Search for studies by exact classification on Gateway to Research

Searching for Research Council and Innovate UK’s funded studies on the publicly accessible website, Gateway to Research, has now become easier thanks to a new filter feature.

Once users have searched for their topic of interest, they can now filter their result by its exact classification (research topic, health categories and RCUK programmes).

The new function can be found under the new ‘Classifications’ tab, which also enables users to search for MRC-funded studies filtered by health categories, and all other funders’ (except Innovate UK and NC3Rs) projects by research topic and RCUK programme classification data (Newton and GCRF).

The ability to search for classifications has been provided to give an insight into grants that are from similar areas that may be of interest to the user, however, care should be taken if using these classifications for comparative analysis purposes as the source, coverage and level of usage of the classifications varies significantly across the Gateway to Research funders.

To keep updated with new changes on Gateway to Research and how they work, see the ‘Release History’ page which can be found in the top blue navigation bar.

We would like to hear what you think about the new Classification tab so please send your feedback to us using

Ability to select and download multi-facet information on Gateway to Research

A new functionality has just been released in Gateway to Research which allows users to select and download multiple facets from the same category and across different categories. This is achieved by making a selection from the options listed within each category and clicking on the ‘Apply filter’ button at the top of the page. This will return the numbers for the selections that have information against them. Further refining can be done to the existing selection if the user requires more exact information by clicking on mire options and using the Apply Filter button. To begin a new search against the entire data within a tab, click on the ‘Clear All’ button and this will return the user to the complete data set for that tab. A useful guide on how this works can be found here

We will appreciate your comments on how useful this new functionality is so please send your feedback to

Building a new grants service

By Sarah Townsend, Head of Grants Policy – This article originally appeared in The Protagonist.

It’s a feeling we have all experienced when using online services. It is that feeling of frustration caused by the fact that the system is too clunky, the screen is too cluttered, we are being asked too many questions or we have had to enter data multiple times. I’m sure that people have felt that way when applying to the Research Councils for a grant and that’s something we want to tackle.

Research Councils are in the midst of a major project to redesign our grants service. This is not only a great opportunity to replace our outdated technology but we are also using the opportunity to look at the way we do grant funding across Research Councils and ask ourselves what could we do better. Where can we make things simpler? Are there ways to make our policies and processes more streamlined? We want to improve the service for applicants and other users, both internal and external.


Our current grants system – the joint electronic submission service (Je-S) – is reaching the end of its useful life and we know that researchers love it and hate it in equal measures. Ahead for its time when it was introduced, it is now like a well-worn and well-loved pair of slippers – we know that it will be a wrench for some when our new service comes online.

The good news is that the new service will enable us to deliver some really important improvements for the community such as greater interoperability with research organisations’ systems. Within the Higher Education sector there are many systems and data that, at the moment, do not communicate with each other. This means that information cannot flow through these different systems and users have to enter the same information multiple times.

The new grants service will push us farther forward by helping us achieve a more connected infrastructure and cut inefficiencies for everyone using the service. In future, we want to be able to reuse information that already exists in other systems wherever possible to reduce the amount of time applicants spend filling in a grant application. We also want to have simpler guidance and only ask for information that we actually need.


The new grants service is being developed with user needs at the front of everyone’s minds. To give you some insight into how this works, the user research team has been finding out what users like you want the grants service to do. They have spoken to applicants, peer reviewers, panel members, research organisation administrators and Research Council staff. Then they tell the service designers what they discovered. The service designers are bringing these users’ needs to life throughout the user journey).

Moreover, whilst the grants service will be hosted on the domain, the screens are based on the platform. Therefore, the new grants service will look and feel a lot like this platform. If you have taxed your vehicle or shared your driving license information in the last few years, chances are you will have already used a gov.

uk service, and like applying to tax your vehicle, we expect the new grants service to be very intuitive to use. Hopefully, you will feel right at home.

Also, we have great news for applicants applying to Research Councils and Innovate UK: we are developing a single unified grants service! This means you have a very similar experience when applying to both organisations.


