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Posts Tagged ‘repositories’

Web 2.0 and PEER – reports of interest

Posted by gazjjohnson on 4 February, 2010

I’m spending an hour or so this morning reading through a couple of reports.  One is from the Scottish Library & Information Council/CILIPS and is entitled A Guide to using Web 2.0 in Libraries (weighting in at a digestible 10 pages).  The other is from the LISU at Loughborough (including my team’s very own Valérie Spezi) and is called PEER Behavioural Research: Authors and Users vis-à-vis Journals and Repositories (93 pages).

Web 2.0

This is a handy sized report that while it perhaps tells me nothing new, is an excellent synthesis of the highlights of using Web 2 and social networking within libraries.  More seriously interested librarians might find it a little light for their taste, and the lack of references for further reading does harm its scholastic qualities.  However, for those looking to get a handle on the terminology and potentialities of these tools then this is a fine introduction.  The report moves through the why use it, the benefits and then into the implementation.  It also considers the staffing and potential legal implications of Web 2 (which in itself could have probably filled the whole report).  Finally it looks at integrating Web 2 within organisational systems (human and technical).


How authors view the whole journal and repository scene today is something that’s been of interest for a few years, so I was pleased to have a read through this report.  By its very nature it is very scholarly and gives an excellent overview of the scholarly communication and publications fields developments over the last ten years.  The comments on academic’s searching habits are quite telling (a narrowing of focus and restriction to trusted searches and information sources, replacing broader views).  From a library perspective the note that the average number of articles read by academic authors has increased over the years is a shocking one, as we try and maintain journal collections against rising costs (although healthy for the interlending and open access communities)

Ave articles read/year

  • 1977: 150
  • 2000: 216
  • 2009: 280

There is a very good overview of the citation enhancement effect of open access materials – and the questions that remain to be answered in this respect.  While it is one of those qualities of a repository that we IR managers so often espouse, there is a certain truth that should we ever reach a level playing field of 100% open access, that this advantage would dwindle to nothing.

The report also covers the dynamic and changing field within which repository managers operate, and the challenges they face; not least among them engagement and education of our local academic authors.  I know personally that I am still talking to many, many authors about the same issues as I was back in 2006.  These contacts are generally very positive, but it does indicate the somewhat herculean task we still face in bringing OA up the academic agenda.  As one academic I know often says “I’ve got so many other pressing and urgent priorities, the repository just isn’t one of them”.  No wonder we’ve seen the rise of the mandate.  And this comment is mirrored on p55 of the report.

The report goes on to detail the methodology behind their work.  I was interested to see that out of over 2400 scholars invited to attend their focus groups, only 21 attended.  I will feel less down-heartened next time I have a poorly attended focus group myself.

The report then moves on to look at the findings of the academics surveyed and interviewed, with respect to repositories and open access.  I would highly recommend any repository manager, and indeed any academic with an interest in scholarly communication, to read through these results.  They make for sobering, if not at all suprising, reading – at best 30% of academics are aware they have an IR.

I was interested to note (p32) that the study suggested arts and social science academics were more likely to deposit in the IR.  Here at Leicester it has been fairly even across the board from all disciplines.  The section on drivers/barriers to deposit is worth looking at (free access in #1 driver, whereas worries over (c) infringement are the top worry).  That said (p41) shows that 2/3 of the sample feel there is a role for repositories in scholalry communications, with most of the rest unsure rather than negative.  There are some good pull out quotes in the results of the focus group, although given their small sample it’s hard to attribute any great validity to them – much as I can see myself using them in future presentations (especially the “online access doesn’t mean the same as open access”

Information seeking for open access papers relates nicely to a question was asked in Cell Physiology, and seems in this study as well that authors seldom look to OA sources to retrieve their scholarly information.  Indeed it seems the grey trade in PDFs between authors (p61) continues to be the major route to access items that they are not subscribed to in many cases.

This is a very rich report and rather than comment on their conclusions, I’d simply point you towards reading it and forming your own judgements.  I found for my own part that a lot of what they elicited matched with my experiences across a number of universities.  The one thing I didn’t get from the report (and perhaps that wasn’t their aim) was the opinion or feeling of academics towards the effectiveness and operation of their institutional repositories.  If anyone knows of any work looking at that, I’d be interested to hear about it!


Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Innovations in Reference Management Part 3

Posted by selinalock on 25 January, 2010

Moving Targets: the role of web preservation in supporting sustainable citation (Richard Davis & Kevin Ashley)

This was a rather different talk to most of the others at the event as it was looking more at the question of how we can cite the preserved version of ephemeral type of data, such as blogs, that we often see on the web these days.

  • Some web preservation already happening: URI/DOI/Handles & other solutions, Wayback machine and UK Webarchive.
  • Are we educating people to use links to sustainable archives/ Should we be recommending linking to the UK Webarchive version and not the original version?
  • Used the example of citing a blog post that might disappear.
  • Will our “collections” look different in future, will they be blog type posts rather than journal articles or books?
  • Talked about the JISC project ArchivePress which allows you to use a RSS feed to create a preserved blog archive: this will allow Universities to create their own repository of blogs. For example, it could integrate with Research Repositories that use applications like DSpace. Should the Leicester Research archive be looking into preserving research blogs as well as other research outputs?
  • Heidelberg University and others have created a Citation Repository for transitory web pages: this was specifically to deal with the problem that their researchers were having when researching China, due to the volatile nature of the Chinese internet. There might be rights issues with this approach but many of the original web pages had disappeared.
  • Should we be teaching people about sustainable resources/publishing as part of our information literacy efforts?
  • Can argue that citing a URL is like citing the shelfmark of a book in a library, as it’s the location of the information rather than the information itself. Should we be looking for a better citation system?
  • Possible solutions: Institutions can offer archive mechanisms, authors need to use archive mechanisms, if a blog is being preserved than it needs to expose that permanent citable link for people to use (e.g. ArchivePress link) and permalinks should be a bit more “perm”!

Help me Igor – taking references outside traditional environments (Euan Adie,

Euan gave an overview of some of the projects they are working on as part of the remit:

  • Looked at how referencing might be achieved if you were using GoogleWave as a collaborative tool to write articles etc.
  • Decided to create a 3rd party GoogleWave widget called Igor.
  • Igor lets you fetch references from Connotea or PubMed and insert them into the Wave: it does this by typing in a command in Wave.
  • Igor uses an open API to retrieve data (XML or RDF) and is only a proof of concept widget at the moment. it is OpenSource and people are welcome to develop it further.
  • Euan did point out that the formats that most reference software uses (RIS/BIBtex) are not very easy to use with web APIs.
  • Mentioned ScienceBlogs: an initiative to aggregate well known science blogs through E.g. finds if blogs link to Nature articles (via html, DOI, PubMed): blogs already comment on articles when they’re published so Nature wants to link the comments/blog posts to the articles.
  • Have a API available that allows you to feed in am article DOI and see what blogs aggregated through mention that article.
  • Mobile devices: have made Mac app Papers available on iPhone. thinks people are not as likely to read articles on mobiles but save the reference for later instead.
  • always willing to experiment and collaborate with other projects.

Posted in Collection management, Meetings, Referencing, Technology & Devices, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in Meetings, Open Access, Research Support | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

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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UK Institutional Repository Rankings – July 2009 Edition

Posted by gazjjohnson on 3 August, 2009

The Webometrics site  half yearly update of their ranking of world repositories is available.  For information on how they calculate their metric see here.  For further interest here’s the ranking of the top UK based institutional repositories, I’ve put their global score in brackets at the end, and those with mandates (as listed on ROARMAP)  in italics.

