Monday, 24 December 2012

2012: el año de ORCID

0000-0001-6300-1033, ORCID Outreach WG member


  Estas fechas en las que tradicionalmente se echa la vista atrás para recordar los principales acontecimientos del año son también un buen momento para recapitular novedades y examinar tendencias de futuro en el ámbito de la comunicación científica. En este sentido es fácil aventurar que dentro de diez años 2012 será recordado -entre otras cosas- como el año en que entró en servicio la iniciativa Open Researcher and Contributor ID, el identificador ORCID que finalmente facilitaría la solución a los hasta entonces perpetuos problemas de asignación de las publicaciones científicas a sus autores y de desambiguación de los nombres de éstos.

ORCID se lanzó como servicio a mediados de octubre de 2012, después de un sostenido sprint final por parte del reducido equipo de profesionales que está sacando adelante esta iniciativa sin ánimo de lucro. Poco más de dos meses después de su puesta en servicio, más de 30,000 autores del mundo entero han registrado ya de manera gratuita su identificador desde el formulario de registro en el sitio web de ORCID.

Al mismo tiempo que progresa la adopción individual del estándar a través del boca a boca -con las redes sociales y twitter en particular como un poderoso instrumento de difusión- ORCID continúa la consolidación de su plataforma y de los servicios de integración con editores y bases de datos que desde ella se ofrecen (ver figura más abajo). Para garantizar la sostenibilidad de estos desarrollos y de la iniciativa en su conjunto será precisa la generalización de un modelo colaborativo de suscripción institucional que haga recaer la responsabilidad de la sostenibilidad del servicio en las organizaciones que se benefician del mismo, sean universidades, centros de investigación o editores. Este modelo de implicación institucional colectiva en la provisión de un servicio no es ajeno al mundo de la comunicación científica, donde ejemplos como el nuevo modelo de financiación del repositorio arXiv en la Universidad de Cornell o la iniciativa SCOAP3 del CERN para ofrecer acceso abierto a todo un conjunto de revistas científicas en el campo de la física de altas energías demuestran que es una alternativa viable e incluso preferible a modelos de financiación más restringidos por organizaciones o países.


A medida que avanza el desarrollo de nuevos servicios de integración -que irán consolidando a lo largo del próximo año- el gran reto para el éxito de ORCID reside cada vez más en la comunicación del avance en su implantación, de sus ventajas y de sus procesos de trabajo. En un momento en que comienzan a producirse registros institucionales para la adopción temprana del nuevo estándar de identificación, será fundamental dar a conocer los procedimientos y las estrategias de implantación seguidas por las primeras instituciones en integrar ORCID en sus sistemas de gestión de la información científica, de manera que sean reutilizables por las instituciones que se incorporen a la iniciativa de manera más tardía.

El papel de los servicios institucionales de información (bibliotecas o centros de documentación) resultará también crítico para el éxito de ORCID: será tarea suya poner a disposición de los autores la información necesaria para que ellos puedan registrarse gratuitamente y pasar a formar parte de una iniciativa que cobrará cada vez más fuerza con su adopción por parte de editores, agencias de finaciación y bases de datos internacionales.

Cabe destacar como un ejemplo de buenas prácticas en este sentido la iniciativa de Consol García, 0000-0001-8085-0088, y de sus compañeras de la Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), para crear una página web dedicada a ORCID -inicialmente en catalán, ahora también en castellano- como parte del sitio web de Bibliotècnica, la Biblioteca Digital UPC. La UPC no se ha registrado por el momento como miembro de ORCID, pero esto no es óbice para que desde su Servicio de Biblioteca se haya percibido como una línea importante de trabajo la comunicación de información sobre el identificador universal de autor para los académicos e investigadores de la institución. Una adecuada difusión de la existencia de esta página a través de los canales de comunicación institucionales y la extensión de este tipo de iniciativa a otras universidades suponen un impulso decisivo para la consolidación de un estándar que goza por lo demás (ver mapa en la figura inferior) de muy buena salud en España a pesar de la delicada situación económica de muchas de sus instituciones de educación superior.




Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Discussing ORCID... and the Gold vs Green controversy


  A new GrandIR technical session was held on Sep 6th at the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, UOC) in Barcelona. This new workshop was devoted to Author IDs and ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) and brought together representatives from the various stakeholders concerned by the launch of the ORCID service, to take place next Oct 15th. The event programme included ORCID themselves (Martin Fenner, Chair of the ORCID Outreach Working Group), National author ID initiatives (Amanda Hill, Names Project UK), funders (Gerry Lawson, Natural Environment Research Council, NERC), National Research Offices (David Arellano, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, FECYT) and publishers/vendors (Philip Purnell, Thomson Reuters). Each of the speakers delivered a presentation (files are downloadable from the session programme) and a round table was held afterwards in order to discuss the requirements for an universal author identifier as well as its implications and challenges.

A summary of the session discussions follows:
    • - ORCID service is set to be launched Oct 15th. Martin Fenner provided an up-to-date view of the ORCID interface as it stands right now, although -he mentioned- it keeps evolving every day.
      - ORCID business model is currently being established along the following lines: the service will be free for individual authors/researchers, and there will be a fee for institutions, to be classified as small or large. Charge for small ones will be $4,000 per year. Overlay services will gradually be made available.
      - ORCID will run different strategies for buiding up an author database: (free) individual registration for authors, collective registration for institutions (for a fee), collection & upgrade from other existing author IDs - such as ThomsonReuters ResearcherID, Scopus Author Identifier, arXiv, etc.
      - ORCID duplication may result from overlapping registration strategies - some dissambiguation work should be required to clear those. ORCID won't be providing this service (at least not at launchtime, although possibly later on), so this might be a potential role for National Author ID projects (such as Names, DAI or Lattes) which lie closer to the authors.
      - Two main workflows have been designed so far for promoting ORCID use: (i) Publisher Workflow, meaning publishers will request ORCIDs to authors at manuscript submission time, and (ii) Funder Workflow, by which funders will request ORCIDs to researchers at grant bid submission time. Several publishers are already working to enable ORCID collection, and research funders are happy to be able to work with a non-profit initiative instead of commercial providers.
    • - Institutions running a CRIS system will be better positioned for ORCID implementation, once the required datamodel updates are performed (euroCRIS CERIF TG is currently working on CERIF datamodel enhancement in order to bring persistent identifiers into the system). For those HEIs not running CRIS Systems (for which CERIF is incidentally not a requirement), Institutional Repositories may as well play a key role for ORCID implementation purposes.
      - There are a number of author ID-related services that ORCID will not aim to provide. Among these, organisation IDs, citations, usage or other value-added services. ORCID actually aims to provide a basic feature (namely author identifier plus attached publications) on top of which other stakeholders are expected to build value-added services. ThomsonReuters ResearcherID (as well as other commercial or national author ID services) is therefore not planned to be superseded by ORCID, but they will co-exist instead.
      - One month away from service launch, there are several important factors that remain unclear, such as the service takeup by authors, the project timeschedule or the level of duplication that may result from overlapping registration strategies. Strategies for service dissemination among the research community remain also to be defined to some extent. However, meetings like the one held in Barcelona or the upcoming one at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin will certainly support awareness-raising among the research community.

  • Finally, the meeting in Barcelona also offered the opportunity to discuss with Gerry Lawson, UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), whether the RCUK policy for promoting Gold OA as a default option for complying with their Open Access policy turned the Research Council into "traitors" to the Open Access movement. When offered the opportunity to discuss their view, he said the Coucils were by no means opposed to Green OA - only after ten years work, repositories were still not complying the funders' requirements for tracking Open Access outputs and payments.

    Discussions on the default Gold OA direction the UK has taken following the release of the Finch Report should also account for this current reporting shortcomings in Green OA infrastructures. At the same time, requests for turning the RCUK OA Policy a more balanced supporting tool for both Gold and Green OA seem indeed reasonable enough.

    In summary, the session was very useful for disseminating the current state of the ORCID initiative on the verge of its being released and for discussing its implications and challenges for organisations and initiatives potentially involved in its roll out as a service to researchers and the wider community. Some additional session outcomes are starting to surface as requests for further ORCID dissemination at given universities in Spain - more information on this will be provided in due time. The ORCID Service launch meeting in Berlin next October will also provide new insights on the service that will be dutily reported.

    Video recordings of the interventions will shortly be made available at the UOC O2 Institutional Repository. A useful session summary in Spanish has also been published by Elvira Santamaria at the EPI Blog.

    Thursday, 13 September 2012

    Steady progress of Open Access at Kenyatta University and beyond



      As shown in the Open Access trend worldmap in the previous post, Kenya may well be the country where a strongest impulse towards Open Access implementation in a coordinated, cross-institutional way is currently under way. A high number of Kenyan universities are taking steps to issue Open Access policies and to set up their institutional repositories. These include Maseno University, which has recently become the first signatory of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in Kenya, Kenyatta University, which is about to adopt an institutional Open Access policy and is already running its own IR, Moi University, University of Nairobi and JKUAT, which has recently issued a Digital Repository Policy document so well drafted that it may become a source of inspiration for many other institutions in the continent.

    Efforts during the Open Access activity week at KU were aimed to train the Kenyatta University IR and ICT staff and KU researchers and Management Board on Open Access and on how to deal with the new institutional repository which is being developed by the University Library. The 2-day seminar held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS) -organised by Reuben Njuguna, KU Dept. of Business Administration- provided the summit in the OA advocacy sessions held during the week. The first day of this event was devoted to introducing Open Access and its current worklines to the KU Management board, with talks by Gitau George Njoroge, Director of KU Library, Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme manager, William Nixon, Digital Library manager at the University of Glasgow and Brian Hole, manager of the Ubiquity Press Open Access publisher. The second day a round of group discussions was held among the KU VCs and professors in order to establish the guidelines for a draft Open Access policy for KU, which is now under review by the KU Law Department in order to make it final.


    In the meantime KU legacy dissertations are starting to be digitised in order to provide full-text files to the metadata-only items that presently constitute the largest part of the KU IR. Metadata sets associated with different document types are also undergoing an update so they'll fit the requirements for providing a thorough description of the KU research output. Once this processes reach an advanced state, an advocacy campaign for further dissemination of the advantages the IR provides the KU community will be carried out at KU Schools. Ideally this should result in KU researchers and professors having the opportunity to offer their online research profiles and publications in the same way as Dr. Erik Nordman, a GVSU researcher in environmental economics who is currently spending a sabbatical year at KU School of Environmental Studies and whose publications are easy to track at his home ScholarWorks@GVSU repository.

    The setting up of the KU IR will not only provide visibility for the KU scholarly output, but will also help introducing better description procedures for the Faculty members' publications. Once it gets consolidated as a fully operational reporting tool, the IR will also become the default platform for collecting the KU research output, including the journals internally published by KU Schools and Departments which are currently impossible to track online. If the IR Project at KU is able to keep its cruise speed and meet its strategic goals, the Kenyatta University Library should in the mid-term develop a research information management system as inspirating as its actual building.


    With the ongoing EIFL-funded Project “Knowledge without boundaries: Advocacy campaign in Kenya for OA and institutional repositories” providing a solid platform for promoting Open Access and IRs in the country through the Kenyan Library and Information Services Consortium (KLISC), a national network of well-populated institutional repositories could soon become a reality, showing the way ahead to other East African countries.

    Friday, 24 August 2012

    [Open Access] Spotlight on Nairobi


      Next week a couple of interesting Open Access-related events will take place in Nairobi - making the Open Access spotlight (partly) shift away from Europe, North America and the developed countries into Kenya. It's not the first time interesting Open Access-related events happen in Kenya - a very successful BioMed Central-organised 1st Open Access Africa (OAA) Conference took place in Nairobi in Nov 2010.


    Prior to briefly describing these activities, it may be useful for introductory purposes to have a look at this interesting map featured above - courtesy of Benjamin Hennig and his Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group at the University of Sheffield, UK, based upon data kindly supplied by SPARC. The map shows a ponderated image of the world countries according to the number of Open Access dissemination activities they organised during the Open Access Week event in 2010 (the picture actually remained very much the same for OAW2011). When we look at the current geographical distribution of Open Access repositories worlwide at the OpenDOAR directory, there is a massive bias towards the developed world. However, when we check which countries are doing better in terms of promoting Open Access and establishing their own repository networks, we see both India and Kenya at the top three. In physics terminology, in order to properly describe a situation, you should both account for the actual value and the gradient of such value, gradient meaning its rate of change. So even if values may presently not look too encouraging, they will eventually change as a result of persistent efforts to drive such change.


    The abovementioned Open Access activities to be held next week at two Kenyan universities in Nairobi are two good examples for those drivers for change. Kenyatta University will be hosting an Open Access workshop for raising institutional awareness of its Open Access Repository Project. This will be achieved by running different sessions along the 1-week Open Access advocacy seminar for all involved stakeholders within the University: Library and ICT Staff, Researchers from various disciplines and the Kenyatta University Management Board. Also next week, the University of Nairobi will be holding a one day workshop for the University Management Board on Open Access and institutional repositories, paying especial attention to the policy strand. This event is part of the EIFL-funded Project “Knowledge without boundaries: Advocacy campaign in Kenya for OA and institutional repositories”.

    Maybe a bit more attention could be paid to Open Access advances in developing countries (even if stakeholders such as BMC and OKFN are already doing it, as well as UNESCO, IFLA and of course EIFL), since it may best serve those countries where severe restrictions to research information apply. Internet connectivity conditions permitting -still a pending issue in most African contries despite recent improvement- there will be some further reporting next week from Nairobi.


    Sunday, 5 August 2012

    Interesting times for Open Access



      Quite a heated discussion in Open Access circles has followed the recent release of the Finch Report on expanding access to published research findings in the UK and the endorsement by the UK Govenment and funders of its recommendation for making Gold Open Access the default standard for future scientific communication. The day after the UK Government announced it was assuming all but one Finch Report recommendations, the EC also adopted the Communication "Towards better access to scientific information: Boosting the benefits of public investments in research", in which a wider implementation of Open Access -both Gold and Green- to research publications and data was set as a goal for present FP7 and future Horizon2020 European research programmes.