A panel of government digital service assessors recently reviewed the project and has given us a pass on the alpha stage. So what does that mean? During the alpha stage of the project the team built prototypes to meet some key user needs and iterated those through user feedback. They also scoped what the end-to-end service would look like.

So what’s next? Having passed this assessment the team can now progress into the beta stage. In this stage the team will extend those early prototypes into a full end-to-end prototype and test with users. Initially, this will be a private beta, which means that access will be restricted rather than available to all. The aim is to be able to run a small number of funding opportunities through the new service in 2017 and to have transitioned fully in 2018. Throughout the development we will continue to test with users. The work is done in very small chunks with continual iteration based on the feedback received. If you want to know more you can sign up to our mailing list and check out the information available on the RCUK website www.rcuk.



Researchers can now create or connect their ORCID identifier in the Research Councils’ grants system (Je-S)

By Sarah Townsend, Research Funding Analyst, RCUK Executive Directorate.

An ORCID identifier (ORCID iD) is a unique string of numbers (a digital identifier) that distinguishes you from every other researcher – when a name isn’t enough! Letting researchers create or connect their ORCID iD to our grants system is an important first step towards improving the flow of research information across the higher education sector. ORCID offers a platform for researchers to capture your scholarly activities throughout your careers even if you change name, publish under different variations of your name, move institutions, or switch fields. This helps you get exposure and recognition for your work. Increasingly it will also be a tool to link and re-use research information unambiguously across multiple systems whether that’s for funders, publishers or your university. Initiatives like Crossref’s new auto-update functionality is automating the process, so ultimately this will save everyone time – in particular, researchers – as well as minimizing the risk of errors.

There is no need to wait until you are applying for a new grant to create or connect your iD – we would encourage both current and past award holders to log-in to their Je-S account, which you can do at any time, and add your ORCID iD to your ‘personal information’ page now. New applicants you will also see the option to ‘create or connect your ORCID iD’ when creating a new Je-S account. And don’t worry – if you don’t currently have an ORCID iD, you can also sign up for one from the Je-S system. The basic registration takes about 30 seconds, including adding your ORCID iD to your Je-S account at the same time – and it’s completely free.

Did you know that well over two million researchers worldwide already have an ORCID iD and that many UK universities have now integrated ORCID iDs in their research information systems? In addition, many publishers now require you to include your ORCID iD in new article submissions and several funders now ask for your ORCID iD when you apply for a grant. So now is a great time to sign up to ORCID if you haven’t already done so and connect your ORCID iD to your Je-S account.

“A researcher’s view

“Many journals are already asking authors to include their ORCID iD in new submissions and funders such as Research Councils have also begun to ask researchers to include their ORCID iD when applying for grants. As a researcher there are many benefits to having an ORCID iD. Through my ORCID iD, I can recognise and collate a diverse range of research outputs (e.g. journal publications, datasets, designs, equipment, methods, computer code) which are uniquely identifiable to me. This helps my work be accurately and quickly discovered, increasing its ready availability as a result of the open access systems we use (e.g. NORA). Importantly, this also improves the scientific traceability of my research, linking together different research outputs and datasets when archived in different places. The extent to which my research outputs have been used by other researchers can be more accurately demonstrated using platforms such as ResearchGate and Google Scholar, improving my research profile and helping me better demonstrate the impact of my research activities. An ORCID iD and QR code on business cards is also a quick and easy way for new contacts to readily reach my research profile, promoting collaboration opportunities and new science ideas.”        

 Dr Matthew Horstwood has been working as a researcher for over 18 years and is currently employed at the British Geological Survey. He has been talking to other researchers at BGS about the benefits of ORCID and has used his ORCID profile to capture over 80 works he has authored or contributed to going back as far as 1999, as well as grants he has received and his employment history.


Gateway to Research Individual Outcome Search functionality

It is now possible to search for individual outcome information within Gateway to Research via the main search field on the homepage. This will return a list of single outcome results on a page similar to the existing tabs i.e. Projects, Publications, People and Organisations. So when a keyword is entered into the search field, the results page will now include a new tab called ‘Outcomes’ after the ‘Organisations’ tab. This will show the number of occurrences of the respective keyword/s which a user has typed in across the system.

