UK RepositoryNet+ – a new infrastructure for UK Repositories

A guest post by Andrew Dorward from UK RepositoryNet+

UK RepositoryNet+ is a socio-technical infrastructure supporting deposit, curation & exposure of Open Access research literature. The aim of the UK RepositoryNet+ project is to increase the cost effectiveness of repositories of such literature.  It will do this by offering a sustained and well-used suite of services that enable repositories to operate more cost effectively.  Specifically UK RepositoryNet+ will:

  • scope and deliver repository and curation services via a production environment that offers economies of scale and scope
  • set up a production environment for repository shared services which works closely with the proposed innovation environment
  • provide market research/ intelligence, quality assurance, business case and sustainability planning to support the project.

Sustainability planning is a key outcome, operating at several levels. Institutional support of repositories ultimately requires that they meet institutional objectives – for example, embedding institutional repositories through integration with university research support offices, thereby to ensure compliance with Funders’ mandates and submission to the Research Excellence Framework. The central task for RepositoryNet+ is to provide sustainable infrastructure with service-quality components that assist cost-effective ingest, quality improvement and continuity of access for repository content.

The RepNet project has had a busy 3 months since March, starting with the selection of service providers for Wave One functionality, and the start of development.  Following our recommendations to the JISC Oversight group in January, work has been commissioned with our Services and Innovation Partnership Group (SIPG). This currently comprises Mimas, the University of Nottingham Centre for Research Communications, EDINA and UKOLN. Mimas will be providing benchmarking and reporting functionality through the development of IRUS-UK from a demonstrator to a full service. Nottingham contribute help with deposit through providing information on funder and publisher’s policies through the RoMEO and JULIET databases, while EDINA enable deposit into institutional repositories with the R-J Broker and Organisation and Repository Identification services. UKOLN will be responsible for the Innovation Zone, which will be used as an incubation site for potential new services.

Following a round of workshops in April, we have received business proposals for provision of services, and expect to have these finalised by the end of May to allow funding to kick in and development to kick off in June.

This will provide the first wave of services to be officially launched at OR12 in July, when we will showcase the service to users.  We will be presenting a paper on the RepNet project at the main conference, and will also be running a workshop on the morning of Tuesday 10th July with the SIPG and prospective users. We hope to gain some insight into new services needed as part of our Wave 2 set of components, so would welcome attendance and input from UK-CoRR and RSP.

Further research on user requirements on search functionality has been commissioned from Key Perspectives Ltd.  Their report, due in July, will help decide whether to further invest in a dedicated search tool or in improving repository metadata to be indexed by commercial providers.  Further research on the requirements of research information managers was undertaken by Glenaffric and delivered in April.

Other external projects that will influence the future direction of the RepNet service and Wave 2 components include the RIOXX work to develop an application profile for IR systems to support an extended metadata set to encompass funding data and the UKRISS project on research information management.

More details on the RepNet project can be found on our production website at http://www.repositorynet.ac.uk/ and this presentation: RSP Update on RepNet May 2012

For more information please contact the RepNet Business Manager, Andrew Dorward at andrew.dorward@ed.ac.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Japan and UK in agreement

In January, I wrote a post about my visit to the Digital Repository Federation in Japan. We wanted to formally mark the visit as the beginning of an ongoing relationship for our mutual benefit. So we agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding – we also invited UKCoRR (United Kingdom Council of Research Repositories) to be a partner.

The Memorandum includes a commitment to

  • sharing experience and expertise
  • inviting and possibly sponsoring representatives from partners to participate in RSP and DRF events
  • joint efforts to seek funding and/or support

It is intended that forms the basis for future cooperation. The RSP and the DRF have submitted a joint poster proposal to Open Repositories 2012 about the visit and the memorandum.

A visit to the Digital Repository Federation in Japan

 

Sapporo from Mount Moiwa

Last week, I was at the University of Hokkaido, in Sapporo, Northern Japan at the invitation of the Digital Repository Federation. The DRF is a federation of universities and research institutions which have established institutional repositories. I met with them to share information about the work of the RSP and the DRF. It was a fantastic opportunity to forge links with colleagues working in digital repositories in Japan and my hosts made me very welcome. My thanks to the DRF and the University of Hokkaido for their hospitality and friendliness. Read more of this post

New RSP Team member

This month, Nancy Pontika (on the right) joined the team. Nancy has a thorough background in Open Access information, having worked as an Assistant Editor and Project Manager with the Open Access Directory. Nancy has taught on courses for information professionals, as well as providing workshops and one-to-one consultancy services. Nancy recently gained a PhD in Information Science with a specialism in Open Access and the effects of public access policies, from Simmons College, Boston MA.

The rest of the team from left to right are: Laurian Williamson, Open Access Adviser with responsibility for the JISC Repositories Take Up and Embedding Projects; Jackie Wickham, RSP Project Coordinator and Bill Hubbard, RSP Project Director.

RSP support is available for all HEIs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Consultancy visits are available to institutions with long-standing repositories as well as to those institutions in the start-up phase through our programme of repository health-checks. Please contact support@rsp.ac.uk or 0845 257 6860 for more information.

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.

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