Did you know about the Library’s collection of past exam papers?

With just a week until the start of the resit exam period, we would like to help you prepare for your exams by reminding you about the Library’s large online collection of past exam papers.


You can search for past papers on Primo [http://primo.abdn.ac.uk/] or directly via DigiTool [https://digitool.abdn.ac.uk/R?RN=744382543], our digital materials database. As access to papers is restricted to University of Aberdeen members, you will be asked for your computer username and password. There are over 3,000 past exam papers in Word or PDF format covering undergraduate and postgraduate courses from across the University.
We do not have every past exam paper available, so if you cannot find an exam paper for a particular course, check with the School that delivers that course to see if they can provide copies of past exams.
For information on how to locate past papers in Primo, see the relevant library guide: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/documents/guides/qgdbs007.pdf
A further guide to using DigiTool is available here: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/documents/guides/qgdbs006.pdf
Don’t forget that library staff are always happy to help you locate any resources you may need in preparation for your exams. Please ask a member of staff if you need help!

Eleni Borompoka, eleni.boro@abdn.ac.uk


Open Access Publishing Briefing: cOAlition S releases new version of Plan S and Aberdeen launches a Scholarly Communications Service


Plan S was launched in September 2018 by cOAlition S (a global coalition of research funders) in order to effect a decisive shift to Open Access (OA) for the research that they fund. Despite a number of initiatives in recent years, these have been at the national level and different approaches have made them hard for researchers to understand. They have not provided sufficient incentives for researchers, institutions, funders and publishers to make all the changes necessary to make a full transition to OA. Members of cOAlition S include the European Research Council, UKRI, Wellcome and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Plan S has two primary objectives: to recognise the importance of open research (often referred to as open science, but intended to apply more widely to academic research) and ensure that funder policies require and support it; and to address longstanding and substantial financial pressures caused by the combination of year on year journal subscription increases and the emergence of article processing charges (APCs), known as Gold OA, as the preferred option.

The release of the first draft of Plan S in 2018 caused concern amongst researchers, publishers and universities as the proposals had the potential to be very expensive, and to create unintended consequences. There were particular misgivings in relation to the possible impact on small and society publishers, the implications for research outputs in other forms (particularly monographs), and the potentially significant expense associated with moving to full Gold OA by removing ‘hybrid’ journals (where both subscription and OA options are offered). The University of Aberdeen emphasised these risks in its response to the consultation.


The revised proposals respond to key concerns from the community. In particular, they address the need for more time by extending the timeline by 12 months to 2021, so research outputs resulting from funding calls from 1 January 2021 will need to comply. Additionally, publishers now have until the end of 2024 to make the transition from subscription business models to full OA.

Additionally, the revisions address the following points:

  • More options for transformative arrangements are supported, making it easier for publishers, libraries and Jisc (as negotiating agent) to work together on sensible and affordable journal deals;
  • Plan S is clearer about its support for a variety of models for OA, and stresses that Open Access does not have to be accomplished through individual APCs;
  • The technical requirements expected of repositories to support the Green route to OA (deposit of final accepted manuscript in a local repository) have been made less stringent. However, where Green OA is selected, manuscripts must be made available immediately, with no embargo;
  • A commitment by funders to value the intrinsic merit of the work and not consider the publication channel, its impact factor (or other journal metrics), or the publisher. This is in line with the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which the University of Aberdeen is now considering adopting;
  • Monographs are excluded and will form a separate process (still to be announced);
  • While the default reuse licence option remains CC BY (the most liberal licence), funders can permit a more restrictive when it can be justified. This responds to the concerns of a number of publishers and researchers about reuse permissions. The proposal is very clear that copyright should remain with the author or the institution, and should not be signed over to a third party.

A rationale for the revisions is available on the cOAlition S site.

Next steps

It is expected that cOAlition S members will make their own decisions on the way that they choose to implement Plan S. UKRI announced in April that there will be a public consultation later this year as part of a review of their OA policy and have previously indicated that they do not feel bound to implement it exactly as it is written.

On 31 May 2019, The Wellcome Trust announced that they will align their policy with Plan S and as a consequence have extended their own deadline by 12 months in the same way. This is helpful both in terms of allowing more time and by reducing the issues caused by multiple funder policies with differing implementation dates.