Similar to other pages in Gateway to Research, the result page can be refined using the list of options available down the right hand side of the page. Clicking on the ‘Outcomes’ tab will return the user to their previous filter setting again similar to other pages.

The new page will display the outcome type, the attributing project title, the funder, the attributing project abstract and the information submitted in Researchfish.

The search result displays instances of the keyword that has occurred within a set number of default and non-default fields.

It is not yet possible to download the individual outcomes information a CSV document, this capability will be delivered at a later date. However Outcome information is available within the APIs.

Debating Open Access in India

By Andrew Telford, Senior Programme Manager, RCUK India

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an interesting interactive seminar hosted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Library and Information Centre, on open access policy in India. The aim of the seminar was to discuss the challenges, opportunities and benefits of designing and implementing an open access policy in regards to publically-funded science research at a national level.

Presentations underway at Looking Back and Moving Forward: Open Access Movement at the Crossroads

Presentations underway at Looking Back and Moving Forward: Open Access Movement at the Crossroads

Research Councils UK began implementing a new and comprehensive RCUK Policy on Open Access in April 2013, with the introduction of block grants to eligible Universities to cover costs of article processing charges (APCs). This policy was subject to an independent review – released in March 2015, on which I was asked to provide a presentation for the audience of TERI’s seminar outlining the good progress made so far and the remaining challenges.

The seminar, entitled ‘Looking Back and Moving Forward: Open Access Movement at the Crossroads’ began with an opening address from Mr Prabir Sengupta, Director of TERI’s Knowledge Management Division and presentations from Dr PK Bhattacharya and Ms Shailly Kedia on TERI’s open access initiatives. This was followed by an address from Mr Denis Dambois, Head of Research and Innovation, European Union India explaining the EU’s policies for promoting open access to research. A presentation from Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan highlighted the creation of a fascinating new open access platform, Sahapedia, due to be fully operational by November 2015 and contain documents and media in a variety of formats cataloguing Indian culture and heritage. Finally, an informative presentation from Dr T Mohan, advisor to Department of Biotechnology explained the Open Access Policy currently adopted by both the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Biotechnology.

After a brief break for networking and of course refreshments of chai, the panel discussion on Open Access: Policies and Future Directions began.

Open Access: Policies and Future Directions Panel. (L-R) Dr. Anindya Chatterjee, Prof. Uma Kanjlal, Dr. Neeta Verma, Mr. Andrew Telford and Mr. Sanjiv Goswami

Open Access: Policies and Future Directions Panel. (L-R) Dr. Anindya Chatterjee, Prof. Uma Kanjlal, Dr. Neeta Verma, Mr. Andrew Telford and Mr. Sanjiv Goswami

Chaired by Dr Neeta Verma, Deputy Director General of the National Informatics Centre, the Panel members Professor Uma Kanjlal, IGNOU, Dr Anindya Chatterjee, IDRC, Mr Sanjiv Goswami, Springer India and I discussed models and mechanisms which have been implemented to assist Open Access – from research publication to massive open online courses. It was very interesting to see the breadth of ideas being circulated as well as the priorities for supporting open access, with DST and DBT’s policies geared towards allowing   6-month embargos whereas RCUK’s preference is for open access publication in the first instance (through APCs).

There was strong agreement throughout the day that not only is open access becoming increasingly feasible due to ease of information accessibility through new technologies but also that it must be a core aim for publically-funded science to assist maximum economic and societal returns. The fact that India is engaged in the open access debate is exciting because facilitating the sharing of research will lead to the development of even more new and exciting ideas, and create new possibilities for collaboration between researchers in the UK and India.

TERI’s summation from the seminar can be found here.

What has changed in the guidance for the RCUK Policy on Open Access?