  1. University of Cambridge (22)
  2. University of Oxford (42)
  3. University College London (51)
  4. University of Edinburgh (71)
  5. University of Southampton (74)
  6. University of Warwick (123)
  7. University of Glasgow (131)
  8. University of Manchester (160)
  9. University of Leeds (White Rose) (167)
  10. University of Birmingham (187)
  11. University of Nottingham (212)
  12. LSE (215)
  13. Open University (222)
  14. Imperial College (225)
  15. University of Bristol (232)
  16. University of York (White Rose) (239)
  17. Newcastle University (253)
  18. Lancaster University (261)
  19. University of Sheffield (265)
  20. Durham University (302)
  21. King’s College London (255)
  22. University of Bath (309)
  23. University of Essex (328)
  24. Herriot-Watt University (344)
  25. University of Liverpool (366)
  26. University of Aberdeen (373)
  27. University of St Andrews (376)
  28. University of Leicester (383)
  29. University of Surrey (406)
  30. University of Kent (424)
  31. University of Strathclyde (438)
  32. UEA (476)
  33. Cardiff University (478)
  34. University of Sussex (486)
  35. University of Reading (494)
  36. Loughborough University (499)
  37. University of Exeter (501)
  38. Queen Mary University of London (518)
  39. Manchester Metropolitan University (527)
  40. Queen’s University Belfast (537)
  41. Aberystwyth (547)
  42. University of Dundee (592)
  43. University of Brighton (626)
  44. Royal Holloway (628)
  45. De Montfort University (640)
  46. University of Stirling (644)
  47. City University London (669)
  48. University of Salford (671)
  49. Brunel University (678)
  50. University of Westminster (685)

You can see the whole list of UK Institutional Repositories’ ranks here.  Contrasted with last timethe LRA has dropped down the list somewhat – with detailed metrics for our repository giving us the following changes in the sub-rankings for Leicester.

  July 09 Jan 09
Size 877 222
Visibility 378 186
Rich Files 363 125
Scholarly 422 125

 The most drastic change seems to be in terms of size, where a lot of repositories have clearly begun to be filled at a considerably advanced rate.  How the recent mandate at Leicester will affect these figures in the next 6 months will bear watching.

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

The End of Institutional Repositories! (or not)

Posted by gazjjohnson on 24 July, 2009

I’ve just been reading an article “Basefsky, Stuart. (2009). The end of institutional repositories and the begining of social academic research service: An enhanced role for libraries.“.  With such a shocking title you’d expect revlations of a major order, and to be honest the opening page or so does rather continue in that vein.  Indeed there’s a slightly superior author style that runs through the whole paper that rather grated on me as I read it.  That said Stuart does raise some interesting points on the first couple of pages about the driving forces and assumptions behind the creation of institutional repositories (IR).

The idea behind the paper is that librarians and academics should be working together more closely, using social media and other tools in support of the research process of a whole.  I can certainly support that, and hope through the local contacts I have via twitter here at UoL that in some small way I’m already offering that level of service.

He goes on to consider the generally understood paradigm underlying IRs (the shop window/increased exposure to academic research) to be only one opportunity – as he puts it “Is this all the value we can extract from an IR?”.  This is a theme I was hoping he’d explore in more detail later in the paper, but this rather seems to disappear as the second half of the paper dissolves into an effective list of “things I am doing”, rather than maintaining this earlier scholastic tone.

He does make some good points along the way nevertheless.  When talking about the partnership twixt libraries and institutional repositories he comments

“Libraries welcomed this attention since they were fearful of being marginalised…IR would help the library maintain an important role in academic life in this time of disruptive technological change”

However, he than makes some rather caustic comments about the lack of vision of library services, suggesting their involvement in repositories is merely an attempt to maintain visibility and apparent viability in the new media age; rather than an actualised devotion to enabling further scholastic endeavour.  I take issue with these statements somewhat.  Perhaps two or three years ago this was a more robust argument, but certainly in the major research universities like Leicester this is not so.  The repository is at the heart of the institutions preparations for REF and visibility of research.  As the repository manager increasingly my time is spent working with the Research Office, or discussing research visibility issues with our academics, helping them do more with what we have.  Not to mention making them aware of the developing scholastic publishing landscape.