The University Library will continue to work with Jisc and other research libraries to engage funders and publishers as policies continue to evolve.

Digital & Information Services, in conjunction with Research & Innovation, are pleased to announce the launch of a Scholarly Communications Service which will provide support and advice in relation to all aspects of scholarly publishing. Questions and comments about this briefing, and any other related matters, are very welcome at scholcomms@abdn.ac.uk.  

Simon Bains

University Librarian


Did you know…? – Silent Study Rooms

Did you know that there are 7 Silent Study Rooms in The Sir Duncan Rice Library? 


  There are Silent Study Rooms on Floors 3 to 6 in The Sir Duncan Rice Library, all located on the south side of the building. If you are looking to work somewhere quiet using your personal electronic device, you can go to any of the Silent Study Rooms on floors 3, 4 and 5. The Silent Study Rooms, overlooking Bedford Road, also include the recently installed power sockets with USB charging points. Please note that the Silent Study Room on floor 6 is a strictly silent working environment where electronic devices cannot be used.  This is for those who wish to study with no disturbance.  

Please remember that food is not allowed in all Silent Study Rooms! 

Click here for more information on Silent Study spaces within our libraries.  

  Eleni Papadakou, e.papadakou@abdn.ac.uk  

VLeBooks: changes to platform


Askews & Holts Library Services have designed a new online reader for their enhanced VLeBooks platform; this will be launched this summer. There are many great new features available with the new reader including highlighting, advanced note options, improved accessibility and, the reader will be mobile-responsive.

Important note:
The migration will take place in August and even though our access is not affected by this change, users are required to export any notes stored on the current reader, otherwise these notes will be lost. Users on the current platform are asked to export their notes by Friday 12th July. Bookshelves will also be reset and users are kindly asked to record details of any titles they may wish to add onto their new bookshelf.

The Sir Duncan Rice Library open on Sundays this summer

From this weekend The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be opening on Sundays allowing students and staff even more time to use the library’s fantastic resources.

The new Sunday opening hours will be introduced as a pilot over the summer months, and will see the doors of TSDRL open from 11am – 5pm until the start of the new academic term, when normal service will resume. Library staff will be on hand to help at the Information Centre (floor 1) and the Welcome Desk (ground floor). The Exhibition space will also be open during this time. 

There are to be no changes to the Sunday opening hours at the Taylor or Medical Libraries. Visit our website for full details of the opening hours at our Libraries.

Congratulations from the Library to all Graduating students

Graduations will be taking place next week on the Old Aberdeen campus, From Monday June 17 until Friday June 21, and The Sir Duncan Rice Library will be a playing a small part. The videowall on the ground floor of the building will be streaming the ceremonies while the Library is open so that family and friends unable to get tickets will still be able to watch live. 

For those using the Library during this time please be aware that there may be graduating students in the building. They will be reminded that people are still making use of the building and to please be considerate when moving around the library. For those still studying please remember that there are silent study rooms on Floors 3-6, where you will be sure to find peace and quiet.  

The Sir Duncan Rice Library will still close at 8pm each day that Graduations are happening. 

All staff at the Library Service would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of those students graduating this summer.  

Information Skills workshops for PhD researchers: places still available

The Library is here to help all postgraduate researchers as they begin, or continue their in-depth research, with a short series of Information Skills workshops designed to their needs.

The workshops will take place on the 11th, 12th and 13th of June and will help you understand the resources available to you as researchers here at the University of Aberdeen, and how to get the best out of them.


There are three workshops on offer, each lasting three hours:

  • Literature searching – Part 1: Getting started
  • Literature searching – Part 2: Using databases
  • Literature searching – Part 3: Managing your references using RefWorks*

Across the three workshops we will look at:

  • Planning your search
  • Looking for books: using Primo and e-books
  • Databases of academic literature
  • Getting the best out of Google
  • Managing your references with RefWorks
  • Formatting Word documents with in-text citations and bibliographies

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The workshop focusing on the management of references
(Part 3) is not suitable for research postgraduates in the School of Law, as the software used does not support the OSCOLA referencing style required for legal theses.

To find out more, and to book onto the different workshops please visit www.abdn.ac.uk/coursebooking and look for Library Information Skills classes.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshops!