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.

Guest Post: Keeping up the Momentum: Breaking the Stop Start Cycle of Repository Use

This guest post is authored by Robin Armstrong-Viner, Head of Collection Management, Information Services, University of Kent. 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. Robin visited the repository team at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Themes – Embedding, Managing, Preparing for REF and Software

Like many repositories the Kent Academic Repository (KAR) is experiencing something of a mid-life crisis. Established in May 2006, it played an important role in the University of Kent’s submission for the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008. KAR remains the most complete record Kent’s research outputs and is heavily used by a number of Schools. However there are others who prefer to record their publications through internal databases and to make the full text available through subject repositories.

Mindful of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), and keen to ensure that Information Services do all we can to support the Kent’s submission in 2014, I attended the Repositories Support Programme (RSP) Readiness for REF (R4R) Workshop in September. The whole day was brilliant but I was particularly struck by Neil Stewart and Dave Puplett’s description of the mini-REF exercise they undertook at the London School of Economics (LSE). It seemed that LSE and Kent were taking similar approaches to their repositories and the REF and so I was really pleased when RSP agreed to sponsor a buddy visit for me to find out more.

 Embedding KAR in the Research Workflow

Like KAR, LSE Research Online (LSERO) has been established for some time and I was keen to learn how the team had been so successful in maintaining its profile with academics. Dave and Natalia Madjarevic (Neil’s successor) shared their advocacy strategy with me, highlighting the need to identify and target both early adopters and new researchers and demonstrate maximum benefit for minimum effort on the part of those researchers.

The LSE approach is to make each stage of the process as simple and clear as possible for academics. There is a single point of contact for researchers while RSS feeds allow departmental, individual and LSE Experts web pages to be updated automatically. LSERO is also harvested by key subject repositories including Research Papers in Economics (RePEC). All this, together with a Twitter feed, means that LSERO plays a key role in disseminating LSE research.

Talking to Dave and Natalia reminded me how important it is to demonstrate KAR’s impact. They share metrics including citations, downloads and page views with academics. Showing that including an academic’s research outputs in LSERO improves their ranking in Google Scholar is another way of encouraging deposit. The team also make sure they keep researchers up to date throughout the deposit and review process.

 Managing the Distributed KAR Team to Meet the Researchers’ Expectations

Responsibility for KAR is shared between the Academic Liaison, Digital Resources & Serials and Metadata & Processing teams within Information Services at Kent. Natalia explained that LSE have a similarly distributed team with the E-Services team focusing on advocacy, copyright liaison and strategy and the Bibliographic Services team entering and checking the accuracy of the metadata. A key advantage of involving a wider team has been that they have been able to maintain service levels even at busy times.

Dave emphasised how important it was that LSERO was seen as a core role of the Library (and not just the E-Services team), including by the Director. Other teams have been updated on progress through a series of lunchtime seminars, and Dave has been careful to give credit to the wider team for the success of LSERO.

Preparing to Support Kent’s REF Submission

Kent is planning a mini-REF exercise in 2012 so I was interested to know what had made the exercise at LSE so successful. Dave explained that the content, consistency and accuracy of the LSERO data had impressed the Research Division. By generating reports of research outputs by department and highlighting that the they had the skills needed to deliver excellent quality data the team revealed the value of involving the Library. They had also used research managers within individual departments to ensure that as many research outputs eligible for that REF had been captured within LSERO.

Making the Most of the EPrints

Having recently moved to Kent from Aberdeen I’m new to both KAR and EPrints and wanted to be sure that we are getting the most from the software. Both Kent and LSE are looking forward to implementing the new features in EPrints 3.3, particularly the plugins to support the REF. The focus remains making it as easy as possible for academics to record their research outputs and increase the level of full text available.

I was surprised to learn at the R4R Workshop that LSE does not have a Current Research Information System (CRIS). Kent is a pathfinder on the JISC Research Management and Administration Service (RMAS) and I wanted to explore how Dave would approach a similar project (which might include a CRIS or CRIS-like functionality). He stressed that the completeness, quality and volume of the data in LSERO would have to be taken into account when assessing the potential benefits of implementing a CRIS, and that in the short term developing LSERO was the Library’s priority.

