Monday, March 21, 2011

Repositories in a new CRIS landscape - some discussion points from the RSP Winter School

Six weeks on from the RSP Winter School and time for some reflection on a few Reposit-relevant points we discussed at this very useful event.
  1. Workflow. Our current Symplectic to Eprints workflow (Leeds) 'surrenders' control of metadata to the central research management system. Surrender may not be the right word, but we're used to having complete control within EPrints so it feels that way. It’s certainly an important workflow question to consider – and not all institutions have come to the same conclusion. If metadata is incorrect, is it fixed in Symplectic or fixed in EPrints? We fix in Symplectic. This means the Symplectic and EPrints records are in synch, but it means repository staff need to interact with two systems. I’m not suggesting this as an ideal model but it’s our reality at the moment. Where does your ‘master’ record live? Is it/ can it be locked down?

    Symplectic is now our only deposit route for White Rose Research Online content for University of Leeds. Will it continue to be? Are there other places we need to capture deposits?

    Overall, as CRIS/repository models roll out, I’d really like to see some more discussion around the pros and cons of different workflows and how life can be made easier for both depositors and repository staff. One comment that stuck with me was the high expectations researchers have (well, I suppose we all have) that systems should be simple and easy to use. Obvious – but difficult to achieve. And how do we (should we?) avoid systems which are simpler for the depositor but result in extra work for someone else further along the workflow (library/repository staff)?

  2. CRIS/Repository landscape. We discussed the importance of being aware of – or even pre-empting – the CRIS discussion at your institution. If you’re not involved already, does this mean the discussion has started without you? .. or should you be starting the discussion?

    We’ve discussed for many a long year how institutional repositories fit with other repositories – arXiv; SSRN; RePec; UKPMC; ESRC etc – do we push data to them or pull data from them or both? Is the mechanism for this located within the CRIS, the repository, somewhere else? I was very happy to see progress with Repository Junction; we really need something to help rationalise multiple location deposit.

  3. Relationship with Research Office. Knowing a/the key person can make all the difference. If you’re not already talking to your research office, start! We have several areas of shared interest even if we don’t always talk the same language.

  4. Repository visibility vs invisibility. Not a new question, but should the repository be high profile and obvious – or so well integrated depositors don’t even know it’s there? One questions was raised – if everything is deposited via a CRIS won’t the CRIS get credit for all the behind the scenes work the library and repository staff may do? I don’t think this is an issue – or is it? Seems to me there’s a quid pro quo here – the Library is a trusted, established service – and I think Library involvement increases the credibility of CRIS type systems with researchers. (Discuss?!) Of course, this only works if the depositors know there’s a Library role – be it quality control, copyright advice, copyright checking, version advice, file format advice, preservation, user testing. From the Library perspective we need to understand our new role but we also need to publicise this – not something we’re always good at.

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