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Archive for the ‘Open Access’ Category

LRA Top Accesses for January 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 2 February, 2011

This month sees a notable improvement in access to the LRA, and a dramatic increase in the number of page views. Two things strike me as I look at the statistics this month. Firstly the top item is possibly the single highest individual monthly access since records began.

Chatting to the author and Prof Graham Shipley as I shared the good news it transpired that Prof Shipley shared the handle on the Classicist global mailing list, which accounts for the two peaks of access. The second thing I notice is the broad spread of items from all Colleges; especially heartening to see the strong interest in Arts, Humanities and Law based materials, which represent proportionally the smallest collection on the LRA. 

  1. Delos: Investigating the notion of privacy within the ancient Greek house (Burke, Samantha) (2381/8947)
  2. Female Fandom in an English ‘Sports City’: A sociological study of female spectating and consumption around sport (Pope, Stacey Elizabeth) (2381/8343)
  3. Design of Flight Controllers based on Simplified LPV model of a UAV (Gu, Da-Wei et al) (2381/3879)
  4. Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care (Pitchforth, Emma et al) (2381/309)
  5. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard) (2381/52)
  6. Saint Christopher Wall Paintings in English and Welsh Churches, c.1250-c.1500 (Pridgeon , Eleanor Elizabeth) (2381/7964)
  7. Teaching presentation skills to undergraduates: Students’ evaluations of a workshop course. (Colman, Andrew M.) (2381/537)
  8. The Impact of Labour Turnover: Theory and Evidence from UK Micro-Data (Garino, Gaia et al) (2381/4441)
  9. Aspects of speleogenesis in the Carboniferous limestone of North Derbyshire (Beck, John Salisbury) (2381/7561)
  10. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths (Sim, Chow Yen Desmond) (2381/7444)
  11. The molecular characterisation of narcissus latent virus and Maclura mosaic virus (Badge, Joanne Louise) (2381/8993)

It’s worth highlighting that the joint 10th item on the list is the 700th thesis added to the LRA, which was actually added at the request of Dr Jo Badge herself early in January via the EThOS scanning service.  As I celebrated this fact on the social networks, it’s perhaps little surprise that it has such a high level of access so early in its availability (although it could just be that Jo writes a good thesis!)

I should add, that if any of our local academics did their thesis at Leicester then we can arrange to have it digitised via the British Library’s EThOS service.  This is a limited time offer that may well expire come Sept this year, so get in touch with ethesis@le.ac.uk sooner rather than later!  The process takes between 10-30 days, and we will need the author to sign a consent form in order to allow us to progress the request.

A little change in the lower end of the top 10 countries of access is about all we see though in terms of the geographical spread of access.

  1. United Kingdom
  2. United States
  3. India
  4. Germany
  5. Canada
  6. China
  7. France
  8. Malaysia
  9. Italy
  10. Australia

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

DART-Europe

Posted by gazjjohnson on 21 December, 2010

I’m pleased to announce that the LRA’s collection of theses (close to 700 pieces of unique and valuable research produced by our PhD students) are now not only indexed and available via the British Library EThOS service but also through the DART-Europe aggregation portal.  DART-Europe is “a partnership of research libraries and library consortia who are working together to improve global access to European research theses.”

Having major aggregation services like DART-Europe index our collections help increase the discoverability, and thence the readership, of our doctoral students work further; which can only bring benefit and recognition for their scholarly endeavours.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Open Access: the impact for libraries and librarians (RSP Event)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 13 December, 2010

As a special Monday treat – here’s the third guest post from my team, this time from Valérie Spezi.
______________________________________________________________________________

I went to a very interesting conference last Friday on Open Access and its impact on libraries and librarians, organised by the Repository Support Project (RSP). As usual with RSP events the conference was very well organised, including venue and catering, and the selection of speakers was of great quality.

The conference was well-attended, mostly by librarians from all over the UK and across sectors, which wasn’t really surprising given the title of the conference. Librarians from the Higher Education sector formed the bulk of the audience; but it was nice to see that there were also a few publisher and funding agency representatives, as well as information and library consultants.

The conference objective was to provide librarians with greater knowledge of Open Access, what it is and what it isn’t, how it is currently developing and shaping scholarly communication systems and what impact it’s having on libraries. Far from preaching Open Access at any costs, the selection of speakers offered a balanced view of what is achievable within Open Access and what isn’t.

Bill Hubbard started off the conference day with a presentation setting out the background to Open Access (OA), i.e. what OA is and what it isn’t, and what the rationale supporting OA and the drivers are. Open Access for most of us simply means ‘open to read’ (including cache, save and print), and most materials available today on Open Access are open in this way. But it was interesting to learn that the original idea in the Budapest vision started out with a more unifying view of an open world where material would be open to read and re-use. However the reality proved to be much more complex and made it difficult to achieve this ideal of a total open information world. Then, Bill presented the usual drivers for OA (serial crisis, moral case, financial rationale and academic need to have speedy access to scholarship). More importantly, Bill added an additional driver: ‘because we can!’, meaning that we are witnessing major changes in the information environment, and Open Access is one of these major changes taking place and it can’t be ignored as we have the technology and all the good reasons to do it. Finally, Bill went through the usual misconceptions about OA (subversion of peer review, replacement for publication, invitation to plagiarism and an attack on copyright) and explained why these arguments against OA were erroneous or even sometimes illogical. In conclusion, it was suggested that what is needed to build OA are systems and workflows to support researchers, institutions and funders, who all seem to be favour of Open Access but are facing great challenges individually.

The second speaker was Alma Swan, from Key Perspectives Ltd, who has done a great deal of work on scholarly communication and Open Access (it is only fair to note that she and her business partner pioneered key research studies on researchers’ attitudes towards Open Access in 2004/05). Alma’s talk was about the economics of OA. The aim of her talk was to present the costs and savings at system levels (Houghton et al. report [2009]) and at university level (Swan [2010]). She presented first, in great details, the results of the Houghton et al. report, which looks at costs and savings in three different OA scenarios (self-archiving or green access; repository archiving with overlay services; open access journal or gold OA). She then moved on to her own work which builds upon the Houghton report as she used the Houghton methodology to build a limited number of case studies looking at costs and savings at institutional level.

In conclusion, the main idea from Alma’s talk was that universities differ greatly and therefore results differ greatly from one institution to another: whereas the Houghton report indicated that the UK scholarly communication system as a whole could enjoy substantial savings across the sector, Alma’s work indicate that research-intensive institutions may end up yielding negative savings (i.e. paying a cost) in the move towards Open Access, and therefore the national OA savings case needs to be managed so that some universities are not individually disadvantaged.

Following on was the interesting talk from Wim van der Stelt, Executive Vice President Corporate Strategy at Springer, one of the biggest STM publishing houses. Beside the presentation of the various open access options offered by Springer, Wim made a few interesting points:

  • Firstly, Springer has adopted the strong Open Access position, meaning that all their open access content is open to read and to re-use as in the Budapest initiative, save for commercial purposes. The main reason for this was according to Wim the fact that it seems that end-users generally don’t care about copyright and hence Springer’s decision to go strong OA in order to simplify copyright policies. Wim emphasised the fact that Springer leaves the copyright to authors and is generally happy with just a licence to publish.
  • Secondly, Wim bluntly took on the role of publishers in today’s scholarly communication system. If publishers’ role in distributing or disseminating scholarship was acknowledged as a thing of the past, it was however said that publishers create value-added services to their authors – though what exactly those value-added services consisted of was not really debated.  In short, Wim reminded the audience that publishers are in the scholarly communication market to make money first and foremost, thus the legitimacy of open access embargoes enabling publishers to ‘rightly’ monetise on content. So, yes to Open Access as long as there is a business model, and BMC, recently acquired by Springer, has certainly proved that Open Access can be extremely lucrative. But Wim also insisted on the fact that publishers are equally eager to please their customers, i.e. the research community, and thus Springer wouldn’t go down the open access route if it was felt that there was no demand for this from the research community they serve.
  • Thirdly, Wim talked about the difficulty to introduce new OA journals as they often bear huge fees whereas they still have not yet yield any impact factors.

