Closing RSP


This is the final blog posting for RSP, as we have now suspended activities with the end of our current funding period on 31st July 2013.

As the final post, it seems appropriate to review a little of what we have done. The Repositories Support Project (RSP) has been running since November 2006, funded by JISC as part of their strategic support for Open Access and repositories in UK Higher Education.

During this time the RSP has run 93 events and 7 residential schools, attended by over 1,500 delegates from 257 different organizations. The RSP has hosted 16 webinars for over 1,000 delegates, of which 270 were international from the USA, Ireland, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, Nigeria, Italy, Germany and other locations.

But of course our focus has been the UK. Within the UK, in addition to our face-to-face events, RSP staff have carried out nearly 100 consultancy visits to individual institutions; produced over 70 publications; maintained an active website, helpdesk and helpline; assisted UKCoRR, and taken the repository message out to stakeholders and policy makers in UK funding, research and Higher Education in committees, reports and conferences.

A large number of staff have worked under the RSP banner over the years: Mike Hopkins, Bill Hines, Stuart Lewis, Jackie Knowles, Chris Yates, Hannah Payne, Liz Lyon, Rachel Heery, Maureen Pennock, Steph Taylor, Michael Day, Pete Cliff, Les Carr, Steve Hitchcock, Stephen Pinfield, Gareth Johnson, Mary Robinson, Sophia Jones, Rob Ingram, Peter Millington, Jane Smith, Dominic Tate, Emily Nimmo, Willow Fuchs, Laurian Williamson, Nancy Pontika, Emma Kilkelly, Jackie Wickham and me, Bill Hubbard.

Our thanks to everyone and forgive me if I have missed anyone from the list!

Thanks also to all of the external speakers, authors, consultants and experts that have contributed to RSP events, publications and advice.

And of course, our thanks to JISC for funding the RSP over the years and their commitment and belief over the successive iterations of our activities; in particular to our JISC Programme Managers and others; Neil Jacobs, Amber Thomas, Andy MacGregor, David Flanders, Tom Franklin, Neil Grindley and Balviar Notay.

Since we started, the number of repositories in the UK has tripled and the growth of the open access environment has allowed all the recent policy developments. This growth is due to the hard work and dedication of the repository advocates and administrators in each institution and I trust that the RSP has been useful to you in your work.

As for the future – for repositories, certainly, the future is bright. The current moves with the RCUK policy and universities’ responses to this in balancing OA publishing and OA archiving; the eventual HEFCE policy towards repository access and REF 2020; the European initiative for OA to all funded work; Research Data Management and the promise of linking data to publications through – what else – the repository: all of these things mean that as a community we have significant work and significant gains to be made in the next few years.

For the RSP, its events, publications and the support service – who knows! We have amended the website to allow it to stand as a resource for repository support and made the publications, podcasts, and materials available for re-use as well as listing the events and making available, where we can, the associated presentations for your use.

As for direct support, there may be opportunities in the future if the community need is there for a support project. If you have individual needs, or need consultancy analysis and advice, then get in touch with us here at the CRC. The team here at the CRC in Nottingham will, of course, be continuing with other national and international projects and in providing SHERPA Services RoMEO, JULIET, OpenDOAR and FACT – so we will still be working with you.

On behalf of all of the RSP team, my thanks to all of you that have been in touch with us in the past few days with thanks for our work and good wishes for the team: it has been very rewarding to hear how we have been valued. For now, good luck with your repositories!


Journal Research Data Policy Bank (JoRD)

* A guest post by Jane Smith, SHERPA Services Development Officer


JoRD will shed light on the policies devised by academic publishers to promote linkage between journal articles and underlying research data.

This initiative, is funded by JISC as part of its Digital Infrastructure Programme; it runs from July to December 2012. This work is being carried out by the Centre for Research Communication, University of Nottingham, working with Research Information Network  and Professor Paul Sturges.

Read more of this post

Workshop report part two : meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning

As mentioned in my previous post I attended the JISC Managing Research Data (#jiscmrd) workshop on ‘meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning’ last week. It was a well attended event with a packed and interesting programme, covering a range of research data management planning issues for different subject disciplines.

All the presentations are now available and are well worth exploring. In my previous post I covered DATUM in Action, DMSPpsych, and REWARD, and now I will provide a brief outline of two of the remaining projects.

MaRDI-Gross – research data guidance for ‘big science’. Presented by Norman Gray, he explained that this project aims to provide guidance for the strategic and engineering developments of data management and preservation plans for ‘big science data’. The context was described as:

Big money, big author lists, big data, big admin, and big careers

Norman outlined the challenges of data management planning and preservation for ‘big science’ multi-institutional collaborations and talked about how important ‘tone’ is and don’t necessarily think that ‘data sharing’ is a given, not everyone wants to share their data.

The project team have made the first version of their document on ‘DMP Planning for Large Projects ‘available for public comments, comment to be made by 13th April. The plan is available from here.

