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January 31, 2011

Research Management: Smoothing the Way

Writing about web page http://crc.nottingham.ac.uk/

This event, at RIBA, looked at creating an environment of 'joined-up' thinking about research. A area that many of the institutions attending had all made a start on, at least between the Library and the Research Support Offices, but that all needed to expand to include all the actors in the research cycle, from the research funders down.

The introduction helped to set the scene and emphasised the problem that too often the research management we have at the moment is too narrowly focused and does not take into account the full breadth of the issues that are inherent in 'research'.  Especially the fact that you cannot look to manage research if you are not also managing teaching.  One speaker even posed the question of whether it is even possible to 'manage' research!  Overall it was felt that a dialogue needed to be begun between all the areas involved in supporting research to stop the wasteful duplication of effort that is often present currently.

Three of the case studies introduced a collection of different approaches to 'research management', through a broad and integrated IR (Glasgow), through the Research Information System (Newcastle) and using a full CRIS (St Andrews).  The final case study looked at paying for open access publication (Nottingham) as a way of looking at the ways the University can support the dissemination part of the research cycle.  The funders were representatives from the Wellcome Trust and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and looked at the issues they had in ensuring compliance for their open access policies.  Despite the ease of compliance for Wellcome trust funded research through publishers and UKPMC they still only have a compliance rate of 50%.  The Wellcome trust emphasised their current activities in working with publishers to ensure compliance through this route (currently 85% of the Wellcome funded research in UKPMC came from publisher deposit).  As well as the things that the institution could be doing in terms of advocacy and awareness raising with their academics, particularly in terms of the funding available within institutions (Warwick readers can find details of the Wellcome Trust open access fund here).  Gerry Lawson from NERC looked at the issue form the perspective of a single funder and looked at the possibility of monitoring compliance through IR harvest (interesting as NERC mandates deposit to NORA, but useful for other funders).  This was proposed to take place in the beginning few months of 2012 to cover all outputs from 2011.  If this really is the case the funders will need to start confirming that this is the case soon to allow institutions to prepare!

The group and panel discussions focussed on two questions:

  • What do we need to know?
  • What do we need to do next?

This lead to some very interesting points:

  • Research funders are restricted in the ways they can give money to a institution;
  • Libraries are happy to administer central OA funds but want some guidance from the faculties/departments as to criteria as to where to allocate the limited funds;
  • Can funders really do more, after all the open access requirement is part of the contact that academics sign;
  • Funders really need more figures on spend on OA publishing to to take the argument with the publishers (subscription charges in relation to revenue for open access) forward;
  • Would it help if RCUK and HEFCE pushed for the REF2020 to only grant eligibility to OA papers (80% of the submissions to the RAE2008 could have been made OA through their existing journal (but how to pay for this!));
  • Standardisation needs to be a much bigger priority to allow these diverse systems to talk to each other better;
  • Are sanctions from the funders the best way to push up compliance?  Is there a happy medium available?;
  • Possibility of extending the writing up period?  RLUK and ARMA to look to creating a request to RCUK to move this forward.

Sadly the discussion ran out of time but produced some much needed enthusiasm to look at taking some of these points forward in the future.  All round a very valuable day (and chance to meet some new faces from the research support side of things) and many thanks to the CRC for organising.  The was a suggestion to run the day again due to the huge demand for places, if they do I would highly recommend it!!!


October 26, 2010

ISKO–UK Linked Data Conference

Writing about web page http://www.iskouk.org/events/linked_data_sep2010.htm

**Finally getting round to making this live after having to put off the editing for OAW and the start of term!**

This event, hosted by UCL, was one that I had been looking forward to for some time.  Whether or not linked data is the 'next big thing' in web technology, and one that has to potential to solve a number of thorny problems for the administrators and maintainers of web resources in the face of increasingly complex demands, is a question that only time will answer.  However as it stands at present linked data has enormous potential as a service and as a tool and I wanted to find out more before I started getting any awkward questions from stakeholders!

