Guest Post: Should repository managers get excited about CRIS?

This guest post is authored by Rowena Rouse, Repository Services Development Manager, Oxford Brookes University. 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

Theme – CRIS and Equella

Here at Oxford Brookes University, we have an institutional repository called RADAR (Research Archive and Digital Asset Repository) This uses Equella Software from Pearson Education, formerly owned by the Learning Edge with its head office in Hobart, Tasmania. Equella has a history in learning repositories so it was only when we learnt that Royal Holloway University London and Coventry University were using it for their research outputs that we decided to take the plunge and buy Equella in January 2009. In two years, we have developed a multi-purpose repository which includes the university’s research outputs, teaching materials with a powerlink through to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Open Educational Resources (OER) and some special collections.

Revving up for the REF

My colleague Steve Burholt (E-learning developer), taking the technical lead has developed a number of metadata schemas and display formats to meet the requirements of a multi-purpose repository. Equella software allows us to heavily customise the look and feel of the repository; for example we have recently added social media “share” buttons to the summary page for each item.

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to concentrate on the Research Archive as this is where all the university’s research outputs will be stored and made accessible. So far we have been concentrating on outputs from 2008 which are going to be considered for the REF in 2014. The University has now been restructured and staff are going to be encouraged to self archive their outputs, with the RADAR team acting as moderators.

Research information @ Brookes

Brookes has some great research going on, from computer vision to Irish poor law and being involved with the outputs makes you appreciate this diversity of this research. Research information is gathered at various stages of the research process but is not accessible via one system which means pulling together information form many different systems which can be very time-consuming and unreliable. I’d been to a RSP event – ROMEO and CRIS (Current Research Information Systems), earlier this year and met with our new Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Knowledge Transfer who seemed keen to investigate the advantages of a CRIS. So RADAR decided to have a day trip to Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) who also use Equella and have been using Atira’s PURE since September 2010.

The Morning

We met with Adrian Joyce, Project Manager for the implementation of PURE and the Repository team (Dominic Tate, Kim Coles and Dace Rozenberga ) at RHUL. Adrian showed us the system, explained the implementation stages and recounted their experiences.

All we need is the data

PURE brings together information from the various systems running at RHUL. It has a REF module which is being developed in conjunction with the REF data requirements and will create all the information required for the REF submission. Dominic Tate who many of you will know from his RSP days is RHUL’s Repository Manager has just secured a new team member whose principal role will be to encourage and facilitate staff to complete their profiles within PURE. They are just about to start a major advocacy campaign, visiting each of the departments. As at Oxford Brookes, the repository at RHUL is used for a number of collections including Early Music Online, these will remain accessible via the repository homepage, however for  research outputs, the fulltext where available will reside in the repository but will be deposited via the academics profile within PURE.

What else can CRIS do?

For RHUL, usability was a key issue in choosing their CRIS. They needed a system that would be easy for academics to use and for them to gain some added value through creating and maintaining their profiles on PURE. The possibility of being presented with the bibliographic details through a direct link with Web of Science* minimises the need for academics to rekey exising information.

For REF managers and senior management then Pure creates some very interesting metrics. These include a snapshot view using traffic light colours of which academics have created profiles along with the publication status of their outputs.

We both had a really useful day, topped by a sighting of one of their most popular alumni, Lenny Henry. Thanks to Dominic, Kim, Dace and Adrian for such a worthwhile trip.

Yes! Let’s get excited.

Author: Rowena Rouse

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