Wim concluded his speech by saying that it was believed that OA would stay as a complementary business model; a conclusion I understood was also shared by some of the speakers present at the conference. As Bill repeated several times, Open Access is not THE solution to today’s scholarly communication failures; it’s only one of the components of the changes scholarly communication is going through.

Susan Ashworth, Assistant director for Research and Learning Support services, presented the development of Enlighten, the University of Glasgow’s research repository holding just over 35,000 records (but only 3,600 full-text items). Susan talked about the organisational/staff structure of Enlighten, and it was interesting to see that the University of Glasgow went for a manager-less unit but with a very strong support team consisting of cataloguers, a service development manager and an advocacy manager. From the many common drivers listed by Susan, one specific driver stood out: the imperative need for research management the RAE brought about in Higher Education and Enlighten seems to fulfil this role just fine. Other interesting aspects of Susan’s talk were the excellent work the Library has done on author disambiguation using Glasgow Unique identifier (GUID), the delivery of subject feeds from Twitter, and the hot-linking to publications of all that valuable information when it comes to research management that are grant funding and funder names.

Dave Carr, the Open Access Adviser from the Wellcome Trust (WT), was the next speaker. The OA policy was introduced in 2005 and made mandatory in 2006, requiring WT-funded researchers to make their publications available within 6 months of publication. Dave estimated the compliance rate to the policy to be close to 50%. But the WT is aiming high, and raising the compliance rate is one of the top priorities of the trust. Therefore Dave’s talk was all about how the WT can persuade researchers of the benefits of Open Access and how the WT can help their researchers to make their publications available on OA. Dave’s talk was focused on the need to establish communication with researchers. Too many researchers are still unaware of OA funds or self-archiving practice, this is why the WT is working hard in getting the message across to researchers. In conclusion, it was felt that sanctioning non-compliant researchers was not the way to go for now, and the WT would strive to persuade researchers rather than adopting a punitive approach.

Chris Middleton, from the University of Nottingham, presented a case study on institutional funding for OA publishing. The main driver for setting up the OA fund was the looming REF. Some figures were provided: 353 OA fund requests were made over 4 years, whereof 140 were made in 2009/10, representing circa £171,179. The average cost per article at the University of Nottingham, was estimated at £1,317, but the payments were wide-spread, ranging from £277 to £2,990. The message Chris tried to pass across to the audience was the paramount importance of budgeting those OA costs (where is the break-even point?), but also that this is a very difficult task a University/library sets for itself. Chris used a slightly modified version of Alma Swan’s economic model to base her calculations on OA costs and savings.

Jackie Wickham, the RSP Open Access Adviser, reported on a survey of repository staff she conducted over the summer 2010. The survey was distributed via the UKCoRR list. Beside some useful data on repository staffing, such as 76.2% work part-time, 73.8% work as part of a team or that repository staff tend to be highly educated, Jackie also offered a summary of the skills repository staff (managers and administrators) thought were important, and this included communication (getting the message across), interpersonal skills, project management, determination, perseverance and patience .

Finally, the conference day came to an end with Paul Ayris, Director of Library Services at UCL and President of LIBER, who presented a selection of Open Access projects he’s involved in such as:

  • DART-Europe, the principal gateway for discovery and retrieval of OA European theses, and how the EThOS project fits into this.
  • Europeana libraries, some sort of Google-equivalent (which in itself is an already ambitious endeavour…) for European quality-assured research content.
  • LERU (League of European Research Universities) – a consortium of 22 research-intensive universities in Europe lobbying at the European level for the promotion of research.

In conclusion, this RSP Open Access conference was very informative and enlightening and helped to understand the debate, the drivers but also the challenges of Open Access. And, in the words of Bill, the conclusion would be that OA enables publishers and librarians to channel the huge changes currently taking place and ensure quality control of the research made freely available to anyone. Far from delivering anarchy in scholarly communication, OA helps stakeholders to organise and channel the mass of open research content.

Posted in Open Access, Staff training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

USTLG Winter Meeting 2

Posted by selinalock on 8 December, 2010

This follow on with my report of the USTLG Winter Meeting.