The sessions on the day were a nice mix of technical and non-technical and my biggest fear of being lost before the end of the keynote was mercifully misplaced.  Also very usefully the presenters not only spoke about the technology and standards underpinning the creation of linked data but also presented us with a number of real world example of things that linked data can be used to achieve.  These kinds of presentations are the ones I'm always on the lookout for any new development because it's always easier to say to someone "linked data can do all these kinds of things" when you have some way to show the power of linked data directly.

Prof Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton gave the morning keynote, focusing on the current policy of the government and the ways in which this might create a 'tipping point' for the ideas behind the semantic web.  Here we saw that not only has the previous government made a commitment to releasing government data through the data.gov.uk portal (now at 4000 datasets and counting!) but that this commitment has survived the change in leadership. This release of public data has allowed the users of public services to hold the providers to account. It has also opened up a number of ideas about streamlining data collection, with the expected issues of trust and privacy raised. A lot of the applications based on this information have at the heart of them, place as the central piece of information, and allows the ‘crowd-sourcing’ out of errors! Prof Shadbolt also introduced the idea of a “star rating” of data publishing, as a measure of quality ranging from the ‘1 star’ data (better that it’s on the web than not) to the ‘5 star’ data (with full linked data coding). A national infrastructure is being built at the moment that requires 5 star data, as a way for departments to interact, to allow for ‘back linking’ and well as ‘forward linking’, do investigate the levels of relationships that exist between information that might not have been obvious before. And if national linked data is possible could we extend it to a global network of linked data? And if we can have global linked data can we meaningfully compare the UK with other countries? Are the ontologies we use compatible?

Antoine Isaac from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam spoke next about SKOS (Simple Knowledge Organisation System) and linked data. SKOS has been designed to remove ambiguity from the representation of terminology in RDF as possible but in a way that is easier to use than a formal, rigid ontology like OWL. SKOS has a number of basic features; concepts, lexical properties, semantic relations and documentation. Taking the example presented on the day: Cats is a SKOS ‘concept’ around which is built relationships and multilingual labels. For example ‘Cats’ has an rdf:type of skos:concept and a skos:prefLabel of ‘cats’, ‘chats’ and ‘коты’ in English, French and Russian respectively. It also has a skos:broader term of mammals and a skos:related term of ‘wildcats’. However any concept can only have one skos:prefLabel in any language e.g. you can’t use animals and beasts. Data coded in SKOS RDF can be used to infer relationships between things that might not explicitly be stated but this process needs monitoring e.g. for the broader/narrower functions you only need to code in one direction and the system assumes the reverse is true. Overall an interesting project that is a lot easier to use than other ontologies and can be used to create links between other ontologies thus making them more accessible.

Richard Wallis for Talis Information took us on a ‘Linked Data Journey’ next. This took us on a potted history of the development of the semantic web from the beginnings of the web to the present day. Along the way we stopped briefly at important developments such as the US’s data.gov and the UK’s equivalent data.gov.uk, the forthcoming legislation.gov.uk as well as the standards used to manage the data, SPARQL, RDF, SKOS and others. Richard mentioned the developments brought about by the data.gov.uk initiative that has started to involve government departments sharing identifiers to allow the data to be more easily retrieved and used. The overall message to people sitting on the fence about linked data was to get the data on the web as a first priority, the linked data will come afterwards.

Steve Dale spoke briefly on the Knowledge Hub, a social media project to aggregate the ‘communities of practice’ found in local government and the help staff to use those communities of practice to improve the working of government departments. He made the point that there is lots of data available and that it’s not always easily accessible, certainly not in a machine readable way. There is an increasing need to compare your performance with others and to identify the best places to find out the best and most appropriate measures on which to compare yourself. The Knowledge Hub is designed with the idea that communities + data intelligence = improvement and Innovation. Behind the scenes the system works on principles similar to those used by Amazon to personalise your recommendations.