Yesterday afternoon we published the latest version of the guidance for the revised RCUK policy on Open Access.  This version incorporates all of the comments that we received from the short call for input that we ran during March, asking for comments on where the guidance needed to be further clarified.  For all but the eagle eyed, it might be difficult to see where the changes have been made so this blog post is to provide a very brief overview of what the changes are.

Probably the biggest addition is the creation of a separate Frequently Asked Questions document.  As I was analysing the comments that we received, it quickly became obvious that a lot of the points people were making were questions of detail that would be difficult to weave in to the guidance.  The FAQ allows these questions to be clearly asked in a way that we hope will be helpful to others.  It is our intention to continue to update this as other questions are raised. We will make clear in the document what these additions (or changes) are..

One of the most high profile additions to the guidance that we were asked for was, through Stephen Curry’s blog and subsequent letter, clarification that journal impact factors are not taken in to account when the Research Councils make funding decisions.  A statement to this effect has been added to the “Key Points to Note” section.

Throughout all of our communications around the revised RCUK policy we have tried to be clear that the policy supports a mixed approach to Open Access and it really is down to the author and their research organisation where they publish.  This message is one that does not seem to have been clearly communicated and, once again, we have tried to clarify this in both the guidance document and the FAQ.

We have tried to describe more about the shape of the review in 2014, and confirm that there will be subsequent reviews as needed, but likely to be 2016 and 2018.  As we are early in the thinking around the review, it is difficult for us to put down concrete details; indeed we may have suggestions from stakeholders we are continuing to work with, as the policy is implemented. However, we have added some of the issues suggested to the list we already had for areas for the review to focus on, including those highlighted by the House of Lords S&T Committee.  We also agree that the review should be as independent as possible and include representation from the various stakeholder groups.  We will take this forward as the review is planned.

Another section that we have tried to strengthen and expand is section 3.14.  Previously this had focussed purely on monitoring but it has now been renamed to reflect the fact that, in the initial stages at least, it is more likely to be focussed on collecting evidence for the 2014 review.  We have tried to give as much detail as possible in this section around the sort of information we envisage we will need to collect; however, as the project we are conducting with RIN around best practice will also look at the best ways that we can collect these data, we don’t want to pre-empt the suggestions that come from that.

Many of the other changes have been to tighten up the language and phraseology used within the document for clarity.  We have also, hopefully, ironed out some of the inconsistencies in the document that had crept in during drafting.  We really are very grateful to those who spent time going through the document and for the constructive comments that were submitted.  They were very helpful and we have tried to incorporate as many as possible.  There were some comments that referred to fundamental aspects of the policy itself which we will continue to discuss with the various stakeholder groups and will be reflected on during next year’s review.  The FAQ will continue to develop as further questions are asked and, if there are things that are still unclear, then I would encourage you to get in contact so that we can help.

RCUK Open Access Policy – Our Preference for Gold

In this blog post I want to outline the reasons why ‘Gold’ is the preferred route for Open Access for the Research Councils.

Our overall philosophy on Open Access is underpinned by four key principles, first detailed in our 2005 position statement on Access to Research Outputs.  These principles are around Accessibility, Quality, Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness, and Long-term Preservation.

The first of our four key principles is that the ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable.  It is this principle which is at the heart of our preference for Gold.

The scope of this principle is around ‘public use’, which covers many more potential users than just those within the research community.  Many of these users, and I am aware that there will be exceptions to this, are not familiar with how research papers are produced and distributed, and will not understand the subtle differences between pre-prints, post-prints and the publisher’s version of a paper.  Our concern is to ensure that all users have access to the highest quality version of a paper, and for us the most effective way of doing that is for a user to have access to the published version on a journal web site.  If a user wants to read a paper from Nature, the best way to ensure they are reading the definitive version is to read the version available from the Nature web site.  Gold delivers this universal access to the published version of the paper.

For us ‘use’ means much more than just being able to read research papers – it means having the ability to re-use and exploit research papers in the widest possible sense – be that text and data mining to advance new areas of research, to re-presenting collections of research papers in particular areas, to mashing together elements of research papers with other information to create new information products.  With maximal openness and accessibility, comes maximal opportunity to exploit, and thus maximal opportunity for innovation.  And from innovation comes growth, and benefit to the UK as a whole.  Gold delivers this maximal openness and opportunity for innovation through the CC-BY licence which we require where we pay an APC.