The next third of the paper focuses more inwardly on the Catherwood Library, so is of less immediate interest or relevance to the casual reader.  However, with this framework the author then extends his views point to wider library scene; pausing only for a barbed comment about library leadership that I shall pass over.

He does have a salient point here that I agree with “too many libraries take the attitude that if they build it users will come”.  I think this is an unfortunate truism about the library sector.  We have many enthusiasts for new services and resources, and too often we offer them on an already overloaded information platter.  As a LIS researcher and project manager at heart, I always believe that we should be answering real needs with our services and making informed decisions based on an strong evidence base.  Indeed he spends the next page making his argument, which seems useful if overlong by the end.

As I mentioned earlier the rest of the paper is a guide to services that the author has employed in the deliverance and indeed furtherance of the research support agenda.  It seems strangely at odds with the earlier half of the paper, moving to pure practicality from scholastic theory and review.  In many regards I would have been interested to read this in some more detail as a paper in its own rights.

Finally he devotes the last page to suggested new directions and possibilities for supporting academic endeavour.  However, what he fails to do (IMHO) is explain the challenge of his title.  Throughout the work whilst he points out the arguable flaws in IRs and their implementation and exploitation by libraries and institutions, he does not clearly to my mind exposit exactly why IRs days are (in his view) numbered.

Thus this is a flawed but detailed and intriguing article to read that anyone working with research support, IRs or indeed academic libraries should take a few minutes to glance through.  You may have other insights that differ to mine, so let me know your thoughts!

Posted in Open Access, Research Support, Web 2.0 & Emerging Technologies, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Podcasting mandates

Posted by gazjjohnson on 1 July, 2009

From the UKCoRR discussion list

For those of you who are interested, a podcast from the last RSP event, Resarch in the open: How mandates work in practice, is now available.

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

PEERing through the scholarly publishing gloom

Posted by gazjjohnson on 11 June, 2009

PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) is a pretty major European Union funded project looking at the impact and effects of arching in repositories of academic papers and the like.  The site has been live since late February but it was only through a mailshot yesterday that I became particularly aware of them.

Glad to see that repository managers and libraries are stakeholders.  Actually, I’d have been happier to see libraries paired off as a 5th separate stakeholder as I don’t believe that library interests and those of repositories are strictly speaking coterminus.  Repository administration is often, but not always, based within a library but this can be a marriage of convenience – a functional – decision rather than a strategic one.  Perhaps this is an area PEER needs to think about carefully.

After reading through the Web site, I can see how PEER may well produce some interesting information and reports on the European repository and publishing scene.  However, as with so many of these large inatives I’ve yet to spot where the directly applicable and readily employable outputs for repository people will be.  Is PEER to act as a lobbying service on our behalf?  No.  Will PEER mediate discussions twixt the various stakeholders?  Maybe.  Will PEER change the way our repository functions?  In some way I guess.

Perhaps it is too early to pour cold water on what PEER can, may or will achieve – but I’ve seen these big EU wide initiatives before (I’m thinking of DRIVER) which have had only a minor impact within the UK HEI repository community.  Worthy work for sure, but so much at a nebulous, Ivory tower strata rather than a practitioner level.  On the other hand initiatives such as the RSP or UKCoRR have had a real beneficial role directly supporting repository workers as well as performing a research and stakeholder interface function.  IMHO we need more of these, and less of the long term study initiatives.

Actually I think that’s perhaps a little harsh on DRIVER, which I believe had a bigger role to play in the European repository scene.  Unfortunately for the project, the UK repository scene was perhaps further along with it’s networking and building supporting communities, so what it did he;lp facilitate wasn’t as noticeable.

