Thursday, November 25, 2010

User Stories

In a previous post we discussed the fact that there are many reasons why someone might care about a link existing between their CRIS and their Digital Repository. We identified upwards of 20 such reasons, and alluded to the fact that each of these reasons resonates more with some people than it does with others, and emphasises more the CRIS or the Repository.

In this post we're going to have a look at some concrete examples of the user stories that we have developed from the "Whys", to give you a flavour of what the project outputs will contain.

A story for academic authors: how can this help me raise my research profile?

CRIS and Digital Repository integration is all about raising your research profile. This happens by enhancing your research's visibility through your digital repository and increasing your potential for being cited. This is not only in the public interest - the people who ultimately funded your work - but it also increases how easy it is to find and read your work, and therefore also increases its re-usability. By ensuring that your research information and full-text content is available, it will be easier for your institution to assemble high-quality REF returns, while also making it easy for you to meet your funder mandates on open access deposit. As an additional advantage, your research will be cared for and preserved for future readers. As a result your research presence is significant, and remains so for longer.

A story for librarians: using research information management to drive institutional strategy

Shrinking library budgets mean that it is important to find cost-effective solutions to support your institution's strategy, and to participate in the global research economy. By providing public access to publicly funded research through your Digital Repository, you are provisioning for long-term storage and preservation across time and software advances of institutional assets, which are valuable in this economy. This benefits the institution's standing by increasing the amount of research content which can be made available through the repository, the CRIS and any other systems which build institutional web-presence from the information held there.

A story for senior staff: increasing citations in support of the REF

Increasing the visibility of your research is going to be extremely important in the next round of metrics-based research evaluation. You can increase the visibility of your research by improving its online discoverability. This is not just in the public interest (although it is), but will provide you with the opportunity to raise your institution's profile in areas such as HE rankings, and Student Surveys. Ultimately, this increased discoverability and visibility increases the opportunity for citations to your researcher's work, which will support a high quality REF return.

There are a number of other stories that we are working on, and as you can see from the above we are still in the early period of refining them into something which can be clearly presented. In time we will develop and make available advocacy material wireframes and slide-decks in support of these stories, and we will shortly be publishing blog posts on those topics.

- Richard Jones, Symplectic Ltd.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What can we learn from Prof Weasel and Kooey the Goose: project chat with Gareth Johnson

In our Exeter project meeting, we discussed different ways of promoting a CRIS (or choose your preferred term!) to repository link. Readers may be familiar with the (in)famous library education video series created by Gareth Johnson (University of Leicester aka llordllama). In particular, “The Professional Librarian’s Guide to Understanding Academic Copyright” is well known and has been used in repository training sessions – I’ve used it on occasion (with permission!) as an icebreaker and a painless way of explaining the consequences of academic authors’ tendency to sign away rights to their work. Would this type of video be a useful advocacy or educational tool in the CRIS to Repository context?

Although a lot of our advocacy work will be focussed on our home institutions, communicating RePosit findings to the wider repository and library community is very important – particularly to maximise awareness of the training materials produced during the project. We will want to explore the pros and cons of the emerging deposit method and hope to facilitate a community of practice around the new CRIS/repository model.

I had a very helpful discussion with Gareth around a couple of key issues (i) whether videos in this field were feasible and what form they might take (ii) community building.

(i) of course, whether Gareth produces videos in this area is very much his call. Having produced many videos, he’s learned that it can pay to focus a video on one main issue or message e.g. “what is a CRIS?”. So a possibly approach would be a series of videos from which to pick and mix according to the specific requirements of a training session. This could fit very well with the emerging RePosit approach of a slide bank from which “stories” can be pulled together to appeal to a specific audience. From us (RePosit – or anyone else promoting this type of deposit model), Gareth would like any specific quotations or opinions from researchers, librarians, administrators which could be used to inform any videos he puts together. As Gareth says, it’s useful for the videos to provide food for thought and look at a topic from several angles.

(A useful tip from Gareth: why not email all your keen depositors and ask them to provide an attributable quote for use in promotion – this can yield surprisingly rich results.)

(ii) Perhaps we could offer the emerging “community” multiple options/ discussion venues and see where the traffic goes? So if the RePosit Google Group doesn’t take off, maybe try a Facebook page – this may be more user friendly. Are there any established groups we could piggy back on?

“The Professional Librarian’s Guide to Understanding Academic Copyright”

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pecha Kucha at RLUK Conference

Gave this presentation at RLUK Conference last week.