    Although usually welcoming its implicit support of Open Access to research outputs, the Finch Report has been heavily criticized within the Open Access movement for not acknowledging the opportunities the available OA repository network and Green OA in general offer to achieve extended access to research publications. The cost of the proposed transition to a Gold OA model was claimed to be disproportionate and most fervid critics dubbed the Finch Report a result of sheer publisher lobbying, while moderate ones pointed out the proposed transition model was unfit for international adoption, especially in developing countries.

    However, proposing Gold OA as a default model for extending access to research is hardly a new argument. A couple of months ago at the PEER End-of-Project conference in Brussels -which incidentally had a wide number of publishers in the audience while practically no representatives of repository projects attended the event despite PEER involving both communities- the project managers highlighted one of PEER's main conclusions being that Green OA was not sufficiently popular among research authors and could therefore not be considered the best way for making research outputs widely available. Even if this conclusion may be considered biased and has also been extensively discussed, it is a fact that many researchers from various disciplines do not like open access repositories.

    Some of the most conspicuous voices within the Open Access movement do however seem to favour [otherwise perfectly justified] protest against Green OA not being accounted for over self-criticism and analysis of what the reasons are for researchers' frequent preference for open access journals instead of repositories and what steps could be taken in order to overcome such repository shortcomings. Besides criticism of the very expensive alternatives, a clearer lobbying effort would also be desirable for explaining evidence-based advantages of Green OA and the lines the repository community is currently working at in order to improve the user experience. There are very ambitious indeed repository-related projects going on at the moment -such as the UK RepositoryNet+ or OpenAIRE in the EU- aiming to enhance currently existing repository networks so they'll best suit researchers' needs by building upon already large previous experience.

    Having had the chance to extensively discuss with researchers what they do and what they don't like about repositories, there seem to be evident issues in the way these platforms have been developed that justify current distrust of them as sound research information sources by a significant numer of authors. Two of the main among these are the lack of metadata harmonisation and the lack of information about work versions filed in the repositories. Although their number is growing and various efforts are under way to improve this, still very few repositories are presently offering harmonised information about funding agencies and projects associated to specific papers or about the version of such papers that is filed in the repository. Other than that, insufficient information is available on the funder policy compliance rates and a significant effort remains to be done in the field of repository usage, where testing repository vs publisher usage for a given work could be quite revealing. All these lines are currently being dealt with by the abovementioned projects, and there will be interesting breakthroughs in coming months around repositories and Green OA.

    As for Gold OA, its strong backing by funders and the Government in the UK -as well as implicitly by publishers- opens the door for a gradual transition process (to be mainly but not only tested in the UK as for now) from a subscription-based model to another one relying on Author Processing Charges (APCs), to be increasingly dealt with at institutional level. Two main shortly-arriving outcomes of this transition process should be: (i) new publishing business models for institutional funding of access to research papers -with the RSC 'Gold for Gold' initiative showing the way ahead- and (ii) some standard way of dealing with APCs at institutional level being proposed - with the JISC/Wellcome Trust call for proposals regarding a role in managing payment of Open Access APCs being a first step along that line and initiatives such as Open Access Key (OAK) starting to offer such required services.

    These are undoubtedly very interesting times for following Open Access evolution -and the increasing impact of OA-related news in general-purpose media is a good evidence for that- and from a look at the detailed picture of Open Access in the UK recently provided by Nature it's not hard to conclude that Green OA and repositories are here to stay and that the transition process to a Gold OA-based publishing model is set to be a long and winding road.

    Sunday, 17 June 2012

    Addendum: la conferencia CRIS2012 y los sistemas CRIS en España


      Desde el punto de vista nacional, la conferencia CRIS2012 arroja algunos resultados positivos: la presencia de representantes de instituciones españolas se ha quintuplicado desde la anterior conferencia CRIS2010 de Aalborg, incluyendo en esta ocasión a la FECYT, así como centros de investigación y universidades en proceso de integración CRIS/repositorio institucional. Entre los avances pendientes, resta aún inaugurar el casillero de presentaciones en conferencias CRIS procedentes de instituciones españolas, estando la aportación nacional restringida por el momento a los euroCRIS membership meetings, donde el año pasado tanto OCU como Sigma realizaron ponencias sobre sus proyectos de desarrollo. Pese a que tanto la duración como el coste de la asistencia a estas conferencias CRIS justifican que no haya habido una presencia mayor este año, algunos de los proyectos presentados en la Jornada GrandIR sobre CRIS y repositorios celebrada el pasado noviembre en Barcelona habría podido perfectamente ser parte del programa de este CRIS2012. Esta situación de infrarrepresentación se equilibrará en todo caso en el próximo euroCRIS membership meeting de otoño a celebrar en Madrid el próximo mes de noviembre, en el que se mostrarán toda una serie de proyectos CRIS de instituciones y organismos en España.

    En relación con las cuestiones técnicas debatidas en el programa del evento, cabe mencionar que España como país sigue un camino algo diverso del resto: un proyecto puntero que despierta mucha curiosidad en otros países como el CV Normalizado (CVN) basado en la transferencia de datos desde los CRIS institucionales coexiste con un nivel de implementación de CRIS aún relativamente limitado. Por un lado comienzan a menudear los proyectos de integración CRIS/repositorio para los modelos más consolidados de CRIS (GREC, DRAC, Universitas XXI), y al mismo tiempo la implantación del estándar CERIF en dichos sistemas no ha comenzado aún a producirse en el país.

    No es que CERIF sea un estándar imprescindible para el desarrollo de CRIS eficientes -Italia por ejemplo tiene un indice muy elevado de implantación de CRIS institucionales y no están como norma basados en CERIF- pero a efectos de garantizar la interoperabilidad internacional y de incorporar los avances que vienen teniendo lugar en el diseño del modelo de datos de este Common European Research Information Format (incluyendo desarrollos para modelar el impacto social de una investigación o para codificar elementos adicionales de información tales como datos de investigación o research facilities o instalaciones de investigación disponibles), sería muy recomendable contar con al menos algún proyecto de ámbito nacional dedicado al análisis de requisitos para la migración de los modelos de datos actuales a CERIF.

    El próximo encuentro de otoño de miembros euroCRIS puede constituir una buena oportunidad para debatir si cabría plantearse una estrategia nacional de implantación de sistemas CRIS institucionales como proveedores normalizados de información sobre producción científica a efectos de su evaluación por parte del Ministerio, de manera similar a como se planifica este proceso en otros países europeos. Funcionalidades añadidas de interés general tales como el estándar ORCID de identificación persistente de autores podrían de hecho integrarse de modo natural en una estrategia de transferencia de información científica de ámbito nacional. Sería interesante en todo caso que alguna universidad o centro de investigación en España reaccionara a la oferta del consorcio ORCID para localizar instituciones interesadas en la implantación temprana de dicho estándar como parte del proceso de consolidación del mismo. En el euroCRIS membership meeting de Madrid habrá asimismo una sesión dedicada al debate sobre identificadores que puede ser el foro ideal para debatir esta materia, dado que se prevé que para el mes de noviembre ORCID se encuentre ya en servicio.