Widely’ means that access to the research outputs we fund must not be limited to those who can afford to pay for subscriptions, or for copies of articles from a journal’s web site.  Hence they should be available without cost.  Gold delivers free access for all users.

Rapidly’ means that articles should be available as soon as they are published, or with a minimum delay.  Gold delivers immediate access on publication with no embargo period.

Effectively’ means that the systems used to provide access must be straightforward for all users, and should be scalable and sustainable.  In the long-term, Gold with payment of APCs will provide a scalable and sustainable solution, to cover the costs of publishing, especially for the learned societies who are key members of the UK research community.  Gold is also straightforward for users – if you want a copy of a paper you go to a journal web site, rather than having to search a repository, and then possibly wait whilst you contact the author to request a copy.  It is also not clear to me how scalable a ‘request a copy’ or ‘Almost-OAfunction is for papers in high public demand.  An author might be happy to email copies to a few researchers, but what happens when they get 10’s or 100’s or 1000’s of requests from interested members of the public?

Basically, our preference for Gold can be summarised as we want to make the outputs of the research we fund accessible at the highest quality to the widest number of people, to do the widest range of stuff with, with the least restrictions.  We consider that, at the current time, Gold with CC-BY direct from a journal’s web site provides the route for ensuring that the papers arising from the research we fund are accessible to the widest number of users to meet this preference.

Questions about our Open Access policy?  Please email

RCUK Open Access Policy – When to go Green and When to go Gold

Yesterday I took part in the Imperial College Science Communication Forum event ‘discussing’ the new RCUK Policy on Access to Research Outputs with Stephen Curry (Imperial College) and Richard Van Noorden (Nature News) – though after two hours under the spotlight, for me it felt a little more like a ‘grilling’ than a discussion 😉  However, many thanks to the SciCommForum team for the invitation to present our policy in more detail and to have the opportunity to discuss issues around the interpretation and implementation of the policy.  One of the things I committed to do was to update the guidance to the policy to be very clear about the choices RCUK funded authors can make in terms of which routes they must use to make their research papers open access.  I want to use this blog post to reiterate the policy clarifications I gave at the SciCommForum event, and previously at the Open Access Publishers Association Meeting.

Our policy requires that peer reviewed research papers which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the Research Councils must be published in journals which are compliant with Research Council policy on Open Access.

A journal is compliant with our policy if it provides Gold OA using the CC-BY licence, and RCUK will provide funds to institutions to cover payment of APCs.  However, if a journal is not prepared to offer a Gold CC-BY option, it can achieve compliance by offering a specific Green option which must meet the following requirements.  It must allow, at a minimum, the accepted manuscript with all changes resulting from peer-review, to be deposited in a repository without restrictions on non-commercial re-use and with a maximum embargo period of 6 months.  For a limited transition period the maximum embargo period is extended to 12 months for papers arising from research funded by the AHRC and the ESRC.  This is in recognition that journals in these areas are not yet as well placed to move to an OA model.

So what does this mean for authors?  If the journal they want to publish in only offers policy compliance through a Gold route, they must use that journal’s Gold option.  If the journal only offers compliance through the Green route, the author must ensure that a copy of the post-print is deposited in an appropriate repository – for example, UKPMC for papers arising from MRC funded research.  If the journal offers both a Gold and a Green route to compliance (and some journals already do this), it is up to the author and their institution to decide on the most appropriate route to use.  And, if a journal offers neither a Green nor a Gold compliant route, it is not eligible to take RCUK funded work, and the author must use a different, compliant, journal.

The Research Councils are not anti-Green and support a dual approach for delivering OA.  However, we do have a strong preference for Gold, and I will explain why in my next blog post.  And, where there is a choice between compliant-Green and compliant-Gold – either through a journal offering both routes to compliance, or through using different journals offering different compliance routes – it is up to authors and their institutions to work together to make the choice as to which option to use.

