Preparing for Research Information Seeking & Management

"In the 21st century, information literacy is a key attribute for everyone, irrespective of age or experience. Information literacy is evidenced through understanding the ways in which information and data is created and handled, developing skills in its management and use and modifying attitudes, habits and behaviours to appreciate the role of information literacy in learning and research."

The SCONUL Seven Pillars of Infomation literacy; a Research Lens for Higher Education (April 2011)

About Prism


Information Literacy is an essential competency for everyone engaged in research at all levels. Whether you are a Masters or PhD  student,  an academic doing a postgraduate qualification at Cumbria or elsewhere, an academic researching to inform their teaching, a post-doc early career researcher, a research active member of a professional service or an experienced researcher; this Preparing for Research Information Seeking and Management (PRISM) resource has been created to encourage you to consider the important role that information and data plays throughout the whole research process, to develop/refine your information seeking and management skills, and to keep up-to-date with the fast moving developments in the field.

The structure of PRISM is based directly on the vitae Information Literacy Lens which provides an overview of the key knowledge, behaviours and attributes that can be acquired through, or used in, information literacy activities.


The Frascati Manual is the internationally recognised methodology for collecting and using Research and Development statistics, it defines research as follows:

“Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.”

Information Seeking

Information seeking skills are about being confident in searching for, identifying, collating and evaluating a range of information from a wide variety of sources using different techniques, information software and resources.

Information Management

Information management skills are about having a good understanding of the importance of research impact and dissemination as well as being familiar with the legal, ethical and security issues surrounding scholarly outputs and data management.

The Researcher Development Framework (RDF)

View the Information literacy lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework using the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy (.pdf) at

Describing Information Literacy

Information literacy is an umbrella term which encompasses concepts such as digital, visual and media literacies, academic literacy, information handling, information skills, data curation and data management.
In our increasingly information based society, information literacy is a vital ability that is required to be able to make effective and efficient decisions. It enables researchers to find, analyse and evaluate information and become independent lifelong learners. Information literate researchers are 'prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.'

Self Evaluation

The skills required to be information literate require an understanding of:

  • A need for information
  • The resources available
  • How to find information
  • The need to evaluate results
  • How to work with or exploit results
  • Ethics and responsibility of use
  • How to communicate or share your findings
  • How to manage your findings

The resources, on this page, will help you to evaluate your existing skills and identify areas where you may need to develop further.

CILIP (2012)

Whilst the focus, of this resource, is on your Information Literacy Skills relating to research; we have also included self-evaluation audits for Basic Digital Skills and Academic Skills. Strong Information Seeking and Management Skills are closely supported by these two areas and completion of the audits will help you to understand and develop your research skills.

Information Literacy Skills

Information Literacy Skills Self Evaluation Audit


Digital Skills (Basic)

This Digital Skills audit is designed to be used by HE students at all levels. It is provided as a starting point for assessing and developing computer skills that will support you in the completion of your academic research and writing.

Digital Skills Self Evaluation Audit


M-Level Academic Skills

The M-Level Academic Skills audit delivers insight into the skills required to study at a post graduate level. Whilst some questions may be phrased as though you are completing an assignment - the core skills are the same for PG researchers.

Academic Skills Self Evaluation Audit

1. Getting Started

[RDF: A1 Knowledge base]

Framing your research

Before you start, you need to have a clear idea of the scope, direction and context of your research.

It is also a good idea to think about how you will justify your research, and how it fits in with other research in your field.

Putting together your research proposal for a PhD application

Your focus is likely to change as your research progresses, but the Research Proposal will provide you with your initial framework.

Think about

  • Your motivation for doing the research. What inspires you?
  • The basics. Could you explain your research question to someone with little or no subject knowledge?
  • Relevance. How does it link in with other research in the discipline?
  • Scope and limits. The more focused your research, the more manageable it will be.
  • Your current knowledge and skills. What do you already know that could help you in your research?


Sources of help

  • Your research supervisor will be an essential contact throughout the research process. At this stage, they can be invaluable in helping you define and contextualise your research question.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can give you useful advice on the resources and databases available for your area of research. Have a look at the subject resource pages for relevant links and contact information, and book a tailored appointment with your subject librarian before you get started.
  • If you have a disability or SpLD, you may be entitled to extra support from the Learning Development team.