    Friday, 15 June 2012

    CRIS2012 Conference in Prague: Consolidating CRIS Infrastructure in Europe and the way beyond


      A very successful 11th International Conference on Current Research Information Systems (CRIS2012) was recently held in Prague (June 6-9th, 2012) under the motto “e-Infrastructures for Research and Innovation: Linking Information Systems to Improve Scientific Knowledge Production”. A record 154 representatives from 26 countries attended the most crowded euroCRIS biennial conference ever, and the number of submissions for the conference was also the highest so far (with the UK having the largest number of representatives at CRIS2012 and Norway the best rate of submission acceptance). The usual mix of very different professional profiles (researchers, funders, research managers, research office representatives, institutional repository managers, IT managers, developers...) that makes CRIS conferences so special was even further enriched at CRIS2012 by the large number of colleagues who were attending a CRIS conference for the first time.

    This event has indeed meant the maturity milestone for euroCRIS, the European Organisation for International Research Information that holds the CRIS conferences every two years (see report for CRIS2010 conference in Aalborg, Denmark at the SONEX blog). euroCRIS has just turned 10 years old as custodian of the Common European Research Information Format (CERIF) standard and as a key stakeholder in the promotion of CRIS Systems for an efficient Research Information Management in Europe and beyond.

    If the UK is known to be the most advanced European country in terms of CERIF-based CRIS implementation in HEIs (see recent report from Rosemary Russell, UKOLN), holding the CRIS2012 conference in an Eastern European contry offered the opportunity to realize how the highest momentum in National CRIS System development in Europe is shifting eastwards, with running or completed projects in Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic itself *.


    Official support to the CRIS2012 conference from the Research, Development and Innovation Council of the Czech Republic was in fact one of the key factors for the event being so successful, including a welcome address by the Czech Prime Minister (and President of the Research Council) at the euroCRIS membership meeting reception at Liechstenstein Palace in Prague. Last but not least, a real key contribution to a successful CRIS2012 was the brilliant event organisation provided by Jan Dvořák (InfoScience Praha s.r.o.) and his team.


    One of the main outcomes of the 4-day conference was in fact the announcement of the ongoing development of a DRIS or Directory of Research Information Systems which will collect information on running or in-progress CERIF-based CRIS Systems all around the world along with their features and best practices at their implementation and management. This DRIS should serve starting projects to check out for the best solutions and find institutions they may be interested in contacting for the purpose of developing and implementing their own CRIS. CRIS implementation time is a particularly interesting area, since there are large differences among institutions where CRISs are set up, and best practices and guidelines on institutional data collection could be very useful for those universities starting up with the process.

    A brief summary of the talks held along the week-long event should include (at least) three main strands as well as a reference to the evolving CERIF data model, currently at version 1.3 with in-progress work at 1.4 as presented by euroCRIS CERIF Task Group leader Brigitte Jörg. These three main strands are (i) added-value services on CRIS Systems, (ii) CRIS functionality extension to research data management and Linked Open Data and (iii) persistent identifier definition and implementation into the CERIF data model.

    1. Added-value services on CRISs
    As the number of both national and institutional CERIF-based CRIS steadily grows accross Europe, vendors and institutional IT services team up in order to identify new services the system could provide to researchers and institutions. Some of the proposals for enhanced CRIS interoperability and coverage were presented at CRIS2012, such as the JISC-funded CERIFy project for enabling a two-way CERIF-based data exchange between CRISs and Thomson Reuters InCites service or the 'Next-Generation CRIS' currently being developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). This project aims to extend CRIS functionality by providing Social Media features, access via mobile devices and advanced Business Intelligence tools for "making numbers talk" to research managers. Finally, semantics was often mentioned too as a relevant enhancement to CRIS systems at several CRIS2012 presentations.

    2. CRIS coverage extension to research data and LOD
    Research Data Management (RDM) is one of the areas where CRISs could be most useful to the international research community by enabling a systematic management of institutional research data outputs. In order to do so, the CERIF data model must however be previously extended so it's able to cover research data description and management. The CERIF for Datasets (C4D) Project funded by the JISC MRD Programme and led by the University of Sunderland in the UK is working to CERIFy research data and to enable its subsequent codification into CRISs, using marine sciences datasets and an enhanced version of the MEDIN metadata standard as a basis. Required metadata for data description were also analysed at the "Towards the integration of datasets in the CRIS environment" presentation by Italian IRPPS-CNR, which provided an overview of data archives featured in OpenDOAR that offer information about projects. The ENGAGE Project and its CERIF-based metadata approach for a Public Sector Information data infrastructure were introduced by Nikos Houssos, while CRIS enhancement through Linked Open Data features has been recently acknowledged as a relevant workline by euroCRIS through the creation of a specific LOD Task Group.

    3. Persistent identifier implementation into CERIF data model
    "The need for identifiers beyond systems is a global requirement but also relevant within organization boundaries spanning multiple systems. Various identifier initiatives and systems have started in the scientific domain and beyond. However, they have not yet achieved the required interoperability".
    This quotation from the presentation "Entities and Identities in Research Information Systems" delivered by Brigitte Jörg summarizes the much discussed need to integrate author, organisation and project persistent identifiers into CERIF in order to enable LOD-based approaches to succeed. After a first attempt at UUID-based persistent identifier codification was performed last February at the euroCRIS Task Group meeting in Bath, CRIS2012 featured a specific 'IDs, Disambiguation, Interoperation' session where ID implementation requirements were further discussed.

    Recently appointed ORCID Executive Director Laurel L. Haak was attending CRIS2012 and had the chance to describe the road ahead for ORCID implementation along the event. Once ORCID released its API earlier this year, its service will be launched along the 4th Quarter of 2012. Researchers will be able to create, manage and share their ORCID record for free at launch time, and ORCID is currently working with interested universities and research centres for signing agreements for early implementation at institutional level.

    An updated presentation of the ORCID initiative -as well as an insight on CERIF enhancement for integrating persistent identifiers- will be featured at the 'Topic session' devoted to Identifiers along the forthcoming Autumn 2012 euroCRIS membership meeting to be held in Madrid next November. A preliminary programme for the event is already available and free registration will soon be opened once CRIS2012 is over.


    CRIS2012 Prague closed with an outstanding social programme - including a boat cruise along the Vltava and the chance to attend various events at Museum Night Prague. Before that, IRPPS-CNR in Rome had been announced as the next host to the CRIS conference in 2014 and euroCRIS President Keith Jeffery delivered an inspired closing speech on the future of CRISs, CERIF and Research Information Management.

    Links to the slides of all presentations mentioned in this post will be offered as soon as they are made available online.



    * as well as northwards, with Sweden also implementing a National CRIS and Norway already operating CRIStin, while in Southern Europe, Italy has already used widely implemented institutional CRISs to collect the national research output earlier this year.

    Friday, 1 June 2012

    PEER End of Project Conference: a few reflections



      The fact that the PEER European Project (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) has managed to establish a fruitful communication channel between publishers and repositories was repeatedly highlighted along the PEER End of Project Conference held last Tue May 29th in Brussels. This ability for fostering a successful collaboration between stakeholders initially at conflicting positions is undoubtedly one of the main PEER outcomes and it would be good news for the Open Access movement as a whole if these communication channels could remain open in the future. As Norbert Lossau put it, favouring pragmatism over ideology could be very useful for jointly outlining evolving business models.