Keeping up the Momentum

Use of KAR has fluctuated since RAE 2008 and I asked Dave and Natalia how they plan to build on the success of the mini-REF exercise. There are constantly monitoring deposit rates from departments to ensure that LSERO remains a current and accurate record of the LSE research outputs. This strengthened my resolve to put in place suitable strategies for the development and support of KAR – huge thanks to Dave, Natalia, Helen Williams and all at LSE and RSP who made my visit possible, informative and enjoyable.

Author: Robin Armstrong-Viner,  Head of Collection Management, University of Kent.

Guest Post: Hull and White Rose Research Online

This guest post is authored by Diane Leeson, Content and Access Team Leader, Library and Learning Innovation, University of Hull. 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. Diane visited the repository team at the University of  Leeds, one of the partners in White Rose Research Online (WRRO). The University of Hull have recently launched their new digital repository, see Hydra in Hull.

Theme – Mandates and Policies and Digitisation

My proposal for a ‘buddy’ visit had been around wanting to find out more from those who have developed repository policies/mandates and also in issues around governance of their repository, including how those policies are embedded.  I had no particular institution in mind so it was suggested that we could visit the University of Leeds who are one of the partners in White Rose Research Online (WRRO) and White Rose eTheses online repositories (WREO) along with the universities of York and Sheffield.   While admitting they were not especially strong on policies we decided that it would still be a useful visit and it turned out to be a good general exchange of experience.

So it was only a short train trip and walk from the city centre before I arrived at the building leading onto the Brotherton Library on 14th October.  I was welcomed by Jodie Double, Digital Content and Repositories Manager, and also met some other members of the team.

Firstly, Jodie, Gemma Storr and I spent some time in general discussion.  I was interested to hear that WRRO was established in 2004 and includes research outputs for the three institutions and paved the way for the sister service WREO containing etheses from the 3 partners.  We discussed both of these in relation to the University of Leeds only.  They do have a mandate for deposit of etheses so students have to provide these, which are received as a disk containing a PDF and accompanying paperwork.  The team then upload the theses and publish them on their repository.  This is very similar to what we do at Hull.  (At York and Sheffield the students do self-deposit).  Leeds is just about to start adding more retrospective theses and intend to digitise in-house using the equipment within their new Digitisation Studio.  One element which we both agreed on was that students were not always clear about the implications of publishing their theses on a repository and in some cases do not even realise that this is what will happen until they suddenly come across it via Google.  Perhaps supervisors could advise students about this when they are preparing their theses?

In the case of research there is no specific policy which states that all research has to be included on their repository.  Staff are supposed to do this, but it is not enforced.  Staff are generally positive about wanting to make their research more visible, but are often worried about copyright.  Where full text is not uploaded there is sometimes just a metadata record included and a link can be made to the publisher version, but this will reduce access to only those people entitled to use it.  Researchers at Leeds use the Symplectic system (a publications database) to enter the details of their publications.  Repository staff then add these items to WRRO.  If the full text is not the publisher’s version they will add a standard front page to clarify identification – useful if the user is accessing the pdf directly from Google for example.  They will also deal with copyright issues, requesting permissions from publishers, and recording responses.  Gemma was able to give me a closer look at the various processes involved.  This whole area around publishing research is of interest to us at Hull since we are in the early stages of this process.  We have just implemented a new Research Information System (Converis) and my team within the Library will play a role in validating entries and uploading any full text submitted to our repository.  So it was useful to exchange information about this and discuss any considerations and issues.   It was particularly interesting to hear about the copyright aspects since this will also be a concern to us, and I liked the idea of attaching copies of publisher responses to the record in the repository and this might be something we could adopt ourselves in future.

A related area of open access concerns digitisation of existing collections to make them available online to foster new research.  (This is separate from course readings digitised under the CLA licence which we are both doing already).  Therefore, it was very interesting to have a look at the new Digitisation Studio which has just been set up at Leeds and managed by the repositories team.  I spoke with Beccy Shipman who will be coordinating work in the studio and was able to see the equipment, such as the scanner shown below, which will be used.

Apart from the digitisation of print theses, the main emphasis will be on picking out items from special collections to begin with.  This also includes dealing with any related copyright issues.  At Hull we have not yet ventured into this area of work, although we have spent some time identifying potential collections for digitisation.  Seeing the facilities at Leeds brought home the scale of the investment and commitment needed if such work is to be done in-house.  This will be useful to feed back to colleagues at Hull.