Useful Resources

  • When thinking about the context of your research, it is a good idea to make yourself aware of what other researchers are doing. EThOS is a great starting point, as it enables you to access all theses produced in UK Higher Education.
  • is also a good place to find out about the current research interests of both peers and established researchers. It is an open access platform for sharing academic research, which currently holds around 4.3m papers.
  • If you want to get a feel for the kind of issues you may encounter as you begin your research journey, have a look at the Thesis Whisperer - a 'newspaper' dedicated to the topic of doing a thesis.
  • Domain A: Knowledge and intellectual abilities as described by Vitae and pictured here.

supporting you

  • The Graduate School offers various workshops and skills development opportunities, including a Research Summer School programme.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers with research and knowledge base queries.

2. Planning

[RDF: A1 Knowledge base]

Plan everything!

It will save you time and help to avoid the “what do I do next?!” panics. Although you will need to be flexible and constantly revisit your plan, the decisions you take at the beginning will impact on the final result.

Watch the video: Planning Your Research

How do I get there?

  • Plan your question. Most research starts out with a question which defines the focus and sets the boundaries.
  • What information do I need to answer my question? Primary data or secondary literature. Personal experiences, data sets or Government papers? It makes a difference to where you look.
  • How am I going to collect it? Quantitative or qualitative research? Primary research or literature searching?
  • Plan your literature search. Identify keywords, searching strategy, inclusion/exclusion criteria and where you are going to search.
  • How am I going to store and manage the results? Reference Management and data management. You may need more than cards.
  • How am I going to analyse the results? Data variables, coding and themes - this helps to define your information need.
  • How long will it take? Make a project timetable - it will always take longer than you think.


Useful resources

supporting you

  • Searching and information management workshops are provided as part of the Graduate School programme. They offer various workshops and skills development opportunities, including a research summer school programme.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide individual help and support in planning and carrying out your search.

3. Context

[RDF: A2 Cognitive abilities]

Putting information in context

One of the most important skills a researcher can develop is the ability to situate new research in context.

Having a clear idea of how your research links to relevant literature and current knowledge will help keep you on track, so it is essential that you start thinking about this right at the start of your research journey.

Your Literature Review (see the Think About section on this page) will help you to focus the direction of this journey.

Think about

  • Your current knowledge. Identifying what you already know will make it easier to work out where the gaps are, so make some notes detailing your existing expertise. You might need to revisit texts that you have identified as being particularly important, so make sure you brush up on your note taking skills before you do this.
  • Your area of research. Take time to think about the information that is already available in your field of research. Does a particular format or type of information predominate? Are there any gaps or areas of uncertainty in the information available? What will your research contribute to current debates? You will need to ensure that you are familiar with all possible avenues of exploration – take a look at the resources for research pages to find out more.
  • Literature Review. A literature review is a comprehensive survey of published research on a particular topic. It summarises, synthesises and critically evaluates relevant research. It reveals trends and controversies, and identifies areas where further research is needed. Here are some tips to get you started with your literature review.
  • The eventual output. It may seem early to be thinking about your intended methods of publication, but doing so will help shape and guide your research over the coming months. How do you plan to disseminate your research, and what are the requirements of your chosen publication(s)? Is there a particular format that it should take? What other factors will you need to take into consideration?

A good way of getting started is to seek advice from more experienced researchers. Have a look at these links:


Getting the most from resources

  • Alerting services are a great way of keeping up-to-date with new publications in your field of research. Try JournalTOCs for table of contents alerts, and Zetoc for research journals and conference proceedings.
  • Depending on your area of research, you might find useful links, contacts and conference updates through social media. Have a look at this social media for research guide to find out more.

supporting you

  • The Graduate School offers various workshops and skills development opportunities, including a research summer school programme.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers with research and knowledge base queries.

4a. Information Seeking [Part One]

[RDF: A1 Knowledge base]

Information Seeking

Depending on your subject you could be looking for information from a variety of sources within the University resources and from external repositories.

Some important tasks to consider are:

Your research proposal will have given you a flavour of the types of material that are most relevant to your topic but now you need explore further to build up a comprehensive body of knowledge.