The afternoon keynote was given by Prof Martin Hepp on the GoodRelations Ontology had a very practical perspective. This project has a very practical, commercial purpose which is very important as it is only going to be with commercial engagement that some of these principles are ever going to take off properly. In a similar way to the way the web itself exploded during the dot.com boom. The GoodRelations Ontology is based on leveraging linked data to start the process of ‘matchmaking’ in market economies. A good business lives and dies on its suppliers. Transaction costs are now estimated to account for at least 50% of the GDP of a modern market economy so the amount of money to be saved by making it easier and quicker for a company to find the best-fit is considerable. The root of the problem is that the WWW is the largest data shredder in history, taking structured data as it is added to the web and then removing the entire context. This now, unstructured data cannot be reassembled into structured data. In this project links are important but not the whole story, need to record data semantics, hold data in a structured manner, group links by type, and link to information within documents. The GoodRelations project has spent 8-10 years trying to create a global schema for commerce data on the web and now feels that it is getting close and with 16% of all current RDF triples having a basis in the GoodRelations project they might be right!

Andy Powell of Eduserve spoke about the work of the DCMI (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative) to align itself with the semantic web. This talk focussed particularly on the challenges of using linked data in a practical manner and the fact that linked data is not the only way for the web to develop. I short history of the Dublin Core metadata schema was given and an acceptance of the fact that some of the elements were very “fuzzy buckets” for people to put things into. Dublin Core is seen as having a bit of a ‘flat-world’ modelling approach, it can only deal with one thing at a time, there has been very little abstraction of the model since it was first proposed it was just moved from HTML to XML to RDF. If linked data is the future then linked data must be successful on the web and this means that RDF has to be successful and it hasn’t been so far. DC can be seen as providing a useful vocabulary of the core ‘classes’ and ‘properties’ that can be used in a linked data environment.

John Goodwin’s demonstrations on the use of linked data within the Ordnance Survey data were fascinating and raised some interesting questions. For example when you say Essex do you mean the town or the county and does the ‘machine’ you are using know that? What happens to geographic data when the boundaries of local government data change? The temporal aspect of geographic data is a continuing problem. Linked data within the BBC website is allowing news stories to be grouped geographically, also the problems of harmonising data across a number of formats. The final problem mentioned was that of vernacular geography, the Ordnance Survey has done the ‘real’ geography but the emergency services are more interested in knowing that people say when they say….

In the next talk we were introduced to PoolParty, thesaurus management software, by Andreas Blumauer. The idea behind PoolParty was to give people a tool to allow them to publish any knowledge as semantic linked data. The semantic web could be either the high level modelling of OWL or the lower level of the SKOS information. The knowledge people can publish can either be open or closed access enterprise information and uses the SKOS coding as a standard to take advantage of the open data available. Functions available include auto-complete for terms, text analysis, linked data mapping, drag-and-drop term adding and advanced reporting. The most useful way to use the system, I thought, was the ability to create a bespoke thesaurus and map it to existing schemas, something as a cataloguer I often wished I could do.

The final presentation of the day was from Bernard Vatant from Mondeca discussing the backend products offered by the company to align semantic web technologies with the real world needs of the people using them. He presented an interesting view of the web:

  • Internet (1970’s) = network of identified, connected and addressable computers.
  • Web 1.0 (ca. 1990) = network of identified, connected and addressable resources.
  • Semantic web (ca. 2010) = network of identified, connected and addressable representations.

His view of the semantic web is that we needed an extra level than is currently being offered by thesaurus products, that of context. In the current process terms denote concepts and can be represented by things and it is this coordination of terms, concepts and things that creates the context. Bernard Vatant described this intersection as the ‘semiotic triangle’. This intersection of linguistics, cognition and technology is one of the areas that excite me the most about semantic web technology.

