Monday, 3 August 2009

Repository Fringe 2009: Round Table Sessions

We have an extra treat from Repository Fringe courtesy of Robin Taylor of Edinburgh University Main Library who has kindly allowed us to share his notes on Round Table Sessions A and C:

Round Table A: "Practical impact and experiences of institutional OA mandates for IRs" (Helen Muir, Queen Margaret University)

Opening remarks from Helen Muir indicated that there had been resistance to the mandate:
  • Perception that it was a time burden.
  • Researchers resented feeling pressurised.
There are two approaches available:
Carrot approach
  • Emphasise benefits with Google Analytics.
  • Ease researchers concerns by utilising the ePrints 'request a copy' feature.
  • Using Scopus to find missing articles.

Stick approach
Should there be any penalty for not complying with a mandate ? The consensus was no.

Without exception all those present had a mediated deposit process. This might be library staff but might also be department research administrators depositing on behalf of staff. A perceived advantage of using research administrators was that they know the staff and therefore also know who to chase up etc.

Other observations from participants:
  • There is a difficulty in getting 'final' versions.
  • Targeting 'star' researchers appears to have a knock on effect.

Additional thoughts on how to emphasise benefits to the researcher included:
  • Publications lists for web pages seen as an important incentive.
  • Statistics to demonstrate increased exposure.
  • Advocacy appears to work. Increased deposit rates amongst those that had had the benefits explained.

Amongst those institutions that have a mandate there was agreement that it could not been seen as the final solution. One such institution reported a 25% compliance rate. Nevertheless there was agreement that mandates were generally a good thing. It raised the profile of the IR and generated debate on the subject. Mandates are considered another useful tool in the battle for deposit.

Round Table C: "Where will repositories be in 5 years time ?" (Ian Stuart, EDINA)

The key points in this session were that:
  • IRs will become part of a wider research management process.
  • Research pools are difficult to manage - cross institution, cross discipline.
  • Identity management and naming authorities are important factors in delivering trusted and consistent repositories.
  • The hope and/or expectation is that IRs provide the core management of data with agile services using the data in varied ways. There is a need to avoid IR software becoming monolithic.
  • The expectation is that there will ultimately be many copies of items available from different sources on the internet. Is this in itself a valid form of preservation?
  • Will current peer review practices change ? Could a more informal model work where works are 'reviewed' in the public domain (the internet)?
  • Who will manage the content? University departments? Do they have sufficient resources to do so?
  • Will IRs hold content or could they just be 'virtual' repositories pointing to the content held elsewhere? This brings us back to the role of IRs and preservation.
This was a lively and useful session but it was therefore only possible to capture an idea of the questions and ideas raised.

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