On this page you will find details of Resources that are available through the University of Cumbria Library Service..

For Information Seeking beyond the University, plus some of our favourite searching tips, see Section 4b: Informations Seeking [Part Two].


University Resources - Books

University Resources - Other

Repositories / databases are presented here for a range of categories:

Find more via Eresources or by Resources for Your Subject pages

University Resources - Journals

Journals are academic or professional publications that are published periodically throughout the year.

They contain research, academic discourse and features written by experts in their field and are key resources for your studies.

Why should I use them?

  • For up-to-date information and cutting-edge research
  • For a depth of detail not always found in books
  • For wider reading and developing your knowledge of a subject.

Full Text Articles

You will get Full Text electronic access to any Journal that the University subscribes to in Electronic format, plus any that are freely available.


Bibliographic searching

Guide to Conducting a Systematic Literature Search (PDF presentation)

Template for you to complete a Systematic Literature Search (Word .docx 58kb)

Check outside of University of Cumbria resources for other articles. Examples include:

  • Web of Science - In the search results select to check for Full Text availability
  • Zetoc - citations of journals taken at British Library.

Locating full text

Citation Analysis

  • Check who has cited whom - create citation maps via Web of Science. Note: this covers sciences, social sciences, arts & humanities. Useful for tracking down harder to find material.


Current Awareness Tools

Keep up to date with the latest news and scholarly literature in your field(s). CreateAlerts in individual journals or use a Current Awareness Service such as:

See Quick Guide to Setting Up Journal Alerts (.pdf)

Also look for the Email List and RSS symbols on subject specific news sites and blogs to be sent daily / weekly / monthly updates.

supporting you

  • Searching and information management workshops are provided as part of the Graduate School programme. They offer various workshops and skills development opportunities, including a research summer school programme.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers with finding the right resources.

4b. Information Seeking [Part Two]

[RDF: A1 Knowledge Base]

Beyond the University

With around 1 billion websites (Internetlivestats, 2015), how do you find that all important information of academic quality?

Assess the quality, of web-based sources, using our evaluation tips Section 5: Choosing Which Information to Use

Sources beyond the University

Open Access publishing
More and more journal articles are being made freely available online. See Section 10: Open Access and Scholarly Output for more information about Open Access publishing.

Sources containing freely accessible material now include

British Library - The British Library is always worth exploring as they stock every book produced in the UK, many journals and various special collections such as newspapers.

Government - policies, statistics and reports are available via GOV.UK and National Archives.

National and Academic Catalogues - search UK and Irish academic, national & specialist library catalogues through Copac.

Professional or research organisations may provide access to their own specialist libraries, publications or collections. i.e. the Wellcome Library from The Wellcome Trust.

Specialist Portals - subject specific portals such as VADS (online resource for visual arts).

Top Tips for Searching

Truncation - cultur* will return culture and cultural.

Wildcard - wom?n will look for woman or women.

Boolean Logic - link your words together with AND, OR, NOT.

Phrase Searching - "transformational leadership" using ""quotes.

Saving searches - some eresources allow you to save your search history to run again or combine searches in different ways. You will usually need to be logged in to allow this to work.

Subject headings - some eresources assign subject terms to articles to indicate content. Some allow searching by special thesaurus to drill down to the right topic.

Advanced Search Options - look for this option to help control your searching more effectively.

Help screens - check these out to get the best out of the eresource you are visiting.

Snowballing - using references from one article to find other articles. Useful for finding harder to locate materials.

Printed material - acknowledge that not all material is digitised. Use printed indexes too; especially in Arts subjects.

Quick Guide to OneSearch [pdf]

User Guide for OneSearch [pdf]


supporting you

  • The Graduate School offers various workshops and skills development opportunities, including a research summer school programme.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers with research and knowledge base queries.

5. Choosing Which Information to Use

[RDF: A2 Cognitive Abilities]

Choosing which information to use

Not all information is equal and evaluation happens over several overlapping stages.