Finding the known unknowns and the unknown knowns, Yvonne Nobis, University of Cambridge.

  • Talked about their development of the http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/scienceportal/website aimed specifically at researchers (which I know some of our researchers rather like the look of!)
  • Researchers often don’t known what they’re looking for: unknown unknowns, as research skills might need updating, looking for something outside their field or don’t know where to begin.
  • Scientists don’t tend to use the Cambridge libraries (over 100 of them so confusing system) and they want everything electronically so looking for a way to meet their needs.
  • Found most visitors to the science library are those looking for historical (print) information, or students wanting a place to study.
  • ~95% journal are online and ~95% of monographs are still print only.
  • In response to this they will now scan on demand from their own collections for Cambridge researchers (currently a free service as charging would have copyright law implications).
  • As the staff would often need to retrieve these items from storage the scanning has not added too much extra effort.
  • Science librarians at Cambridge do a lot of training of early career researchers.
  • Science@Cambridge contextualises information within a subject area to help researchers start their searching.
  • Includes a federated search option where relevant databases have been chosen (to steer researchers away from just using Google Scholar as they don’t realise what scholar doesn’t index: unknown unknowns).
  • Trying to make resource discovery as easy as possible.
  • Have problems with making eBooks easy to access, especially individual titles on catalogue records.
  • Trialled using chat with subject  librarians but not really worked so looking at centralising enquiries more.
  • Training branded through College or Computing Services gets a better turn out than library branded training.

We use a similar idea to Science@Cambridge in our subject rooms, but could learn more from them when redeveloping our Rooms as part of our digital library overhaul? Hopefully using Summon in future will make resource discovery easier at Leicester

Lunch!

Obviously the most important part of any conference is the lunch provided. This time it was a good spread sponsored by Wiley Publishers, and in a very unexpected place…

USTLG Lunch in a Church!

Lunch in the Divinity School

USTLG Lunch 2

Citations Count! Experience of providing researcher training on bibliometrics, citations and Open Access publishing. Kate Bradbury,  Cardiff University.

  • Training in citation data in response to REF raising interest in bibliometrics, funders requesting bibliometric data, help deciding where to publish and to promote work. 
  • Training covers: WoS/Scopus/Google Scholar, looking for data in other sources (e.g. book citations, full text resources which include references), what each database provides e.g. impact factors, increasing citations, using open access publishing and repositories.
  • Format of training: 30 min talk and 1 hr hands-on using workbooks – activities such as finding impact factors, setting up citation alerts, looking at OA resource and using ResearcherID.
  • Also do shorter, tailored talks for Departmental meetings etc.
  • Sessions dones for subject librarians, staff development programme, specific schools/depts (e.g. Comp Sci, Engin, Psychology) and within seminar series.
  • Lessons learnt: avoid too much detail, stay up to date with new database features and REF, emphasis benefits to researchers, takes time to build interest in training, targeted sessions best, be flexible & adapt sessions to suit audience, be prepared for discussions about the validity and use of bibliometrics!
  • Stance taken: explain how to find information but leave it up to the researchers to decide if it is useful to them, including discussion of pros/cons of bibliometrics.
  • Types of questions asked:
  • How to pay for OA publishing?
  • Shouldn’t we just write controversial articles to up our citations?
  • What about highly cited, poor research?
  • My journals not indexed in WoS, how do I get citation info?
  • How to find book citation info?
  • What about self-citations? Will they be excluded from REF?
  • BMJ article said no observable citation advantage from OA publishing…
  • Can I import articles on in WoS into ResearcherID? (can do, but tricky)
  • What is a good H-Index to have?
  • Doesn’t H-Index just reflect length of career?
  • Where’s the best place to put an OA article?
  • I use a subject repository so why also use institutional repository?
  • I don’t want an early version of my work available…
  • What next in terms of training? – Continue with sessions, support subject librarians to run their own sessions, introduce Bristol Online Survey to collect feedback from attendees, respond to individual follow-up questions and do a separate presentation on OA publishing.