With this in mind I’ll be interested to see how PEER will interact with the UK HEIrepository community.  There aren’t currently any major UK comparable projects (I’ll happily be corrected on this point) on this scale, so it’s a noble endeavour for sure.   I am hoping they’ll be looking to directlyinteract with repository managers like me who work at the sharp end of things; though I suspect a lot of their work may end up being at a more strategic higher level.  I could be wrong though.  They’ll be appointing an advisoryboard soon, and I imagine that might shape significantly how, where and at what level it engages with the community.

All the same, it’s a site that’s well worth a look from anyone working with repositories; and no doubt in time some very interesting information will begin to seep forth from it.

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

Policy-making for Research Data in Repositories: A Guide

Posted by gazjjohnson on 15 May, 2009

This rather interesting policy guide has just been brought out by JISC and DISC-UK DataShare project.  For once rather than being a lengthy report, it is actually a very useful tool kit for setting up the policies, workflows and the like for a research data repository.  It’s been something that the LRAPG has touched on in discussions, and I know the University in the future will be keen to develop.  Thus having a document like this, where a lot of the questions we need to ask and decisions that have to be taken are laid out in a very thorough manner.

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

Repositories and policy – SUTEr Event at the National Library of Wales

Posted by gazjjohnson on 19 February, 2009

I was at an event in Aberwyswyth at the National Library of Wales yesterday on repository policy. This perhaps sounds like it might not be the most exciting of topics but since I’d been invited to come along and share my experiences in this regard I was happy to attend. A mammoth car drive later I was there. Aber is a very pretty town to visit, but I don’t think I’d fancy living there – it’s a bit Ultima Thule.

The best part of the day was a workshop looking at policy, splitting the delegates into groups of have and havenots in policy terms. I was in the discussion with those present whose repositories do already have policies in place. I found it interesting that whilst we all had used the OpenDOAR policy tool, each had set slightly different policy. I was especially interested during the discussions about the idea of allowing repository metadata to be reused commercially. The LRA does not allow this currently, in contrast Northampton does with a mind that the more this is exposed to commercial re-use the more likely the repository’s contents is to be found. I think this is a good point, and one that the LRA should reconsider – indeed we are indexed by SCOPUS, which is itself a commercial site – so strictly speaking we already allow this.

Delegates hard at work in the workshopAfter lunch we had a series of mini-case studies, starting from Kultur (Andrew Gray). This is taking in every kind of material and all formats, especially multimedia. They have an advisory group with representation not just from senior management, but also research administrators. Also have associate members on the group, who are pulled in from time to time as they are needed. Next was Ann from Buckinghamshire New University/ Bucks Knowledge Archive. They have a PhD deposit mandate and are facing in particular the challenge of archiving web based resources or other not easily quantifiable outputs, e.g. computer games or furniture. She mentioned that they are considering the use of holograms to record complex data which sounds very SciFi.

Helen Standish Manchester Metropolitan University (Espace) talked next about Mandates. Their’s is a research repository and has been in existence since April 2005. They used existing library staff to man it, although currently they are using JISC funding to free up manager time from other duties. Helen mentioned that initially she contacted over 700 academics, but only a handful responded. The repo has about 30% full-text items (comparable to the current LRA) and that this level is something she is seeking to improve. The Re-Space project is finishing at the moment, and has been seeking to embed the repository more firmly within library and institutional workflows. She also talked about their Open Access Publication policy, which is technically a mandate though they have avoided the terminology due to its negative connotations. In essence their policy is to make all non-commercially funded research output freely available…through e-space. They have academic champions at a high level to represent and support the repository which works successfully; although the loss of senior staff (retirement and moving on) who were driving the process forward has stagnated the process of adoption of this policy significantly. In the last few weeks they are looking more closely at embedding the repository into workflows, including EthOS. The hope is that they will soon have a mandate for deposit in place. However, when project ends Helen will no longer be the repository manager; and the repository will need to be run and supported by the library and other central services.

