UoL Library Blog

Develop, debate, innovate.

Archive for the ‘Open Access’ Category

European Documentation Centres: what are they for, what is their future?

Posted by Andrew Dunn on 9 June, 2015

Notes from European Documentation Training: Brussels June 2015

European Documentation Centres were set up to allow the citizens of the EU to participate in a debate about the EU. Their mission was to promote teaching and research of the EU and to make information on all aspects of the EU – from the economy to the environment to health – available to the wider public. Their role was not so much to provide information as to facilitate communication and their establishment was seen as good policy rather than an obligatory function of the European Union.

However, even as far back as 1985 it was calculated that an EDC cost the EU between €10k and €12k a year. In recent years, faced with every decreasing and restrained budgets, the EU has distributed more communications online and less via the medium of print, leaving EDCs with closed or very slow growing collections and a falling number of users.

The delegates at the EU documentation training event were asked to advise the newly-formed pan-European working group on the future of EDCs on ways to take the EDC forward. Over the course of 2 hours of discussions the following points were raised:

EDCs have to face the digital reality. Lots of their documentation is online, fewer and fewer print documents of significance are being sent out by the EU. Users are by-passing EDCs and going straight to Google to find EU documentation.

However, EU documentation is available from a myriad of sources. Refined and sophisticated searches are possible on these platforms though usability is not necessarily intuitive. EDCs will still have a role then in the future but the emphasis will be more on training users in online discovery. Delegates at the training event were unanimous in calling for EDCs to remain a discreet, physical space where people can seek out support in information retrieval and some still saw a role for print documents in that physical space; others envisaged a more world café type set-up with computers available for online access to information.  It has to be stressed though that some historic documents are still not online – digitisation of COM Docs, for example, has only reached the 80s so print is still essential in some cases.

All agreed EDCs need to work on promotion to increase visibility and attract users back to use our services. There was also a widely-supported call for EDCs around Europe to work more collaboratively to create a network in which to share best practice and to make open-source training materials for end users.

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

USTLG November Meeting: Supporting Research

Posted by selinalock on 1 December, 2014

On the 26th November 2014 I attended and spoke at the University Science & Technology Librarians (USTLG) winter meeting on supporting research at Aston University. The last time I attended a USTLG meeting was in 2012 when I spoke about our re-structure into a Teaching and Learning team, a Research Support Team and a Special Collections/Digital Humanties team, and I was juts about to start my post as a Research Information Advisor.

This time I updated attendees on what had happened since the restructure and how the Research Services team had developed, and took #OAowl along for company:

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

#OAowl on the train to Birmingham

The line-up for the day was:
Research Bites – researcher training programme
Georgina Hardy & Clare Langman
Aston University

  • Subject librarians with research support as part of their remit.
  • Research Bites – every lunchtime in July/August, 15-30mins sessions.
  • Record audio & slides to make available.
  • Used EventBrite for bookings & to keep stats on attendance.
  • Advertsie via lots of methods e.g. new bulletin, direct emails, flyers/posters to Depts, posters in library, in email sigs.
  • LibGuides to gather recordings.
  • Options to stay after talk to try  things out hands-on (in the lovely library training room where we had the meeting!)

Raising Your Research Profile – training programme
Linda Norbury & Judith Hegenbarth
University of Birmingham

  • Research support group to oversee research training within the library, run by subject librarians/group.
  • Tried out research support (ideas sessions) on Publication strategies, Open Access, Bibliometrics & Social Media on subject librarians first – helps upskill library staff.
  • Good feedback and led to other sessions/contacts, but need to review and expand in future.
  • Raising your research profile webpages.

Developing a blended learning approach to literature searching support for PhD students
Jenny Coombs & Liz Martin
De Montfort University

  • Compulsory lit searching module for PhD students as part of the Graduate School training programme.
  • Moved to an online approach – students can choose online module + face-to-face sessions or online only (depending on if they can visit campus)
  • Involves all subject librarians in the feedback part of the module – where students fill in a lit searching form to show what they have understood of the module.

Consultancy, bitesize and training – how Northumbria supports researchers
Suzie Kitchin
Northumbria University

  • Provide free advice and help with literature searching for all researchers, but also provide a charged literature searching service for funded projects that wish the library to undertake the literature search for them – charged at research librarian pay rate per hour.
  • research development week – feedback that it’s a good brand that is seen as targeted directly at researchers.
  • Use an online tutorial that is a pre-requisite to face-to-face teaching to ensure everyone is on the same level.
  • Skillsplus – online learning repository – includes all researcher materials – all online tutorials/learning objects are bitesized.

Supporting researchers – then and now
Selina Lock
University of Leicester

JISC Open Access Pathfinder project
Linda Kerr
Heriot-Watt University

  • Research Support Librarian – remit to run repositories and support open access publishing.
  • Offers advice, co-ordination, writes policies, support to staff in schools.
  • OA fund devolved to schools who deal with APCs.


Applying systematic review methodology from Health to other Science disciplines
Beth Hall
University of  Bangor

  • Supports systematic reviews in medicine/health care but found a growing demand for using thouse methods in other subjects such as ecology and software engineering.
  • Bangor Evidence Synthesis Hub (BESH) – Application of review methods and processes to different and interdependent contexts such as health, social care, environment, conservation.
  • Issues with applying methods to other areas – no one database to model search on (e.g. Medline in medicine), search functionality lacking in databases, no subject terms, no register of systematic reviews in non-medical areas.
  • Centre for evidence Based Conservation


You can access copies of the presentations on the USTLG website.