Here's a link if you need it:

Turns out they had a prize for best Pecha Kucha presentation - wish I'd known that beforehand. Did get a couple of questions though - and even feedback afterwards - people genuinely interested in whether the CRIS-Repository model will make a difference to number of deposits (BTW - the presentation that won the prize was (I'm told) the same one that won at the Repository Fringe this year 'Repositories are like Cakes' - will post a ref when I can find one).

posted by: Bo Middleton

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Why of the "Whys"

At the heart of the RePosit re-usable advocacy materials is a core list of reasons why connecting your Research Management System to your Digital Repository is a Good Thing. Why you should care. Why it is good for you. Why it is good for your institution. This list of "Whys" contains the following arguments, in no particular order:

  1. Library budgets are shrinking
  2. It will raise your research profile
  3. It gives you the potential for increased citations
  4. It increases the discoverability/visibility of your research
  5. It's quick and easy to use
  6. It will allow you to improve the business decisions of your institution through business intelligence
  7. It's a single point of entry to all research management needs
  8. It can provide research statistics and analysis
  9. It improves the reusability of your content
  10. It's in the public interest
  11. It supports research into teaching
  12. It enhances your ability to return to the REF
  13. It improves the student experience of the institution
  14. It provides full-text content storage
  15. It can help inform institutional strategy
  16. It can help inform competitive parity analysis
  17. It can enhance your institution's overall profile
  18. It can help manage institutional assets
  19. It can help you meet funder deposit mandates
  20. It improves the discoverability of your research via search engine
  21. It increases your ability to comply with copyright requirements
It is worth noting that the emphasis of RePosit is not on the repository or the RMS but on the link between them. Some of these "Whys" are more weighted towards one side or the other, as you would expect. We have attempted, when developing arguments behind each of these points, to balance the emphasis between these two systems appropriately, in order to try to draw out what is relevant to the integration itself.

Each of the different "Whys" on this list is relevant more to one group of people than another. For example, that it provides an opportunity to generate a more complete picture of an institution's research output is far more relevant to senior staff than it is to academic researchers, while the fact that it is integrated with SHERPA RoMEO is something which appeals mostly to librarians. We therefore identified three groups of people to whom we would be pitching the idea:

  • Academic authors
  • Librarians
  • Senior management
Then we took each of the "Whys", and we constructed more substantive arguments underneath the short descriptions above, and we looked at which reasons were closely related together (e.g. business intelligence and institutional strategy). It is from this matrix, then, that we will construct the advocacy materials which will be one of the re-usable outputs of the RePosit project.

In future posts we will discuss the User Stories that emerge from the above matrix, as well as the advocacy material wireframes which tell those user stories, and the slide-deck that can be used to present those stories to our target groups.

- Richard Jones, Symplectic Ltd

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Progress Report - Queen Mary

The battle to launch QMRO goes on here. Frustration is beginning to kick in due not to lack of interest by academics, but actually in our seeming incapacity to reach the end stage. Whilst we have academics really interested in helping to get things moving, not least the Principal himself, we have gotten a little stuck with the final technical issues. Working closely with our IT Services team, we are getting ever closer to launching the repository, something I have been looking forward to for some few years now. Whilst a lot of work has gone into making this happen, we seem to have fallen foul of the summer holiday black hole, when other projects got prioritised, and which (over-running as they always do) meant that we also fell into the start of term black hole immediately afterwards.

However, it's not all bleakness. We're currently working on using the data from PubLists to provide a Publications web site and this is nearing completion at last. With links to the repository and published versions on publisher web sites, this should be a really good way to promote the repository and open access, and therefore drive engagement. Having worked out a few kinks, we're at the stage where we'll be able to launch the site soon and this is really exciting!

I'm currently drafting a communications strategy for QMRO, which will help us to plan our advocacy and training strategy over the coming months and will help to formalise ways of highlighting the work we are doing.

I've also recently attended a meeting with some of the Sherpa-LEAP partners and this has got me thinking about how we can tap into/share knowledge and expertise. So lots to do!

Sarah Molloy (QMUL)

Notes from project team Skype call on 11th Nov 2010

As part of our need to stay in contact and collaborate together, as well as tracking progress in between full project meetings, we had our inaugural Skype project team RePosit conference call last week on Thursday 11th November. After a few technical teething problems with microphones, headsets and one dropped internet connection we then got properly stuck into the discussions. Sadly the full team were not all available, but we still managed to cover a lot of ground over what in the end was 1¾ hours.