Next Miggie Pickton from Northampton spoke about NECTAR. They used the OpenDOAR tool like most other people to formulate their policies, and also made significant re-use of other people’s sites to clarify other issues (notably Loughborough). She talking about their steering group, which in composition seems closer to the LRAPG, though serves a more strategic rather than practical role. She tried to show the NECTAR Briefing Sheet – clearly laying out the purpose of the repository; to showcase and preserve at the heart of its role, but was thwarted by the version of acrobat installed on the PC. In essence she explained that they turned principles into policy and then took the policies back to the community once they were set up. The University of Northampton annual research report is generated entirely from NECTAR; and material that is not ingested is not considered within the promotion cycle.

Then Nicky Cashman from Aberystwyth spoke about mandates and etheses and CADAIR. Noted resistance to mandate for theses internally, with concerns over student resistance to attend Aber as a result. However, currently nearly 30 universities have mandates in the UK she argued and that Aber risked being out of step as a result. Noted arguments coming especially from the humanities sector, so spoke directly to publishers. They agreed that a thesis and a monograph are very different entities; though publishers unwilling to decide this out of hand. Problem was policies for dealing with printed materials were well hidden, so they realised that they needed to make any policies more visible; something I agree whole heartily with. Like Miggie Aber made heavy use and reuse of other institutional policies. In the future Nicky will be raising OA issue awareness for students and staff.

Finally Sarah Hayes from Aston spoke, mostly about her work at Worcester with the DRaW Project. They drew up (no pun intended) a plan of action to guide decisions, rather than strict statements of policy. On the other hand policies dealing with content going into their repository for learning and teaching materials (CoRE) were much stricter. Practicality forced their hands in some respects as staff can choose whom has access to their teaching materials; but this seemed to be a barrier to uptake. She explained that there is a difference in finality between a research output and a learning object. Research goes into a repo as a final object, where teaching materials can be considered as works in progress constantly and hence this was where the reluctance to deposit them was arising from. She talked briefly about the Language Box software for learning object archiving. This was a very different kind of repository and the policies and challenges around it quite different from those we face at the LRA.

As one of the creators of OpenDOAR, I was very proud to see how much my many months of hard work were actually now benefiting the community.

Slides and notes from the day’s event will be available from the SUTEr Wiki in the near future.  And as before, a twitter feed from the event:

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

Lincoln SUETr Event (Feb 10th 2009) – enhancing your repository

Posted by gazjjohnson on 11 February, 2009

Yesterday I went over to arctic Lincoln for a SUETr (Start-Up and Enhancement Training) repository related event; which was introduced by Steph Taylor (UKOLN). What follows are my notes on the day.

Julian Beckton talked about embedding a dual purpose repository at Lincoln – hosting research and learning objects within the same environment. Initially it got external funding, but there were issues over getting staff resource. It started as an archive for student projects, but had to deal with some unusual teaching materials (3D) models but difficulties of visual browsing. He demonstrated the MACE Project visual object browser as an ideal best practice example, but one far beyond what they were funded to create. In trying to bring about innovation within the institution and the team considered using the Collis & Moonen 4-Es model (1991) and the Rogers Diffusion of Innovation (1962) approaches. Ease of use was a concept that was highlighted in both these models, and something that Julian suggested was not exemplified by repositories.

He contrasted the discovery of vitamin C and the 200 years for this to be adopted as S.O.P. for Navy, as opposed to rapid up take of new weaponry and ship design. People implement what they understand, and this is true for repositories – most academics don’t really understand what they’re for and why they’re there; with the knock on effect that engagement with them is reduced. Lincoln’s repo automatically transcodes many multimedia formats into flash animations for ease of viewing, but you are still able to download the original format. Noted that many learning objects (e.g. powerpoints of lecture slides) have a short life-span, and aren’t an ideal ingest for a learning object repository. Lincoln has added social bookmarking tools (e.g. RSS, commenting and user-tagging).