USTLG Lunch

Wiley Publishers: WIREs, Alexa Dugan.
Next up was our sponsor for the day Wiley talking about their new product:

  • WIREs = Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews.
  • Reference work meets journal review article –  a new concept in publishing.
  • Have been finding it difficult to find authors/researchers with enough time to devote to writing traditional reference works, especially as those works do not gain professional recognition .i.e. they are not indexed or cited.
  • WIREs is Wiley’s answer to this: invited content with high quality editorship, drawing on their research journal community ties (so like a reference work), but also managed to get them indexed in major databases and WoS so the authors can get recognition.
  • Each Review has a carefully thought out structure, which is kept up to date with a range of article types e.g. focus (news) articles, opinion pieces, basic reviews, advanced reviews etc.
  • Content is added every two months (so serial like a journal) & articles retain their title and DOIs for citation purposes.
  • One of their flagship titles: Climate Change Review has won several awards already.
  • FREE for first two years: wires.wiley.com
  • USTLG Conference

    Getting Interactive

Researcher@Library – becoming part of the research cycle, Katy Sidwell, University of Leeds.

  • Leeds, like many of us, have managed to get a certain amount of library training embedded or offered to PhD students, but what about Academics and other Researchers?
  • Started to think about how to support researchers so thought about the life cycle of a research project:
  • Ides (pre-funding) – Planning (finding application) – Action (research/life of grant) – Dissemination – Application (of research knowledge/transfer) – back to beginning of cycle.
  • They got us to think about how we all support these stages of the cycle & feedback (using post it notes – a good bit of interactivity to wake us all up!).
  • What they (and from the feedback, others might do) are:
  • Ideas = library collections, current awareness & literature search training.
  • Planning =  Identify funding sources ^ support research bids (though in Leeds this only happens in particular areas as it’s labour intensive and unscaleable).
  • Action = PhD workshops, bibliographic management, lit search support, data management advice, user behaviour research, friendly space for researchers.
  • Dissemination = RAE/REF support, etheses online, institutional repository, publications database.
  • Application = intellectual property advice (Business officer), market research for knowledge transfer e.g. patents.
  • Hard for researchers to know about training – where/how to promote?
  • Created a website for researchers to bring together the various things available to them (need user needs analysis to find out what to put there).
  • Researchers wanted a website that was not solely library resources/focused, not tutorial but advice that could be dipped into at appropriate time, simple navigation, no login but not really basic advice – appropriate to their level.
  • library.leeds.ac.uk/researcher
  • Work in progress – need to clarify purpose, look at navigation issues, obtain feedback and roll out across other faculties.
  • Where now? – created Library Researcher Support Group to continue the work and look at how it fits in with the new Vitae researcher development framework.

A good day all round. The presentations from the day can now be viewed at the USTLG site.

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support, Service Delivery, Subject Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open Access Week 2010: What did we learn

Posted by gazjjohnson on 25 October, 2010

So that was it for Open Access Week 2010, and while we weren’t perhaps bowled over by the number of academics we got to see during it (happening during half-term can’t have helped) those we did see were fulsome with praise for us coming out to them.  Certainly it’s something I’ll happily keep offering throughout the year, given that it still netted us an additional 101 full text publications for deposit onto the LRA, and I’ll be encouraging the team to get this on as a matter of priority.

Time to start planning open access week 2011 I guess!  Thanks to all those who took part and supported us throughout, it was very much appreciated.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open Access Week 2010: Thursday

Posted by gazjjohnson on 21 October, 2010

A busy day yesterday, so to make up here’s  a couple of interesting open access related things to make up!

ROAR, based down in Southampton, is launching an interesting little widget called an Overview of Open Access which

showcases open access material from repositories around the world. Picking one recent deposit at a time, the animated map cycles around the world’s repositories showing a description of the deposit itself, together with a description and thumbnail of the repository’s home page. Every few seconds another deposit is chosen from another repository, making what we hope is an interesting trip around the World of Open Access! The title of each repository and each deposit is linked from the display, allowing viewers to explore repositories and open access research from around the globe.

I’d like to say more about it, but at the time of blogging the site appears to be down (potentially due to the number of people looking at it!).

