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The Knowledge Exchange has published its first book with contributions from Jisc and other experts in the field of open scholarship. The book - Open Scholarship and the Need for Collective Action - aims to better understand challenges to make scholarship more open.

The authors look at the stakeholders and their interactions and networks, concluding that collective action approaches and establishment of a supportive infrastructure are key for a successful transition to open scholarship.

The publication was created through the 'booksprint' method, a way of writing a book collaboratively in only a short period of time.

Frank Manista, European open science manager and representing Jisc at the Knowledge Exchange said:

"We're pleased that Jisc, and specifically Neil Jacobs, has been a part of this ground-breaking book that has come to fruition through collaboration and support from European institutions and experts. It works to paint a more comprehensive picture of how to realise the full potential of openness."

The book addresses various perspectives offered in the Knowledge Exchange Open Scholarship Framework which was created in 2017 to highlight the changes occurring in scholarly communications.  

The Knowledge Exchange is a partnership that brings together six key national organisations within Europe; CSC in Finland, CNRS in France, SURF in the Netherlands, Jisc in the UK, DFG in Germany and DAFSHE in Denmark. They aim to develop infrastructure and services to enable the use of digital technologies to improve higher education and research.

Join us in Newcastle next month for the annual Jisc security conference 2019. Under the theme "discovering the next generation of cyber security, together", delegates will explore emerging trends and threats to the education sector.

The two-day event provides a networking opportunity and a safe space to engage in frank and open conversations on sensitive topics, secure in the knowledge that all information released will stay in the confines of the conference. The sessions cover core topics, including:

  • Governance
  • Compliance
  • Regulation
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Threat intelligence

Highlights this year include...

1. A chance to double up - Make the most of your stay in Newcastle by joining one of Jisc's training courses the day before at the same venue - and conference delegates get a 10% discount. The courses cover hands-on incident response training, and penetration testing. Or if you are interested in security information and event management (SIEM) then the Splunk education user group is also on nearby.

2. Digital pro? Keynote speaker Bernadette John explains how to protect reputation and employees by educating staff about Digital Professionalism best practice and providing clear guidelines and codes of practice.

3. Push for change - Learn how Leeds Beckett University planned and delivered a project to improve its IT and cyber security practice and culture.

4. Safety first - Andy Phippen, professor of digital policy, University of Plymouth will explore the online abuse and harassment of students and universities' "duty of care".

5. Aim higher - Hear from Alex Harding, IT manager at Runshaw College, who will describe the college's journey to achieving ISO 27001, starting from scratch.

6. The state of the sector - Dr John Chapman, head of Jisc's security operations centre and the brains behind the annual cyber security posture survey, reveals key findings from 2019.

7. Cheers! Continue the discussion and network with peers at a drinks reception at the end of the first day.

8. DoH and DoT - Take a deep-dive into DNS over HTTPS (DoH), DNS over TLS (DoT) and encrypted server name indication (ESNI) - new technologies promising to preserve online privacy, but which are already being abused by malicious actors.

9. Get the max from data - Thomas Willson, security team lead at Imperial College London, demonstrates how multiple IT teams at Imperial College London use Splunk to collaborate on the same data with different viewpoints.

10. What you know, about who you know - Abigail McAlpine, PhD researcher in cyber security at the University of Huddersfield, looks at breaking down how children's personal information online could lead to a change in how we authenticate ourselves with our accounts.

11. Wolf in sheep's clothing - The National Cyber Security Centre's Keir P relates some cautionary tales from the education sector demonstrating how advanced persistent threats (APTs) are taking advantage of easy attack routes.

Find out more about the Jisc security conference 2019 and plan your trip.

Jisc and the Microbiology Society have sealed a two-year pilot transitional open access (OA) agreement. 

The 'Publish and Read' deal will allow researchers at participating institutions to publish an unlimited number of open access articles, as well as access to the society's full portfolio in return for a cost-neutral fixed fee.

The Microbiology Society is the first small learned society publisher to strike a transitional deal through the Jisc consortium. Jisc Collections undertakes negotiations and licensing for 180 UK universities and is close to agreeing similar deals with Portland Press, the International Water Association and the European Respiratory Society.

Kathryn Spiller, licensing manager at Jisc, who has worked with the society to negotiate the agreement, says:

"We are thrilled to have worked with universities, funders and the Microbiology Society to create a transitional model that allows 100% of UK output to be published open access on a cost-neutral basis"

Under the terms of the agreement which will be effective from 2020, scientists will be able to publish in the Microbiology Society's six journals, two of which are born OA journals, the other four subscription and/or hybrid journals.