The day was rounded off with a full panel discussion that covered some very big questions: for example ‘can you really define a universal concept of anything?’ and ‘is linked data really the future?’ at the speakers of the day had a valiant attempt at answering. Some comments I particularly liked (paraphrased in most cases): ‘linked data allows you to circumvent many problems by allowing you to link vocabularies to each other’; ‘data is the new raw material’; ‘data is free/open, roll out is free, sell the services built over the system’; ‘the internet is already changing the traditional business models, this just takes it a little further; ‘take up is still determined on the discipline of the author’. All in all a fascinating day that may (or may not depending on who you believe) have given a sneak peek of the future.


October 22, 2010

International Open Access Week 2010

Writing about web page http://go.warwick.ac.uk/lib-openaccess

The 4th International Open Access Week is drawing to a close now and looking back of a busy week of events I think that we can be quietly proud of the way things have gone here at Warwick.  This year we celebrated in a number of ways:

  • We held two experimental drop-in sessions which generated some interesting discussion on the citation advantage and how to convince colleagues.  As well as a discussion on the importance of accurate metadata!
  • I recorded my first conversational podcast for display on the new Knowledge Centre website.
  • We hosted a well attended event, intended for researchers but better attended by Library staff.  The researchers missed a really excellent talk by Gerry Lawson of the Natural Environment Research Council about the views and attitudes of funder's to the Open Access as well as talks by myself and Jen Delasalle about a whole collection of other Open Access topics.
  • I was invited to speak at the regular meeting of our subject staff to give them a refresher on WRAP, Open Access and other things!  I found this meeting really useful and I think both sides came away with ideas to better support the work of the other, which is always fantastic!
  • And finally I celebrated Open Access Week with the addition of two new members of my team who have managed to more than double the size of the WRAP team in one go!  The timing was coincidental but it was a great way for the Library and University to demonstrate their commitment to open access and WRAP!

There have been lessons learnt from my first Open Access Week but I think overall it was a moderate success and the WRAP competition continues to run and I'll announce the winner of that early next week!

I'll close with a huge thank you to Gerry Lawson for speaking at Wednesday's event and an equally big thank you to Jen for speaking and for co-organising the whole week!


September 07, 2010

Highlights of Repository Fringe 2010

Writing about web page http://www.repositoryfringe.org/

I'm just back from a trip to gloriously sunny Scotland (which was obviously breaking out the good weather for the festival) and the 2010 Repository Fringe Event.

Hosted at the National E-Science Centre (NESC), in the heart of Edinburgh the sessions began with Sheila Cannell (Director of Library Services University of Edinburgh) asking us to consider fireworks.  She invited us to join in with the firework display at the end of the Edinburgh festival, which in her works were 'open fireworks' (paid for by a combination of public money and the 'subscriptions' of a few), and use thinking that would light up the sky.  This nicely set up the tone for the next couple of days.

The keynote by Tony Hirst (Open University) followed where he presented us with an outsider's view of repositories on the theme of openness. The central theme of the talk was "content as data" and urged us to consider new ways to store and present the information in our repositories to our users.  New ways to manipulate the data and new ways to present the data were central as well as information we might want to start recording but currently aren't doing so, such as 'open queries' showing users exactly how the charts in an article were generated from the underlying data.  In a nice touch Dr. Hirst finished with a revisit to S.R. Ranganathan's 'Five Laws of Library Science' as he encouraged us to keep our repositories as living organisms rather than as a place research is dumped and forgotten about.

The following session by Herbert Van de Sompel (Los Alamos National Laboratory) introduced us to the Memento Project a way to provide web users with time travel!  A clever way to allow your web browser to access the web as it would have been on a certain date using the same uri that you have for the current version and with as much of the functionality the page had originally as possible.  This is one thing I'm looking forward to experimenting with, if you use Firefox the link above will lead you to the gadget to try it out for yourself!

Repo Fringe was my first experience of the Pecha Kucha style of presentations (for those not in the know, 20 slides, 20 seconds a slide, autorun for 6mins 40 per presentation) and the looked just a nerve wracking as you might expect!  On the first day we had an update on the Open Access Repository Junction, beauty and the Jorum repository, Glasgow's Enlighten repository through the metaphor of cake, the problem of dataset identity, Research data management and the Incremental project and finally the Edina Addressing History project.  I will admit I was hard pressed to choose my favourite when the time came to vote!  I was also impressed at how many ways there are to approach these sessions and how much information you can pack into just under seven minutes.