Tweets from the day: USTLG November 14 Storify (header seems to feature #OAowl)

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

UKSG Introduction to Open Access Day

Posted by selinalock on 25 July, 2012

Another belated event report as I attended this in May. Recent events, such as the UK Government taking on most of the Finch Report recommendations (e.g. to make publically funded research results open access by 2014) have taken over the Open Access (OA) discussion. However, I think many of the points made below are still relevant:

Review of the traditional commercial pricing models for accessing electronic content  
James Pawley, Regional Sales Manager, SAGE Publications

-James started with a historical reminder of why people publish in the first place – the same reasons as the first journal ‘Philosophical Transactions’ was published by the Royal Society.

– To share knowledge while providing evidence for, and getting credit for your discoveries. – in the past this might get you patronage, now it might get you finding…

– The publishing ecosytem has developed since the introduction of ejournals in the 1990s and now the main competitors for publishers are Amazon & Google as these raise user expectations.

– Business costs – editorial board (to ensure scope, quality, prestige), platforms & discoverability tools – electronic publishing is not cheaper than publishing in print due to the metadata, user platform, citation tools, stats provision etc.

– Publishers need to be at cutting edge to keep submissions and quality high.

– E is also not cheaper than print due to VAT regs, complicated subscriptions models and being governed by different contract law to print.

What is Open Access and how does it differ?  
Charlie Rapple, Associate Director, TBI Communications

– Religion, politics & money – affects OA & for some OA is a religion!

– OA is young in publishing terms so not enough data yet to assess how viable a business model & data available is biased.

– Have to make your own mind up & keep an open mind…

– Green & Gold levels – green = self-archiving/OA repositories, gold = publisher version is OA or hybrid solutions

– OA is not… non-profit, the death of peer review (though may undertake it in a different way), not embraced by majority of academics at this point (it is not a priority for them – they want speedy publication, high impact etc), a panacea that will create savings everywhere (costs just move to a different place), not the only answer to the problems of scholarly publishing

– Benefits of OA – human genome project (funding this & making it OA had an enormous economic & research impact), some evidence for higher citations (but would that be true if everything OA?), might save money (but might just move costs elsewhere)

– Viable funding model? Author funding – shifts costs but costs still there, Membership funding – OA membership fees will be an easy target for cost cutting.

– Politicians getting involved – politicised: makes is harder to discuss in a sensible manner but has got OA on the agenda

– I want to break free! Current promotion system for academics is driven by publishing in high impact journals – if this doesn’t change then academic publishing won’t change.

– Don’t want to lose the skills, knowledge and value that publishers add – throwing the baby out with the bath water?

– Library skills may need to change in an OA world? Become repository managers instead of content purchasers?

Exploring open access scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences
Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, JISC Collections

– Arts & Hums project looking at scholarly monographs

– Needs to be talked about as it often ignored in favour of STEM journal OA

– Been a decrease in print monograph sales to libraries – so less published – concern for AHSS researchers in terms of getting their research disseminated

– Pilot – 5 publishers, submitted matched pairs of monograph titles, steering group chose titles to include, one of the pair in control group & one in experimental group, 58 titles. Control group made available as standard by publisher & experimental group made available OA under CC license (PDF version for free) through OapenUK library – can be put into institutional repositories etc as well & in Google books

– Key areas identified across focus groups:

– Metadata (needed for discoverability, auditing, who creates it? who maintains it? what is needed for OA? is it put into the supply chain, and whose version? most find things by searching so metadata vital)

– Versioning, preservation & archiving (CC commons license means people can re-use, mash-up – researchers felt threatened by this option & wanted preservation of their original version. who preserves & archives? )

– Methods of delivery (where should it be available? central platform, or anywhere? format & functionality?)

– Usage (collection of data & standards for that data – vital for assessing value & impact & for researchers to know)

– Quality & prestige (perceptions of brand, reputation, quality & maintaining excellence. High concern about the quality of monographs being lowered)

– What do authors want? (Researchers say they want prestige, while publishers thought authors wanted financial reward)

– Copyright

– International issues (territories & markets)

– Changing roles (what stays, what goes – authors value the marketing from publishers. Authors do not want to do own marketing)

– Impact on processes (policies, mandates & behaviour)

– Ways of Making OA profitable, Risk, Funding


Repositories Support Project  
The work of the RSP in supporting repository development in the UK
Jackie Wickham, Open Access Adviser , University of Nottingham

– Supports public access to public funded data – serves UK Higher Education

– OA repository benefits for institutions – showcase for research output, marketing mechanism, REF/research management, complying with funding mandates, management & preservation of assets, encourages collaboration.

– Benefits for academics – in principle academics support OA, but not in practice due to pressure for high impact publishing, faster dissemination, wider readership, increased citations.

– Benefits if they do deposit in repositories = compliance with funding mandate, secure storage environment, personalise services (stats on downloads, personal profiles/bibliographies as webpages etc)

– Study by Swan, A suggested OA citation advantage (but people disagree with the rigour of these studies!)

– Creative arts research – repositories for arts material can help with visibility & preservation

– RSP based at Notts Uni – offers advice, visits to institutions to support installations, advocacy, evaluations, telephone & email service, advocacy materials & briefing papers on website, buddy scheme, events programme, webinars, embedding repositories project to look at how this can be done (see website), skills training,.

BioMed Central (+ SpringerOpen)  
Bev Acreman, Commercial Director, BioMed Central

– OA Journals = Journal publishing just a different business model.

