed literature was a source of “potential confusion” because of its “lack of clarity”, said the college’s first institutional review, published on 11 February. “We reacted quickly to the original report…and a month later we’re fully compliant with the QAA’s rigorous requirements,” said Carl Lygo, BPP’s principal.

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