Researcher Corner

This new regular column in Researcher Corner hopes to give you quick updates on what is happening in the field of scholarly communications that is relevant to researchers.
  • Unpaywall – Getting open access research papers with one click

Have you ever got lost among the “clicks” when trying to get an open access version of a research paper? Unpaywall might just be your answer. Unpaywall is a free extension/plug-in you can download for your Chrome or Firefox browser. With this extension, you can freely access the open access (OA) versions of research papers not subscribed by the Library without contravening any copyright issues.

After installing the plug-in, an icon on your browser will indicate to you if there is an OA version of the full-text available when you visit the abstract page of a research article. The plug-in also has colour-coded tabs to specify if the article is “Green” or “Gold” OA.

On the other hand, as a researcher, do deposit the accepted version of your manuscripts to our institutional repository PIRA as soon as your article has been accepted for publishing. This way your article will be “Green OA” and can be easily accessible by the wider research community without being stuck behind the publishers’ paywall. Alternatively, you can also consider publishing articles in OA Journals (Directory of OA journals).
  • Usage rights filter for Google Images – Reuse images without infringing on copyright

Many do not know this but Google Images Search has a function to filter out images based on usage rights. This way you can select the most suitable image to use based on your situation. Most of these images have Creative Common licenses which means you can reuse them based on the stipulated conditions.

The usage rights options for these images include:
  • Labeled for reuse with modification
  • Labeled for reuse
  • Labeled for noncommercial reuse with modification
  • Labeled for noncommercial reuse

We always recommended that you should check the license details before using the images. For example, an image license with “Creative Commons – Attribution, Share Alike”(CC BY-SA) allows copying, redistributing, adapting the original image. However, it also requires you to give appropriate credit to the image creator with a link to the license, and indicates if changes have been made.

To enable this User Rights filter for Google Images Search, just go to the Tools to find this filter after conducting your image search.

Knowing your rights as an author before publishing

Scholarly works are protected under copyright once they are published. Copyright is a set of rights including the rights to reuse, reproduce and/or distribute the work, even for commercial purpose.

As the author of your research work, you are the original copyright owner of your work. If you publish your work in a subscription-based journal, in most cases the journal publishers will require you to transfer copyright to the publisher through a Copyright Transfer Agreement before publication of the work. Some publishers may grant some rights back to the author, for example, the right to deposit a pre-print or post-print version of their publication in an online repository. However, many publishers also set strict rules against sharing publications online, e.g. sharing is subject to an embargo period and on a non-commercial platform only.

To protect your rights as an author and to ensure the wide exposure of your work while at the same time complying with publishers’ copyright policies, it is always good that you examine the terms stated in the copyright transfer agreement concerning the following rights:

  • the right to reuse the work in a later work (e.g. a book chapter, a thesis or dissertation work)
  • the right to reproduce and distribute copies to classes or lectures for educational purpose
  • the right to reproduce and distribute copies to conferences and professional colleagues
  • the right to share the work, including post in author's homepage, deposit in an institutional repository, etc.

Even in most cases you have to agree with the publisher’s terms to get your work published, you may still wish to consider negotiating with the publisher to hold back certain rights before you sign the agreement, e.g. to give copies of your article to your class, or deposit a copy of your work in an institutional repository. SPARC Author Addendum is a legal tool that helps you modify the publisher’s copyright agreement. You may generate an Addendum in PDF format and attach it to the publisher’s agreement to ensure that you retain those specific rights.
If you choose to publish your work in an Open Access model, you will retain the copyright of the work and can grant rights to the publisher to publish and distribute your work. OA articles are published under a Creative Commons license, e.g. “Creative Commons - Attribution” or “CC BY”, which permits others to use, distribute and reproduce in any medium, even commercially, as long as the original work is properly cited. CC BY, CC BY-NC and CC BY-NC-ND are the most commonly adopted CC licenses by publishers. Again, always examine the rights under the chosen license to ensure that your work is accessible to a wider audience.

Refer to our guides to learn more about copyright, copyright transfer and Creative Commons.

Choosing the right statistical test for your research

Statistical tests are frequently employed by researchers to interpret their research data. However, selecting the right statistical test may not be an easy task especially for novice researchers. Here are some tools that can help us to select an appropriate statistical test:

To use these tools, it is necessary for us be aware of our research and data by answering these 3 questions:

The following statistic tools are available in the Library PCs. You can book the workstations via iBooking system.
Statistical Tools Location Workstations
SPSS v23* i-Space (4/F) iWS11-12 & 21-24 
SAS 9.4* iWS 28 & 30
R 3.1.2 iWS11-12 & 21-24
RStudio iWS11-12
* PolyU Student and Staff can also access SAS & SPSS on their own computers using the vSCC service provided by ITS.