All entries for January 2008

January 30, 2008

Attitudes amongst our academics

After further meetings with academics from our pilot departments it is increasingly apparent that very few academics feel comfortable with making their early drafts of their journal articles available online. I anticipated that they would not have kept their early drafts, and that this would be a problem for us, but I was not aware of this level of preference for the final version.

The point of us having the pre or post-print is largely so that the full text can be indexed by search engines, and whilst some people will be glad to read earlier versions if they have no subscription, most other academics would surely read and cite the final version in any case, since this will be linked to from the repository record and since it will be the acknowledged, authoritative version.

Pre-print deposit has the advantage of making your research work available more quickly than through journal publication. This is seen in two opposing lights amongst our academic authors: some believe this to be a good way of registering their ownership of the intellectual property, by publishing their content in the repository. Others believe that making their ideas known through the repository before they have been published in a scholarly journal would open the way for others to publish on the same topics in scholarly journals before they do.

Pre-print deposit also has other issues in that some publishers require their authors to sign agreements that their work has not previously been published anywhere else, before an article is accepted for publication. Those same publishers might very well perceive the repository pre-print being made available as an act of publication and therefore our authors would do well to be wary of depositing pre prints with us.

So, we're going to be focussing very much on the post prints for our repository, particularly in the disciplines that have expressed these concerns.

January 22, 2008

RSP day at the British Library

Writing about web page

I attended my second Repositories Support Project briefing day yesterday, at the British Library. I like going to the BL as it's easy to get to, the conference facilities are really very good, and there's always the exhibition to go round in your lunch break so you do get a proper break from whatever you're learning on the day itself. But I did get the slow train yesterday, so I deserved that break!

The themes for yesterdays event were Funder mandates, Repository Metrics, Repository Statistics and Preservation Metadata. I've linked to the programme which appears to include slides from most of the presentations already.

I found the background information about funder mandates very useful: I kind of knew what was being said as I followed the announcements at the time, but it is good to see a summary that clarifies things, and the main point that occurred to me is that the funders do indeed hold the key to both authors and publishers' involvement with open access repositories.

The repository metrics presentation was interesting and entertaining, but perhaps less relevant to our repository at the moment as our VC is already keen on the repository. But no doubt we will need to be able to demonstrate its value in order to keep that interest.

The Repository Statistics tool that was shown looked most interesting, although it was a pity that the presentation did not include a demonstration of the download due to lack of time.

I was less interested by the preservation metadata workshop, but I still gleaned some useful stuff from that, including considering how we might want to record any preservation processes that might be run at some point in the future.

January 16, 2008

Open Access and funders

Writing about web page

The repositories and open access blogosphere are full of the news of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandate for Open Access publishing and deposit. On December 26 2007, a mandate to self-archive all NIH-funded research articles became US law.  

The European Research Council Guidelines for Open Access, published on 10 Jan are also exciting news, and perhaps more directly relevant to WRAP because of the UK context. What the ERC guidelines say is:

"1. The ERC requires that all peer-reviewed publications from ERC-funded research projects be deposited on publication into an appropriate research repository where available, such as PubMed Central, ArXiv or an institutional repository, and subsequently made Open Access within 6 months of publication.

"2. The ERC considers essential that primary data - which in the life sciences for example could comprise data such as nucleotide/protein sequences, macromolecular atomic coordinates and anonymized epidemiological data - are deposited to the relevant databases as soon as possible, preferably immediately after publication and in any case not later than 6 months after the date of publication. "

What I think is worth further investigation is what they mean by "Open Access". Because our repository will make pre-prints and post-prints or whichever version is allowed by a publisher openly accessible: would that meet the funder's requirement, or does the funder mean that the final version should be available on open access, ie Open Access with capital letters? Is this distinction that I understand between the capitalised Open Access and open access which we intend to offer something that is widely understood and intended by the ERC?

Also the matter of data being deposited is very interesting, for the further development of institutional repositories like WRAP.

January 15, 2008

Unique identifiers for authors

Writing about web page

One of the things that we need in our repositories is a way to identify an author: the same person might have published an article as, eg J. Slater in one journal, and as John Slater in another, and be listed according to the journal's author naming convention and how would we know that they were the same author?

This is a matter that we can try to deal with internally to our institutional repository by using an ID unique to the University for authors. But how would repository aggregators or cross searchers be able to de-duplicate and sort records when someone searches by author?

There are some interesting moves afoot to assign authors standard numbers, a bit like ISBNs for books. I also rather like the idea that we might all have OpenID usernames that we can use across different services.

January 02, 2008

take things down

Writing about web page

I'm back after the Christmas break and I'm busy working out our procedures for processing deposits and most especially for taking down any items should there be any query as to the intellectual property rights associated with the work in the repository. We've worked through lots of policy issues already, now it's a case of working out the finer detail of how we translate that policy into action.

January 2008

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