RSP Embedding Guide

This guide has been published by the Repositories Support Project and will help institutions to get the best value from their institutional repositories through integration with other university systems, particularly research management systems. This can bring advantages to institutions, by:

  • Helping in planning for the REF and reporting
  • Promoting the university’s research in a global context
  • Increasing engagement with businesses and the community
  • Widening access to the university’ research generally

It is aimed at repository staff but will be of interest to other groups such as academic librarians and research management staff.

Read more of this post

Unlocking attitudes to Open Access – survey results

You may remember earlier this year that the RSP and UKCoRR invited UK repositories to carry out a survey of academic staff with a particular focus on informing advocacy plans and “joined up” institutional developments for Open Access in higher education institutions. The questions focused on attitudes toward open access and institutional repositories. The RSP blogged about this in March.

The results of this survey have now been collated and there are some interesting results. Unsurprisingly (other surveys have shown this), the majority of academics are in favour of open access:

85% strongly or mildly in favour of open access in principle

80% strongly or mildly in favour of open access repositories

69% strongly or mildly in favour of publishing in OA journals

However, rather less reported actually acting upon this: 59% make some of their publications available in the institutional repository but 41% don’t make any available. This is despite the fact that 73% were aware of their institution’s repository. Question 7a gave respondents the opportunity to give reasons why in their own words. The results of this were categorised and the most common reasons were:

Haven’t published yet/material not suitable (99)

Copyright concerns (94)

Lack of time/haven’t got round to doing it (58)

Lack of knowledge (48)

Use other method (28)

The questions on copyright and versions provided some encouraging results – the majority, 70%, thought that authors should own the copyright to the material and although we know that most authors sign away their copyright, it’s interesting to see that they don’t necessarily think that is a good thing.  The fact that 86% kept a copy of their own author, peer reviewed final version is also supportive to self archiving. In addition, 77% felt that this version was acceptable for deposit in the repository. These latter responses help to counter some commonly held beliefs that authors don’t keep a copy of their work and that only the publisher’s PDF is worthy of sharing.

Twenty institutions participated with a total of 1676 respondents. A summary of the results is attached here Attitudes to OA – Basic summary report. A fuller report is in progress which will be published in due course.

Murder at Miskin Manor



Well actually, it was the RSP Autumn School and there weren’t any murders. But I did see a trail of what looked like blood in the corridor outside the conference room! And the Manor is reputedly haunted – was anyone in the bar between 12 midnight and 1am?

I digress. The RSP Autumn School took place this week from 7th – 9th November at the said Miskin Manor near Cardiff. Over three days about 40 participants and speakers gathered to discuss the themes of the school: bringing the emphasis back to open access and demonstrating value to the institution. In the last year or so, repositories have become more embedded in their institutions, in particular with their contribution to research evaluation and reporting. The school focused on how we can continue to demonstrate the value of the repository to the institution without losing the impetus to make that research open access.

In this post I want to highlight a number of key points that emerged over the three days:

  • David Prosser from RLUK, in the keynote address, showed how academic libraries have done an excellent job of providing seamless access to online subscription journals. Everything is now on the researcher’s desktop. However, this has hidden the costs and made it more difficult to demonstrate the need for open access. A suggestion was made that we have a “Closed Access” week just before Open Access week where access to subscription journals is turned off!
  • Universities have a real appetite for business intelligence about how they are doing in comparison to other institutions and about trend in research performance. We can provide this using bibliometric tools and repository statistics. Niamh Brennan demonstrated how Trinity College at the University of Dublin has done this using some really stunning visualisation tools. She also tested our knowledge of wizarding spells from Harry Potter! She’s kindly agreed to run an online RSP master class on this – keep an eye on the RSP events page for more details.
  • Cava, cakes and chocolate. These are not enough – well not enough to make sustainable changes in academics behaviour, although they can provide a short term incentive to deposit.
  • Open Access enhances the impact of research. “Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and economy” (RCUK). Josh Brown described some, as yet unpublished, findings from three studies commissioned by JISC on behalf of the Open Access Implementation Group which looked at the benefits of open access to the private sector, the public sector outside HE and the voluntary and community sector.
  • The importance of good narratives and anecdotes to demonstrate the value of open access generally and the repository’s role in particular. The studies that Josh described provide case studies which can be used by repository staff but many people have examples of how exposure by the repository has benefited the institution and individual academics e.g. through increased opportunities for collaborative research.
  • The need for sustainable support services for repositories. Edina at the University of Edinburgh have been commissioned by JISC to develop UK RepositoryNet, a socio-technical infrastructure to support repositories. Theo Andrew from Edina and Veronica Adamson from Glenaffric (via Skype) ran a workshop to gain input from the delegates as to what they wanted from such a service.
  • We all felt enthused about bringing the emphasis back to open access. The final sessions on Wednesday morning were devoted to this. Lots of original ideas were generated as to how we can make it happen. These will be the subject of a future blog post.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend three days with old and new colleagues discussing these very important issues. Thanks to all the speakers and participants for making it a really worthwhile event.

Slides and notes will be made available over the next week on the event page.

Guest post: OA week buddies: putting the Repository at the centre of an institutional research information system

This guest post is authored by Paul Stainthorp, Electronic Resources Librarian, University of Lincoln.  As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Paul, Bev, and Melanie visited the University of Glasgow.

Theme: Repositories and REF preparation

As promised, here’s the first of three blog posts about this week’s trip to the University of Glasgow, sponsored by the RSP for Open Access week 2011, on the theme of Repositories and REF preparation.

Old university library

Three of us made the trip north: myself, the Library’s Repository Officer, Bev Jones, and the University of Lincoln’s new REF Co-ordinator, Melanie Bullock. We were received and looked after very generously by the team at Glasgow, including Susan AshworthMarie Cairney, Morag GreigValerie McCutcheon, Robbie Ireland and William Nixon. Thanks to them all for making our visit pleasant as well as useful.

Over the course of a morning, we discussed many aspects of research information management, the REF, and developments to our own institutional repositories (and repositories in general).

I made copious notes, and reading them back I thought it might be useful to identify and list some of the factors that seem to be necessary (or at least desirable) in successfully placing the repository at the heart of an institutional research information/administration system – what makes it possible for the repo to play its part?

Before started: this is my own interpretation, filtered through my brain, notes, and prejudices. It doesn’t necessarily bear any relationship to the real situation at the University of Glasgow. Nor, for that matter, at the University of Lincoln…

Here’s a checklist of what’s making repo-REF integration work for Glasgow:

  1. Good data. Because it’s not about your component systems, it’s about your data. Decide what data you have/what data you need and what you need to do with that data – then any tool that matches those requirements is the right system for you. You can always change your systems, but your data are here to stay. Design your system around your data, not the other way around. It’s necessary also to decide early what information to store, then to defend that decision vigorously – best to store the complete record of a publication or a project, NOT the filtered, controlled, ‘for-public-consumption’ version of it.
  2. Good relationships: between the library, research/enterprise, ICT services, schools/faculties, etc.: but not only at an operational/service/development level; it’s essential to have joined-up thinking about research data and systems at a management–strategic level. Glasgow seem to have this in spades.
  3. An idea of where you’re headed. Glasgow have received JISC funding to do interesting development work across a number of projects (the most notable in 2009/10 being the Enrich project), but haven’t let the funding distort their overall plan – they haven’t lost sight of the overall aim. While the outside world sees separate projects [until our visit I was personally bewildered about how it all fit together…], Glasgow have the bigger picture in mind! It’s the Research and Enterprise Operations Manager‘s job to make sure it all hangs together, working closely with the repository manager and the head of ICT services (see 2).
  4. A good development culture. The way Glasgow manage their development depends on the bit of the system in question. They have developers in each bit of the university (and centrally as part of ICT services). It’s important to recognise the [occasionally attractive] danger of rushing off and building something to meet a local need, while at the same time jeopardising the bigger picture for research administration.
  5. Taking your users’ needs seriously. Glasgow have a rigorous approach to stakeholder analysis and ‘workload modelling’. Quite often, people working in universities aren’t used to being asked what they actually need a system to do. Genuine user engagement has paid dividends.
  6. Mandatory data processes – not just mandated deposit of the final publication. Achieved through diktat of the research strategy committee; the attitude of senior management is “…if it’s not in Enlighten, it doesn’t exist!”. High-level advocacy win! The respository/research information system plays a part in the staff appraisal process and for SMT planning. “Advocacy is beating people with a big carrot.”
  7. Internal miniREF-type exercises. Glasgow had a big internal drive, and more than 1,200 staff responded. Suddenly, people became much more interested in the quality of their own data(!) and in the completeness of their publication record. Having information about all known publications  in one place has increased interest in metrics from the repository. Publication “healthcheck” exercises – informing a university-wide publication policy.
  8. Useful reporting tools – make it as easy as possible for your users to get data out of the system, via intuitive, meaningful export tools, and in useful formats (Excel output is always good!). Basically, reduce the temptation for people to build their own local silos of data by making it more attractive for people to invest in the repository/institutional research system, safe in the knowledge they can always get the data displayed and/or exported the way they want it.
  9. A secret agent in every faculty. Offer training and additional administrative rights to research administrators in academic departments – encourage a culture of devolved/outsourced deposit, advocacy and administration. Allow administrators to ‘impersonate’ academic authors for deposit/editing. Use bibliographic services (e.g. the Web of Knowledge) to send alerts to schools as a trigger to initiate deposit; allow schools to use these alerts/feeds to create records en-masse through filtering. Learn to talking in a language appropriate to different subject areas. Let the schools/faculties add value to the repository!
  10. Time and a head start. Glasgow’s overall research information infrastructure is well-established. Probably 90% of the system was in place 2 years ago. While we don’t have a time machine(!) we should at least recognise that proactive, consistent, ongoing development is far better than a reactive approach (“Quick! Build me something to deal with the REF!”). Invest in the repository/research information system now, and you’ll reap the benefits when an information need does arise in future.

