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

*requires subscription


RSP and International Open Access Week

Open Access Week logo

Open Access Week will be celebrated this year from October 24th through the 30th.  Open Access Week is an important global event and this year the Repositories Support Project (RSP) have facilitated and sponsored visits between UK repository staff.

Ten members of the UK repository community submitted proposals around open access themes and issues and these visits took place during October. After each visit successful applicants wrote a reflective guest  RSP blog posting, covering what they learnt during the visit, its value to themselves and possibly the wider repository community, and how the visit may change their repository working practices.

During OA Week we will be publishing these guest blogs daily, covering five major themes. The themes are:

  1. Archiving and presenting arts research outputs
  2. Repositories and REF preparation
  3. CRIS and Equella
  4. Mandates and Policies
  5. Repository best practice and management

Later in the year the RSP will be publishing video interviews with all those who took part in these visits.

A huge thanks to all those institutions who hosted these visits, and these include, University of Glasgow, Royal Holloway, University of London, University College Falmouth, University of Bath, University of Edinburgh, London School of Economics, and the University of Leeds.

So don’t forget to follow these blog postings next week and see how the 10 successful applicants got on and how they felt their visit went.

Useful links and resources

‘Bringing a buzz to NECTAR’ JISCrte Project

NECTAR repository My next visit to a JISCrte project partner took me to the University of Northampton to meet Miggie, Research Support Specialist and manager of the University of Northampton’s open access institutional repository NECTAR (Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research).

NECTAR is a good example of a repository embedded within the research environment of its university and this JISCrte project aims to revitalize NECTAR by implementing a range of new tools, services and procedures and ensuring that NECTAR continues to support the needs of the University of Northampton.

Project progress thus far has been good and includes:

  • Increasing researcher engagement within Schools
  • Redesigning NECTAR to match university branding – embedding it visually within the new university website and branding
  • Initial work on the implementation of the Kultur EPrints Extension
  • Preparation for integration with EThOS

For further details on project progress have a look at Miggie’s presentation she delivered at the Repository Fringe 2011 event in August, available here:

Two new toolkits to ‘Kultivate’ artistic research deposit

Guest Post by Marie-Therese Gramstadt, KULTIVATE Project Manager, VADS.

Funded through the JISC Information Environment programme 2009-11, the Kultivate project makes available two new toolkits for the UK Higher Education community: an advocacy for arts research toolkit aimed at repository managers; and a decision-making toolkit for artistic researchers. The Kultivate project has arisen out of the Kultur II Group, which consists of researchers and repository staff engaging with arts research deposit in institutional research repositories, and is led by the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), a Research Centre of the University for the Creative Arts. Read more of this post

Attitudes to Open Access – survey update

You may remember that the RSP is encouraging UK repository staff tocarry out surveys of researchers in their institutions to gauge attitudes to open access and the repository. I blogged about this some weeks ago: Unlocking attitudes to open access. Currently there are 23 institutions who taking part in this which should create a substantial body of evidence. The first results came in this week from Sally Rumsey at the University of Oxford. We’ll be working over the summer to collate the responses and produce a report.

If you’ve been thinking about participating but haven’t got round to it, there’s still time to run it. We’ve extended the deadline for submitting results to the end of July. All the information you need to carry out the survey is here: Nationwide survey – Open Access and you can publicise it using our customisable poster/flyer Survey poster . Do contact me if you have any queries –

DSpace workshop, Friday 20 May, Edinburgh

RSP ran an introductory training workshop in Edinburgh on Friday, bringing together a small group of repository practitioners with a range of experience from those wishing merely to fill in gaps in their knowledge to complete beginners.   Although DSpace users are still in a minority in the UK as compared with Eprints, I was surprised to hear that the majority of delegates had not accessed any DSpace training until the RSP workshop.  Our training took place in Edinburgh University Library and, when we weren’t concentrating on our screens,  we enjoyed lovely views over the meadows through the full height widows of the training room.

Our trainers, Rob Ingram and Ianthe Hind, provided us with a thorough introduction to working with DSpace and a good grounding in the basics. In addition to this there was plenty of time throughout the day to have group discussions where delegates shared their experiences and addressed particular issues with answers coming not only from the trainers but also the group.  This provided a really excellent balance for the different needs of the delegates. Towards the end of the day we enjoyed an interesting discussion on the use of statistics in DSpace with general agreement from the room that unique downloads are one of the best measures of success for a repository and also that community by community statistical comparisons can be a useful tool to generate healthy competition between depositing departments and more interest in the repository as a whole. Ianthe also pointed us to Graham Trigg’s talk at OR10 on enhancing statistics  which gives a really good overview of the options available.

One issue that came up for most institutions was the need to integrate with their CRIS. As we get closer to the REF this is an issue that is likely to come up for most repository managers and administrators.  There is work underway exploring best practice methodologies and approaches for this issue for example the JISC funded RePOSIT project, and readers may be interested in attending the upcoming RSP event ‘Repositories and CRIS: working smartly together’   in July this year.

SHERPA/RoMEO for Repository Administrators- A Day in the Sun

Image authors own : Water Feature in Aston Business School Conference Centre

It has been a busy week for RSP with the ‘SHERPA/RoMEO for Repository Administrators’ event on Thursday (24.03.11) and  ‘Supporting and Influencing the deposit of E-Theses in Higher Education’ on Monday (28.0311). It’s set to continue to be busy too as we are holding ‘RoMEO and CRIS in practice‘ on Friday (01.04.11)!

I’ll start with a quick run through of ‘SHERPA/RoMEO for Repository Administrators’, and post later about our Etheses event. We  had a beautiful day for the event with the sun shining on us in the lovely rock garden courtyard at Aston Business School Conference Centre as you can see from my picture of their water feature.  The day started off with Jane Smith from the SHERPA Services team giving us a run through of some of the newer features of RoMEO before a question and answer session with herself and the rest of the team. We broke for coffee and returned for an entertaining presentation from Andy Gray from SOAS, but formerly of University of the Arts London, on his experiences of working in Arts repositories and the particular copyright this field can throw up. And true to his Artistic background he gave a really colourful and beautifully illustrated presentation, You can download all the presentations from the day here.

Next up was Charles Oppenheim, one of the UK’s foremost experts on Copyright. Charles regaled us with interesting anecdotes and answered a host of questions from the audience.

Following a delicious lunch, and networking in the sun lit courtyard we returned for the afternoon programme which kicked off with another case study, this time from Valerie Spezi of Leicester research Archive focusing on their workflow and how they use RoMEO as part of their copyright checking. Valerie also gave the team a lot of useful ideas from her wish list of RoMEO services.  We were next to hear from Rachel Proudfoot of the White Rose Consortium, however due to the UCU strike action that day Rachel was unable to join us. We were really quite lucky that this was the only disruption the strike action had on our event, other’s were less lucky. Jane Smith stepped into the breach and led the session as Rachel had planned it. We split into groups and discussed the four scenarios provided and shared experiences about contacting publishers.

We broke again for even more coffee and biscuits before returning to hear about the future of RoMEO from Peter Millington and Azhar Hussain.  Peter described future features and Azhar introduced the delegates to the work he has been doing planning for the sustainability of RoMEO in a future where public funding is increasingly scarce. It was clear from the lively question and answer session at the end of the day that the delegates were understanding of the challenges faced by the team and were very happy to engage on ways forward. What was very clear was the RoMEO is vital to the activities of repository staff on a day to day basis and that they are very invested in its continuing future.

You can read the SHERPA Services team’s blog on the day here.