Open Access Week Dates Announced

The dates for Open Access Week from 2011 onwards have been announced. From next year OA week will be the last full week of October, so the dates for the next 5 years are:

  • 2011: October 24 – 30
  • 2012: October 22 – 28
  • 2013: October 21 – 27
  • 2014: October 20 – 26
  • 2015: October 19 – 25

With this advance notice there is no excuse for not planning a full programme of events for future OA weeks. :)

New RSP Web Site Launched

Screenshot of the brand new RSP web site

The RSP is proud to announce the launch of its new web site featuring a cleaner design and navigation structure. The aim is to make it easier than ever to find the information you need from RSP and to get in touch with us if you would like more direct help with any repository related issues.

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Legal Issues in Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing

Wax seal of Nathaniel Wells, a Monmouthshire Justice of the Peace

On 24th November I attended a training course organised by UKeIG on the legal issues related to Web 2.0 and cloud computing and presented by Charles Oppenheim. This was a useful reminder that while these technologies present the same legal challenges as other forms of on-line publication, such as including articles in institutional repositories, they also add their own specific complications.

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RSP Winter School

Armathwaite Hall

The RSP Winter School will be held from 9th – 11th February 2011 at Armathwaite Hall in Cumbria. This is a three day residential course which aims to provide a varied programme addressing topics related to repository management.

The programme includes: Keynote address from Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford, updates on projects relevant to repositories, in depth workshops on embedding repositories and measuring performance/demonstrating value andpreservation.

Further details and booking are available here.

Research data: policies and behaviours

Last week (18th November), I attended an evening event organised by the Research Information Network at the Royal College of Physicians.

Image by Ian-S

There were three excellent speakers. Andrew Young, Director of Research from John Moores University, Carole Goble, School of Computer Science, University of Manachester and Kevin Ashley, Director of the Digital Curation Centre. The panel was chaired by Professor John Wood, Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The consensus was that researchers are currently reluctant to share data and in order to change this culture, we need to be aware of the risks and rewards in doing so. Carole Goble coined the wonderful phrase of “data mine-ing” and she quoted from the recent RIN Report on e-Infrastructure: taking forward the strategy: “my impression of researchers, and I can criticize myself in this, is that we’re much more interested in sharing data when we mean sharing someone else’s as opposed [to] sharing ours”. Encouragement and reward were seen as more effective strategies than coercion, the latter can lead to pseudo sharing where data are shared but so poorly curated that they cannot be reused.

The importance of good management and curation was a key theme but this comes at a cost that has to be factored in. And data managment isn’t as appealing as research to those in the field. In later discussion, the issue of training information professionals to take on this role was raised.

Good curation can ensure that the researcher is properly accredited and this will be an incentive for more data sharing. Data citation could become as important as article citation in the future. And in the same way as a well written paper is more likely to be cited, so will a well curated dataset.

In all it was a very interesting event – the speakers were all thought provoking, as were the questions and comments from the floor.

The case for open access

Repository managers are often looking for succinct summaries of the case for open access that they can use in their institutions. I recently came across this paper from Alma Swan which fits the bill: Open Access impact: A briefing paper for researchers, universities and funders. It addresses the following areas: global access, citation advantage, institutional benefits, knowledge transfer and economic impact.

Another useful paper from Fred Friend has also recently been released: The impact of Open Access outside European universities.

Software Survey 2010

Some officers studying a map of newly captured ground

Today we have made public the results of our 2010 survey of repository sofware.  We first carried out this survey in March 2009 so this November 2010 version shows the changes that the software vendors have made over the last 18 months or so.

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Open Access week: whats happening in the UK

Last week I asked repository managers in the UK to let me know what they are doing this week to promote open access in their institutions as part of SPARC’s International Open Access week. I’ve had a really good response and I’ve listed below a summary  of activities (in no particular order) – if yours isn’t there please add it as a comment. There are so many events and imaginative projects which will really help to raise the profile of open access. Well done UK repository staff! You can also check out the JISC OA week site for managers and researchers which will focus on a different aspect of OA on each day.

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DataShare at Edinburgh

Readers may be interested to have a look at the DataShare service at Edinburgh University. This repository allows researchers to “deposit, share, and license their data resources for online discovery and use by others, either openly or in a controlled way if requested”. It arose out of a JISC funded project in the Repositories and Preservation Programme.

I know from conversations that many repository managers are being approached by people in their institutions for help with storing datasets. It will be interesting to see how successful DataShare is in encouraging deposit. The survey on Scottish Witchcraft is intriguing! And for those working in/studying repositories the results of surveys of attitudes to open access and institutional repositories among academic authors, senior managers and technical staff would be useful.

Organic Agriculture in Budapest

I was in Budapest on 16th and 17th September, presenting at the final conference of the Organic.Edunet project – International Conference on IT Enhanced Organic, Agro-Ecological and Environmental Education. This was a three year EU funded project to develop a multi-lingual, federated repository of e-learning materials in organic agriculture and agro-ecology. It also developed and implemented scenarios for use of the materials in schools and universities in some of the partner countries.

Presentation on OA and RSP

It was a packed and varied programme with presentations about advances in organic agriculture, educational and e-learning initiatives, repositories and information technologies. It was fascinating to hear about the challenges of providing education in an agricultural context, particularly in the developing world. Also, I learnt some interesting facts such as 20% of Romania’s organic production is honey!

My presentation was part of a session on Open Access Agricultural Repositories and I spoke about Open Access in the United Kingdom and of course about the RSP. I shared the platform with colleagues from the University of Alcala, Spain who outlined their proposals for broadening the scope of open sharing. They referenced the CERIF schema and are developing a model which combines ontologies of research work with an open linked data approach. The third presentation from the Technological Educational Institute of Athens described the VOA3R Project which is developing a platform which aims to re-use existing metadata and semantics technology to retrieve open content and data. The final speaker from FAO described their work in developing metadata standards and controlled vocabularies and their work with repositories such as DSpace. They encourage the use of Linked Data and this theme was further developed in a workshop later in the day.

It was a stimulating (if exhausting) two days and we also had time for social events including a dinner in the very grand Hungarian Academy of Sciences, serenaded by traditional folk musicians and served by staff in white gloves. The view from the window looking out onto the Danube and the Palace Hill on the Buda side was beautiful. And it had the biggest internal doors I’ve ever come across – I had to reach up for the door handles! I really valued the opportunity to spread the word about OA in the UK and to meet up with project colleagues I’d worked with over three years and count as friends as much as co-partners.


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