Open Access Week is a global event within the research community which promotes the potential benefits of Open Access, provides an opportunity for researchers to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in making research more open.

To celebrate Open Access Week 2020, the Library spoke to researchers across the University about why they chose to publish their research in Bridges

Bridges is Monash University’s repository for research data, collections, and research activity outputs. By electing to use the repository, researchers can increase the discoverability of, and engagement with their research, as well as comply with publisher and funder requirements, and receive a permanent link to their research online (a DOI).

“Our primary reason for using Bridges was to make the raw data from our research available. Providing all of the data and statistical analysis allows its re-use and demonstrates confidence in your analysis. I found the platform easy to use and suitable for the large datasets. I have been surprised by how much the data has been downloaded by others, suggesting there is real benefit to making it available.”

Associate Professor Robert Bryson-Richardson
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science

“I undertook a project with many visual elements, it was a photovoice, digital and participatory research program with 10 youth people in Victoria, Australia. I used Bridges to share with the community what the youth produced. For the project, having open access to the items, with a DOI was critical to keep track of the project’s impact, such as downloads, views and citations. The research participants themselves were also able to share their work with their school, friends and family.”

Dr Christine Grové
Faculty of Education

When I first heard about Bridges, I thought about how it could be used to obtain Altmetrics for non-traditional research outputs, as we had been tracking our research impact in our Department and thinking about how to collect some of the metrics in a more efficient way. Our NHMRC funded project, Communicating Health, has generated infographics/graphical abstracts in order to quickly communicate the key findings with our partners. I wanted a permanent way to track the engagement metrics following conference presentations or webinars, so the generation of a DOI by a Monash supported repository is a win-win. The layout of Bridges, using thumbnail images, allows people to quickly view the content to see if they want to learn more. Beyond my own work, I will be looking at how our research groups within the Department could use Bridges on our website.”

Dr Tracy McCaffrey 
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food,
Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

We wanted an online resource that would have some guarantee of long-term existence (if not permanence) of our data products, which may not have been the case if we had hosted on our own site. The provision of versioning and the possibility of organising the data as collections was also an advantage, as these options would be something we might have to implement by hand otherwise. Being able to cite the repository via a DOI was also important, and recently we have been appreciative of the ability to connect our public GitHub repository to our data collection in Bridges.

Bridges has enabled us to track the impact of our research through usage and engagement metrics. In the short time since uploading our first dataset earlier this year, our combined research has over 2,000 views and over 300 downloads.

It was also attractive to use a product offered by Monash so that we could get immediate help from the Library (staff) who know the product inside out.”

Associate Professor Duncan Galloway 
School of Physics and Astronomy, 
Faculty of Science

Bridges enables researchers to publish and promote research data in many different formats, whether it is raw data or code, or audio visual materials. Researchers can publish supporting data for publications, or curate and share non-traditional research outputs.

“I began using Bridges as a DOI minting system for my compositions. I now use it as a repository for all materials associated with each piece of music I write. As my music scores are digitally native, and require digital software for performance  – this works well. The Bridges entry for each piece includes drafts, photos of performances, recordings, final copies, program notes etc. My plan is to assign DOI’s to creative works, include them in the papers I write, and encourage others to the do the same, driving a citation metric for works themselves. I also link to Bridges via DOI from my website, and every list of works I share has this link system. The project is still in progress – there is some neatening to do so that potential performers of my music find the score first, not the rest of the ‘ephemera’.”

Professor Cat Hope 
Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, 
Faculty of Arts

“I was part of an ARC team that curated an exhibition to showcase their findings (see schoolingfood.com). Our data and exhibition included photographs, digital voice files and digital clips and we used Bridges to house the files that we linked to in the exhibition

All team members had access to Bridges and could add files. Bridges also enabled the public to download and share our data and exhibition items, and enabled us to keep track of downloads, views and citations. 

Since using Bridges for the exhibition, I have also used the repository to share conference presentations and resources that I have developed.  I upload my presentations prior to the conference and provide attendees with QR codes or bitly links so participants can download relevant files.” 

Associate Professor Deana Leahy
Faculty of Education

Open Access has the potential to maximise research, increase the exposure and use of published research, and facilitate the ability to conduct research across disciplines. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, publishers and researchers are increasingly supporting a move towards Open Access.

Does this mean all data should be Open Access? Definitely not. You should always respect the confidentiality and sensitivity of data and only publish openly when appropriate. However, you can still make the data openly discoverable by publishing a record describing the dataset. This is a core part of making your data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). Learn more about making your research FAIR.

To discover how Bridges can benefit your research visit monash.edu/library/bridges or contact the Library: researchdata@monash.edu