Next moves are a full launch, repository advocacy (local champions) and statistics. Comments in discussion that followed about the importance of good data in the repo accessible via common protocols, far more important than building a sophisticated local service layer. This is something I have to agree with, the underlying repository and data must work well and be accessible; after all statistics continue to show that few end-users come to a repository via the home page. Access is at the object level.

Steph Taylor talked briefly about her role at Bath as both a repository project person and author. Then she opened the floor to debate turning to look first at policies and S.O.P, a topic SUETr (and myself) will be returning to at the event at the National Library of Wales next week. An interesting comment from one institution where if a research output isn’t in the repository it’s not counted in research returns. Discussion ranged around mandates, author pays funding streams and sustainability.

Sally Rumsey, from Oxford Uni was next and started off by talking about repository branding and the route of access to the objects in the repository.  Oxford University is not just looking at the repo as a silo of output, and is very much considering digital archiving for the long time. Lots of large collections available to them that they can put into their storage. Sally talked about the advantage of making local digital collections available globally, and how this is a very desirable thing to the global scholarly community. Their Fedora based system underpins effectively multiple repositories (e.g. an image collection, special collections) as well as the ORA (Oxford University Research and Archive). Notably as the ORA was there first, they are able to drive the standards for these other repositories.

Lincoln CampusShe looked at ROAR, Intute RS and OAIster as resources for increasing visibility of repository contents; and how they are not well known by the common librarian or academic. Then it was looking at OAI-ORE and how it can take entire digital objects from repositories and reuse rather than just the metadata. Sally suggested that this is something that will be occurring more as the repository field matures. More complex objects are being ingested, and OAI-ORE may help with their curation and sourcing. Google remains the primary route into repositories, and making sure objects are exposed to it is a major route to enhancing user and reuse. UUIDs (Universal Unique Identifiers) are being used as these are very unique and persistent Ids that for the foreseeable future they should identify the object in the repository and no other. Possibility to use these as a Google search to ID the item and any citations to the original object, which will have a knock on effect for bibliometrics, though this is only just beginning to happen as most papers are too new to get many citations. Sally went through the statistics package that Oxford uses (PikiWiki) showing that virtually all discoveries of objects within the repository are via Google. GoogleScholar was noted as being more variable in finding repository items, even Oxford is ignored a lot – this seems to a problem across the sector that GoogleScholar is somewhat biased in search results returned.

Next Sally talked about development, focussing on her experiences with Fedora Commons, nothing that Australia and the US are leading in this area. Oxford are developing a semantic web architecture with Talis. She also highlighted the work of CRIG (Common Repository Interface Group) and their active developments – cutting edge but sometimes scary. Oxford are very involved with data archiving, but still early days and exploring the various issues around it is quite challenging. Oxford are involved in a range of projects such as the PRIUS (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) project – one that will be of considerable interest to any bibliometricians. Other projects mentioned include BID, PRESERV, BRII and DataShare Project. Notable Oxford has one full time dedicated developer working for the repository as well a range of other support staff; and that their involvement in these many projects is only possible due to their number of dedicated repository staff.

Sally noted her involvement in the wider repository scene is one way in which the ORA is made more visible globally, as well as learning what other people are doing. Sally mentioned that like Leicester, conferences at Oxford can have their papers hosted on the repository – the onetime non-Oxford academics are allowed to deposit. Finally she looked at the time commitments for the repository staff, and the need to be choosey about what they commit to be involved in within the wider profession. As a result of its successes Oxford University has been involved in all this global activity as a result of their work, not as a goal for their activities.

After lunch Lucy Keating, Newcastle, how to add value to repositories. Lucy spoke as an enthusiast and not an expert, and made a disclaimer that many of the things she was going to be talking about were not going to be embraced by her institutions; rather they were ideas and inspirations for the whole community. Newcastle’s repository began in 2005, but was more fully developed in 2007 with her appointment with a focus on articles and papers (6,000 items of which 25% are full text). Lucy demonstrated the repository, which displays the number of downloads per item for all to see; as a way of encouraging more access as well as transparency of simple metrics. Lucy noted that she has about 44% response rate to her enquiries and requests to academics. The university is developing an in-house MyImpact research information service (working along the same lines as Symplectic). The repository is going to be fully integrated to the RIS – which should reduce the interaction the academics are required to perform to record their research outputs and archive their papers.