– Business model – article processing charge APC (also membership, digital sales, events etc)

– BMC offers several package options = prepaid funds, supporter fund (discount on APC), shared support split between author/institution.

– Hindawi = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– PloS = flat rate fee based on size of institution

– Subjects BMC support the authors are used to paying page rates & often built into research bids

– New journal – peerJ are offering a $99 life membership compared to the $1-3k APC of other OA publishers.

– SCONUL survey 2011 – 13% institutions manage OA payments centrally

– 2014 REF – 20% weighting to societal & economic research impact – easier to show if OA as research open to re-use & sharing

– Why funders support OA? Public access to funded research, wide dissemination, APCs are expected as part of research process, some have a charitable remit e.g. Wellcome Trust

– APCs waive fees to low-income countries but all authors can apply for a waiver e.g. lone researcher outside institution

– Growth in fee waived APCs e.g. Pakistand, Eygpt researchers

– Costs – pay academic editors, societies, writing workshops in China (China now has mandate for researchers to publish in western journals) & developing world, customer service, targeted digital marketing, sales team, editorial office & office systems, IT development

– Common misconceptions:

– Will publish anything = No, need to ensure quality & credibility & keep impact high

– All OA equal = no, there are certain companies who sign up to code of conduct, be wary of those that haven’t.

Nature Publishing Group  
David Hoole, Director of IP Policy and Licensing, Nature Publishing Group

– OA at Nature – focusing on it for business development but not something that’s easy to transition to.

– Recognise there is a shift in the balance of rights back towards authors – no longer ask for copyright, just exclusive publication rights.

– 2009/10 started turning most academic journals hybrid & more fully OA journals = sister journals to existing journals.

– Nature Communications born/launched in 2010 as hybrid – Nature branding with OA policy

– 2011 Scientific Reports – seen as competitor to PLoS one

– High rejection rate so looking at what can be done for good research that’s not appropriate for their top journals & efficient use of editorial teams.

– Nature & Nature Research journals are not OA due to the amount of money that is spent on editorial duties rejecting manuscripts (90% rejection rate) – if introduced APC rates would be phenomenal.

– APC for Nature Communications ~£3k – still a 60-70% rejection rate.

– Large amount of editorial input in Nature titles e.g. redrawing of diagrams & restructuring of articles which adds huge amount of value.

– Their OA journals are small & targeted – they are launching new OA journals instead of subscription titles.

– Scientific Reports – all areas of natural sciences, peer-reviewed, 100% OA, rapid dissemination (less editorial input/added value), external editorial board (no other Nature journals have this), online only.

– Should sub prices lower to reflect the amount of OA? APCs don’t generally make up for the loss of revenue if subscription prices are lowered.

– Top tier, high impact journals – high editorial cost as every submission read, high circulation – cannot transition to APC model – APC would be £20-30k per article!

– Nature is 143 years old & does its job well, especially in communicating with the media & dissemination.

– Genome articles in Nature titles are OA because of human genome project being OA & authors insisting on it & have CC licenses for those articles.

– Encourages green self-archiving – can opt-in on many titles for submission to PubMed Central – self-archive after 6 months post publication.

Managing Open Access in the library  
Wendy White, Head of Scholarly Communication, University of Southampton

– At Southampton OA repository is designated a core system – good for institutional support but tends to put academics off.

– Not just about the library – also need IT, legal, research services, faculty admins etc

– Requirements & Encouragements (carrot & stick) – requirements to deposit where permitted by publisher, emphasis on author involvement over compliance, University mandates will not win people over, funder mandates then funders need to work with repository staff and academics, focus on author benefits.

– Cost & sustainability needs to be considered in future

– Repositories good at making available grey lit e.g. reports, conference papers, theses, art items

– Downloads & uploads – people want to know how often their work downloaded, need stats, RSS & twitter alerts – marketing & discoverability, Google analytics. Even amount of uploads – don’t want big deadlines & backlogs.

– Adding value & support – need to be part of researcher workflow so provide tools to make things easy – lots of ways of importing & exporting between systems.

– Adding value by gaining expertise – guidance on copyright & versions, quality assurance for metadata, engaging with researchers about developments in OA etc, linking the repository to other relevant services & uses in the Uni & professional development for library staff so they can communicate with researchers.

– Individual & group support – training for PGRs and research community, embedded where possible, bespoke session for Depts, session for copyright for teaching materials & OA educational objects, one-to-one support, enquiry service, support for new staff – does require resources.

Managing Open Access fees  
Chris Middleton, Head of Academic Services, Information Services,
University of Nottingham 

– Centrally managed fund for OA fees – challenges & admin issues:

– Drivers for institutional funding is the benefits of OA & the funder mandates.

– Notts have policy for OA e.g. deposit and encouraging OA publishing – need to back up with appropriate funding.

– Research income can be channelled to OA fund – build into research grant application e.g. in the indirect costs in the funding bid (retrospective – institution has to pay and then claim back – quite a complicated and not transparent in funding guideline)

– Notts OA fund is managed by research office but advocated by library

– Nottingham – had fund since 2006, which includes advocating the use of Wellcome Trust money

– Embedded in Faculty Team librarians remit when talking to researchers

– Total number of requests over 5 years = 615. From 27 requests 2006-7 to 262 in 2010-11

– Total costs = £714,244

– Average cost per article = £1,216. Highest = £3,095 (Elsevier/Springer) & Lowest = ~£200

– Mainly medicine & life sciences

– Apart from BMC then only 9 publishers received 10 or more payments (70 publishers overall)

– Biggest challenge = future publishing = costs high

– Changes might come from Research Councils, REF, repositories, future publishing models?