That’s it for now – except for some links:

Guest author: Paul Stainthorp

Focus on Open Access at the University of the West of England

As part of Open Access week, yesterday I presented at a lunchtime session at the University of Western England  (my slides are below) as part of a week of activies. The attendees were an even mix of academic and library staff which made for a lively discussion. I was very impressed by the high level of support for the repository and the engagement of the staff at UWE. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion – it’s a real treat to delve into the issues that are critical in making OA really work. So thanks to those who took part and to Anna Lawson and Alex Clarke (the repository team) for inviting me.

I’ve summarised the issues below:

  • The current system of academic reward based on publication in high impact journals supports the status quo. There is a need to widen this to include other impact measures such as engagement with business and influence on policy making. Although, the difficulty of measuring this was acknowledged.
  • The importance to societies of the income from journal subscriptions.
  • The repository or “Green route” was viewed favourably but it was important to make self deposit as streamlined as possible – rekeying of information is a real barrier.
  • There was a lot of interest in the costs of gold publishing and the likelihood of this business model becoming the norm.
  • One academic was reluctant to deposit their own final copy rather than the published version as it hadn’t been copy edited. Although for the end reader, they may not be too worried about a few mistakes if the alternative was a cost to view it. Another academic recounted an experience where the publisher’s editing had had the opposite effect and the author’s final version was the more correct one.
  • The cost of closed access was discussed – particularly its impact on library budgets.
  • Metrics on use need to include a full picture e.g. downloads from publishers sites plus downloads from the repository. The JISC funded PIRUS 2 project has been exploring just this scenario. There was some concern that downloads may detract from use of the published version but it was agreed that the repository downloads could well be in addition to the traditional subscription access.
  • Mandates which required staff to deposit their research in the repository were seen as a valued indication of institutional support but the most important thing was the enthusiasm among the academic community.
  • The curation of research data and the issues around making this open access were raised. UWE has recently been awarded JISC funding for a Managing Research data project.
Slides UWE_261011

Photo by Hopeless128

Guest Post: A repository journey for the creative arts

This guest post is authored by Kim Coles, Information Assistant (Digital Collections), Royal Holloway, University of London. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Kim visited University College Falmouth who are currently designing an institutional repository which will be connected to their online research community.

Theme: Archiving and presenting arts research outputs

In between two rather epic train journeys (across beautiful scenery) on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th October, I visited the Tremough Campus of University College Falmouth (UCF) and Doreen Pinfold, Tom Readings and Tim Shear, who work in the Library and Technology Enhanced Learning Teams respectively. My original proposal was an investigation into new ways to archive arts research – thinking creatively about how the repository can work for and with researchers.

Why UCF?

The team are looking into ways of archiving arts research which is linked to the production process – in fact they have worked the research process into their planning so that the whole procedure becomes organic. They are designing an institutional repository which is connected to an online research community, the AIR Portal. This aids dialogue between researchers as well as these external users, and it is therefore easy to discuss and produce work within the AIR portal which will eventually be deposited into the repository with a single click as part of the production process.

This is a method of digital preservation which ‘makes official’ the research outputs. Where the Portal is a space for production, the repository will be a way of exhibiting what is produced via Open Access, whether this is a finalised product or a snapshot of the continuing research as it stood at one point in time.

This is a different and unique way to create and manage a repository, and so seemed the ideal choice for a visit.

So where is the repository?

UCF’s repository is not up and running, and so I had a lot of questions about how one goes about designing a repository from scratch.

I found it interesting that although the team want to design according to need, they are taking a very measured and structured approach. Currently they have the opportunity to compare current repository software for functionality; allowing them to choose the parts which are useful, suggest for development those which need improvement, and suggest new archiving ideas to their researchers.