The EPrints team reinforced their reputation for giving some of the more entertaining presentations that any conference is likely to see with their live demo of EPrints 3.3 and the new Bazaar functionality.  A very interesting look at what is to come in terms of the software many of us in the audience is using!

The first round table of the conference for me was on the thorny issue of the relationship between an institutions' CRIS (Current Research Information System) and its institutional repository (IR).  The talk was sparked by the work done on the CRISPool project which was aimed at creating a cross-institutional CRIS to cover the Scottish University Physics Alliance (SUPA) research group.  The discussion invited us to consider whether the distinction is a false one or whether the issue is to consider what functionality best fits where in the system.  Is it right that IR's exist when we could all have CRIS's?  Could we create a centralised, national IR and all our CRIS's harvest from there?  Should we be looking to integrate CRIS functionality with IR's?  What impact does the REF have on the discussion?  In all we didn't come to any definite answers (not that I think that that is the purpose of round tables of this sort) but we all took away something to think about.

Day two began with Chris Awre (University of Hull) discussing hangover cures through the ages (the Romans apparently favoured deep-fried canaries) before moving on to the main meat of his presentation on the Hydra Project, a collaboration between the Universities of Hull, Virginia, Stanford and Fedora Commons.  This unfunded project is aimed at providing solutions to identified common problems on the understanding that no single institution can (or needs to) create a full range of content management solutions on their own.  For Hydra collaboration is the key to the success of a project with each institution providing what they can to the project.  The project makes use of ruby on rails technology and the work of Project Blacklight, an open source 'next-gen discovery tool' to allow a more sophisticated search function.

The second round table of the event was focused on linking data to research articles.  This is an area that we  are looking to move forward into in the future and so I was fascinated to hear some of the comments and opinions from places that already had systems running.  Form the responses of the attendees I was not alone in this, many institutions seem to realise that this is an important area and that the implications of a project such as this can be huge.  The keyword here was always going to be linking, but linking what to what?  What is a dataset?  As there is a clear difference between a dataset associated with an article and a working dataset can we pull out only the data that was used in the article and storing it with the article without loosing the meaning of the data?  The point was made that the cost of storage (while large) pales to the cost of curating many small things as with curation you have the cost associated with each item.  We discussed the fact that with archives the expectation is that you just put things inside it and with repositories you have the added issue of people trying to reuse the data.  In the current age of research funding cuts the reuse of data is going to become critical as fewer and fewer institutions are going to be able to afford to run the experiment again from scratch!  The issue of trust was discussed, can we trust a conversion of a dataset for preservation?  Will it have maintained all of the formulae that are inherent in the dataset?  The spectre of 'ClimateGate' was raised will the availability of the data safeguard against this in the future?  If we are linking to things inside of a dataset do we have the functionality to 'cite' a small part of the larger whole without making the link meaningless?  All this and metadata schemeas were touched upon in a stimulating discussion that could have run a lot longer than it did.  Again we came to no conclusions but everyone I spoke to afterwards had gained at least one thing that they hadn't considered before to think about!

The second round of Pecha Kucha talks were as interesting as the first and covered:  The Ready for REF project looking at the XML output needed for the REF reporting, JISC RePosit working to simplify the deposit process through use of research information systems like Sympectic, more on research data management this time from the Edina team and looking particularly at the creation of training tools, the JISC CERTIS services and their approaches to open educational resources, ShareGeo and the Digimap and finally the SONEX think tank on work done by this group.

Possibly the most challenging presentation of the event was from Michael Foreman (University of Edinburgh) introducing the concept of 'Topic Models'.  The concept from a paper by Blei and Lafferty (2009) about their work with articles in JSTOR allows people to create maps of related documents based on the statistical analysis of the frequency of words within the article.  A lot of the meat of the statistics did stretch my understanding to the limit but anyone (and everyone in the room certainly did) could see the value to be gained from work of this variety as we search for more and more automated ways to define the content of items in our repositories and the way they relate to others.