    The second most important achievement of the PEER project was being able to establish a tested publisher-repository transfer infrastructure which can be deployed beyond the project. A good number of PEER components and technical findings -such as the PEER Depot dark archive, adoption of the TEI format as an unique metadata interchange standard or SWORD as standard transfer protocol, the way usage is dealt with or the use of the GROBID component for automatic metadata extraction- are potentially re-usable for other ongoing or future publisher-driven transfer initiatives and especially valuable for automatic item transfer into repositories within an hegemonic Gold Open Access scenario that was also frequently predicted along the meeting.

    Additional publisher-driven deposit initiatives such as Japanese 'Zoological Science meets Institutional Repositories' were mentioned along the conference as well as COAR involvement in the interoperability strand pottentially offering opportunities for follow-up work. Besides that, the JISC-funded SONEX Group has repeatedly underlined along its analysis of deposit use-case scenarios the strong workflow similarities between PEER and the JISC Open Access Repository Junction (OA-RJ) Project carried out at EDINA in Edinburgh. The RJ Broker feature -which performs a very similar role to the PEER Depot 'moulinette'- is currently being enhanced and will shortly be offered as a service through the UK RepositoryNet+ Project.


    The figures associated to the PEER project are certainly impressive: 53,000 stage-two manuscripts (aka post-prints in SHERPA RoMEO terminology) from 241 journals published by 12 mainstream publishers were processed by the PEER Depot resulting in 22,500 EU manuscript deposits (including embargoed papers) released into six different IRs plus into a long-term preservation archive at the KB in The Hague. Two submission routes were designed: automatic publisher-driven deposit and 11,800 invitations to authors for self-archiving their papers, the latter one resulting in just 170 author deposits (or 0.2% of total PEER deposits).


    The large difference between deposit figures associated to the two deposit routes led PEER researchers to conclude that authors sympathise with OA but don't see self-archiving as their task, therefore "Green OA not being the key road to optimal scholar information systems". The PEER Usage research -one of the three research team projects within the PEER Research strand along with Behavioural and Economics research- proved also that although current findings reflect the position of a relatively early stage in PEER development, Open Access repositories are not really a threat to publishers (thus confirming the so-called "no effect" publisher hypothesis). In fact, making pre-prints visible in PEER repositories actually generates more traffic to publisher sites, although the ever growing rates of publisher downloads make it hard to supply an accurate measurement of the impact on publishers of post-print availability in repositories. Ian Rowlands from CIBER Research Ltd estimated that publisher full-text downloads increased by 11.4% as a result of earlier version of papers being available at the IR.

    Gold vs Green OA

    While testing Green Open Access and its economic consequences for the publishing ecosystem in Europe was the main PEER goal and Green OA was the preferred workline when the Project started back in Sep 2008, the Gold Open Access route seems nowadays to be winning hearts and minds of those trying to promote access to research output on a wide basis. PEER has produced quite a number of evidences on the fact that Green OA does not harm journals nor publishers, but in the meantime attention has shifted to Gold Open Access and hybrid journals as a way to ensure that final publisher/PDF versions of the papers are made available.

    This is probably the strongest argument in favour of Gold OA, but there are also very good ones that support Green OA. As a result, a lively debate is taking place these days inside the Open Access community on which OA model should receive main support from the government bodies. Many voices argue as well that both models should co-exist, as the research output coverage will be wider as a consequence. And there is finally an important fact to be accounted for after watching PEER result of 99.8 vs 0.2% automatic vs author-driven deposit: author self-archiving rates should not be systematically used as reliable indicators of the strength of Green OA, since there is nowadays a wealth of alternative ways to populate repositories that do not imply self-archiving obligations for authors. In fact CRIS systems, their integration with IRs and the resulting alternative workflows for content ingest into repositories were not mentioned at all last Tuesday despite having already been proved effective by a recently released UKOLN report. When trying to offer a fair estimation of Green OA relevance based on the wider deposit picture, the contribution to repository population from these alternative workflows should also be considered.

    Monday, 28 May 2012

    Conclusiones 5as Jornadas OS Repositorios (Bilbao, Mayo 23-25, 2012)



      Los pasados días 23 a 25 de mayo se celebró en la Escuela de Ingenieros de Bilbao de la Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU) una nueva edición de las Jornadas OS Repositorios, el evento de ámbito nacional más importante de la comunidad de acceso abierto y repositorios en España. En un momento en el que la infraestructura de repositorios de acceso abierto en España puede considerarse bastante consolidada, y en una situación económica que exige racionalizar costes e inversiones, esta quinta edición de las Jornadas, organizada conjuntamente por la UPV/EHU, la UNED y el Grupo Acceso Abierto liderado por Reme Melero, ha resultado más interesante aún si cabe que anteriores ediciones de las mismas. Se ofrecen a continuación algunas reflexiones sobre el evento a modo de conclusiones personales resultado de las conversaciones con compañeros de GrandIR, UPC, UPV/EHU, CSIC, UNED, UA y otra serie de instituciones.

    Aunque siguen presentándose en las jornadas repositorios institucionales de acceso abierto de nueva creación –tal como el Archivo Digital para la Docencia y la Investigación (ADDI) de la UPV/EHU que presentó su responsable Alcira Macías– son cada vez más abundantes las reflexiones del tipo "ya tenemos un repositorio consolidado: ¿qué hacemos a continuación?". Este fue el caso de Javier Gómez Castaño, manager del repositorio RUA de la Universidad de Alicante en su presentación "Facilitando el autoarchivo en el repositorio institucional: el caso de la Universidad de Alicante".

    Esta edición de las Jornadas, titulada "la motricidad de los repositorios de acceso abierto", ha ofrecido un buen número de respuestas a la pregunta de "y ahora, ¿qué hacemos?". Cabría sintetizar en tres grandes grupos las propuestas de avance debatidas a lo largo de las sesiones de estas 5as Jornadas:
    • Integración CRIS/IR e implementación de CERIF
    • Funcionalidades adicionales para los repositorios
    • Linked Open Data (LOD) & Research Data Management (RDM)

    1. La conferencia inaugural de Keith Jeffery, presidente de euroCRIS, estuvo dedicada en exclusiva a la integración de los repositorios de acceso abierto con los sistemas CRIS (Current Research Information Systems o Sistemas de Gestión de la Información Científica) y a la paulatina adopción de CERIF como estándar de descripción. En ella se describió la situación en el Reino Unido, el país europeo más avanzado en la implementación de CERIF y de los sistemas CRIS como consecuencia de su utilidad para el cumplimiento del ejercicio de evaluación de la actividad científica Research Excellence Framework (REF) que tendrá lugar en 2014.


    Keith habló de la integración de los sistemas CRIS, los repositorios de publicaciones y los repositorios de datos y software como modelo de desarrollo de la infraestructura institucional que puede prestar un servicio más completo a los investigadores, y proporcionó una serie de justificaciones sobre por qué CERIF es más apropiado como estándar de descripción de objetos que DublinCore, mencionando entre otros la ambigüedad entre autor e institución en dc.creator, las relaciones insuficientemente precisas a nivel general y la semántica y la sintaxis poco evolucionadas.