– Challenges of advocacy = OA and high impact are mutually exclusive, lack of awareness of funding options, stigma associated with “vanity publishing” (paying to publish), OA seen as not as high quality

– Repository & central fund is managed within existing staff resource, which is a strain.

Panel Discussion

– Lots of interest in how to set-up a central fund, do you fund first author or any author, split between several institutions if multiple authors? What’s the best value OA model if subscribing as a membership – may depend on area of publication & rate of publication. How to make sure the right fund is used e.g. central fund or Wellcome fund. Nottingham fought hard to say central fund should be funded from research money as it’s a research related cost (not from library journals fund).

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

Contrasting Search Engine Returns and Indexing of the LRA

Posted by gazjjohnson on 6 July, 2012

Repository metrics are upper most in my mind at the moment, as I’ve co-authored a paper for Open Repositories 2012 on the subject.  But they’re also in my mind due to some work I’ve been doing with the LRA lately.

A bit of background first.  A couple of months ago we upgraded the LRA and shifted the server and underlying platform it runs on.  There have been a few issues, nothing devastating mind you, that myself and my wonderful techs have been working to resolve.  One issue that’s niggled at me as manager of the service is that the hits we seem to be getting recorded via Google Analytics were ~75% down on where they were before the change.

While we did discover we were missing a bit of code on some the pages which helped restore some of the recorded traffic, we’re still >40% down on where we have been for the past few years.  While I’m still trying to answer the question “Were the readings before abnormally high or are the readings now abnormally low” I’ve been digging around to try and ID where the issue might lie.  Certainly traffic from search engines is the most significantly reduced element.

So today I’ve run an analysis using the most popular items on LRA in recent months and run them through 4 search engines that regularly do point readers to the repository.  The publications were as follows:

  • Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa Ndako, Umar Bida
  • The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths Sim, Chow Yen Desmond
  • Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change Sandell, Richard
  • Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care Pitchforth, Emma et al
  • Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ Madge, Clare et al
  • Pragmatic randomized trial of antenatal intervention to prevent post-natal depression by reducing psychosocial risk factors Brugha, Traolach S. et al
  • The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double-edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas Mercer, Justine
  • An efficient and effective system for interactive student feedback using Google+ to enhance an institutional virtual learning environment Cann, Alan James
  • The Development of Nurture Groups in Secondary Schools Colley, David Rodway
    Mobile technologies and learning Naismith, Laura et al
  • An evaluation of forensic DNA profiling techniques currently used in the United Kingdom. Graham, Eleanor Alison May
  • Twitter and Public Reasoning Around Social Contention: The Case of #15ott in Italy Vicari, Stefania

There is a good mix of items in the above selection, including some items that aren’t available any where else.  I performed three basic searches

  • The full article title
  • The first four significant (non-stop) words of the title and first author’s surname
  • Author’s name alone

The results were as below.

Google Scholar aggregates together hits with the same title as one return, normally pointing to the published version.  This means that where this happens unless you open up the other hits, you don’t spot the LRA.  So for example Eleanor Graham’s paper is listed as 1*2 – that is the first hit was this paper, but the LRA link was the second in the sublist.

What have I inferred from this?  Well it seems for the most part these search engines are indexing the LRA still.  Given these are popular papers, I’d expect to see them returned as very highly relevant results.  Some particular observations with respect to searching for Open Access publications on the LRA:

  • Google: Appears very good for tracking down OA papers with full title and partial title and author.  Terrible though for searching for an author’s paper by name alone.
  • Google Scholar: Okay for searching OA papers with title or title and author name, but not as good as vanilla Google.  Also very good at obfuscating the availability of an OA version of a paper beneath a publisher link.  Surprisingly though better than Google at retrieving an author’s papers with just their name (but given the more focussed collections that Google aims to search, this is perhaps to be expected).
  • Brilliant with title and title plus author name at finding OA papers.  The best of the four I used in tracking down items by author name alone too.  Without a doubt the best of the bunch (in this rough and ready test)
  • Bing: intermittently good at times and poor in others in retrieving papers.  Worse than both vanilla Google and Scholar, and much worse than Scirus.  However, had some successes in identifying papers with a high relevance ranking by author name alone at times when the other three search engines could resolve them.

In conclusion if you’re looking for open access publications I would use first and foremost, but avoid Bing unless you’re hitting a total dead end (or just have an author name) and use the Google Family of search engines with care.  As for the LRA, looks like we are indexed by most of these (although I’ve questions about Bing’s totality of coverage).

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

Research Data Management Forum – Engaging with the Publishers

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 April, 2012

Southampton - venue of RDMF8Last week I spent two days in a very sunny Southampton at RDMF8, an event from the DCC that drew together librarians, repository managers, researchers, data scientists, funders and publishers and looked at issues around managing research data.  The particular theme of this event (there have been 7 previous ones) was looking at what publishers are planning to do with data.  It’s an area I can’t confess a broad understanding of, and so it was an opportunity to find out as much as possible about the various activities and consider how they might impact on work here at Leicester.

Speakers from the publishing world included Ruth Wilson (Nature), David Tempest (Elsevier) and Rebecca Lawrence (Faculty 1000).  From the scholarly society side of the fence was Brian McMahon (International Union of Crystallography), Todd Vision (National Evolutionary Synthesis Centre. Finally representing the researchers were Simon Coles (Southampton) and Christopher Gutteridge (Southampton).

