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 Josh Brown described some, as yet unpublished, findings from three studies commissioned by JISC on behalf of the Open Access Implementation Group which looked at the benefits of open access to the private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.