    Asimismo Keith describió el modelo Gold Open Access al que parece tender el mercado como económicamente insostenible para las bibliotecas de las instituciones con elevado volumen de publicaciones y abogó en su lugar por un alejamiento del modelo basado en los artículos de revista para volver hacia "algo similar al modelo Philosophical Transactions", con comunicaciones más en la línea de blogs y "conversaciones científicas".

    A lo largo del keynote speech se describió también cómo los modelos más avanzados de sistemas CRIS en el Reino Unido están incorporando las funcionalidades de los repositorios institucionales hasta hacerlos redundantes y llegar eventualmente a plantearse su retirada de servicio. Finalmente, el take-home message de la conferencia inaugural fue que para el usuario final lo fundamental es la prestación del servicio que necesita, y no tanto el modo en que se configura la arquitectura de las plataformas de datos que hacen posible dicho servicio.

    Todos estos temas volverán a tratarse de manera más amplia a principios de junio en la próxima conferencia CRIS2012 en Praga y en el Autumn 2012 euroCRIS membership meeting en Madrid el próximo mes de noviembre, en la que se abordará asimismo el nivel de avance de la implementación de sistemas CRIS en España.


    2. Funcionalidades adicionales para los repositorios. Una vez consolidados los repositorios como sistemas de gestión y difusión de la producción científica, cabe plantearse su utilización como puerta de entrada de funcionalidades novedosas a los sistemas institucionales de gestión de la información científica. Entre estos nuevos servicios cabe citar la introducción de esquemas internacionales de identificación persistente de autores e instituciones como ORCID (abordada en la presentación de la Fundación DIALNET por Eduardo Bergasa), la normalización de las estadísticas de uso a nivel nacional e internacional, el progreso de la incorporación de contenidos OpenAIRE a los múltiples repositorios que cumplen ya sus directrices en España (ambos aspectos mencionados por Pedro Príncipe, Universidade do Minho, y por Cristina González Copeiro, FECYT) o el desarrollo de vocabularios controlados que puedan facilitar la alineación de los contenidos en torno a directrices temáticas tal como explicó Leticia Barrionuevo, gestora del repositorio Bulería de la Universidad de León.

    Diversas ponencias a lo largo de las jornadas hicieron énfasis también en la conveniencia de desarrollar funcionalidades de redes sociales sobre los repositorios de acceso abierto, en la línea de soluciones como ResearchGate que permite la implantación de alertas temáticas y de grupos de discusión científica en torno a aspectos concretos.


    3. Linked Open Data (LOD)/Research Data Management (RDM). Estos dos temas, y más en general la cuestión de la gestión de los datos de investigación por parte de las instituciones fueron repetidamente abordados por diversos ponentes en las Jornadas. Aunque no hubo consenso respecto a la conveniencia de poner en marcha iniciativas RDM a nivel institucional en tanto no se obtengan garantías de una financiación específica y sostenida de las mismas, hubo un amplio debate sobre las políticas y la infraestructura a desarrollar en este ámbito.

    Entre las presentaciones que abordaron la gestión de los datos cabe destacar la de Alvaro Rodríguez Miranda, del Laboratorio de Documentación Geométrica del Patrimonio (LDGP) de la UPV/EHU en Vitoria, que presentó una iniciativa pionera de archivo de datos de patrimonio en el repositorio institucional ADDI y la de Alicia García, Universidad Católica de Valencia, que presentó el portal ODiSEA, un directorio internacional de repositorios de datos. Tanto Pedro Príncipe como Cristina González Copeiro hablaron de OpenAIREplus, el proyecto-continuación de la Comisión Europea para extender OpenAIRE al ámbito de la RDM siguiendo el modelo ‘Enhanced publications’, y Jordi Serrano (SBD-UPC) y Ricard de la Vega (CESCA), miembros ambos del Grupo de Trabajo FECYT/Recolecta sobre Repositorios de Datos, estuvieron particularmente activos en el debate sobre gestión de datos de investigación.

    Por su parte, Tránsito Ferreras, repository manager del repositorio Gredos de la Universidad de Salamanca, presentó la ponencia "Influencia de Linked Open Data sobre repositorios Open Access: Un caso práctico", en la que introdujo las iniciativas LOD que está poniendo en marcha el equipo de Gredos para adoptar el modelo de datos de Europeana (EDM). También Alicia López Medina, UNED y Directora Ejecutiva de COAR, mencionó varias veces a lo largo de sus intervenciones que los contenidos de los repositorios deben exponerse a los proveedores de servicios como un conjunto de objetos digitales complejos con enlaces internos entre sí que dichos proveedores puedan emplear como base para sus desarrollos.

    Reseñar por último como momentos destacados de estas 5as Jornadas la presentación retrospectiva de la historia del evento OS Repositorios desde su arranque en diciembre de 2006 en Zaragoza por parte de Reme Melero y la iniciativa pionera de programar presentaciones pecha kucha en la sesión de intervenciones breves. A este respecto, nos atrevemos a hacer desde aquí dos sugerencias: primera, la creación de un sitio web permanente de las Jornadas OS Repositorios en la que se recopilen materiales tales como un histórico de presentaciones cada vez más difíciles de rastrear en Internet. Y segunda, la creación de un premio a la mejor presentación pecha kucha –que GrandIR estaría por su parte encantada de patrocinar– que fijaría por un lado la atención de la audiencia que ha de seleccionar la mejor presentación, y estimularía también el espíritu competitivo de los ponentes.

    Tuesday, 22 May 2012

    EIFL Workshop on Open Archives in Monastir



      GrandIR has just taken part in the 'Atélier sur les archives ouvertes' organised last week (May 14-15) in Monastir, Tunisia, by EIFL for promotion and dissemination of Open Access and Open Archives in the Maghreb countries. This workshop was held in the framework of the European Tempus ISTeMag Project for improving access to Scientific and Technical Information in the Maghreb universities. Led by the Université Libre de Bruxelles, this project features twelve universities and research centres in Tunisie, Algeria and Morocco among its partners. As a consequence, the Open Archives workshop in Monastir was well attended by over 30 Maghrebi librarians, developers, research officers, project coordinators and policymakers from all three countries.

    Iryna Kuchma, EIFL Open Access Programme Manager, designed a comprehensive programme for the event along with the Tempus project coordinators. The programme covered all aspects of Open Archives, from its benefits to research activity to the obstacles faced for seting them up, from the strategies to develop a repository to copyright, marketing, policies and best practices. In order to provide the expertise, EIFL recruited a few European colleagues who delivered presentations and acted as facilitators for the group debates. Among these experts were Jean-François Lutz, Head of Digital Library at the Université de Lorraine and Pablo de Castro, Director of GrandIR.

    There were several group sessions along the 2-day event, in which representatives of various professional profiles from different institutions -and often different countries- engaged in a lively debate and discussed their complementary approaches to specific aspects of Open Access policies, content gathering or marketing activities. Since ISTeMag has already held previous meetings to examine the different aspects of access to scientific and technical information (the most recent one took place last November in Algiers), workgroups discussions were in some sense a follow-up to a more general debate on access.