Publishers and Data
For the publishers there is a strong awareness of the value of data as the principle output from research, and the potential value it has to other scholars.  Elsevier noted that they were planning to incorporate data within “all their publications by the end of 2012”.  However, when the issue of reuse came up, they seemed to indicate that while they wouldn’t be hosting the data that it would be reused under “their licence terms”.  As one of my colleagues at the end commented, is this the beginning of another IPR land grab from the publishers?  I know many researchers whom are far more protective of access to their data than they are of their publications, and suspect this might be a hot topic in the not too distant future. 

It was suggested that unlike publications (which come with the potential for career boosting citation impact) data offers no career advantage to researchers, and as such they would be disengaged from worrying about its storage and public sharing.  There was also the issue of just whom owned the rights to share the data, given that most projects are carried out across multiple institutions and often countries.  Finally it was suggested that many researchers might well be concerned that they would lose primacy of research impact if some other researcher was to come along and obtain more revelatory discoveries from their data.

Hosting Data
The role of hosting the raw, and indeed structured data came in for considerable discussion.  Publisher view points were very much that this wasn’t their role, although they’d be seeking to aggregate it through their data journals allied to their publications.  Sadly most of the speakers went so far as to detail quite whom would be doing the data hosting, tagging and curation at a practical level; with the exception of Brian McMahon who demonstrated that Crystallography has a demonstrable and already in practice data management and curation workflow; all be it one that is not immediately replicable in other disciplines.  For those less ICT savvy researcher communities, the feeling seemed to be that there would be more need of national, regional or local support in these activities.

The presentation from Todd Vision focussed on Dryad, an international data repository for the biosciences.  At the point of submission researchers are prompted to provide metadata to augment rediscovery and use.  At the moment Dryad hosts around 15,000 “data packages” – with one package being outputs from a single project; charged at £30/50 a deposit.  Interestingly in terms of size he indicated that most were ~5-10Mb in size, which seems a suspiciously small size.  My own personal suspicion is much of the data produced here locally would be many times that in size.   Todd’s talk also flagged up the idea of data citations being different to publication citations, in that different authors would be highlighted in the companion data and articles.  This seemed to be the case for many of the objects that Dryad has ingested.

Breakout session
On the second day there were a series of breakout groups, and I attended the one focussing on national/institutional data repositories.  One issue that arose was the risk of allowing researchers, rather than LIS or digital curation specialists, to set the policy on data curation within these.  Many researchers it was argued would be heading on towards their next goal, and may not recognise the potential value buried within their datasets; that they themselves could exact value and meaning from the data sets would be enough.  It was agreed that it was desirable (among those in the room at least) that data was both curated and appropriately metadata tagged.  In addition the variance across disciplines in terms of believing in the value of data, or in its potential reuse was touched on as a barrier or least an area for further exploration on how to overcome.

Belgium - Don't store your data here?One debate that raised my eyebrows was the Subject vs Institutional data repositories as the best long-term host.  The first suggestion was that SRs are more natural hosts, given their transnational capture and in many cases ready, willing and able to perform data curation.  On the other hand a potential future war with Belgium or the USA (!) was cited as a strong argument against the international storage of data, and that institutions would be seen as more natural and long-term stable hosts.  It was agreed that separate repositories to publication based ones would be needed, given the technical architecture for discovery, curation and differing reuse policies likely to be applied.

I took away from the event a feeling that most of the focus and activity currently seems to be on STEM data management.  I learned the phrase “Data journals” as distinct from “research journals”.  I also learned that what is a “trusted repository” is an issue for many in the publishing sector – with scepticism of both subject and institutional repositories as appropriate hosts; and yet a total reluctance from the publishing sector to proffer an alternative.  It was refreshing to discover that far from being in a room where everyone had the solution, that most seemed to be still groping their way slowly forwards.  Research data curation on a large and systematic scale is still in its infancy, but I would not be surprised to see things leap forward over the next 18 months as both technology and policy w.r.t. it evolve.

A twitter stream with comments from the back channel is available.

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

JISCrte End of Projects Event Feb 2012

Posted by gazjjohnson on 10 February, 2012

Friday 10th Feb saw me attending this end of project event at the rather nice Nottingham Trent Conference centre.  What follows are my notes from the day (typed whilst at the event) so apologies for any typos!  My thanks to the RSP for facilitating the day.

Balviar Notay gave an overview of the JISCrte programme to start the day.  There are a fair number of projects in this programme, but while I had heard of some of these projects I’d certainly not heard of all of them.,  Is that a flaw in the projects themselves – or perhaps promotion and awareness wasn’t a core part of their agenda.  Certainly looking around the room today there are very few people present whom are not involved directly in these projects – a bit of an echo chamber/silo problem – or should they be all working closer with UKCoRR?  Balviar did flag up the work of UK Repository Net+ project and it’s innovation zone, something that I think everyone in the UK repository community will be working with increasingly over the nest two years.  RIO Extension – mapping the repository metadata requirements  was flagged up; a project about which I went to a very interesting meeting on Weds with the RCUK, JISC and other people.

Next Marie-Therese Gramstadt was up next talking about eNova which worked on enhancing the MePrints tool.  Interestingly this is an EPrints tool; once again in the UK DSpace repositories feel a bit outside the room.  DSpace is the most popular repository platform in the world, but in the UK the Southampton based EPrints dominates the community.  That is not to say that there are not lessons to take away from this, but they aren’t products that we can directly apply at Leicester.

Interestingly this MePrints appears to offer the functionality for individual researchers (a dashboard of sorts) that I would dearly love to introduce on LRA – essentially Staff Profile pages.