The second item is a paper published in PLoS One on

  • Gargouri Y, Hajjem C, Larivière V, Gingras Y, Carr L, Brody T, Harnad S. Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research. PLoS ONE. 2010;5(10):e13636+. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013636.

You can read more about the paper in this useful blog post from PLoS One.  The actual impact of open access on citation rates continues to be hotly debated topic, and so this paper is a welcome addition to the literature.

And two randomly selected full text papers of interest for your reading pleasure

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Open Access Week 2010: Tuesday

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 October, 2010

So far this week I’ve been to the offices of three academics, and have one more coming to see me.  A small number, but I am quietly very pleased with the response – all those I have seen so far have been very fulsome in praise for the spur to deposit that Repository in your Office is.  What’s struck me today comes from looking at how academic have their file space organised, I’ve come away with a greater appreciation on how hard it is for them to exercise version control – which makes it harder for us (and them) to find the publisher permitted versions of articles to archive.

Today’s random article from the LRA: Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, and mixed-strategy evolutionary equilibria

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open Access Week 2010: Monday

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 October, 2010

It’s day 1 of our 5 day celebration at the LRA for Open Access Week 2010.  Today we went live with our article in the daily ebulletin, which goes to every member of the university.  I’ve also been out and about meeting a couple of researchers as part of our Repository in Your Office push – my thanks to both Aldo Rona and Helen Atkinson for asking us in.  Plenty of slots left in the week for anyone else who’d like us to swing by and collect electronic versions of their publications!

I thought I should also highlight that the JISC has made some OA Week material available too, updating it on a daily basis.

Random paper of the day: Encounters with Vortices in a Turbine Nozzle Passage

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Most used repository items for September 2010

Posted by gazjjohnson on 1 October, 2010

Here are the top 10 accessed items on the LRA in the past month

  1. Lead-free soldering alloys: microstructure optimization for electronic applications. Belyakov, Sergey  (Thesis)
  2. Saint Christopher Wall Paintings in English and Welsh Churches, c.1250-c.1500. Pridgeon , Eleanor Elizabeth (Thesis)
  3. Advanced control of photovoltaic converters. Liu. Ying (Thesis)
  4. Thai celebrity culture and the Bangkok teenage audience.  Thapthiang, Nuwan (Thesis)
  5. The Impact of Labour Turnover: Theory and Evidence from UK Micro-Data Garino. Gaia et al (Report)
  6. Human Rights in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective on Violation and Resolution. Straw, David William Matthew (Thesis)
  7. Succinct DOM. Delpratt, O’Neil et al (Conference Paper)
  8. A Study of Solidification Structure Evolution during Investment Casting of Ni-based Superalloy for Aero-Engine Turbine Blades. Dai, Huijuan (Thesis)
  9. Electrofinishing of metals using eutectic based ionic liquids. Abbott, A.P. et al (Article)
  10. Effects of Long-Term High Temperature Exposure on the Microstructure of Haynes Alloy 230. Veverková, Jana (Thesis)

What is notable is the high proportion of theses getting a heady use on the repository – they are around 10% of the collection as a total, but unlike the 44% full-text items as a whole for the LRA, around 99.9% of theses on the repository are available in full text.  They’re also a unique research resource that is otherwise very much underused.  In contrast theses from Leicester on Ethos appear to be used around 1/10 as often, which is perhaps not a big surprise given the requirement to register before accessing any of their content.

Meanwhile the top countries accessing the LRA last month were as follows (no change from last month):

  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. India
  4. Australia
  5. Germany

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All about OTTERS – a day on open educational resources

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 September, 2010

Today I went down to the BDRA to attend a day on the OTTER project and OERs (open educational resources/repositories).  Educational object repositories are a little to the left of my working experience, so this was a great opportunity to find out a little more.  The aim of the day was to give an overview of OTTER and OERs in a broader sense.

We began by seeking to define what an OER was – something that could be reused, re-purposed, freely available, and discrete (not embedded within an environment).  The primary concerns over using them are currency, sustainability and quality control.  IPR/licensing to use/reuse is also an issue – especially third party rights of contents embedded within items.  Interestingly there is a lot of use of these objects by Leicester students for their revision, not simply those produced at Leicester.  Noted that MIT with their Open Courseware have been leading in this field for at least 12 years.