  1. Inclusion exclusion criteria
  2. Quality of the information source
  3. Critiquing the content


1. Criteria for inclusion or exclusion

You may need to define your own criteria for inclusion or exclusion of information, but they may include:

  • Date (range)
  • Country (data/information may be collected using different methods or criteria)
  • Gender (your data/information may need to be gender specific or gender neutral)
  • Age group
  • Research type
  • Relevance to topic


2. Quality of the information

There are several variations of this around but a basic Who, What, Where, Why, When check makes a good first stage.

  • WHO wrote it? What is their credibility, expertise and reputation?
  • WHAT type of information is it? Review, research, primary source? Is it what you need?
  • WHERE is it published? Academic peer reviewed journal or organisational website?
  • WHY has it been written? For what audience and does it have a bias or agenda?
  • WHEN was it written? Is it the most up to date version? Do you need current information?

iResearch from the University of Sydney does something similar

3. Critiquing the Content

There are various frameworks for critiquing information, ranging from Stella Cottrell’s critical questions to CASPs critical appraisal tools for research.

Find one that works for you and use it as the basis of an annotated bibliography for each source.

You can also code them e.g.

  • A = very relevant
  • C = interesting, may come in useful?

This website has a good explanation of why you would use an annotated bibliography

10 Critical Questions (Based on Cottrell 2013) provides a framework for evaluating your sources:

Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) provides a set of tools for appraising different types of research

Centre for Evidence Based Medicine (CEBM) also provides a set of Critical Appraisal worksheets


Evaluating Websites

supporting you

  • Your supervisor should be able to provide some advice on exclusion criteria and critiquing research methodology.
  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers with evaluation skills.

6. The Legal Bits

[RDF: B1 Personal Effectiveness]

Ownership, IP and Attribution

Part of your responsibilities as a researcher is to act with professional integrity with regard to

  • Copyright
  • Intellectual Property
  • Attribution and Plagiarism

Below are some links to advice and guidance from around the University and beyond. Your supervisor and the Graduate and Research Office will also be able to help out with this topic.

Copyright of your own research

  • Who will own the copyright of any articles or presentations you produce as part of your research - you, the University or the publishers? What about funding bodies? (See the Intellectual Property block below)
  • Check the small print in any negotiations with publishers of journals.
  • Ask your Research Supervisor for advice.

Copyright of other people's work

  • Copying for your own personal study or research is permitted by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 subject to fair dealing. See Fair Dealing Exceptions for more information.

Copyright and Teaching

If you undertake any part time teaching make sure you understand how to legally provide copies of published material to students. Avoid downloading or scanning material yourself and follow these guidelines:

  • Journal Articles (where we have a subscription) - Link to articles using Permalinks (.pdf).
  • Journal Articles (where we have no subscription) - Check terms and conditions of use and provide a permalink where possible.
  • Websites and eresources - Link direct to websites or documents on the internet.
  • Scanned Content (from physical copies) - Use the LiSS scanning service to obtain the digital copy.

Intellectual Property

  • Types of IP are Patents, Trademarks, Design, Copyright and Trade secrets.
  • Copyright is usually automatically applied to works of a creative nature such as art, music, images and original written material.
  • Read our Intellectual Property Rights overview and consider which areas may be applicable to you in your work.
  • Read the University's Intellectual Property Rights Policy (.pdf)
  • The Government provides free training on IP at IPTutor. Choose your general subject area and complete the training to receive a Certificate of Completion.

Attribution / Referencing

As with your undergraduate studies you will need to refer to prior work by other authors and researchers. This information from books, websites, journals and other sources must be acknowledged or 'cited' and included, with full details, in your list of references. If you do not do this correctly, you could be accused of plagiarism.

The majority of subjects, at the University of Cumbria, use the Harvard system of referencing contained within Cite them right. This book is your key to referencing and copies can be found in all of our libraries. It is also free to access electronically at (off campus access requires you to select The University of Cumbria and to login with your normal network credentials).

  • Within your own writing you need to make absolutely sure you attribute any words, concepts or ideas to the creator of the original material.
  • Follow carefully the guidance to be found at Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism for your dissertation submission.
  • For articles to be published in journals follow the publisher's guidelines for referencing.
  • Be careful when using digital material gathered from online forums or discussion groups; that you correctly attribute ideas to the right originator.
  • Use Refworks or equivalent to help you to manage your references effectively. See Section 7: Managing Your Information for more details.
  • Acknowledge any assistance provided when producing you submissions.