In his presentation on History DMP, Chris Awre, University of Hull, described how this project was stimulated by a specific academic need. Matt, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of History had wanted to store his data in Hull’s digital repository, Hydra in Hull. Matt explained that he had two major problems: 1) he wanted the data to be made available to the public and b) he wanted his data to be located in a secure environment. The DMP remedied both of these problems and he said that he found the whole process straightforward.

Issues discussed included using the DCC checklist as a starting point and refining and re-phrasing it for a history focus, a DMP must meet the needs of the department and infrastructure, how linked data could contribute to data management, and ways of providing better support locally.

All the presentations from the event are available here.

Workshop report part one: meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning

I was fortunate to attend the JISC Managing Research Data (#jiscmrd) workshop on ‘meeting the disciplinary challenges in research data management planning’, which was held in Paddington, London last friday. It was a well attended event with a packed and interesting programme, covering a range of research data management planning issues for different subject disciplines.

Image courtesy of Dave Patten

Image of Paddington Basin courtesy of Dave Patten's Flickr photostream

The morning session consisted of 8 presentations from the JISCMRD Research Data Management Planning projects showcasing project progress and a wide range of  innovative ideas and tools. The main focus of the afternoon sessions was the DCC’s data management tool DMP online and included a demo of Version 3 of the tool which is likely to be launched in April 2012.

I think the presentations will be made available online shortly (will link to them once they are available). They are now available from here. Below are some of the highlights that I took away from the event which gave me lots to think about. As so much was covered during this event I thought it would be easier to publish two blog postings on this event, the second one will be published tomorrow….[Friday 30th]

DATUM in Action this project led by the University of Northumbria supported health research staff on an EU project to plan and implement RDM. Their interim outputs included a data requirements questionnaire, a DMP template, RDM roles and responsibilities, a fileplan for the research project’s shared drive, folder and file name guidance, and information security guidance. They hope that the guidance they have produced could be used by other HEIs.

DMSPpsych this project led by the University of Sheffield aimed to provide practical advice and guidance on data management planning and storage for psychology.  Richard Plant delivered an excellent presentation and explained how their guidance and their one-stop-shop RDM website attempts to answer some of those frequently asked questions from researchers, for example:

Why bother with rdm? How can you help me? What is ‘metadata’? ?Why/how do I back-up my data?

The project team also made good use of the DCC’s DMP Online tool to construct the Wellcome fellowship RDMP and also set up a Sharepoint repository for DClinPsy trainees. Further information on project outputs and activities can be found on their blog.

REWARD (Researchers using Established Workflows to Archive Research Data) this collaborative project was led by the  UCL Institute of Archaeology, UCL Library Services and Ubiquity Press and it examined ways to use familiar workflows to encourage the archiving of research data using the UCL Discovery institutional repository.

The researchers were introduced to the Digital Curation Centre’s DMP Online tool, and then asked to make their data openly available in the institutional repository via publishing a data paper in the Journal of Open Archaeological Data (JOAD).

Some interesting observations from this project  included the possibility of a ‘digital divide’ where it was easier to engage with early career researchers, many of whom were more open to sharing and the difficulties in discussing the ‘broader’ relevance of their research. On a positive note many researchers were willing to share and citation is an added incentive. It was also suggested by the Brian (the REWARD project manager) that a DMP Online tool for PhD students would be beneficial.

To be continued….

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.

A repository song

This was my first attendance at the Repository Fringe (#rfringe11) and as mentioned previously, I was there with the JISCrte portfolio of 6 projects, which featured in the programme on day 2 and delivered presentations on the progress and activities of their repositories take-up and embedding projects.

One of the JISCrte project partners, Robin Burgess from the Glasgow School of Art, delivered his presentation via the medium of…SONG. A link to Robin’s performance will shortly be available and I will make a link to it from this posting once it has been released! UPDATE 30/08/2011 – ‘Repository song’ is now available from here.

”]I thought this event was excellent and some of the innovative and interesting projects and initiatives really do require further exploration. Personally I found the following really interesting, and it was a new initiative to me:

FigShare – a permanent research data storage and sharing platform founded by Mark Hahnel. For use by researchers worldwide, FigShare aims to improve science and avoid duplication by encouraging all data to be shared, including negative results.

The stated ethos of FigShare is:

“Unless we as scientists publish all of our data, we will never achieve access to the sum of all scientific knowledge.”

All the event videos and presentations will shortly be made available by the event organisers, and I think they will be linked to from here.

Data and documentation in the performing arts – event resources

I did a recent blog post on an event I attended in Glasgow on managing data and documentation in the performing arts. The presentations are now available. In addition, there are short video clips of interviews with the speakers which are worth checking out.

RSP Winter School

The latest RSP residential course has now come to a close, after three packed days in the beautiful setting of Armathwaite hall  in the Lake District.

Delegates were collected from Penrith and taken by coach to the Hall where we sat down to a delicious lunch in the restaurant overlooking Bassenthwaite lake and the standard was set for the three days of excellent food, wine and conversation.