Skype call meeting minutes 11th Nov 2010

We started with a quick update of the situation at each site, then spent some time looking at the various action points and reviewing progress towards them - which sparked off several discussions along the way. Then we discussed our feedback to the 'whys' message slides (for senior managers, librarians and academic authors) and 'user story' wire frames for advocacy materials content (for senior managers and academic authors) that Richard Jones at Symplectic has been concentrating on producing over the last month or so. One urgent point linking into that which we needed to cover was our potential use of QMUL's Creative Services team to help with some of the design work for our advocacy materials, since their lead times are fairly long, and we talked about different types of branding for the project and the messages we need to get across. Finally, we talked about our initial thoughts on the first of the advocacy plans that have been drawn up (for Plymouth - ahead of schedule). Overall the call and discussions were seen as so successful that we've agreed to have several more Skype conference calls - basically regular opt-in short calls - with the next one aimed at a full discussion of all five advocacy plans.

Posted by: Lizzie Dipple

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Project update from University of Plymouth

Now that the bulk of information literacy teaching is past, I have been working on the 2nd meeting action points. I have drawn up the draft communication strategy for PEARL (Plymouth Electronic Archive and Research Library) and have circulated it to the Project Team for their comment. It was a case of having done lots of reading of case studies, looking back at the case studies and the WRRO example, we reviewed at the 2nd Team meeting and looking at RSP materials and other repository sites, I set aside a day and made completing the draft, my sole task for that day.

I am looking forward to the Project teams's comment and seeing the other advocacy plans as our team has lots of experience and knowledge however we are geographically spread across the country. The Skype meeting on Thursday will be invaluable to catch up on progress and share advice and support.

As PEARL is being launched, the strategy has highlighted that there are many stakeholder groups and activities that need to be covered. Future work will involve planning the workshops to be held at UoP in Spring 2011 and collaborating with Symplectic around the training materials that will be needed.
Nicola Cockarill
Senior Subject Librarian, University of Plymouth

Monday, November 8, 2010

What data can Research Management Systems and Repositories exchange for mutual benefit?

We're thinking about our stakeholder groups and how and when to target them about the Symplectic to repository connector. Understanding how users interact with a CRIS or similar (in this case Symplectic but could be other platforms) may help target advocacy materials more effectively. From the CRIS it would good to profile:

  • what proportion of content is deposited or approved/declined by authors and what proportion is deposited/approved/declined by delegates (ie someone "impersonating" the author)?
  • usage patterns over time, by department - do some departments interact regularly whilst others batch up work to deal with once or twice a year?
  • what proportion of staff in a department have logged in to the CRIS - ever/in the last six months/this month? Are there many known "non-users"?
  • proportion of research outputs in a department which have been "harvested" automatically and which have been added manually

What data would a CRIS be looking for from a repository? Perhaps download statistics could be fed back for incorporation in CRIS reports or displayed as part of the author's publication list - ideally not just downloads but some geographical and domain data as well.
Would it be interesting to compare the journal impact factor - often included in a CRIS - with individual paper hits and downloads?

Are there other areas of data exchange that would help improve the service we offer to depositors?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Update from Exeter

We have had a very constructive set of discussions within the local project team in Exeter and have made substantial progress towards our advocacy plan. Two documents form the foundation for this work:
  • the communications and key messages plan that was used during the initial rollout of Symplectic in 2009
  • a newer breakdown of key stakeholders, message types and appropriate delivery vehicles, that reflects the changed organisational structure introduced this year

Going forward, we will be merging elements of these two documents, as well as identifying key individuals and dates. In addition we are reviewing the recently revised governance structure of the University, to identify appropriate communication routes.

Other work has concentrated on identifying the best time for the rollout of Repository Tools, and the best months within which to run the workshops. This has involved clarifying the dates of other internal processes (such as the internal research monitoring exercise) and ensuring that the various activities do not clash.

Two further local meetings are scheduled, within which we intend to finalise our advocacy plan in time for the deadline at the end of November.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Project team communications

One of the challenging aspects of collaborating on the RePosit project is the geography involved - literally the distances between our five partner Higher Education Institutions: Exeter and Plymouth in the south-west of the country; Leeds and Keele in the north; and Queen Mary and commercial partner Symplectic Ltd based in London. Without the resources for more regular project meetings in person, but with an urgent need to collaborate now that we're into the phase of the project when the various partners are working on real plans for their HEIs and we are drawing up real advocacy materials, we've decided to use a technical solution - the conference call. And so next week sees our first RePosit project Skype conference call, on Thursday 11th November.

Posted by: Lizzie Dipple