Next Beth Lunt from DMU talked about the EXPLORER project – starting off by talking to their academics and discovering that many of them were unaware of the repository (something I’ve found sadly familiar).  The project then went on to bring about a number of developments for their DSpace repository – although adapting EPrints code isn’t possible as the two systems are not compatible at all.  Part of the upgrade is to KULTERise the repository.  DORA now has a UI that is much nicer than the out of the box DSpace.  Bitstreams in DORA also now have thumb prints of the objects within them, hence you can even see the front page of the PDF.

Interestingly they have improved name authorities but in a way that sounds like it wouldn’t work with a CRIS like we have.  This is a shame as standardising name authorities has long been a holy grail for the LRA.  Indeed one of the things that is clear is that being linked to a CRIS brings with it new advantages in terms of population, but it also introduces considerable limitations in terms of how much development and customisation you can do with the repository.  Given a lot of the projects that I’ve heard about today are talking about repos as single objects not as part of an integrated institutional information infrastructure; this is a bit of a concern.

After tea Jackie Wickham spoke about the RSP Embedding repositories guide and self assessment tool, stressing the importance of sharing the research with the world and raising the Universities’ profile globally.  There are three main ways in which they looked at embedding repositories.  The first one is where it acts as a publication database (e.g. where you don’t have a CRIS like IRIS), the second is like Leicester where a link with the CRIS  exists and finally a third option where the repository is embedded as part of the CRIS (not a satellite system).

Richard Green spoke next about Hydra in Hull, a spin off from the Hydrangea demonstrator project.  The plan was to use this to develop a successor to their Fedora based eDocs repository; which was enabled to be interactive with other systems.  It was launched in Sept 2011 and other unis are taking up the use of the code.  The codebase allows the,m to restrict access across multiple levels (so students, or local or academics or open access) – if unable to access you can’t see it.

William Nixon from Glasgow closed the morning off with an exemplar of embedding repositories with the Enlighten experience.  Noted there’s always a gap between funding the projects and getting the outputs of projects embedded and taken up within repositories workflows.  He stressed getting embedded is about getting stitched into the fabric of the institution culturally, technically and holistically. Embedding seems to be very much about working with administrators, academics, marketing, HR and researchers as a regular activity, not a one off.  Having these relationships is crucial, because it means you are “in the room” when important decisions are made.

Once again William demonstrated a repository that has the author at it’s heart with their own pages, and the ability to retrieve information on their available publications and usage.  Looking at Enlightened journey to being embedded it is easy to pick out the things we’ve done with LRA, but also the things we’re missing still – funding information, feeding profile pages and author disambiguation being key among them IMHO.  William commented that no repository can be supremely successful with only library staff involved on a daily basis; and I can well appreciate that – though there is the daily challenge of getting/keeping other members of the institutions engaged and onboard.

After lunch Robin Burgess was sadly not appearing so no sing-a-long a presentation, but Laurian Williamson filled in talking about RADAR. No, not that radar but the project at the Glasgow School of Art.

“He” was followed by Xiaohong Gao talking about MIRAGE which focussed on archiving of 3D medical images, in two phases – creation to archiving and then from archiving to creation.  This looks like a very interesting project, specially when you consider the potential not just for storing but locating and retrieving three dimensional data constructs from medicine and other disciplines; especially I’m thinking of Physics and Genetics.

Finally Miggie Pickton from Nectar came on to talk about her repository and embedding activity.  She noted she’d made great strides in making the repository the definitive location for research outputs.  One of the highlights of the improvements is to have the KULTURised version of the front page of the repository.  Another key point was that policy is driven by research committee, not the library – for advocacy and academic buy in this is essential.  Interestingly the VC for Northampton has offered the use of his University residence as a venue for the next Open Access week event – something I was awed by, such engagement from such a senior level is simply incredible.

The day finished with a breakout discussion session on embedding where we all exchanged our ideas and reflected on some of the points of the day.

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Technology & Devices | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Top 10 LRA Items for December 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 January, 2012

Here are the most accessed articles on the LRA for the month of December 2011.

  1. The BIOMASS mission: Mapping global forest biomass to better understand the terrestrial carbon cycle (Le Toan, T. et al)
  2. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths (Sim, Chow Yen Desmond)
  3. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard)
  4. Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa (Ndako, Umar Bida)
  5. Optimal Number of Response Categories in Rating Scales: Reliability, Validity, Discriminating Power, and Respondent Preferences (Preston, Carolyn C. et al)
  6. The List of Threatening Experiences: a subset of 12 life event categories with considerable long-term contextual threat (Brugha, Traolach S. et al)
  7. Measuring the efficiency of European airlines: an application of DEA and Tobit Analysis (Fethi, Meryem Duygun et al)
  8. The Introduction of Virtual Learning Environment e-Learning Technology at a Sixth Form College: A Case Study (Osadiya, Taye Timothy)
  9. Educational Leadership: an Islamic perspective (Shah, Saeeda J.A.)
  10. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ (Madge, Clare et al)

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

Heron User Group Meeting

Posted by taniarowlett on 15 December, 2011

I recently attended, along with my colleague Rob, the 25th Heron User Group Meeting at King’s College London.

The programme sat well with me as I am currently dividing my time between my usual Copyright Administrator activities and managing a JISC funded digitisation and OER project ‘Manufacturing Pasts’.