    A Moroccan colleague kindly shared a ranking of universities in the Maghreb countries along the event - featured below. It's interesting to see that there are six Tunisian universities in the top ten, and that three of these top ten-ranked universities are partners in the Tempus ISTeMag Project (two Tunisian, Sfax and Monastir, and one Moroccan one, Marrakesh-Cadi Ayyad). It's also worth mentioning that having an open archive or institutional repository in place will significantly improve the position of a university in these rankings (see also in this regard the Top Africa section in the Web Ranking of World Universities released every six months by the CCHS-CSIC Cybermetrics Lab in Madrid, in which Maghreb universities could probably do better in a global African context).


    There are already a few running Open Access repositories in Maghreb countries, with many more in project or in pre-production stages, but there is still a long way to go until the region reaches the level of infrastructure available in other countries in the continent such as Egypt, Ghana or Kenya. The main effort in terms of research output Open Access dissemination is currently being made on theses and dissertations. In fact the three national coordination organisations, the IMIST (Institut marocaine de l'information scientific et technique) in Morocco, the CERIST (Centre de Recherche en Information Scientifique et Technique) in Algeria, and the CNUDST (Centre National Universitaire de Documentation Scientifique et Technique) in Tunisia have already started building their national platforms for dissertations: Toubk@l in Morocco and in-progress platforms for Tunisia and Algeria. This policy of focusing on theses has similarly been aplied at European universities, but then repository managers should keep in mind they're aiming to collect research papers and other high-value institutional research outputs as well, so their visibility will be enhanced as a result. Dissertations being intellectual property of the universities and not always requiring to ask researchers for their permission for offering them online, part of the challenges of Open Access dissemination are rather easily tackled, but then there is no Open Access advocacy carried out and it won't be so easy to extend content gathering to the materials most valued by researchers everywhere.

    Efforts like the Tunisian E-doc Université Virtuelle de Tunis (UVT) EPrints-based repository or the Algerian Dépot Numérique de l'Université d'Alger DSpace-based archive are pioneering IR initiatives that are also being mirrored in many other institutions in the Maghreb. As a consequence of the work of this ISTeMag Group on Open Archives, a network of institutional repositories in the Maghreb universities could soon be available.


    Friday, 30 March 2012

    Raising visibility of repository contents for internet users


      Nowadays it has become commonplace to criticize institutional repositories for their lack of content specificity: you can't tell what version of the document is being made available, there is a lot of materials of insufficient quality in there, everything's mixed up, etc. When one has devoted a good part of one's professional career to develop such useful resources, this criticism is a bit painful to take. It's true IRs have weaknesses, even lots of weaknesses, but there is quite a number of people across the world working to solve them and to improve IR content quality and description. And IRs do have a decent collection of advantages alright - that should also be acknowledged to be fair. I shall now highlight one of those advantages, incidentally not even the most important one.

    This morning I was looking for some bibliography on research data management performed via institutional repositories for a report I'm currently working at. So I googled research data management institutional repositories and this is what I got:


    The reference that caught my attention was of course the one with the red square around it: seems to be called Institutional Repositories and Research Data and seems to be coming from Purdue University Library in the US, although the exact source is difficult to tell from the URL there: docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?...research.

    When I opened it I was simply delighted to find this "Institutional Repositories and Research Data Curation in a Distributed Environment" report by Michael Witt and I was also quite amazed to see its publication date - there are clearly several speeds out there in research data management implementation.


    When trying to figure out how to cite this report I suddenly became aware of the document head: Purdue University, Purdue ePubs, Libraries research Publications, Purdue Libraries. Had this document by any chance been retrieved from an Institutional Repository? So I checked the footnote: "This document has been made available through Purdue e-Pubs, a service of the Purdue University Libraries. Please contact epubs@purdue.edu for additional information". I was simply ecstatic.


    I remember having had this discussion about inserting document covers into repository contents more than once when I worked as IR manager. The arguments for not doing it were always the same: we do have too many documents in the repository by now to start re-processing them all and we should instead focus on getting even more of them filed into the IR. These are quite good arguments indeed, but it's the kind of argument that lead to the issues we're now bitterly complaining about. It's a fact that IRs can be properly managed, that a great improvement in description standards has taken place and that there is a still a long way to go until we reach a consensus on a description standard that can please researchers. But not too many IRs that I know of have implemented this rather simple strategy of providing their documents a cover so that users will be able to identify their source and subsequently give it some credit. Of course there are lots of exceptions to this -if you're in the UK or the US you will say that's something every average repository has already cared for, see for instance this example from Enlighten repository in Glasgow or this other one from the LSE repo in London- but I'd say most IRs, even top-ranked ones, lack this small but very useful feature - since given the joint Open Access repository content figures nowadays, the repository+google/googlescholar combination is pretty much unbeatable. I would even dare to suggest some kind of harmonised international seal for identifying reliable research content coming from an institutional repository from their very cover - so that the user will be able to give credit where credit is due.

    Let me finish this piece of advocacy with a recommendation to read the abovementioned Purdue University Library report to any colleague interested in potential opportunities for starting out research data management initiatives from the University Library.

    Thursday, 22 March 2012

    Alicia López Medina appointed as new COAR Executive Director


      The International Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) was launched last October 2009 in Ghent with the aim of providing the framework for a global repository organisation. After the DRIVER European project succeeded in building up a network of European scientific Open Access repositories, COAR took over the challenge of extending such network to other continents. With an increasing number of members and partners across the world, COAR is gradually and steadily spreading its network through Asia and Latin America, as well as signing cooperation agreements with international organisations such as SPARC or LIBER.


    The recently published COAR Newsletter No. 2 (Mar 2012) announced COAR Executive Board decision to appoint Alicia López Medina (Universidad Española de Educación a Distancia, UNED) as the new Executive Director of COAR.

    An opportunity showed up recently to talk to Alicia -whom we warmly congratulate for her new position- on her new duties and responsibilities as Head of COAR. A brief summary of the conversation follows:

    What are the most relevant COAR short-term goals as of today?

    There are several worklines COAR will focus on in upcoming months. We want to keep on spreading the organization member and partner network throughout the world as successfully as we have done so far. Partnerships will allow COAR to engage with other international organisations for extending and enhancing joint coordination activities. Besides that, COAR Working Groups are progressing with their tasks for supporting OA repositories in various ways – with repository interoperability as a particularly relevant objective. Finally, as a truly international organization, we consider the contents COAR produces should be available in the languages of the participanting geographical areas, so we will make a strong effort to ensure that.

    The Research Information Management community seems to be increasingly relying on non-profit consortia for its development- with organisations such as COAR, euroCRIS or, more recently, ORCID. A common challenge to these organisations is their sustainability and their ability to find a specific business model that ensures it. How is COAR planning to operate in this regard?

    Regarding COAR business model -which I’d rather call sustainable operational model- the COAR Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2012, to be held next May in Uppsala, will extensively deal with this issue. We consider that it should be based on both an enlargement of the membership basis and on signing of agreements with relevant international partners. The output from COAR Working Group activities may play a relevant role as well.

