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UKCoRR Summer 2009 meeting pt 2

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 August, 2009

Continuing on with the UKCoRR day at Kingston University

Integration of Repositories with other systems, Wendy White, Southampton

This session looked at how the repository interacts with all the other systems that an institution uses.  Not just technologies but people as well, the repository can help identify and nurture your star performer academics.  Recognising the role the repository plays as a knowledge management system.  But also as a location for marketing, to tell stories, myths and legends of your institution’s research is a role the repository can play.  Also the repository managers themselves are the star performers that institutions need to hold on to, by recognising them and ensuring their pay and benefits encourage them to stay.

Integration of Repositories with other systems, Morag Greig, Glasgow

This talk aimed to take a more practical overview of the same issue, which started with Morag giving an overview of Glasgow’s repository.  Like Leicester they aimed to join the repository and publications database together.  It was important to develop policies and procedures to enable departments to engage with the repository on an on-going basis.  Started by going out to talk to HoDs and research chair/champions in each department.  Gathered information on their current practices on how they gathered current procedures.  Self deposit for two depts, mediated for large faculties and proxy for most small to medium sized departments.  Issue with materials in PMC going unharvested.

Training sessions were run for administrators (from 30 depts) including the wider context of OA, something which I think is very important.  Even if you are just adding material to a repository as part of your job, it is important you understand why it is important to academics and the institution as a whole; not to mention the global dimension.  Glasgow are planning a large scale import of data going back to 2001, and adding staff number.

Embed, John Harrington, Cranfield

In this talk John explained how his repo emerging from the embedding phase and into the mature phase.  He looked at the problems they initially faced.  Then he moved to look at the various sweeteners they could use to sell the repository and the publication cycle.  Using a model like Leicester (alerts and request) to obtain materials got a low awareness in the academic community.  They concluded that this was an unsustainable model for scaling up, something I agree with.  RAE didn’t help, but elements of bibliometrics raised importance of the repository which they used as a basis for renewed advocacy push.

Adrian Mschiraju, Royal Holloway

Adrian told a cautionary tale about what happens if it people are seduced by bought in systems.  They have bought Equella an Australian developed system for all purposes teaching objects, research publications, data and theses.  14 months of developer time so far to customise for their purposes – however, had to drop their requirements down to a level that eprints could have done on day 1.  [Post-event I spoke to their developer Alison on twitter, who said actually the picture wasn’t quite as bleak as this – and indeed their repository actually offers a lot more functionality]

Susan Miles, Kingston

Susan talked about maintaining momentum with a repository team over time.  They have 7 people who have editorial rights over their eprints server, which is a considerable number for a smaller institution.  However, repository work has to be competed for with all the other competing demands – these are not dedicated members of staff.  As a team distributed over 4 campuses they have been using Sharepoint to draw the team’s activities drawing together.

Finally Mary Robinson, talked about the UKCoRR repository skills set document which has ended up being used around the world.  Dominic talked about the JISC recruitment tool kit for digital repository projects – which frankly was just the sort of basic things you get told at all kinds of recruitment training and didn’t appear to offer much of novel use – JISC reinventing the wheel again? 

Over all this was another very useful day and gathering of people in the rare position of being repository managers (there’s still less than 100 people in this country in this position – so it’s a very small but active community).  I learned a fair bit and let’s hope I was able to share my own experiences with a fair few people.  Let’s hope it’s not 18 months before the next event.  And maybe we can have it North of the M25 (or on the south coast – I’m not fussy!).

Twitter feed from the event.

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UKCoRR Summer 2009 meeting pt 1

Posted by gazjjohnson on 18 August, 2009

It seemed a long way to go, longer than going to Edinburgh for the Fringe the other week, but in the end thanks to my handy in-laws as an overnight venue, getting to Kingston UIniversity wasn’t such a difficult destination after all.  Aside from some early morning shopping, the event today was all about sharing practical experiences of repository managers.

Keynote: Bill Hubbard, UKCoRR Can!

Bill (SHERPA/Centre for Scholarly Communication, Nottingham) talked about the founding of UKCoRR and the purpose of a membership organisation as a safe haven for repository managers to meet and discuss issues, away from other stakeholders in open access.  He went on to talk about the vision and purpose behind UKCoRR – key among that being the professionalism and recognition within HEIs.  He highlighted the RIN Mind the Skills Gap report as one that illustrated a clear role and need for repositories and their staff, not just libraries, as key partners of all those involved in the research process.  The UK remains a significant global player in the world repositories, and potentially gives us the chance to lead the world.  Need remains to get the disciplinary repository people involved in UKCoRR as well.  NECOBELAC (Latin America, Caribbean and Europe Repo collaboration).

 Repositories should remember simple as a key feature – simple to access, simple metadata and simple content; although in particular the REF will seriously change the role of the repository.  As managers we may need to be able to fight our corner and our significance against competing demands, which we might feel isolates us.  How does the repository know when people are mandated to deposit by funders?  There is a need to be involved in the research process from the start, not as an after the fact activity.  And this is a position few if any HEI repositories are in.

Here is where UKCoRR can help by supporting peer networks, by identifying needs, supporting collaboration, seeking funding, sharing best practice and acting as a voice for we repository mangers.  There is a need for organisations like JISC to be lobbied by UKCoRR to support repository managers and processes from the top down.  If senior administrators and academics hear about this from a body like JISC, then they might just take more note of our concerns and expertise.

Following this talk Jenny Delasalle, Mary Robinson and Dominick Tate talked about their role as the inaugural UKCoRR Committee.

Theo Andrews, Central funds for open access publishing

This talk looked at the open access publishing side of open access, with Theo giving an overview of the current situation.  The Gold OAP Route avoids a lot of the problems.  There are a lot of new publishers jumping on board (e.g. PLOS) but also traditional publishers offering hybrid journals; with the option of the author paying a fee to retain rights or not.  How can this be funded, how can this be managed and how can this change be communicated? 

 Mechanisms for payment in this way are not totally new, with page charges for images in articles being around for years.  Often these have been paid from unallocated fund, and this is not really a sustainable nor easily managed way.  Wellcome Trust awarded additional funds to 30 HEIs, and other HEIs can apply to reclaim costs.  At Edinburgh using this as an opportunity to step in for advocacy, and provide support to managing the funding.  Noted that FEC can be included in calculation for researcher fees in grants. 

The feeds issue means that a lot of different departments and stakeholders within an institution are involved in the issue (finance, research, administrative staff, library, committees etc).  No matter what they do, institutions need to coordinate these funds centrally and along the lines of acceptable standard policies.  Edinburgh will be introducing a mandate in Jan 2010 and are spending the 6 months in the lead up to that talking with departments about how this will impact and how the repository can help them to meet the requirements of this.  Noted that once you have introduced the idea of a central fund to pay for publication, top sliced from research grants, you have to maintain it – even if income decreases.

 Glasgow, Nottingham, UCL, Brunel, Edinburgh, Warwick and Kingston are all already or about to start funding open access funding in a central.  Some Northampton academics very much against the idea of paying to publish though, as a matter of principle. Some publishers offer an OA option – but then increase their embargo to a length that means in order to comply with funders’ mandates, authors need to pay for OA option as IR will not be able to meet the requirements.  As Bill Hubbard put it – “They’re back into a double dipping approach to getting money.”

Event slides are here.

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