The presentations from Jane Secker (LSE), Donya Rowan (Derby) and June Hedges (UCL) about their recent OER projects activities and findings were therefore very interesting, and in many ways they encountered the same 3rd party © issues as I did as IPR Administrator for the Phase 1 OTTER project.  In speaking about her work on the OSTRICH project, I was pleased to hear Donya mention OTTER, and see that she found my ‘Copyright and OERs: Do’s and Don’ts’ factsheet useful when assessing/clearing material.  It was good to see Derby’s adaptation of OTTER CORRE process model too.

In was very pleasantly surprised to hear June talking her success in empowering contributors to risk assess their own materials before their release as OERs.  By asking them to list content they weren’t sure about, and discard anything that wasn’t integral to their materials, the outcome was a minimal amount of 3rd party © requiring clearance.  Whilst this was music to my ears I’m not sure whether it’s possible to roll this approach out institution wide.  As Copyright Administrator part of my role is to educate module writers about the legalities of including 3rd party material, and alternative sources of © cleared materials, but the one thing I can’t do is give them more time to stop and check their materials.

Following on from this the CLA very bravely stepped up to answer questions from the floor.  Sarah Brear confirmed that the CLA hoped to have a new licence agreed for the next academic year, and confirmed that the USA lookup tool was still in it early stages, but the intention was to roll it out to other territories once it was up and working properly.  There was also a request for the CLA to release anonymised photocopying data, which Sarah promised to look into.

During the afternoon George gave a presentation on Heron’s Packtracker software, which we started using earlier this year.  Although we knew the basics, it was very helpful to see some of the areas we don’t currently use fleshed out, so both Rob and I picked up a number of potential ways to streamline our processes, which we hope to put into practice shortly!

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Document Supply, Open Access, Service Delivery, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Leave a Comment »

Event review: Repositories and CRIS- Working Smartly together

Posted by gazjjohnson on 20 July, 2011

Yesterday I attended, along with Steve Loddignton (Research Support Office) and Stuart Wood (ITS), an event hosted by the RSP in their native Nottingham. The theme of the day was to take a look at the overlap in working, activities and priorities between repository managers and staff, and those working in the research offices. It was also a chance to meet with staff from the various repository software groups and CRIS suppliers too.  For us this was a useful chance to finally meet our Symplectic technical guru in the flesh, and to put a few more questions to him!

Despite being pitched to the two main groups, there were certainly a few more repository folks there on the day than research managers. That said there were enough from both camps to make for an effective dialogue and exchange of experience.  From my point of view I found it invaluable to attend in partnership with my two colleagues; each of us was able to get something different from the day.  For my own part it was a rewarding opportunity to see that Leicester is actually a good example of how to work closely on CRIS and repository activities; although I will admit we pale in comparison to the best practice example exemplified by Glasgow’s Enlighten.

The session from Simon Kerridge, speaking on behalf of ARMA that introduced the day was a valuable insight into the working life of a research manager.  I was pleased to see that they consider interactions with the repository to be third priority, behind HR and finance alone, which was most heartening.  For my own part I especially value the close working relationship the LRA team has establishing with our RSO over the years, and hope that through working together on IRIS that it will continue to develop.

It was also interesting to participate in the session facilitated by the RePOSIT project, once again looking at advocacy but also crucially interactions between the repository and research manager communities.  Personally events such as yesterday are vital so that we can all better understand the needs and challenges each face, along with our own especial priorities.  Steve and myself did take away quite a few ideas for communication and advocacy to the University of Leicester community that we will be feeding into the IRIS Communication plan for the coming month.  I’m looking forward to this chance to get out into our wonderful Leicester research community and demonstrate how IRIS can make their lives easier, and how the LRA can enable their research to be more widely read, cited and reused.

The other excellent talk that stuck home was from Valerie McCutcheon of Glasgow university’s research office.  It really did give a fantastic example of how a research office and repository team can unite over a core system.  She showed even where working practices may differ how the centralisation of the management of research data and publications can make for a smooth operation.  It also offers a greater possibility for development of new enhancements for the academic community established in partnership, rather than in isolation.  personally I believe it’s a model I think both the Library and our Research Office should look to emulate in many aspects.

There were other sessions, along with the chance to catch up with other repository managers working with Symplectic too, but for me these sessions were the ones that I came away thinking about.  This was a truly excellent day and my thanks the RSP for organising it, and all the speakers for their input to it.

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

Creative Commons and Open Access Repositories

Posted by gazjjohnson on 22 March, 2011

I had an email conversation with Gabi and Terese in our BDRA Dept yesterday, as a result of their recent blog post Opening the ‘doar’ to Open Research Archives.  Their question was “I assume the LRA policies don’t preclude a depositing author from allocating a Creative Commons licence to the article

An interesting question, and while Gabi and Terese are perhaps more interested in OER’s than IRRs it was something that the Copyright Administrator and I discussed for a few minutes.  As a repository manager I have a slightly different viewpoint on the copyright situation to my colleague, given that open access as a whole operates in a somewhat gray and uncertain rights environment (my team endeavour to make it as risk free and safe as we possibly can though!)

There are a very few items on the LRA, a thesis springs to mind as the only absolutely clear example we’ve had to date, where the depositor has expressly requested a CC license on the item. Now with a thesis this is a little more clear-cut as the text remains the IPR/(c) of the author.  On the other hand for the post-review/author’s final copy of a book chapter or article while the general understanding is that the IPR is retained by the author, I’d personally be a little more reticent to deposit into the LRA with a CC license appended as a matter of course.

