Research in modern languages in the UK continues to be both varied and prolific, as the run-up to REF is showing us. Government belief in our field is slowly growing, and we have the strong support of the British Academy, which has benefited from close collaboration with UCML. But, as a key field in the humanities, we also face a number of challenges, both in the UK and in Europe, in relation both to our own research and that of younger researchers.
This area of the site focuses on information, updates, organisations and projects of relevance to languages research and is updated by UCML Vice Chair for Research Naomi Segal.
Since my election in January 2012 I have attended many meetings on behalf of UCML. Reports and other documents, on these and allied matters, can be found at the bottom of this page.
Research dissemination: Open Access
The rapid development of Open Access publishing is of urgent concern to Subject Associations. UCML will be holding a discussion of OA issues as they affect our field, in the afternoon of the Plenary meeting of 18 January 2013.
Most recently, we sent our response in to the HEFCE consultation on the requirement of research items to be Open Access for the next REF (possibly 2020). Both the HEFCE document and the UCML reply are attached below (items 1 and 2).
The broad question of changing modes of publication was the subject of a European Early-career Researcher debate in 2011; see below: the ESF 2011 Humanities Spring, Changing Publication Cultures in the Humanities.
Most of the discussion so far in the UK has focused on journal publication; but the future of book publication is being scoped in the AHRC-funded, JISC-hosted OAPEN-UK project, which is a pilot investigation in collaboration with a number of publishers on how OA is likely to affect monographs & edited collections; it also held focus groups with a range of interested parties, including Subject Associations/Learned Societies; these meeting reports can all be found on http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/ , and provide a very useful snapshot of the views of a range of stakeholders.
OA was a key issue in the meeting of AHRC with Subject Associations (see below) held in June 2012, and in the same month a document on the practical implications of Gold Open Access (for journal publication) was published by the UK Open Access Implementation Group; it can also be found below.
The Finch report was published in July 2012 - see Executive Summary below - and produced a flurry of responses which can be accessed online..
On 22 October 2012, a meeting was held at the British Academy: HSS Learned Societies and Subject Associations Network: Open Access for Humanities and Social Sciences, focusing on the recommendations and proposals of the Finch Group in July 2012 and discussing the implications for the future in terms of publication, funding and assessment of research. Presentations by Michael Jubb (RIN & Finch Cttee), Mark Llewellyn (AHRC Diector of Research), Paul Rowlett (University of Salford) and Audrey McCulloch (Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers) can be found at http://www.britac.ac.uk/policy/hsslssa-open_access.cfm
On 29-30 November 2012 a meeting for Subject Associations in the social sciences & humanities was held by the Academy of Social Sciences under the title Implementing 'Finch'. speakers included Janet Finch, Lynne Brindley, Tim Blackman. All info (including ppts of the talks and a youtube of the event) can be accessed at: http://www.acss.org.uk/docs/Open%20Access%20event%20Nov%202012/OAWorkshop.htm.
Research dissemination: Public Lending Rights
The Government consulted recently on a proposal to transfer the administration of PLR from the existing body to the British Library. UCML's response can be found at the bottom of this page. The DCMS has now published a summary of the results (see below): 948 of 1015 respondents (including UCML) argued that the transfer should not take place.
As UK (AHRC) representative on the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation [ESF] from 2005 to 2011, I was involved in many activities, including HERA and ERIH. The ESF is one of the very few organisations worldwide to have a section specifically for the humanities. A brief report on recent developments in ESF is appended, as is a document on the future of ERIH as a bibliographic access tool expanding to cover social sciences as well as humanities. For all info on humanities in the ESF, see http://www.esf.org/research-areas/humanities.html
HEFCE: the impact of government reforms on the humanities
In May 2012 a meeting for Subject Associations in the Humanities & Social Sciences was held at the British Academy, at which a number of speakers, among them Chris Millward of HEFCE, discussed the impact of government reforms, including the possible effects on Strategic & Vulnerable Subjects. A detailed report is below.
Also appended is the British Academy's Position Statement on our field, Language Matters more and more. For all info on the British Academy, see http://www.britac.ac.uk/
See reports on two meetings with AHRC. The first, called in March 2012 by a group of Subject Associations, was a discussion with AHRC CEO Rick Rylance about the tightening of funds available for postgraduate research.The second was in June 2012, the annual meeting of AHRC with its constituent Subject Assoiations.
For all up-to-date info on AHRC, see http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Pages/default.aspx
For information on AHRC's International Placement Scheme, see http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/InternationalPlacementScheme.aspx
AHRC's five-year Strategic Plan 2013-2018 is now available - attached below (item 3).
Language-rich Europe: Trends in Policies & Practices for Multilingualism in Europe
This British Council report, edited by Guus Extra and Kutlay Yagmur and published in all the main European languages, was launched at the British Academy on 3 December 2012. For all info, see: http://www.language-rich.eu/home/welcome.html and to download: http://www.language-rich.eu/materials-media.html