The closing presentation from Kevin Ashley (Digital Curation Centre) gave us a round up of the presentations that had gone before it, a round up of the development of the repository world as a whole and as a way of looking forward revisited the idea of citing data.  He urged us to be aware that we are "Standing on the shoulders of Giants" and also to remember that sometimes fireworks are a good way to burn a lot of money very quickly!  Curation issues were raised; what to keep?  How long do we keep it for?  The fact that repositories have not yet had to consider throwing things away and that we may have to at some point!  The concept of the value of data being unknowable was also raised, with the example being given of the data from ships logs were used three times, first to navigate, secondly to tell historians about economic and trade conditions and finally most recently to discover evidence of climate change.  Again we came back to the idea of the 'data behind the graph' the information in the article that we just can't get hold of.  As well as the fact that people don't always realise that data can be changing all the time, nothing is truly static.

Overall the two days in Edinburgh were packed with many interesting things but the thing I took away from it most was the fact that there is always a different way of looking at something but that you should never forget your foundations.


July 12, 2010

Open Repositories 2010

Writing about web page http://or2010.fecyt.es/publico/Home/index.aspx

There will be a full report of the event going up here soon but I thought I'd get a few of the highlights (non-football related, I'm afraid) up in advance.  Presented in no particular order here are some of the things I took way from the conference.

  • News that Spain's new law for Science, Technology and Innovation will mandate the open access publishing of all publicly funded research no more than 12 months after completion in a repository, is (hopefully) to be ratified later this year (Proyecto de Ley de la Ciencia, la Tecnología y la Innovación, Article 36).
  • The 'buzzword' of the conference was 'linked-data', why you should use it, how to code it and most of all how to share it.
  • Need for a awareness that the published paper is only part of the process, research is not just about the results but also about the process of getting the results.  It is just as valuable to researcher for us to archive this data as well.
  • Everyone knows what the problems and issues are in the broad areas of repositories and Open Access and the solutions are a numerous as the problems.  However at the moment development is so close to the present that people are not having as much choice about waiting for their preferred option to be ready.
  • Some institutions want their mandate in place before they even have a repository.  This has definitely helped them in that they are now starting the repository from a position of community engagement but I can see problems if they have any delays in the building of the repository.
  • Interoperability and integration with other library systems were highlighted as particular issues and concerns and a number of presentations touched on this, bringing us again back to linked-data.
  • Repository drivers (particularly in terms of research assessment) are sometimes driving repositories away from the 'core' or 'ideal' of open access to research.
  • Non-text research outputs lead to non-standard repositories.  Possibly obvious, but it's worth bearing in mind we don't all have the same challenges, and that even if we think we've got it worked out, unexpected deposits can play havoc with systems.  Also it is to our advantage not to get locked into the idea of a single output type.
  • Disambiguation is the next big challenge and a number of different projects were presented in this area, both in session and as posters.
  • Libraries in general and repositories in particular need to be aware that each discipline has it's own 'language'.  We need to strive to be the common language that allows them all to communicate, not another language for them to learn.
  • The more we can move into their preferred working environment instead of forcing them to learn a new one the better, lessons can be learnt from the social networking world (hands up how many of you have linked all your accounts so you only have to update one!?!).
  • The Carrot vs Stick debate: both approaches work and some institutions are using some very big sticks indeed!
  • Digital Preservation doesn't have to be hard, but you do have to want to do it!

Finally, congratulations to Richard Davis and Rory McNicoll of the University of London Computer Centre for winning the 'Developers' Challenge' (for details see here) with a tool to hugely increase the number of useful links out of a repository record.  Also to Colin Smith, Chris Yates and Sheila Chudasama of the Open University for winning the poster contest (available here).