Avoiding Plagiarism

The University uses Turnitin, a plagiarism detection and prevention database which will provide feedback to you on the similarity of your work compared with a worldwide collection of resources and previously submitted student work.

We have produced a set of guides for Using Turnitin and Interpretting the Results.

A Turnitin Test Area is provided for you to check your referencing - it is available from the Skills@Cumbria tab in Blackboard.


Useful resources

Download and keep a copy of our Quick Guide to Referencing (.pdf)

supporting you

7. Managing Your Information

[RDF: C2 Research Management]

Record, store and organise everything!

You will be dealing with large amounts of different types of information, from conversations, to literature and data.

You will need systems in place to help you gather, organise, store and locate this information. Hopefully you will already have some existing systems but here are a few suggestions to help.

Information Management Tips

  • Keep a research journal/blog. This gives you somewhere to record what you have done and why, but also those key reflections on the process.
  • Build in weekly time to read what you find - putting it in a folder for later just stores up information overload at a later date.
  • Keep annotated records of all the materials you read.
  • Use Reference management software to store and format your references. See right hand box.
  • Mind mapping can be a useful summarising tool for visual learners.
  • Use a logical naming and dating convention for your files.
  • Data management
  • Ensure confidential information is protected.
  • Create a folder for the final versions of your work - saves trawling through looking for the date last updated
  • Back everything up
  • Make sure you record the publication process - who did you send articles and papers to and when?

Reference Management Software (RMS)

There are a number of Reference Management tools available. They help you to collect, store and correctly format references. The key is to use them at the beginning of your information gathering, as adding references retrospectively is not only tedious, but also presents the possibility of missing out some sources.

The University of Cumbria subscribes to Refworks which is internet based and available FREE to all of our students and alumni. You can use it to import references from most databases as you go along. It imports a link back to the original source, not the pdf but you can manually add them. Use it to create bibliographies from your references, in your preferred style (Cite them Right is available). To register for an account and more information go to:

  • Endnote is another well know programme, but you will need to purchase it.

Other FREE Reference Management Software:

  • Mendely - supports storage of pdfs, but you may have to pay for extra storage.
  • Zotero - available as a browser plugin or standalone software to install on Windows, Mac or Linux

The following pages provide a comparison of the RMS tools described above:




supporting you

  • Your Library and Academic Advisers can provide help and support for researchers using Refworks.
  • Skills@Cumbria in Blackboard offers more information about File Management and Backup Strategies.

8. Research Data Management

[RDF: C2 Research Management]

What is Research Data Management?

Research data management (RDM) is an umbrella term for all aspects of working with research data throughout its lifecycle, from the initial planning, to organising data, and keeping it safe, to sharing data.

Watch the video to find out why it matters?

Benefits of RDM for Researchers

By managing your data well you can:

  • Find and understand it when needed
  • Avoid unnecessary duplication
  • Validate your results if required
  • Ensure your research is visible and has impact
  • Get credit when others cite your work
  • Comply with funder mandates.

Also see How and why you should manage your research data (Jisc)

Activities involved in research data management

  • Data management planning: Writing a brief plan at the start of your project. Many funding applications now require a 'data management plan' (DMP) or similar document.
  • Creating data: What type and format of data you will create and how you will create your data.
  • Documenting data: Providing information to users (and yourself later) to understand your data. Is the file structure/naming understandable to others?
  • Which data will be kept? Which data can be discarded?
  • Accessing / using data: How will you orga nise your data? At least two people should have access to your data.
  • Storage and backup: Storing and saving your data safely and securely during your project.
  • Sharing data: Making your data publicly available (where possible) at the end of your project. Are you expected / allowed to share your data?
  • Preserving data: How will you preserve your data after the end of your project?

Research Date Management (2014) University of Edinburgh. Available at:!/fileManager/ResearchDataManagement.pdf (Accessed 07/01/2015)

Data Storage, Security and Confidentiality


Making back-ups of files is an essential element of data management. Regular back-ups protect against accidental or malicious data loss and can be used to restore originals if there is loss of data.


JISC provides very comprehensive guidance on all aspects of Data Protection and Research Data which is also includes a section about Data Security. In short - keep all of your data secure and never carry it around on an unencrypted pendrive!


Much research data about people—even sensitive data—can be shared ethically and legally if researchers employ strategies of informed consent, anonymisation and controlling access to data.


Useful Resources

Digital Curation Centre (DCC) -Aims to promote expertise and good practice for the management of all research outputs in digital format. The Digital Curation Centre also supports a tool - DMPonline - to help you create, store and export your Data Management.

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9. Disseminating your Scholarly Outputs

[RDF: D2 Communication and Dissemination]

Publishing Your Work

Publishing your work is an essential part of research life. By publishing you contribute to knowledge in your subject area and also raise your academic profile.

Where to publish?

  • Journal articles – choose an appropriate journal.
    • Scholarly journals are mostly peer-reviewed to assist quality and are one of the main modes of formal scholarly and scientific communication.
    • If you want your journal article or conference paper to be considered for the next REF you must choose a journal that allows open access publishing. Publisher policies on copyright and self-archiving can be checked using SHERPA/ROMEO
    • Journals differ widely in scope, topic and perspective, usually with different emphasis on methodological, theoretical or topical aspects within a given field of research.
    • Your research coordinator, supervisor, or other senior colleagues, will often have the experience to be able to differentiate between the journals within the same subject.
    • You may wish to consider high impact/ highly cited journals in the field (see Section 11: Measuring Research Impact)
  • Books (monographs and anthologies)
    • Which publisher to choose? Again consult with your research supervisor or Library and Academic Advisers who will offer advice.
    • You might decide to revise your dissertation or thesis to published monograph or write a monograph separate from the dissertation
    • You might contribute a chapter to an anthology or edited book
    • If you are contributing to an anthology, you probably do not have to worry about choosing a publisher. It may be good to identify a book series that is likely to have an impact in your field.
  • Open access repositories.
    • Insight – see the Insight information on this page.
  • Online networking.
    • Sharing your research online is becoming more and more important, and participating in online networks or blogging may provide good feedback and help you develop ideas.
    • Social media can help you stay in touch with peers globally. An increasing number of scientists use Twitter or similar services to share thoughts and ideas.
    • Some Research networks:


An effective way to get your journal articles, conference papers or other research outputs seen by the research community and beyond is to deposit your outputs in Insight - the University of Cumbria's Institutional Repository.

What is Insight?

Insight is a repository which aims to capture and preserve the intellectual output of the University of Cumbria and make it freely available over the Web. Its contents are discoverable via Google scholar searches and the global directory of open access repositories - OpenDOAR

Why should I deposit my scholarly outputs in Insight?

A number of recent studies have clearly demonstrated that making research open access increases the number of times it is cited.

In line with the University's Open Access Policy and to be eligible for the 2020 REF(Research Excellence Framework) you must use Insight to deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript of journal articles and published conference proceedings as soon as they have been accepted by the publisher.

Journal Article Document versions explained

In most cases you won't be permitted to upload the final publisher's Version of Record (VoR) into Insight. Please check the publisher's policy. A detailed analysis of publisher policies for each journal can be found at the SHERPA/RoMEO website.Usually you will deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) post-print.

Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) aka Postprint

Many publishers are willing to allow the author's accepted manuscript to be deposited in a repository. The AAM is the version that has been submitted to the publisher, peer reviewed, and subsequently amended by the author in line with recommendations. The AAM is usually identical to the version that will appear in the journal but without the publisher's layout and formatting (over which the publisher retains copyright). It is therefore essential that researchers retain the AAM so that a copy can be deposited in Insight, where this is permitted.

Publisher's Version of Record (VoR)

The publisher's version of record of a paper is the version that appears in a journal including the publisher's in-house formatting, layout and fonts, etc., as well as bibliographic details at the top or bottom of the page. Typically, publishers own copyright of the layout and formatting, and are very reluctant to allow the VoR to be deposited in a repository.



supporting you

10. Open Access and Scholarly Output

[RDF: D2 Communication and Dissemination]

What is Open Access in relation to Scholarly Output?

Open Access (OA)is the term used to denote that research and scholarly materials should be discoverable and available in a manner allowing unrestricted access.