Overall it was a useful visit providing the opportunity to see how things are done at Leeds, to make new contacts and to share some common experiences.  WRRO is a more mature repository than our own and so the work around publishing research outputs was especially useful.  In particular, there was mention of considering having a standard time period for making items live in order to manage expectations.  This is not something we have done, but it might be worth looking into in the future.  While Leeds is also a larger institution than Hull it was clear that their staffing resource for repository work is considerably greater than ours, although they are working with three separate repositories against our one and running copyright and digitisation services as well.  We do expect that staffing will be an area we will need to address in the future as our repository work continues to grow.

Finally, I would like to express many thanks to everyone I met at Leeds who took the time to show me their work and share information.  They are most welcome to come and have a return visit to us in Hull if they would like to do so.  Thanks also to the Repositories Support Project for sponsoring this visit.

Gemma, Beccy, Jodie & Diane

Author: Diane Leeson, Content and Access Team Leader, Library and Learning Innovation, University of Hull

Guest Post: Dial M for Mandate

This guest post is authored by Tracy Kent, Digital Assets Librarian, University of Birmingham. 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. Tracy visited the repository team at the University of Bath.

Theme – Mandates and Policies

Dial M for Mandate

Implementing the perfect Mandate is like trying to carry out the perfect murder. You simply need the means, the motive and the opportunity to kill off Dr Nocites or Miss Obscurity. A mandate, clearly worded, understood by all and fitting easily into the daily workflow would ensure that  Dr Nocites was no longer around. Instead he or she would gain a new identity as Dr Highimpact or Miss Wellread. So, with a visit supported by RSP, I went on an investigatory visit to the University of Bath where a mandate was implemented during 2011. Intensive questioning with straight answers being sought would, it was hoped, provide some clues as to how the perfect Mandate would be implemented.

The Means to implement a Mandate
The University of Bath is a research active institute with high ranking departments . Like Birmingham,  researchers at Bath publish c4000, quality, peer reviewed articles, per year but felt  that their work was not being discovered, read or cited as it could. With a repository  in place (see Opus) and some full text content already available, there was a means to open the door to showcasing more full text from Bath.  After discussions within research committees and the identification of a Champion in the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research it was deemed appropriate to implement a mandate which would encourage Bath researchers to make use of the repository and get their work more visible and discoverable to the outside world. The buy in by Senior Management helped to emphasise the contribution researchers make to the University’s Mission.

With some mandates already in existence (see ROARMAP) Library staff at Bath, working very much in partnership with the Research Office, came up with a carefully crafted mandate. The mandate has an impressively clear title which leaves you in no doubt about what it is:

“University of Bath Open Access Publications full text deposit mandate” (see http://www.bath.ac.uk/library/services/eprints/deposit-mandate.pdf)

The mandate is wider than some I have seen in that it includes “papers from published conference proceedings (subject to copyright provisions)”.  Perhaps this is clue to the success of the mandate by targeting specific formats which are well utilized by researchers within an institution which has a large science and engineering discipline. Including this type of material has, anecdotally, increased the visibility of work from the repository, benefitting both the University and individual researchers.

It is worth mentioning though that, when questioned, Staff confessed to not over-strictly enforcing the policy, feeling that the softly softly approach was more likely to keep academics on side and showing impact would have a greater effect along with decreasing library budgets providing opportunities for putting content into repositories.  There is also a concern not to breach any publishers’ rules on systematic harvesting of text.

Katie, Tracy, and Kara

The Motive for implementing a Mandate

There is a clear motive for the implementation of mandates by Bath with reported increases in visibility, citation rates, usage and impact of research outputs. With the REF (Research Excellence Framework) waiting in the wings there is much talk on the grapevine about outputs and impact. What better way to raise your profile than make available, where appropriate, the full text of your articles to kill off Dr NoCites and replace him (or her) with Dr Highimpact.

