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University of Groningen Library Open Access
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Request-a-copy successfully launched

Date:20 January 2020
Request-a-copy feature in UG research database
Request-a-copy feature in UG research database

Since May 2019 the University of Groningen (UG) research database has an exciting new feature: request-a-copy. Users of the research database can request the full text of publications that are not freely downloadable due to a temporary or permanent embargo. Request-a-copy contributes to open science by making publications available that would otherwise be closed access. It also provides UG-authors great insight in who is using their publications and why.  

How does it work?

Request-a-copy operates on the principle of peer-to-peer sharing: if a UG-publication in the research database (Pure) is not available as a full text due to an embargo or restriction, a database user can request the text from the author. The University Library acts as an intermediary and forwards the request to the UG-author. If the author agrees to share the publication, the library will take care of the request and send the publication to the user. UG-authors don’t need to send any file themselves. 

Why?

Request-a-copy helps UG-authors disseminate their work and makes it possible for users to obtain the full text of a publication that would otherwise be closed access. Request-a-copy is therefore a small but valuable contribution to the practice of open science. The requests also give authors a valuable insight into the societal impact of publications. Users who file a request are asked to mention their name, organization and the reason for their request. This information is forwarded to the author and provides valuable insight into why the publication is needed and how it is being used. 

Experiences so far

Request-a-copy went live on May 10, 2019. As of mid-January, more than 750 requests have been received. Roughly two-thirds of these requests concern PhD theses, while the remaining third is for journal articles. So far, UG-authors have reacted very positively by granting more than 80% of the requests received. Most requests (approx. 65%) originate from within the Netherlands, while the rest is from abroad. Requests are being made by fellow researchers (researchers, PhD students, master and bachelor students), by professionals (e.g. people working in hospitals and care institutions, government institutions, schools, law firms, companies) and by the general public. The most requested publication so far is ‘Tussen de regels: een rechtssociologische studie naar handhaving in de sociale zekerheid’ (‘Between the rules. A social-legal study of the enforcement of social security law’), the PhD thesis by Paulien de Winter (Law Faculty). This thesis, which analyses how social security legislation is enforced in practice at social security agencies, has been requested 56 times so far.  

To celebrate the successful introduction of request-a-copy, three researchers whose publications have been requested a lot have been awarded the first Request-a-copy award. Laura Cuijpers (Medical Faculty), Sanne te Meerman (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences) and Lea Diestelmeier (Law Faculty) all wrote PhD theses that were requested multiple times.

More information

Check out the UG Library-website for more information about request-a-copy and the request-a-copy award.

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