Questions about our Open Access policy?  Please email

An audio recording of the Imperial College discussion is available on FigShare.

The benefits of Open Access

Astrid Wissenburg, Deputy Chair of RCUK Impact Group and RCUK representative on the Finch Group, and Mark Thorley, Chair of the RCUK Research Outputs Network, explain why open access is so high up the agenda for Research Councils.

Just over a month ago Research Councils UK launched a new Open Access policy. One of the key drivers for making published journal articles freely available through open access mechanisms is the potential it offers to the research community (and beyond) to mash, mine and mix information and knowledge..  This provides real opportunities to substantially further the progress of research and innovation. 

Professor Douglas Kell, RCUK Champion for Research and Information Management and CEO of the BBSRC, is well known for arguing the importance of open access to undertake exiting and ground breaking research through text and data mining. His blog gives many examples such as genome-based metabolic network reconstruction, text mining for systems biology, and pulling together disparate literatures and synthesising inductive knowledge in pharmacokinetics, medicine and toxicology. 

Beyond the Research Councils, Professor Peter Murray Rust, in his manifesto on Open Mining of Scholarship, notes that the lack of support for text mining stifles the imagination of the wider community and can lead to bad policy decisions through the lack of full use of scientific literature. The Value and Benefits of Text Mining report, commissioned by JISC , highlights that one of the barriers to overcome is providing unrestricted access to information sources.

It is this need for unrestricted access, allowing full use and re-use, which is one of the reasons why the Research Councils, along with the Wellcome Trust, are advocating the use of a Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ license (CC-BY). The CC-BY licence allows others to modify, build upon and/or distribute the licensed work, including for commercial purposes, as long as the original author is credited.  Crucially, CC-BY licensed works can be deposited in repositories with no further restrictions on access or re-use. Combine this with requiring immediate access where this is possible, if necessary through paying an open access fee, and we have some of the critical building blocks to fundamentally speed up the scientific and research process.

Murray Rust also notes that text mining is a major tool in data review. and the important role it plays in validating science. A key requirement of the new RCUK policy is that peer reviewed research papers, resulting from Council funded research must include a statement on how the underlying research materials such as data, samples or models can be accessed. This requirement has been included with the specific aim of making the work funded by the Research Councils more open, and so more accountable, both to other scientists and to the wider public.  This supports recommendations made in the recent Royal Society report on Science as an Open Enterprise to improve the conduct of science, respond to changing public expectations and political culture and to enable researchers to maximise the impact of their research. 

Whilst the requirement for a statement does not imply that the supporting data etc must always be Open Access, researchers must be clear about what supporting information can be made available, and how this can be accessed.  Researchers will also need to be equally clear about what it is not possible to make available including the reasons why.  For example, it is often not possible to make data relating to human subjects openly available because of issues relating to consent and confidentiality.

Implementing this requirement will be the responsibility of both researchers and their host institutions.  Researchers will need to think about openness as they plan and undertake research.  Institutions will need to develop an open data culture, and the necessary infrastructure and skills to support this. 

Institutional and subject repositories are expected to form a key element of that infrastructure by providing a secure, and accessible, home for the data, models and other information underlying a research paper.  They will not be suitable for all material, for example physical samples, however, they can provide a primary repository for a lot of the material, and by holding copies of the associated papers, provide the linkages between the paper and the underlying materials. This is also one of the recommendations of the Finch report Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications.  By doing so, institutional and subject repositories, containing ‘green’ and ‘gold’ materials can be an essential facilitator of text and data mining.  By supporting both gold and green open access, the Research Councils ensure further opportunities for repositories to develop this role.

Launching the new policy is not an end to the work that the Research Councils have been engaged in since launching their first joint statement on open access in 2005.  We are, in conversation with researchers and institutions, in the process of developing the operational details of the policy and will share the details as quickly as they become available. This is a fast moving area of research policy which, as major funders of research in the UK, we have a duty to ensure provides the best possible opportunity to the UK research base.