Monday, August 23, 2010

Literature Review: EM-Loader project

The EM-Loader project demonstrated a new workflow for batch deposit of a researcher's publications to an institutional repository using the SWORD interface, with a sample implementation connecting PublicationsList to the Depot's installation of ePrints.

As well as the investigation, and development, of the SWORD interface, resulting in a new API and improved user workflow, the project also addressed two key problems:
  • the motivation problem, by focussing on providing tools to save researcher time in maintaining their personal publications list on the web;
  • the usability problem, by importing metadata in batch mode where possible (from online data services) and submitting the items to the repository in batch mode too.

Key findings that may be relevant to RePosit

Benefits - the project identified the need to sell the likely benefits of an institutional repository to the academic as part of any advocacy for tools, and noted the use of both carrots (improved search index rank, longer term storage, etc.) and sticks (research assessment exercise, open access mandate).

Non-engagement - it is just as important to consider the reasons why a researcher would not want to use their repository, e.g. an early bad experience, the effort required to populate metadata and so on.

Web page as the focus - the project identified the advantages of making the researcher's web page as the focus of deposit, noting the possible rewards and likely engagement, especially if the workflow reduces effort on the academic's behalf.

Usability - as part of this section of the final report, several concerns were raised that should be addressed as part of any future advocacy, namely:

  • Copyright permission - the need to re-assure and educate researchers about publisher policies and copyright permissions;
  • Multiple copies - the requirement for any technical solution to address the possibility of co-authors uploading multiple copies of the same paper to the repository;
  • The actual upload - making sure that it is made clear whether full text or just metadata is being uploaded.

Motivation - the project, in its conclusion, identified the motivation issue as critical. It noted that 'researchers are just not motivated to populate their local repository, but they do usually care about their public web page and getting more citations'. The provision of a tool to help the researcher maintain that web presence integrates the deposit process into their own normal activities.

Push/pull - to close, the project looked forward and suggested an ultimate goal of 'zero click deposit', where the repository would PULL items rather than expecting the user to PUSH their items into the repository. The extension of EM-Loader to support a PULL model was seen as a natural follow-on for the project.

Project Documentation:

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