Dr Peter Cotgreave, chief executive of the Microbiology Society said of the agreement with Jisc:

"We are delighted to have forged this agreement with our first national consortium for the benefit of microbiology researchers in the UK. As a small publishing Society, we are keen to introduce models to promote new, innovative and country-wide OA publishing across our portfolio of journals".

Robert Kiley, head of open research at Wellcome commented

"Following the work we commissioned with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) to help learned society publishers transition to full and immediate open access, I am pleased to see these cost-neutral transformative agreements come to fruition and I hope others will follow the lead of the Microbiology Society."

Jisc is bringing together research leaders in a community workshop to identify how technologies can enhance research.

The group will explore how the application of industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, ubiquitous connectivity and IoT environments can help address societal challenges and transform research.

These technologies are already offering unexplored research insights, but the question for the group is how can these technologies be used to improve the lives and work of researchers?

For example, the IoT is being used in the development of 'smartlabs'. These labs illustrate that not only can these technologies open up new opportunities for the management of research laboratories, but the potential to change researchers' home-life balance too.

Other topics that will be discussed include how industry 4.0 technologies can:

  • Help enhance research excellence
  • Support research reproducibility
  • Change the role of the researcher
  • Help create financial sustainability

The Jisc research community workshop will be held at the University of Salford on Thursday 28 November. The workshop is by invitation only, to express your interest and find out more information, visit the event page.

Coleg Sir Gar's head of IT development Simon Palmer outlines his plans for a resilient, fibre-optic ring network to serve a five-campus college that's increasingly reliant on bandwidth.

Simon Palmer

As a multi-campus FE college with 9,000 learners and 800 staff, Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthenshire, south-west Wales, is increasingly reliant on cloud solutions as it aims to enhance the student experience.

Simon Palmer recognises that means it is important to invest in a resilient network with sufficient capacity to support teaching and learning.

"Students may take videos on their phones and tablets as part of their coursework – whether they're working on an art project or perhaps filming cattle in fields as part of an agriculture course, for example."

One of the college's five campuses, Gelli Aur, is a purpose-built farm campus with 344 hectares of land near Llandeilo, 14 miles away from Carmarthen.

"We want to make it easier for students to upload those videos from home or from a remote location."

[#insertinlinedriver cloud#]

For essential office systems, he explains, the college increasingly uses SaaS cloud services such as Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft OneDrive. "But that means that if the network is down, these services are down," he adds.

To help solve challenges like these, Coleg Sir Gar has plans in place for a ring network, which resiliently links all of its five Carmarthenshire campuses, while upgrading internet links to 10Gbit/s because of the extra bandwidth required for cloud.

For an FE college, of course, it's vital to keep the networking solution cost-effective while helping to limit the burden on a small IT team. Simon says:

"We are keen to save money and be efficient – we have to do everything the most efficient way to get stuff done."

And that's where he hopes the fibre solution should be an advantage.

"We've designed a network which doesn't use MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) – avoiding the need for expensive and complex hardware at each connection site, with maintenance schedules that you have to be constantly aware of.

"By putting high-bandwidth links in, we can also get rid of servers at remote sites, which massively simplifies the network."

Overall, the benefits are that there is less hardware to manage and less chance of an outage.

"One of the biggest challenges in IT is accidentally breaking something. This way, we aim to have enough resilience and redundancy.

"We've also got a telephone project backing on to this, and we're confident we can carry phone calls resiliently over the internet link."

In the short term, the plan is to consolidate servers from five sites to one, this summer – which would provide the means for a possible cloud migration at a later date. But even then, suggests Simon, that would be under a hybrid cloud model.

"I've thought about what challenges it would give us if we put everything on the cloud.

"For example, if we were patching all our Windows, Mac and Android machines via the cloud, the amount of bandwidth that requires is staggering. Even an Android update can be up to 700Mbit/s."

The college plans to repurchase a SAN and compute infrastructure or a hyper-converged system, he says, which would work out more cost-effective for the college than putting everything into IaaS.

As a Welsh college, Coleg Sir Gar's Janet connectivity is provisioned by Public Sector Broadband Aggregation (PSBA) (see below), which is delivered under contract by BT. Jisc's role, says Simon, has been to provide quotes for connectivity and act as an intermediary.

The falling cost of high-bandwidth fibre connectivity, especially compared to MPLS with its costly network termination equipment (NTE), helps make the college's solution affordable.

At the same time, Simon relies on the research and education community, including college staff, for support when it comes to the ever-present challenge of maintaining a campus network on a budget.

"We self-help within community groups. And there's a lot of value in having staff who have been here a long time, who understand our processes – and who are keen to engage in new things in efficient ways."