Friday, 2 July 2010

Project Plan Post 2 of 7: Wider Benefits to Sector & Achievements for Host Institution

JISC DURA seeks to significantly encourage academic engagement with institutional repository technologies by integrating the concept of deposit into the academic workflow. The current low population of repositories is due to several barriers:
  • i) lack of confidence in understanding copyright laws – academics do not wish to deposit articles that may not be of appropriate copyright status;
  • ii) rekeying bibliographic information into a digital repository interface; 
  • iii) finding a full-text version to deposit; 
  • iv) finding time to carry out the activity of deposit.
DURA addresses each of these barriers – by integrating with the RoMEO data service, copyright information can be shown to an academic and used intelligently as part of the framework developed here to ensure that appropriate articles are deposited; by using Mendeley and Symplectic bibliographic data rekeying of data is minimised; and by using Mendeley as a full-text data source barrier iii) is significantly reduced across all fields engaging journal publication. The final barrier is the real key to success in increasing repository engagement. By providing easy access to deposit in an institutional repository through existing well-used tools such as Mendeley and Symplectic, the required effort of uploading full-text and exchanging metadata is reduced to clicking a button in either system. The combination of moving repository deposit activity away from the repository interface by using simple intuitive tools that source data automatically on behalf of academic users removes the final barrier to academic engagement and opens the door to sustainable institutional mandates for deposit.

The central idea is two-fold:
  • (1) To allow academics, who use Mendeley regularly to manage their publications lists, to upload their publications metadata and full-text directly into institutional repositories. This end-user driven approach is hoped to increase deposit rates, since a direct integration into the workflow of a researcher significantly reduces barriers to and efforts for depositing data, as discussed earlier. The impact of this approach will also increase along with a more widespread adoption of Mendeley, which has a very clear value proposition to researchers. 
  • (2) Where available at a university, Symplectic’s research information management software will, on the one hand, acquire data from Mendeley alongside its other data sources, and on the other hand mediate deposit into the repository through its Repository Tools technology

That means that DURA essentially results in two possible ways of depositing content into a university’s institutional repository: (2) Universities can either directly link their repository to the Mendeley API which should be developed during this project, or (2) Where available, the integration can take place via Symplectic’s software, meaning that the data is already clean and disambiguated and full copyright data sourced from RoMEO is available to the repository and the subtle nature of “gearing” between the dynamic data in the researcher’s publication list and the more static repository are automatically handled by an existing technological solution.

The evolution of the national policy environment has been rapid over the past few years, with most major UK research funders now insisting that research outputs stemming from the projects they fund be deposited into an Open Access repository. Many universities have similar policies. However, the deposit rate is too low, and repositories remain under-used. One reason for this is that researchers do not, at the time when they might deposit an item, see a benefit outweighing the cost of their time in doing so (known as a ‘negative feedback loop’). Furthermore, while most researchers have at least one repository in which to deposit their outputs, many have more than one, and the lack of join-up between them, and between them and other services, has meant that ‘deposit’ is less straightforward than it should be. What is immediately required is the embedding of the complete deposit solution into the authoring or related research process.

DURA is focussed on the tools the individual researcher chooses to maintain his/her collections of research papers as a core element of their research process. The proposition is to allow the researcher to continue to use his/her preferred tool while satisfying other demands (such as institutional deposit mandates or REF reporting requirements) at little extra effort. The primary benefit to users is therefore a time saving in meeting reporting requirements and minimal distraction from research activity. A secondary benefit is the knowledge that by synchronising with institutional systems to save their own time, they will also increase the integrity of the publications databases on which they depend.

The research tools popular with researchers for managing papers and references include Zotero, Mendeley, RefWorks and EndNote. The institutional systems that create demands on the active researcher for publication reporting/deposit include DSpace, Fedora, e-Prints and Symplectic. In  DURA we focus on Mendeley, Symplectic and DSpace (integrating with Symplectic however will automatically cover ePrints and Fedora as well), but the aim is to develop open, standardised interfaces, infrastructure, and software technology to permit information exchange between researcher applications and institutional systems such that institutional requirements can be met at almost no cost and some benefit to researchers themselves.

Mendeley is an exemplar of the new generation of researcher-focussed end-user tools for managing publications as part of the research process. It is a new tool but use is growing rapidly and it is clearly popular with its users. Symplectic is not an institutional repository, but a system for gathering and validating the publication lists of the academics known to be employed at a particular institution, with a particular emphasis on HEFCE REF reporting requirements. DSpace is a widely used institutional repository.

We anticipate that authentication will be provided using Shibboleth, so that Mendeley can establish a link between itself and the target system. Shibboleth is an ideal technology for this since it already incorporates the "Where are you from?" concept. We will also evaluate the potential of Repository Junction to facilitate account matching. Once the accounts are linked, synchronisation options can be set according to the systems being linked. The publications associated with the researcher in both systems will be compared and the researcher will have an opportunity to push publications from one system to the other in order to fill gaps. This could be automatic or manual according to user preferences. In some cases, the end-user may wish to receive Symplectic notifications of potential publication matches to assist in maintaining the researchers list of his/her own publications while in the Mendeley client. It will also be possible to initiate a Mendeley synchronisation from within the Symplectic interface. (In the context of the Symplectic software, Mendeley will appear as a new data source alongside existing sources such as Web of Knowledge, Scopus and PubMed.)

The net result should be a near-zero extra cost to complying with institutional deposit and reporting requirements from within the system chosen by the researcher to support their research activity, with a possible benefit of prompting from Symplectic of potential author matches from publication databases. The choice might be: you can learn how to deposit in DSpace or how to use Symplectic to meet your reporting/deposit obligations, or you can click 'synchronise' in Mendeley and forget about it after a few simple configuration choices.

Overall, the sector and the University of Cambridge will benefit from what the end users will benefit from:

Researcher benefits
Researchers are naturally inclined to participate in institutional repositories, but are often unaware of the protocols to do so. Often, the requirements are as simple as sending in a bibliography list of the author’s publications. Despite the simplicity, many do not participate because of misunderstanding the effort or complexity required. By taking advantage of the natural reference management workflow that most researchers already participate in, repository input can be made as easy as clicking a sync button in the reference manager. No extra effort is required to create the bibliography or gather materials. The researcher will also benefit from a highly accessible method of retrieving literature already in the IR via the same interface.

Repository manager benefitsFaculty participation in IRs is typically in the range of 10-15%. Again, this is mainly due to the perceived complexity and amount of effort by the researcher to participate. The key benefit then for the repository manager is that since no additional work is required of the researcher, it is highly likely that deposits will greatly increase.  


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