After lunch and registration Jackie Wickham welcomed the delegates, and we broke the ice by filling out our ‘RSP Dance Card’. Delegates were up on their feet to take note of the names of the representatives from each institution and the repository software they used. Based on my own card the split was around 20 Eprints repositories to 10 D-Space repositories, an imprecise measure but interesting to see the increasing presence of D-Space among the UK Repository community. Many of the delegates exclaimed that they were surprised that there were so many D-Space users present.

We were lucky enough to have Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford, provide us with our keynote address. Martin spoke enthusiastically about Open Access and its power to drive knowledge. He pointed out that fundamentally what drives academics is giving away, and the measure of success for an academic, citation, is a measure of the extent to which they are able to give away their intellectual property.  He suggested that in the future the debate would focus more on whether we should have national IRs or institutional IRs, and also closer on the horizon: the long term curation of research data. He also put out a call to the community to develop credible studies that support our claims of the wider societal benefits of OA.  Similar arguments exist in related areas such as IBMs move to Open Software, and he suggested that in these increasingly difficult economic circumstances we find ourselves we need to strengthen this evidence base.  The question and answer session that followed was equally animated and saw Martin describe a possible future for commercial publishing in a world which is moving towards OA. Martin explained that he saw a very important role for publishers in supplying highly specialised value-added services such as bespoke bibliographic review services.

Gareth Johnson gave an entertaining  perspective as a graduate of our Summer School, and a candid ‘warts and all’ view of the challenges he has faced in his repository.  We finished off day one with a light hearted debate – Green or Gold. Which route will turn out to be the most successful in increasing open access to research? – in which Emily Nimmo stepped into the breach in Bill’s absence and put forward the case for Green Open Access and Dominic Tate of Royal Holloway put forward the case for Gold Open Access. Following some very well argued points, including those from the floor, Green came out victorious.

Day two opened with an overview of the activities of RSP and three presentations which drew out themes running throughout the Winter School; CRIS systems, the REF and research data. Keith Jeffrey gave an excellent presentation on Institutional Repositories and CRIS taking in a huge amount of information and covering amongst others CERIF-CRIS and euroCRIS. Integration with CRIS systems was clearly a topic at the forefront of many delegates’ minds. Next came Mark Cox from the R4R: Readiness 4 Ref project who described the work they have been doing with euroCRIS in developing a schema, CERIF4REF, which will help eliminate the duplication of effort in producing the data necessary for the REF. He also highlighted that they are working with Southampton, Edinburgh and Kings to develop plug-ins for E-Prints, D-Space and Fedora. Bringing the morning activities to a close was Theo Andrew representing the Repository Junction project. He gave a very entertaining presentation based on a loose analogy between repositories and grain silos which had us all giggling.

The Repository Junction project is doing some very interesting work addressing the issue of multiple authored papers, mandated open access and the resultant multiple deposits.  Repository Junction puts forward a broker model which could simplify this process and provide one consistent deposit process, and based on the reaction to this among the delegates this is something that the community would enthusiastically adopt.

In the afternoon we heard from Balviar Notay who gave us an overview of the JISC take up and embedding programme and then we split into groups for an afternoon workshop which looked at four case studies of embedding repositories: Aberystwyth’s Cadair, Glasgow’s Enlighten, White Rose Consortium’s White Rose Research Online and Newcastle University’s My Impact. Each provided a very different route to embedding the repository in its institutional context and was an excellent catalyst for discussions in the groups on issues delegates were grappling with and the sharing of best practice. We closed the day with another excellent meal and discussions continued late into the evening over drinks.

Friday morning began with a workshop led by Ruth Murray-Webster, Lucidus Consulting, on measuring performance and demonstrating value and it was clear that while the repository can contribute to the aims of an institution in a number of ways proving the causal link between the repository and the result is a real challenge.

There were a number of really valuable suggestions and examples shared and it became clear that while measuring performance is vital to demonstrating value, in the absence of a national picture or benchmarking system to compare with this information is much less useful for evaluating performance.

The Winter School drew to a close with a case study on reaching researchers through their data: a DAF case study, from Miggie Pickton and an overview of the Research Communications Strategy from Amanda Hodgson which again drew out the themes evident throughout the event, advocacy and how to successfully reach out to your research community, how to and who should manage and curate research data and attitudes to Open Access.

The Winter School has yet again shown how valuable it is for repository practitioners to get together with sufficient time to really share experiences, developments and build a community. As one delegate put it:

This has to have been one of the best work-related courses I’ve attended. Not only do I feel that I have taken on board an enormous amount of information that is directly relevant to my job – and intellectually stimulating to boot – but I feel I have made contact with a supportive network of colleagues. All this, perfectly organised, and a faultless, fabulous environment, too. Outstanding. Thank you!”

Presentations from the event can be found here.

For an alternative take on the Winter School see Gareth Johnson’s blog.

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.