(Incidentally my favourite learning object is on  Kongregate – a game that teaches cellular physiology.)

OTTER is mounted on PLONE, and of course JORUM Open is more well known – as this links to OERs in all kinds of teaching environments. OTTER over-delivered on their target credits material – almost 500 credits worth of material.  Also the CORRE framework for creating and evaluating OERs.

CORRE

We started looking at Content gathering, and IPR/ownership questions were noted – the Uni generally owns copyright in OERs created here, but it was noted there are some cases where this might actually not be as cut and dried.  So OTTER worked with people where this wasn’t going to be a problem.  Even after the gathering there were questions over IPR and that some depts seemed to misunderstand what had been agreed to be supplied.  To get around this the BDRA devised a memorandum of understanding that was an agreement as to what partner depts would supply.  Noted that knowledge of copyright, let alone creative commons was poorly understood by the academic community and that education in this respect is needed.

Next is the Content screening – need to do some assessment of the content before you can decide that it is suitable for conversion into a OER.  OTTER used indicative questions to perform this analysis.  Interesting points about transnational issues over language and spelling were raised.  The amount of local references within OERs was an issue too – OTTER thought it was better to remove them and make them more generic, although other institutions didn’t always agree with this viewpoint – saying users could see past the local references to the reusable model underneath.

Then there is Openness – and the difference between creative commons and copyright.  In South America for example if it’s on the Web the normal assumption, even in the academic sphere, is that it is public domain and rights free.  The question of significant change to create a new object (and how much work is needed to demonstrate this) was raised.  Noted, like the LRA, that OTTER was very rigorous with copyright unlike some of the other projects – and had a series of indicative questions to be asked before an object could be progressed (developed with the consultation of Tania, our Copyright Administrator)

Next transformation – which is about enhancing the existing teaching materials as it becomes a OER, effectively making it an object independent of other resources that can be used on its own.  It may require restructuring – en.g. a lecture may be designed to work in a certain context, but as an OER its structure will need to be re-examined.

Then we looked at formatting and standardisation, making sure that final file formats are appropriate and openable by as wide a range of end users as possible.  It is also about making sure that metadata, and embedded metadata within the OER is  appropriate.  This was a manual process.  There was quite a discussion around the use of iTunesU and YouTube as alternative locations for mounting some OERs, the advantage being the discoverability would be enhanced by their search tools and greater visibility to a broader audience.  however, in contrast downloading of some objects can be restricted on these services, unlike from your own OER where you can control this more.

Now in Sahm’s words we move into a fashion parade – or Reuse and Repurpose – thinking about the end users and how they will be using it.  So these are questions to ask the various groups, although you can use your own in-house team to go through the tool kit questions.  Noted how they validated the materials by running it past real user groups e.g. EMALinc event with librarians.

Finally there is Evidence – this is about the impact and what is the value to teachers and learners around the wold, how do we measure it?  Senior management is more interested in evidence of impact, but as a teacher you will be more interested in the anecdotal evidence from learners on how these resources have helped in their learning experience.  like the LRA they use Google Analytics to track the quantitative data.  However, after all this effort and only 9 people use a resource the question of “worth” arises.  Hard to demonstrate what people get out of it – or what they would have not got, had the resource not existed.  Talked about MIT taking 10 years to demonstrate worth of their Open Courseware site. Akin to libraries making many materials available that few people use – but if they weren’t there, it would have diminished someone’s learning experience.

Applying CORRE

At this point we closed for lunch. After lunch we looked at some demos of objects in the Leicester OER, including a video with some upside down bits.  Following this we applied the CORRE framework to our own teaching examples – in my group’s case Marta from SDSS’ session on evaluating evidence.  We touched on the need to redesign teaching session objects from the ground up, if they were to fit through the CORRE framework – as they stand there is too little context to make them work alone, or too much referencing to other materials.

Finally the day reflected on how OERs and designing for openness has impacted on the work of the BDRA.  In particular thinking about stuff they are designing with this in mind from the start; alongside designing for the student.  They ask themselves “Can we make it open and can we enhance visibility for ourselves and our work through making it into an open resource?”