September 16, 2008

Muddying the waters

I went to an interesting event at Cranfield last week. It's a pre-cursor to one that Miggie Pickton of NECTAR and I are planning, to be held in December at Northampton, both on themes of advocacy. The star presenter last Tuesday, in my opinion, was Dr Bruce Jefferson, an academic at Cranfield who has done a lot of investigation into what it takes to become highly cited. In his opinion, repositories will make little difference to citation levels, and repository managers should find evidence to prove any claims that are made about raising profiles and citations. I've also been frustrated by the lack of evidence of the difference repositories make to citations, in spite of the claims: the idea is so widely used that I thought it must be easy to find evidence, when I began on this project. But the only research done has been to prove what a difference open access makes, and only the other week we heard news of a BioMed science project which proved that open access made no difference whatsoever to citation rates.

Dr Jefferson will be conducting his own experiment, putting half of his work into the repository and half not, being careful to make sure that each half has a similar weighting in terms of current popularity and weighting. Even the results of his experiment will not be empirical, of course. But they might help to prove whether repositories make any difference to citations.

Dr Jefferson also said that there are other values to a repository, than potentially raising citations, and whilst we lack evidence about citations, perhaps we ought to focus more on those.

And the reason I titled this posting "Muddying the waters" was that he had definite views on the inclusion of anything other than published, peer-reviewed journal articles. His view was "don't". Academics will only deposit their best work if they believe it will be shown amongst a collection of the best work. Academics do not want theses they have supervised to be associated with their name in institutional repositories. Nor do they want unpublished reports or research data to be housed alongside their polished articles. This assumes that people will discover repository content from within the repository itself, rather than through a web search engine. We ought to be very clear in our message to our authors, that the repository is not a destination in itself, but more of a warehouse from which people can order content to appear in their browser.

If academics are driven by citations, and if we aim to improve citation ratings, surely the repository ought to only focus on content from publications that are indexed by Web of Science, since these are the journals in which citations are counted.

So, how pure or how muddy should an institutional repository be? I personally like the idea of having separate repositories for different types of content. They can all be cross searched at an institutional level or by search engines anyway, and in separate repository instances you can use different metadata schema to suit the needs of your content and searchers. I used Google Scholar's registration form and they wanted to know that the content of the site being registered was published journal articles. So if our repository also had data sets and learning objects, presumably I would not be able to register with Google Scholar. Although I'm unsure yet whether my filling out that form has done us any good...

It seems to me that repositories that are being established to achieve all sorts of purposes are in danger of achieving none of them. We're primarily focussed on journal articles and PhD theses, because the project aims said we would be and we don't have the resource to diversify from this if we are to achieve our targets, but even we have some reports and working papers as well, at the request of our academics. The reports in particular do not have a natural home online anywhere else. But I'm not sure yet what to recommend as a repository content policy at the end of this project.


April 11, 2008

Since OR08

Writing about web page http://pubs.or08.ecs.soton.ac.uk/

It's a week now since I was at the OR08 conference, and I can't believe it's flown by so fast. There's a nice video (I am in the background in one shot, proving that I was there!) and presentations and posters are online. There is always so much to do after a conference, catching up in the office... but it was a very good one, and plenty of people have blogged about it in great detail already. Here are my top few highlights:

The future of repositories is in storing data. It's great that we're getting started with storing journal articles, but the keynote speech and the people I met made me very sure once again, that this is just the tip of what can/should be achieved with repositories. 

Various sessions on repository statistics, how to measure them and what they mean: very useful as demonstrating value is particularly important.

Eprints 3.1 release. If only they'd made it so easy to edit metadata six months ago! It really would have saved WRAP a lot of time and angst. But it looks to be much easier to extend EPrints in the future, which is great.

And of course meeting and sharing experiences with so many other people involved in repositories... in the flesh, rather than just virtually!


January 22, 2008

RSP day at the British Library

Writing about web page http://www.rsp.ac.uk/events/ProfBrief.php

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.


November 2019

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