Kara Jones, Repository Manager at Bath, was quite clear about part of the motive for its initial success. A date was identified for the introduction of the Mandate in June 2011. From this date the mandate was to be in force. Therefore researchers knew their content was required from this date going forward. This prompted many to give older items but the repository was to be populated with recent items that the researchers were working on. This helped researchers to work with the Library with their most current research. Some researchers took the opportunity to provide older works and, indeed, following the implementation of the request a copy button (see opportunity) requests for older works was also a motive. This was developed with weekly use of Web of Science alerts. These identify current articles by Bath authors. This evidence of research outputs ensures that the bibliographic details are correct (ensuring accurate citations), are transferred to the repository and the authors approached for the full text, where appropriate. The SHERPA/RoMEO database is the well used informant as it outlines publisher policies and which versions of documents can be uploaded to the repository. This ensures the Mandate is targeting current research being undertaken by researchers and helping them move toto ensure current content is populated in the repository.

Library staff were motivated by the need to produce quality documentation produced by Kara and her assistant, Katie. The documentation focuses on the deposit workflow, including handy flow charts to show researchers how the mandate fits into the general workflow (see Opus Quick Guides). The guides help their authors benefit from using the repository as a tool for managing and promoting their research outputs. There is also an extremely useful, and well written, guide on good practice for improving citations to research outputs which draws attention to the Mandate and the repository. All clear signs that there is a serious motive here.  The motive is underpinned by the guidance on when and why author addendums (at the publishing stage) should be used. Further, they make available links to, and hard copies of, the Versions Toolkit for authors, researchers and repository staff developed by LSE.  This provides, amongst other things, top tips on version control and dissemination of research outputs.

Bath make full use of the eprints functionality within Opus to enhance the mandate by encouraging “in press” as part of the workflow of research outputs. Thus Bath researchers are encouraged to use the repository as part of the publications workflow. This ensures that the mandate of immediate deposit is kept to and the access settings can be dealt with later to maximize the use and impact of their research.

To ensure the full effect of a mandate is realized individual records in Opus have a cover sheet to ensure correct bibliographic citations and recognition of University of Bath outputs. This is supplemented with file names for all theses records starting with Uni_of_Bath_Somerset2011 for greater impact. This has been appreciated by researchers at Bath and ensures users are in no doubt where the work comes from. Clever!

The Opportunity to implement a Mandate

A number of opportunities arose which has brought research outputs to the fore. With the import from their existing research publications database, records were immediately exposed, using OAIPMH standards, to the various search engines around.  Library staff took the opportunity to attach “Request a copy” button against every non-book publications from 2008 . This meant that, should anyone wish to receive the full text a request came, via the Library, to the author for action. When this was introduced at the same time as the Mandate, with the opportunity to raise the profile of researcher outputs, the number of requests  received was quite phenomenal. The team at Bath receive each request direct to the Library and then  forward each request to authors so are able to monitor the requests.  On analyzing the requests Bath did raise doubts about the authenticity of some of the requests. Part of the analysis suggested that users felt “request a copy” was a machine to machine transaction. Bath then changed the name of the request a copy to “contact the author”. Same process but with a different disguise. This has resulted in higher quality requests and opportunities for academic staff to develop relationships with users requesting their materials helping Dr Nocites reinvent himself as Dr HighImpact.

Whilst having the means, motive and taking the opportunities, the perfect implementation was made possible by  strong advocacy from staff in the Library repository Team.  Kara and her team of two dedicated staff, planned to meet, via research boards, all research managers from each Faculty to develop a network of Champions to ensure the continued support for the mandate. The relationships with active researchers has proved invaluable in enabling the deposit workflow to be fine tuned and to match what the researchers require and clearly demonstrated with the revision to the request  a copy button for the mandated research outputs. This was also (perhaps)  helped by the University of Bath being voted the University of the Year by the Sunday Times (September 2011)!

There are many challenges to introducing a perfect mandate which the visit to Bath drew to my attention.  Birmingham certainly have some of the means (repository, local champions, etc),  strong  motive (wanting high impact, increased citations, etc) and an opportunity (use of functionality in eprints). The key appears to be good advocacy – whether developing champion networks, using improved request a copy button or providing detailed documentation. Together with careful wording of the mandate to ensure researchers want to fulfil their obligations and fill up the repository then a perfect mandate could be implemented. Dr Nocites is no more and Dr High impact reigns.

Author: Tracy Kent, Digital Assets Librarian, University of Birmingham


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