Time can then be dedicated to producing something which encompasses the best of these areas and, crucially, will be backed up by good metadata standards and a sound technical base which can be adapted in the future. Then, they can trial a useable test version of the system to small groups from each school of study, to report back on. This feedback received, further work will need to be done in order to tailor the systems further, and this may happen multiple times before the finished system is released across the college.

The advantage of UCF’s measured design strategy is that they firstly do not confuse researchers with vastly different versions and functions, but also that they can provide consistent clear message about archiving throughout while at the same time producing a system which meets researchers’ needs.

Conclusion

In answer to my proposal questions, it is clear that the repository at UCF is/will be interactive, dynamic and tailored to the needs of their arts researchers.  But what struck me most about the team at UCF was not only their knowledge of the subject area, but their enthusiasm, interest and excitement about what they were producing. There are a lot of opportunities available and UCF seem very much open to them.

This is an attitude which I feel could especially useful to us at Royal Holloway as we move into a six-week promotional campaign to encourage engagement with our repository and CRIS. If we take constructive criticism and ideas as suggestions for improvement instead of complaints, then we could move forward and produce something applicable to our researchers’ needs. By constantly asking opinions but retaining a strong backbone, the repository can remain consistent in its aims while editing the manner in which it achieves them. Of course, we will need the support of out IT team to do this, but by returning to a ‘shared services’ approach we are able to discuss these ideas with those who have the technical know-how: vital for the development of our repository. This development could be as dramatic as a total overhaul and redesign, or as simple as offering to educate more and differently to tailor our approach as needed.

There’s a lot of food for thought here as it is, but I have to say, it was very difficult to cut this down to a readable length, so if there are any questions, please feel free to comment!
Lastly, though, I’d like to thank Doreen, Tim and Tom for their generosity and a really lovely visit to University College Falmouth.

Author: Kim Coles, Royal Holloway, University of London

Guest Post: Deposition of Datasets and DSpace

This guest post is authored by Annette Ramsden, Assistant Academic Librarian, University of Abertay. As announced last week, during October 2011 the RSP sponsored ten UK repository staff  ‘buddy visits’ as part of our Open Access Week initiative. Further information available from here. Annette visited the Edinburgh University Data Library.

Theme: Repository best practice and management

One of the areas of interest to me as manager of Abertay Research Collections is the potential to utilise our repository for deposition of datasets. Currently it is publications only, but the possibility of expansion into dataset deposition had been raised. As funders are increasingly requiring that data is available to a wider audience, institutional repositories can potentially meet this need. Therefore I welcomed the opportunity as part of the RSP ‘buddy’ project to visit Edinburgh University Data Library to discuss with Data Manager Robin Rice and Associate Data Librarian Stuart Macdonald how they dealt with data, as they also utilise D-Space software. It was a really fruitful meeting as we discussed how the software had been customised to meet the needs of the Data Library requirements. Although Edinburgh have separate data repository Edinburgh DataShare  and publications repository (ERA) which has allowed them to customise their metadata fields and deposition process to reflect data deposition content rather than publications, it was useful to see how their processes worked. The meeting raised a number of areas for consideration and of future exploration which I am sure are those being considered and addressed by the rest of the community; in no particular order:

  • Ensuring protocols/procedures for deposition are created and are robust
  • Addressing focus of deposition: is it purely for preservation/curation post- research, or for ongoing deposition as research is completed
  • Ensuring high-quality documentation and clear methodology instructions are provided by depositor along with raw data
  • Rights statements/attribution licencing
  • Issues of licencing for re-usage, whether Creative Commons, Science Commons, Open Data Commons attribution, or any other?
  • Citation fields for correct referencing of data when re-utilised
  • Processes in place to deal with multiple formats
  • Ensuring that confidentiality/commercially sensitive material is appropriately dealt with by depositors
  • Whether datasets should be entirely open-access or whether embargo process/restricted access would be required in some cases
  • Storage issues due to potential size of datasets and limitations of existing storage areas
  • Whether linkage between raw data and articles derived from data could be achieved
  • Ensuring that version control applies to datasets, whether processes are in place to supersede or provide linkage between unique identifiers of related datasets

Meeting Robin and Stuart and being able to discuss the issues that I had considered pertinent and also ones that I hadn’t, was rewarding. It has given me a great deal to consider and investigate further and I would like to thank them for giving up their time and being so hospitable.

Author: Annette Ramsden, Assistant Academic Librarian, University of Abertay.

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