Not that I wouldn’t consider it at all, but it would probably be something I’d need to talk over with the author and potentially the publishing body as well to make sure that all appropriate rights had been observed.  Not to mention picking the brains of my fellow UKCoRR members to see if any of them have any clearer views on the subject.

Conference papers are a little easier as my current understanding  suggests that unless the organising body explicitly gains the economic rights for publishing (e.g. you actually sign something that gifts the rights to the organising body or a publisher) that all rights remain with the author.  In which case they’d be quite able to place an appropriate CC license on their work in my personal opinion – although we’d still take it slow for the first few of them that come along!

So the short answer is: No our policies don’t preclude CC, but we’d need to consider any requests carefully.

Happy to hear what my repository manager colleagues across the country have to say on the subject!

Posted in Copyright & Course Packs, Leicester Research Archive, Open Access | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Most used items Leicester Research Archive: Feb 2011

Posted by gazjjohnson on 7 March, 2011

Here are the most used items in the Leicester Research Repository, the gateway to the University of Leicester’s research publications, for February 2011.

  1. The Impact of Labour Turnover: Theory and Evidence from UK Micro-Data (Garino, Gaia et al) (2381/4441)
  3. The propagation of VHF and UHF radio waves over sea paths (Sim, Chow Yen Desmond) (2381/7444)
  4. Writing up and presenting qualitative research in family planning and reproductive health care (Pitchforth, Emma et al) (2381/309)
  6. Female Fandom in an English ‘Sports City’: A sociological study of female spectating and consumption around sport (Pope, Stacey Elizabeth) (2381/8343)
  7. Social inclusion, the museum and the dynamics of sectoral change (Sandell, Richard) (2381/52)
  9. Thomas C. Schelling’s psychological decision theory: Introduction to a special issue (Colman, Andrew M.) (2381/476)
  11. The costs of Activity-Based Management (Armstrong, Peter) (2381/3645)
  13. Teaching presentation skills to undergraduates: Students’ evaluations of a workshop course. (Colman, Andrew M.) (2381/537)
  15. Financial Development, Economic Growth and Stock Market Volatility: Evidence from Nigeria and South Africa (Ndako, Umar Bida) (2381/8924)
  17. Saint Christopher Wall Paintings in English and Welsh Churches, c.1250-c.1500 (Pridgeon , Eleanor Elizabeth) (2381/7964)

In terms of the countries using the LRA, there was no overall change in the top 10 just a bit of jockying for position.

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

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

RSP Winter School: Day 3

Posted by gazjjohnson on 14 February, 2011

You can read about Day 1 or Day 2 here.

See, it wasn't worth being there on a day like thisThe third and final day dawned a little grey, but there was little time to admire the scenery as we had to kick off before 9am in order to fit everything in.  The first session was from Ruth Murray-Wedster from Lucidus Consulting .  Ruth used to work for Intute, which was very noticeable as about half her opening section seemed to be an advert for the late and somewhat lamented service.  Thankfully the real meat of the session was a workshop, in small groups again, looking at metrics/KPIs and repositories.  As someone who keeps a fair amount of these (and whom will be working on them a lot this week) I was quite interested to see what other people are doing in this area.  In the workshop we looked at metrics we had been asked to keep by our stakeholders, those we felt offered an actual representative view of the repository activity and the challenges that prevent us from gathering some of these.

I suggested I would love to know how far people read through items in my repository, that something has been downloaded 500 times is one thing – but how far did they read? This is a stat that YouTube provides for your videos on the site, and is an excellent way to discover just how many of your viewers have engaged with the material.  In the same way the base metric of downloads tells me nothing about the interaction with the scholarly research; although short of locking the PDFs down to view only mode or the like on the LRA I’m unaware of how we’d measure this one.

I had a very interesting side discussion with Paul Stainthorp and Theo Andrews about our own use of Google Analytics, and just how deep we each delved (or didn’t) into the schmorgesborg of data that this provides.  Interestingly in many aspects each of our respective repositories seems to score similar values for, although the devil is very much in the details.  Our group agreed that many of the metrics that are demanded of us (last year’s SCONUL audit came in for particular criticism for being somewhat poorly thought out) are not especially representative of the level of impact or activity w.r.t. repositories; no doubt due to most of them being requested by those who were not familiar with the repository world’s working.  A definite need for those of us managing these resources to engage with these people more, or perhaps a lobbying/information role for both the RSP and UKCoRR.

After a break (and an advert for UKCoRR) we had the final two sessions of the morning.  Personally I would have reversed the order of these sessions as the final one from Amanda Hodgson on the Research Communications Strategy work from the CRC offered little content I’d not already gleaned from their website.  Perhaps when their work is more advanced this session might have more to offer.  However, the preceding session from Miggie Pickton (Northampton) on her project researching researchers through their data was more engaging.  Miggie even engaged us in a small workshop element as we looked at our own experiences, and tied in nicely to the sessions the previous day from Max and Mark.  it also tied into elements of digital preservation and curation, a topic no one talk had tackled but a recurrent theme in many.

Jackie brings the Winter School to a closeAnd so the Winter School came to a close.  It had been a highly valuable three days, in what can only be described as a first class venue (squeaking door aside), and a credit to Jackie and her team for putting it on.  My thanks to all the speakers and organisers!  At the very least I’ve taken away the thought that me and my team face a lot of the same challenges as other repository teams, even where their exact circumstances and working environments are different.  That alone brings a certain level of comfort.

What’s next? Well I’m hoping to read through the slides from the various speakers over the coming days again and perhaps pick up on one or two elements that I only half caught at the time, or that perhaps might spur me and my team on in our work in the coming year.

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