Tag Archives: open access

A Glimpse of the Future – Iris.ai in Mersey Care Evidence Service

As an information professional I feel duty bound to continually improve the service I deliver and as a manager I feel it is my responsibility to drive change in my services instead of waiting for change to happen to us. Feeling buoyed by our success in launching our browser extension Lean Library in 2019 we began to explore implementing some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our service.

When researching AI options we backed away from a customer facing search tool as this technology currently lacks the sophistication to handle more than two search terms. Also within the service we already offer our users a variety of access points into the evidence base: HDAS, Discovery tool, our browser extension. So, we had to ask ourselves whether adding another search tool would benefit our users or overwhelm them?

We began to think more deeply about how AI could benefit our service. The primary focus of our team is the creation of evidence reviews: a rapid synthesised literature search available to anyone in the organisation. They are increasingly popular and while our Trust has doubled in size over the last few years the Evidence Service staff numbers have remained static. This growing tension between demand and supply led us to explore whether there was anyway AI could help us in carrying out these searches; this led us to Iris.ai.

We are the first NHS organisation to use Iris, a “young” AI with a primary function of Chemistry R&D although throughout the pandemic it has been used for COVID-19 research. The software is currently made up of two elements called Explore and Focus, Focus mode is essentially a way of refining your search results so below I will focus on the Explore mode; the search function of Iris.

We bought Iris in an off-the-shelf format; it has read and continues to read all Open Access papers (there is a more expensive option which allows it to read all your online holdings). In reading papers Iris can understand keywords, concepts, context and relationships which it can then map against all the other papers it has read. This theoretically changes the nature of searching as the AI will be able to identify relevant papers that might not contain the keywords used in a more traditional search.

The first thing to note when using Iris is that it uses natural language processing (NLP). Essentially, the software wants you to type your question in a normal, fluent format. This is a seismic change for librarians used to honing search questions to the bare number of keywords; Iris wants you to enter between 300 to 500 words. When inputting your question Iris is identifying keywords and context that it will match in the information it has read. A library user isn’t going to deliver their search question in this format so the librarian either needs a strong understanding of the subject area or a dialogue with the user to get the context that IRIS needs to function. On submitting a search question IRIS will create a fingerprint of your results comprised of concepts it has identified.

Fig 1. Iris concept map

At this stage you can download all results or click into concept cells and see the papers Iris has identified for you, clicking into a paper gives you the option for Iris to search for related papers. In this image the 76% is the relevancy score Iris has attached to a specific paper.

Fig 2. Sample result

At this point you can begin to remove unhelpful terms, promote more helpful terms and apply limits such as date or relevancy percentage. Applying any filter creates a modified concept map.

Fig 3 search limiters

Fig 4 hierarchy screen

We negotiated our deal with Iris at the start of 2020 with a start date of 1st April; so as with many things our use has been affected by COVID-19 as our team priorities shifted and our opportunity for collaborative learning decreased. In this current state the software is a very specialised tool, in no way intended for your library user or student and even for information professionals it presents a steep learning curve asking us to reformulate questions in a way that might feel unnatural to us. We use Iris concurrently with HDAS; so in this sense it is not saving us research time however it does add depth to our searches finding relevant papers that are not returned through standard methods.

As I mentioned earlier Iris is still “young” at version 6.0 and will continue to develop and grow, with an exciting future already outlined. Essentially we are asking not what Iris can do for us today but what we may do together in the future. Moreover investing in Iris, and our other technologies has not only directly benefitted the service but has also help change the perception and profile of the evidence service in the wider organisation, in this sense embodying change, progress and technology can never be a wasted investment.

Andrew Cheney
Evidence Services Lead
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
www.evidentlybetter.org
@evidentlybetter

It’s Open Access Week!

This year’s theme is particularly pertinent for us in health, and what better time to share with you developments in our network

Open Access Community of Practice

The Community of Practice is made up of 30 health librarians from across England, largely from the NHS but also the Kings Fund and Public Health England.

The group first met in May 2019 in London and participated in a programme of speakers including Kathryrn Funk from NLM; Frank Norman from the Crick Institute; and Sara Gould from the British Library.

We discussed and agreed upon what the priorities of the group should be and from this 3 sub-groups have been set up:

  • Repositories
  • Educational Resources for Open Access
  • A User experience piece of work to identify the motivations for NHS staff to engage with Open Access

The group also meet virtually on Webex sessions and a dedicated SharePoint site and associated e-mail list provides member profiles, space to share and work collaboratively on documents, and a central place to pool together our learning and discussions.

Members of the group have expressed a range of reasons for being part of this community of practice, from being:

 “keen to learn from colleagues on this group”

to knowing “how others have experienced managing organisational repositories to help inform the development of our digital archive.”

to having “a keen interest in grey literature – how to capture and promote unpublished works”

and being motivated by addressing how we “could make NHS research more accessible/visible, thus enhancing impact”

Interested in being involved?  Please contact helene.gorring@hee.nhs.uk

Plan S – big changes in publishing ahead

Plan S was launched in September 2018 and is a renewed and much bolder initiative to make all publicly funded research open access. The initial deadline for this was 1 January 2020, but based on feedback submitted, it has now been extended to 2021.

It calls for:

  • all research to be made immediately and completely available on publication, either in a compliant open access journal or an open access platform – no embargoes, no hybrid publishing.
  • any publication fees to be paid by the research funder or the author’s university (not by individuals) and for these fees will be standardised across Europe and be capped.

Other key principles of Plan S are that:

  • Authors retain copyright of their publications and impose no restrictions (preferably using Creative Commons licences)
  • Universities, research organisations and libraries align their policies and strategies
  • The funders will establish criteria for Open Access journals and platforms, and provide incentives to establish these were they do not currently exist and the funders will sanction non-compliance.

How do we get ready?

In order to transition to open access, ‘transformative agreements’ need to be in place – a contract between libraries and publishers providing a shift between the traditional subscription model and open access publishing.  

We are liaising with Information Power Ltd who have been commissioned by the Wellcome to deliver on Plan S, to identify how we can gain traction with transformative agreements for the NHS. 

During their project, Information Power identified a specific challenge that will hinder the ability of some health journals to make a full transition to open access unless it is addressed, that being that journals with a high proportion of authors based in clinical settings (i.e the NHS) will struggle to successfully transition because these authors will not have access to funding for Article Processing Charges, they will not be covered by university transformative agreements, and nor is it a widespread practice for clinicians to share full-text via repositories.

Find out more on our revamped Open Access pages

Helene Gorring, Health Education England