Umbrella 2011

University of Hertfordshire by phatcontroller

I will be presenting at Umbrella 2011 on “Research Repositories: the role of library staff in their management”. I’ll be referring to a survey which the RSP carried out last year on the role and skills of staff in UK repositories. I’ll also describe the role of the RSP, including its training events, and refer to UKCoRR. It will include some future gazing as to the role librarians might play to meet the ever growing demands of research data management.

Hope to see some of you there.


A new sense of confidence in the repository community

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On Wednesday we held a workshop on Communication Skills for Effective Advocacy. We were very lucky to have Deborah Dalley, a freelance consultant who has been working in the field of training and development for the last 20 years, lead the activities for the day. Her background includes the food industry, the Criminal Justice System and Higher Education, for the last ten years she has been a freelance consultant working primarily in the public sector.

During the day we focused on how we can mobilize the sources of power we have to influence people. We also looked at the difference between influence and manipulation, we agreed we all wanted to stay on the side of influence as manipulation, whilst effective in the short term, rarely works in the long term.

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We looked at different sources of power in relation to influence: power that comes from the position you hold; power that comes from outlining risks of not acting; power that comes from being expert in a particular area, power that comes from our connections to someone who can exert influence on our target audience (ie you need information from X for a report you are writing for the CEO who holds the power), power that comes from association (this is the type of power products mobilise when they get celebrity endorsements), power derived from tangible reward as a result of action, power that comes from personal relationships with our target audience and finally power that comes from having information and in particular having the right information and using is appropriately, not hoarding it to gain power. It was really valuable to articulate this, which most of us are aware of but tend not to consciously examine when setting out to influence others.

We found that we all use different sources of power in different situations, but that in most cases we use the source of power that would most influence us in a given situation.  It was really helpful to be reminded that when trying to influence someone’s behaviour –get them to deposit their materials in the IR – it’s important to focus on them and what will motivate them.

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All the sessions throughout the day were extremely useful, but one that was especially so was our session on objection handling. I was struck by the fact that we instinctively react when faced with conflict, with either fight or flight, and that it takes most people 10 seconds to start to react rationally in these situations.  This really resonated for me, having worked in customer service in the past I have managed my fair share of conflict.  Having key phrases or strategies on hand to help you get through the first 10 seconds can be really helpful to be able to handle objections positively and not react defensively. Again I found that articulating this process was really useful, this is something I am aware of but rarely consciously consider. As a result of this session I feel more strongly armed to diffuse potential conflict and influence.

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Later in the day our panel of experts, Bill Hubbard, Jackie Wickham and Miggie Pickton handled common objections that repository mangers hear on a daily basis.  In addition to a bank of tried and tested responses to common objections, what we all took away from this session was a sense that in the year since we first ran this event, we have made huge progress. We have a real sense of confidence in our position as a community and there is a real sense that the changes we have been working to implement are inevitable. One attendee said:

“I left with a new sense of confidence in our advocacy strategies and some specific actions to improve our pitch”

You will see from the pictures included that our venue was really bright and colourful, the pictures were too nice not to share with you! We were really impressed with the surroundings despite the fact that it poured with rain for most of the day – classic Manchester weather I’m led to believe.

Guest post by Jackie Proven – Increasing repository content at St Andrews using MERIT data.

In 2010 the University of St Andrews implemented a new Research Information System (RIS) called PURE and we began developing strategies for increasing the full text content in our repository. Like most institutions we use various techniques such as presenting at staff events and enabling administrators to make deposits. We knew that getting good quality research outputs from high profile staff would help champion the cause, and so our Library Director suggested looking at the database of RAE 2008 submissions produced by the MERIT project.

The fact that the metadata has been enhanced with publisher details and the main ROMEO conditions means it has proved to be a valuable resource. The database can be easily searched and downloaded for further analysis, and you can then target content in various ways. One possible workflow which I have tried is:

  • Search the database and download as Excel file
  • Deduplicate using ja_ID  (journal article unique ID which is generated for each author)
  • Add columns for author email and deposit date
  • Filter by “PVersionPermittedInIr” (Publisher version you can deposit) to see articles that allow Publisher’s pdf
  • Filter further by publisher and check ROMEO*
  • Email relevant researchers with a bit of blurb about open access and offer to deposit these outputs on their behalf, suggesting at the same time they could add author versions of other publications.
  • Deposit the full text (which in our case just means adding the file to the metadata already in PURE, and validate for transfer to the repository).

While it’s possible to find this data in other ways, the MERIT database is a nice tidy solution. Starting with RAE2008 data provides confidence when viewing your repository as a showcase. Working with a batch of outputs from one publisher certainly speeds up the copyright-checking part of the deposit process. (*Given ongoing discussion about the detail of publisher policies including the distinction between websites and repositories, some people may be happy to take the data at face value; some may want to read the ROMEO detail or full policy.)

We have also extended the workflow to look for other content using our RIS metadata. Having this visibility of authors, research outputs and related activity is very helpful to our advocacy efforts. As well as increasing content, it is proving to be a valuable way to start dialogue with our researchers.

For further details contact Jackie Proven, email: