Rachel Proudfoot works for the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York in the role of White Rose Research Online Officer. Rachel has been involved in all aspects of repository development since the launch of White Rose Research Online (WRRO) in 2004 (with five records!) including development of a sister service to WRRO, White Rose Etheses Online. She recently managed the JISC funded IncReASe project, investigating repository embedding issues. In recent months, Rachel has been working with colleagues to link WRRO (Eprints) to the three research information systems at the White Rose partner institutions: Symplectic (Leeds, Sheffield) and Pure (York). University of Leeds was a partner in the JISC funded RePosit project (RePosit: positing a new kind of repository deposit) which is investigated the effectiveness of the CRIS to repository deposit model.
Rachel talks about the complex process of integrating the White Rose Research Online with three separate CRISs (Current Research Information Systems): Symplectic at Leeds and Sheffield and Pure at York. She advises that Library Services and repositories need to get involved at the very early stages of planning so that can contribute to decision making. She also has some tips on working with commercial suppliers as opposed to the more usual open source products in the repository world. The role of the repository staff will change in an integrated setting – closer working with the research office and carrying out administrative tasks in the CRIS rather than the repository are two examples. However, the critical importance of advocacy remains if academics are to take that simple but all important step of attaching their full text files to the metadata!
Nadine Edwards is the E-Librarian at the University of Greenwich. She is the manager of the University’s repository, Greenwich Academic Literature Archive (GALA), which she joint project-managed with Greenwich Research and Enterprise. Her role is varied in that it encompasses a wide variety of responsibilities from e-resources to serials to document delivery. She is also responsible for research support within Information Services. Her wider professional interests include supporting research, e-books developments and ways/tools to promote library resources. She is an active member of the MyiLibrary User Group and the JIBS Committee.
Nadine describes how the repository project started in 2008, sponsored by the Research and Enterprise Department and implemented as a joint project with the Library. As the university publications database as well as an open access repository, it was well integrated within the institution. She outlines the structure at Greenwich where a full time post and ongoing development of the EPrints database are funded by Research and Enterprise. The deposit mechanism varies from school to school – some academics self deposit and some via administrative staff – but the repository team mediate this through checking copyright and embargo periods. The future plan is to integrate the repository with other university systems such as those dealing with grant awards so as to provide a full research picture.
Professor Steve Beaumont is Vice-Principal Research and Enterprise at the University of Glasgow. He is responsible for the University’s research strategy, policies, and operational matters including negotiations and relationships with research sponsors and strategic partners. He also has responsibility for the University’s enterprise activities, including research links with industry and the promotion of spinout companies. His research background is in nanotechnology and nanoelectronics for which he was awarded the OBE in 2002.
In this interview, Professor Beaumont talks about the strategic view taken by the University of Glasgow in developing and integrating its repository, Enlighten. Promoting the university’s research in a global context was a big driver particularly in the context of widening access to research beyond the traditional subscription to journals model. Engagement with senior management and the academic community ensured support within the institution which laid the ground for a Publications policy which required staff to deposit their research outputs in the repository. Professor Beaumont outlines the costs and benefits of the integrated repository and how it has helped the university in planning for the REF (Research Excellence Framework), feeding data to personal web pages and reporting to research funders. He talks about the lessons learned and his advice to repository managers is to communicate the benefits of the repository to the institution.
Richard Jones has been working in Open Source and in/around Higher Education for over a decade. He is a long term contributor to open source software, and in particular the DSpace repository platform. He is also an advocate of Open Access, and has written numerous articles on the subject, as well as co-authoring “The Institutional Repository” published by Chandos in 2006. He has worked for a number of large HE institutions over the years, including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Bergen and Imperial College London; Here he found the aims interesting and important, but lamented the bureaucracy, slow pace of change and lack of commitment by many organisations to their software developers. It was this that caused him to move out of HE and first into commercial research and development, and ultimately to Cottage Labs. This represents an opportunity to do interesting development work, to bypass much of the bureaucracy and Just Get Things Done, while remaining involved in his community.
Richard focuses on the technical issues repository managers may encounter when embedding the repository in institutional systems. This inevitably includes broader issues such as business processes analysis for workflow and managing complex projects. As a checklist to consider when embarking on such a project, Richard highlights the following: authentication across multiple systems, standards for interoperability, the technical resource required and the need for rigorous testing. He also outlines the main risk areas which he divides into two types. Firstly, operational risks involve the multiplication of points of failure and the challenges of data management across different systems. He advises a pragmatic approach that accepts that some inconsistencies in data. The developmental risks arise from the need to coordinate different teams working on different systems. Finally he reflects on the future where multiple niche systems interoperate in a distributed environment. He advises repository staff to keep abreast of development in key areas: research information systems, research data management and discovery systems.