Closing RSP

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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!

Bill

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How embedded and integrated is your repository?

Last Friday the Repositories Support Project (RSP) held the free event “How embedded and integrated is your repository” at the Nottingham Conference Centre. This was an end-of-project event that aimed to showcase and share with the repository community the results of six JISC-funded tasks that participated in the “JISC Repositories: take-up and embedding” (JISCrte) project.

Since I joined the RSP team this January, this event was both the first RSP event I attended and also the first where I had some small organizing responsibilities and I have to admit I really enjoyed every aspect of it!

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To begin with, I was not aware of all the six projects and their details; EXPLORER (De Montfort University), Hydra (University of Hull), RADAR (Glasgow School of Art), MIRAGE (Middlesex University), NECTAR (University of Northampton) and eNova (led by the Visual Arts Data Service, the University of the Creative Arts, and the University of the Arts London) and I was impressed by how much these groups have achieved in such a short period of time, less than a year.

Throughout the whole day I felt that the repositories’ technical difficulties were a prominent topic for discussion. The speakers described how they were able to manage these obstacles and exchanged ideas and tips with the attendees. It is astonishing how little funding, technical and staff support some repositories’ managers have available, but how much they are able to carry out with the little sources they have- kudos to all of them!

There were also two guest presenters in the event, who are not related to the JISCrte projects, but their work is relevant to the general idea of embedding repositories. The first was the RSP Coordinator Jackie Wickham, who presented on the embedding repositories guide and assessment tool and William Nixon from the University of Glasgow, who discussed issues on embedding exemplar.

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Despite of the previously snowy night and the cold weather, the event was well-attended. The day concluded with a group activity monitored by the RSP Open Access Adviser Laurian Williamson [email: laurian.williamson@nottingham.ac.uk], who was the coordinator of the six JISCrte projects and the event planner. In this breakout session the delegates reflected on some of the issues that were covered that day and they found useful. The topics that emerged were: the variety of ways advocating and marketing for the institutional repository; the difficulties met with the technical skills and reaching the PVC agenda; and, the importance of MePrints and the practice of embedding repositories.

All presentations can be found here.

RSP Embedding Guide

This guide has been published by the Repositories Support Project and will help institutions to get the best value from their institutional repositories through integration with other university systems, particularly research management systems. This can bring advantages to institutions, by:

  • Helping in planning for the REF and reporting
  • Promoting the university’s research in a global context
  • Increasing engagement with businesses and the community
  • Widening access to the university’ research generally

It is aimed at repository staff but will be of interest to other groups such as academic librarians and research management staff.

Read more of this post

Murder at Miskin Manor



Well actually, it was the RSP Autumn School and there weren’t any murders. But I did see a trail of what looked like blood in the corridor outside the conference room! And the Manor is reputedly haunted – was anyone in the bar between 12 midnight and 1am?

I digress. The RSP Autumn School took place this week from 7th – 9th November at the said Miskin Manor near Cardiff. Over three days about 40 participants and speakers gathered to discuss the themes of the school: bringing the emphasis back to open access and demonstrating value to the institution. In the last year or so, repositories have become more embedded in their institutions, in particular with their contribution to research evaluation and reporting. The school focused on how we can continue to demonstrate the value of the repository to the institution without losing the impetus to make that research open access.

In this post I want to highlight a number of key points that emerged over the three days:

  • David Prosser from RLUK, in the keynote address, showed how academic libraries have done an excellent job of providing seamless access to online subscription journals. Everything is now on the researcher’s desktop. However, this has hidden the costs and made it more difficult to demonstrate the need for open access. A suggestion was made that we have a “Closed Access” week just before Open Access week where access to subscription journals is turned off!
  • Universities have a real appetite for business intelligence about how they are doing in comparison to other institutions and about trend in research performance. We can provide this using bibliometric tools and repository statistics. Niamh Brennan demonstrated how Trinity College at the University of Dublin has done this using some really stunning visualisation tools. She also tested our knowledge of wizarding spells from Harry Potter! She’s kindly agreed to run an online RSP master class on this – keep an eye on the RSP events page for more details.
  • Cava, cakes and chocolate. These are not enough – well not enough to make sustainable changes in academics behaviour, although they can provide a short term incentive to deposit.
  • Open Access enhances the impact of research. “Impact is the demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and economy” (RCUK). Josh Brown described some, as yet unpublished, findings from three studies commissioned by JISC on behalf of the Open Access Implementation Group which looked at the benefits of open access to the private sector, the public sector outside HE and the voluntary and community sector.
  • The importance of good narratives and anecdotes to demonstrate the value of open access generally and the repository’s role in particular. The studies that Josh described provide case studies which can be used by repository staff but many people have examples of how exposure by the repository has benefited the institution and individual academics e.g. through increased opportunities for collaborative research.
  • The need for sustainable support services for repositories. Edina at the University of Edinburgh have been commissioned by JISC to develop UK RepositoryNet, a socio-technical infrastructure to support repositories. Theo Andrew from Edina and Veronica Adamson from Glenaffric (via Skype) ran a workshop to gain input from the delegates as to what they wanted from such a service.
  • We all felt enthused about bringing the emphasis back to open access. The final sessions on Wednesday morning were devoted to this. Lots of original ideas were generated as to how we can make it happen. These will be the subject of a future blog post.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend three days with old and new colleagues discussing these very important issues. Thanks to all the speakers and participants for making it a really worthwhile event.

Slides and notes will be made available over the next week on the event page.

JISC RIM Projects Event

On Tuesday, I attended the JISC Research Information Management (RIM) Projects Final Event at the Manchester Conference Centre. This showcased the work of the four Strand 2 projects:

  • Brunel Research Under a CERIF Environment (BRUCE) – Brunel University
  • CERIFy – UKOLN and Trinity College, Dublin
  • Measuring Impact under CERIF (MICE) – Centre for e-Research (CeRch), Kings College London
  • Integrated Research Input and Output System (IRIOS) – University of Sunderland

At the risk of stating the obvious, all the projects used CERIF as a means of improving the management of research information.

I really liked the format of the day where, after an introduction from Josh Brown (JISC Programme Manager) who outlined the importance of effective research management and the benefits of CERIF, the projects made a 10 minute pitch to entice us to attend a more in depth parallel session (delegates could attend two of four during the day).

After coffee, I went to CERIFy led by UKOLN and Trinity College, Dublin with the following partners: Aberystwyth University, University of Huddersfield, University of Bath, Queens’s University, Belfast and Thomson Reuters. The project started with the premise that people are not interested in standards but want effective and efficient processes that provide meaningful outputs – they will engage with the standard if it does this. The project began with getting each institution to identify the key RIM business processes and there was a clear consensus for:  pre-award management, benchmarking, measuring esteem and bibliographic data exchange (Incites from Thomson Reuters).  The presenters highlighted that the process of gathering this provided useful insights into the perspectives of different individuals and departments and is well worth any institution carrying out – all the documentation will be made available on the project website.

A decision was taken to focus on Incites and Measuring Impact. During the course of the project, CERIF was used to enable the exchange of information between an institution and Incites with the end result that information such as impact factors and citation data can be pulled into research management systems.

I then chose the IRIOS Project for my second workshop. This has developed a proof of concept demonstrator based on the Universities for the North East Information System (UNIS) platform for a CERIF compliant “grants on the web” system for Research Council (RC) funded projects. The UNIS system is well established and tracks community and business engagement for universities in the North East. The team saw similarities between the core concepts of CERIF and UNIS – Person, Project, Organisational Unit in CERIF and Contact, Project and Organisation in UNIS. The project has provided access to Research Council funded projects in CERIF format – linking grants to publications.

The day was rounded off by two non project presentations. Simon Kerridge from the University of Sunderland outlined the RMAS project which aims to set up a procurement process for cloud based research management and administration modules: Academic expertise, Funding Sourcing, Proposal Management, Costing and Pricing, Customer Relationship Management, Post Award Management. Outputs and Outcomes, Reporting/Submission/Interfaces.  Institutions will be able to source various modules to meet their own needs and complement their existing services and functionality.

The final presentation was by Dale Keenan from the Economic and Social research Council about a project to standardise RCUK reporting systems. The ESRC existing tool has been developed to provide the platform for four of the RCs and will be launched in Oct/Nov this year. RCUK has agreed in principle to move towards a standard system for all RCs within the next 3-5 years.

And why the cat picture? Have you tried looking for images relevant to research information management?