——–

Overall this was an enjoyable and engaging day, and the chance to think about CORRE I think could have filled an entire day if we’d worked through it methodically.  Even though I don’t do that much teaching these days I found plenty to think about, and look forward to future engagements with the BDRA.

Slides will be available on the OTTER sige, along with the podcast from the day (with the odd audible comment from me on it).

Posted in Open Access, Projects, Subject Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An alternative to traditional peer review

Posted by gazjjohnson on 25 August, 2010

Interesting article from the New York Times looking at an experiemtn from the humanties sector at exploring open peer review through the use of social networkings.

Although I don’t know if every academic would want to deal with 350 comments on an article from a mass of reviewers – for those academics reading this, how does that match up to your experience of comments on a typical paper?  More/less than normal?  Is this a good idea or does it, as the article suggests, risk turning academic publishing into some sort of American Idol/X-Factor like contest where only the popular good looking papers get published?

Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Repositories and CRIS WRN event article

Posted by gazjjohnson on 23 August, 2010

Nick Sheppard, Leeds Met University (aka MrNick on twitter) has written a good article in the most recent Ariadne about the Welsh Repository Network/JISC workshop back in May looking at the interaction between CRISes* and repository systems.  As I was unable to get to this event due to prior commitments, it was good to have a chance to catch up on the discussions.

I was interested to note that a CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) can go by many names – given that the UoL Research Office often refer to them as RIMS – Research Information Management Systems.  They’re not alone as many universities seem to have renamed them as RMAS or ERA and the like.  But at their heart they are systems that not only gather in research publication data (and much more), but actively link to other systems – chief among them from my perspective interlinking with a repository.

The question “Is an IR a subset of a CRIS?” posed by one speaker (Simon Kerridge, ARMA) is an interesting one.  Having seen a number of recent CRIS vendor demos, it is one that is clearly approached in different ways by different organisations.  Some very much see the IR as a satellite system, fed largely (but not entirely) by the CRIS.  For others it is more of a subsumed system – with a visible front end peeking out, but the rest of the body absorbed by the greater whole.  I must confess so long as the workflows for such issues as rights verification and data management are still handled by the elite repository administration team I don’t have an especial problem either way.  However, if a CRIS/Repository union means that a repo is just a reflection of the CRIS data set, locked down without the additional resources embodied and ingested by the IR over and above the REF related items; well then I’m a little more uneasy.

The talk from St Andrews’ Data architect Anna Clements (which came with some interesting but not readily comprehensible diagrams) brought up the CERIF standard.  Interesting that St Andrews has been pursuing links to their repository for far longer than many other institutions, which has demonstrated the advantages of working closely together with research support personnel (something I’ve benefited from here at Leicester in the past two years and can heartily concur).

Meanwhile William Nixon and Valerie McCutchean of Glasgow gave a very useful overview of the integration of the repository with a CRIS.  I was able to plot from my own experiences whereabouts we are in this process here at Leicester.  They raised a valuable point about author authorities – something that has long concerned me as an issue to which I don’t have a ready solution.  In some regards I’m hoping the CRIS implementation here will allow us to tackle and resolve this at that point – given that unique IDing of authors is something that is key for bibliometrics and REF returns alike.  I notice William doesn’t appear to have offered a solution though in his talk, which is perhaps a slight concern for me.  I wonder how difficult it is going to be to match an author of a non-REF item that routes into the repository from beyond the CRIS with the institutional verfiied author list.  And what about external additional authors?  I suspect this is going to be a major issue for me and my team to resiolve and one that I’d welcome external insight on.

Finally my old friend Jackie Knowles talked about the pitfalls of implementation – most of which I am, thankfully, already well aware.  I think we definiely need more of these warts and all case study examples though; as at the end of the day those of us working at the sharp end of repository/CRIS interlinking will need to know how to work around so many of them.

It sounds like this was an excellent day (and perhaps in serious need for near future repeating!) and a definite must read artilce for anyone about to establish, or already working towards, a CRIS/Repository interlink.

Posted in Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

 
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