Watch the video to find out why it matters to you and the university?


Benefits of OA for Researchers

  • Increased visibility of research and researchers, reaching new audiences
  • Increased impact: OA research is cited more frequently
  • Creation of new collaborative opportunities and exchange of knowledge
  • Public good: sharing scholarship and intellectual wealth
  • Compliance with funder mandates (e.g. RCUK, Horizon 2020 and Wellcome Trust)
  • Compliance with recent HEFCE requirements for post-2014 REF

Useful resources

How do I make my research OA?

Open access publishing is achieved by two main ways:

Gold - This means publishing in a way that allows immediate access to everyone free of charge. Publishers can recoup their costs through a number of mechanisms, including through payments from authors called article processing charges (APCs).

Green - This means depositing the authors accepted manuscript (AAM) in an electronic archive called a repository. Insight is the name of the University of Cumbria's institutional repository.

The University favours open access via the green route unless there are specific reasons why this is not feasible. For more information please refer to the University of Cumbria's Open Access Policy.

View our Open Access Publishing resource to see the process path for Open Access publication.

Where can I Self-archive my Research Outputs?

Insight aims to capture and preserve the intellectual output of the University of Cumbria and make it freely available over the Web.


In line with the University's Open Access Policy and to comply with the HEFCE Open Access Policy for the 2020 REF you must use Insight to deposit the author accepted manuscript of journal articles and published conference proceedings as soon as they have been accepted by the publisher.

How can I Self-archive my Research Outputs?

A guide to depositing in Insight can be found here:

Please contact your LiSS Library and Academic Adviser for further support.

See the separate Open Access and Scholarly Output online guide for more details.



supporting you

11. Bibliometrics (Journal Impact Factors)

[RDF: D3 Engagement and Impact]

What is Bibliometrics?

The Research Councils UK (RCUK) defines Bibliometrics (Research Impact) as 'the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy'.

Bibliometrics can be measured in many ways, both qualitative and quantitative, to evaluate research for funding, management and marketing purposes.

Watch the video to find out more.


Why does Measuring Journal Impact Matter?

  • Impact data of publications is being used to support decision making by some Research Excellence Framework (REF) panels.
  • These are also used in some international league tables of universities.
  • They can be used as part of CVs and/or funding applications.


Useful resources

How is Journal Impact measured?

Bibliometrics is the term used to describe the quantitative analysis of research publications and citations, and is one way in that the research impact of a publication, research group or individual can be measured. These measures are used alongside qualitative measures such as peer review.

Citation Analysis - Many services use citation data to calculate metrics. Figures will vary depending on the coverage of each service or database. Typically Google Scholarhas a broader coverage, whereas Web of Science is more selective.

Journal Metrics - Impact factors tell us how much impact a specific journal has on the community, by analysing how many times articles published in that journal are cited by others. Journals will usually display their impact factor score prominently on their home page.

Journal Impact Factors in the Journal Citation Reports database ranks journals using citation data from ISI Citation Indexes in the Web of Knowledge based on the previous 2 years.

Eigenfactor score aims to measure total influence by the use of an algorithm which includes the Journal Impact Factor but excludes journal self-citations.

SCImago Journal Rank (based on Scopus data) expresses the number of weighted citations in the selected year by documents published in the three previous years.

Google Scholar metrics provide journal ranks based on the h-index over the last 5 years, categorised by language or discipline.

Personal or author metrics - Find citations per year and average citations per article for authors in Web of Science. The H-index is one of the tools which measures the impact an individual person is having on the community. A scholar with an index of h has published h papers, each of which has been cited by others at least h times. Google Scholar profiles show citations per year for individual authors.

Article level metrics - Find citation counts for individual articles from Web of Science,Google Scholar and publishers' websites.

Alternative metrics - Altmetrics is an emerging field of research impact analysis which goes beyond using citation data from a selection of peer-reviewed journals to include the data that is generated from the social web when people share links, add bookmarks, download articles or blog about research. Altmetrics also track the attentions received by other 'research outputs', such as data, posters, presentations, websites and so on.



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The following references list has been divided into the PRISM sections to enabled easier navigation and discovery.

A reading list has been created for all academic sources within this resource.

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Vitae (2012) Information literacy lens on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework using the SCONUL Seven Pillars of Information Literacy. Available at: (Accessed: 16 July 2015)

Self Evaluation

CILIP (2012) Information Literacy Skills. Available at: (Accessed: 26 June 2015)

1. Getting Started

uoesps (2012) What advice would you give to a new PhD student? Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

British Library (2015) EThOS e-theses online service. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015). (2015) Academic output online service. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

Mewburn, Dr I. (2015) The Thesis Whisperer. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

2. Planning

Research Data Services (2015) Planning Your Research. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

3. Context

ASK Brighton (2013) Postgraduate Study Advice. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

theguardian (2015) How to get published in an academic journal. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

PhD2Published (2015) Academic Publishing Advice For First Timers. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

4a. Information Seeking [Part One]

Griffith University (2013) Systematically searching for papers. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

U.S. National Library of Medicine (2015) Medical Subject Headings. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

JISC (2015) Zetoc: The monitoring and search service for global research publications. Available from: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

TicTocs (2015) JournalTOCs Where researchers keep up-to-date. Available from: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

4b. Information Seeking [Part Two]

Internetlivestats (2015) Total number of websites. Available at: (Accessed: 24 June 2015)

Turzynski, E. (2013) Finding journal articles. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

Google Inc. (2015) Google Scholar. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

University of Cumbria (2015) Insight. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

CORE (2015) COnnecting REpositories. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

DOAJ (2015) Directory of Open Access Journals. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

ResearchGate (2015) Advance your research. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

JISC (2015) UK and Irish academic, national and specialist library catalogues. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

Wellcome Trust (2015) The library at Wellcome Collection. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

VADS (2015) the online resource for visual arts. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

5. Choosing Which Information to Use

University of Sydney (2015) iResearch: information skills for life. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

Australian National University (2014) Writing an annotated bibliography. Available at (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

CASP (2013) Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

CEBM (2014) Critical Appraisal Tools. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

6. The Legal Bits

University of Cumbria (2015) Fair Dealing Exceptions. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Intellectual Property Rights Overview. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Intellectual Property Rights Policy. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

UK IPO (2015) IPTutor. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

Pears, R and Shield, G. (2014) Cite Them Right Online. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Refworks. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Using Turnitin and Interpretting the Results. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

7. Managing Your Information

EricSandersTech (2013) Windows 7 File Management and Organization. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

UNC Health Sciences Library (2015) Comparison of reference management software features. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

UC Berkeley Library Web (2015) Endnote, Refworks, Zotero, Mendeley Help. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015)

8. Research Data Management

NYU Health Sciences Library (2013) Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

UK Data Archive (2015) Create and Manage Data. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

JISCLegal (2014) Data Protection and Research Data: Questions and Answers. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2015)

UK Data Archive (2015) Managing and sharing data: a best practice guide for researchers. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

DCC (2015) Digital Curation Centre. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

University of Edinburgh (2014) Research Date Management. Available at:!/fileManager/ResearchDataManagement.pdf (Accessed 07/01/2015)

9. Disseminating your Scholarly Ouputs

University of Cumbria (2015) Insight. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

OpenDOAR (2014) The Directory of Open Access Repositories. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

OpCit (2013) The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

hefce (2014) Research Excellence Framework. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

University of Nottingham (2015) SHERPA/RoMEO Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

10. Open Access and Scholarly Output

Jisc (2011) Why is Open Access important to your organisation? Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

hefce (2014) Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

University of Cumbria (2015) Open Access and Scholarly Output. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015)

11. Measuring Research Impact

RCUK (2015) Research Councils UK. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

MyRI (2011) Bibliometrics for the Individual. Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2015).

MyRI (2015) An Open Access toolkit to support bibliometrics training and awareness. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

MyRI (2015) Measuring your Research Impact Tutorial. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

Altmetric (2015) Discover the online impact of your intellectual output. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

Eigenfactor (2015) Eigenfactor Scholarly Publishing Projects. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

Scimago Lab (2015) Scimago Journal Rank. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

Google Inc. (2015) Google Scholar Metrics. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

Google Inc. (2015) Google Scholar Citations. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015). (2015) altmetrics: a manifesto. Available at: (Accessed: 22 July 2015).

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