She noted the involvement with the RIS and REF has opened doors that would otherwise be shut. She posed the question – what else can our repositories do beyond OA, preservation and description? She looked through some of the widgets that Les Carr at Southampton has suggested. She touched on mandates, and her personal reluctance to engage with them. They needed more thought before they’re introduced; it’s an all stick and no-carrot route to populating repositories. Other things that could be possible enhancers included enabling interaction and allowing others to form groups and make associations (e.g. tagging and rating) not just formal citations. Displaying content in different ways – visualising content – image wall, previews, tag cloud or broadening the context of the ingest. Finally she talked about ensuring the marketing department can link to original articles in the repository from press releases.

Some comments in discussion that engaging marketing staff on the right level, and on message, can be actually quite difficult. Then some challenging questions about how the repository could generate income or save time for the institution? She advocated the idea that the repository should be integrated into the research workflow, not something that happens at the end of the research process. Will repositories replace, supplement or merge with journals (the concept of overlay journals) is a challenging idea, and one that some repositories and academics are already beginning to exploit. A Group work session looking at case studies followed

Finally Mary Robinson from SHERPA talked about the international dimension of the institutional repository. Mary showed the 1,300 repositories in OpenDOAR, of which about 1,000 are IRs. Mary talked on some similar issues to Sally about making your repository more visible. She noted that there is a need to be proactive in marketing your repositories towards some of the international services, rather than waiting for them to find you. She listed certain guides to ensuring how your repository is visible, drawn from work on the OpenDOAR survey. Mary then moved to talk about the DRIVER project, which worked with European Repositories to provide an infrastructure that other services can plug into to aid repository discovery. DRIVER provides tools for subject communities for academics and tools for bringing together groups of repositories through a single access point (e.g. Spain).

She next turned to the DRIVER Confederation which tries to draw together a global voice for repositories, working with agencies and other stakeholders in the OA world. DRIVER online tool can automatically test the DRIVER guidelines, though currently running on the old version of the validation rules. Mary gave an overview of DRIVER’s activities and resources, including the Mentor service – which is something that I am sure we in Leicester could potentially get involved in.

The day finished with wrap up discussions and final points of interest.  Slides for the event are available.  Also my twitter feed on the event too:

Posted in Leicester Research Archive, Open Access, Wider profession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

We’re number….

Posted by gazjjohnson on 27 January, 2009

Well according to this site, the LRA ranks 148th in the world of institutional repositories overall. It gives stats on size (222nd), visibility (186th), rich files (125th) and Scholar (125th).  We’re 15th in the UK.  Digging into the back files for the site I see they’ve calculated these figures as follows:

  • Size (S). Number of pages recovered from the four largest engines: Google, Yahoo, Live Search and Exalead.
  • Visibility (V). The total number of unique external links received (inlinks) by a site can be only confidently obtained from Yahoo Search and Exalead.
  • Rich Files (R). Only the number of text files in Acrobat format (.pdf) extracted from Google and Yahoo are considered.
  • Scholar (Sc). Using Google Scholar database we calculate the mean of the normalised total number of papers and those (recent papers) published between 2001 and 2008.

IMHO I might argue that I don’t agree with how they calculate their metrics – while only 20% of the overall figure is made up from size, repositories that are stuffed full of metadata get an especial boost to the top.  Nor does it account for how useful the rich files are – a repository filled with images isn’t as rich as one storing research articles, books and data.  Quality over quantity if you ask me!

But it’s another site for the doubtless many metrics fans across the UK HEI scene.  In case you’re wondering the site is based in Spain at the Cybermetrics Lab (research group) at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC).

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