    COAR is developing its network in a particularly effective way in Latin America. Why is it that a region where the implementation of an Open Access repository network is a rather recent initiative is engaging so strongly with COAR?

    COAR has been making a strong and persistent effort to engage with the dynamic Latin American Open Access repository community. As a result of this effort, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed last May 2011 with RedClara and Colabora regional networks.

    There are multiple reasons for this synergy between COAR and the Latin American OA Repository Network - see the interview with my colleague Dr. Norbert Lossau [Chair of COAR Executive Board] at the Dec 2011 edition of the DeCLARA Newsletter [p. 13] for a comprehensive account of them. Among these I’d highlight the RedClara BID-BPR Project 'Regional Strategy and Interoperability and Management Frameworks for a Latin American Federated Scientific Institutional Repository Network' which was recently awarded funding by the Regional Public Goods Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and which currently makes Latin America the most active region in the world in terms of repository network building. This project represents a very good opportunity for applying repository coordination and interoperability guidelines right from the start of the network development. Besides that, I would also like to acknowledge the effort carried out by the Latin American repository community, whose representatives were keen to join forces with COAR for pursuing common objectives.

    COAR is currently carrying out its activity through three Working Groups: WG1 Repository content, WG2 Repository interoperability and WG3 Repository and Repository Network support and training. Do you think COAR could become as successful as DRIVER was in implementing common working strategies in these areas?

    COAR is actually a DRIVER follow-up initiative, and at the same time a more sustainable organization than DRIVER –a two-phase European Project– ever was. If the DRIVER guidelines were very successful in building up an Open Access scientific repository network in Europe, COAR is aiming to extend that network across the world. COAR objectives do also cover aspects that were not directly addressed by DRIVER, such as repository interoperability.

    In this regard, the COAR Interoperability Project, which aims to provide a high-level overview of interoperability of Open Access repositories, identify the major issues and challenges that need to be addressed, stimulate the engagement of the repository community and launch a process that will lead to the establishment of a COAR roadmap for repository interoperability, is presently our main technical workline.

    Finally, to answer your question, we’d certainly be very happy indeed if the various COAR initiatives could match DRIVER success and we aim to work hard to achieve that goal.

    Monday, 19 March 2012

    Creciente adopción de CERIF como estándar de trabajo en la implantación de Sistemas CRIS



      Con fecha 15 de marzo se ha publicado por parte de Rosemary Russell, del Centro UKOLN de la Universidad de Bath, la versión completa del informe "Adopción de CERIF en universidades británicas: una panorámica". Este informe analiza la creciente aplicación del estándar CERIF (Formato Común Europeo de Información Científica, Common European Research Information Format) en las universidades británicas como base para la implantación de sistemas CRIS (Sistemas de Información Científica en Curso, Current Research Information Systems).


    El estudio identifica cinco áreas de uso de CERIF (Plataformas CRIS en universidades, Proyectos del Joint Information Systems Committee-JISC, Repositorios institucionales interoperables con sistemas CRIS, Agencias de financiación y Editores internacionales) y encuentra que 51 instituciones en el Reino Unido están trabajando a día de hoy con sistemas CRIS basados en CERIF, lo que corresponde a un 30.7% de adopción de CERIF como estándar.

    El informe analiza asimismo el proceso de implantación de sistemas CRIS en las universidades, con las dificultades asociadas a la intervención de múltiples departamentos en el proceso. Otros aspectos examinados son la distribución de la responsabilidad de la gestión del sistema CRIS en diferentes universidades, la percepción de los implementadores sobre CERIF y su trabajo de persuasión sobre diversas instacias académicas para que el sistema CRIS no se limite a ser una herramienta ad-hoc más para dar solución a los retos que plantea el próximo ciclo de evalución de la actividad científica en universidades (REF, Research Excellence Framework) que tendrá lugar en 2014.

    Según las previsiones, se realizará una nueva "fotografía" del nivel de implentación de CERIF en las universidades del Reino Unido -en permanente evolución- en el plazo de un año.




    Thursday, 15 March 2012

    Sobre PEER y awareness-raising


      Publica Ángel Borrego (Departamento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación de la Universitat de Barcelona) en el Blok de BiD un extenso e interesante comentario sobre el informe final "PEER Behavioural Research: Authors and Users vis-à-vis Journals and Repositories". Siguen a continuación algunas consideraciones adicionales al respecto, quizá un tanto extensas para incluirlas como comentario al post:

    Además de etiquetar las versiones de los trabajos especificando claramente si se trata de la versión publicada o de alguna clase de versión intermedia -algo que se está haciendo cada vez más sistemáticamente- los repositorios institucionales harían bien en distinguir con claridad su sección científica de la de 'otros materiales académicos' (incluyendo por ejemplo fondos patrimoniales). Esto es algo sobre lo que primero DRIVER y más adelante OpenAIRE han hecho notable hincapié, tratando de identificar repositorios con infraestructura científica para el Espacio Europeo de Investigación. La perspectiva desde las bibliotecas universitarias no suele ser sin embargo tan unánime al respecto, y sería quizá ahí donde habría que comenzar una labor de difusión eficaz de lo que son y pretenden los repositorios institucionales.

    Por otro lado, en relación con los conocimientos sobre acceso abierto y repositorios de los autores/investigadores, así como sobre su valoración de los mismos como herramientas de difusión de su producción científica, queda claramente mucho camino aún por andar. No obstante, muchos repositorios han alcanzado ya el suficiente grado de consolidación como para poder presentarse como una sólida infraestructura científica institucional en los congresos científicos, facilitando así su conocimiento por parte de los investigadores (véase por ejemplo este 'Computer applications and quantitative methods in Archaeology 2012' que se celebrará próximamente en Southampton con un notable énfasis en aspectos relacionados con el acceso a las publicaciones, sobre todo en el ámbito de datos de investigación).


    Finalmente comentar que además de estos aspectos relacionados con el awareness-rising, el proyecto PEER tiene interesantísimas cuestiones que debatir respecto a la interoperabilidad de repositorios y las oportunidades y los retos técnicos que plantea la transferencia de contenido entre plataformas (en el caso de PEER desde plataformas de editores hacia repositorios). Con COAR y el Grupo SONEX trabajando ya sobre estas cuestiones de interoperabilidad, la Conferencia fin de proyecto de PEER del próximo 29 de mayo en Bruselas puede ser una excelente oportunidad para una nueva entrada sobre PEER, sea en el propio Blok o en algún otro foro.

    Wednesday, 14 March 2012

    Por qué un Blog de GrandIR


      La comunidad de repositorios de acceso abierto cuenta ya con numerosos medios de transmisión de información relacionada con la disciplina: desde listas de distribución como OS Repositorios y LLAAR hasta blogs específicamente dedicados como el Blog del repositorio RUA de la Universidad de Alicante o el Blok de BiD de la Universitat de Barcelona, pasando por un elevado número de newsletters, tales como el de SPARC o el de Peter Suber. La cantidad de recursos de información es de hecho tan numerosa que se hace difícil en ocasiones encontrar tiempo para estar al día de todas las novedades.

    Y sin embargo, hay muchas actividades y convocatorias que permanecen sin cubrir a nivel de comentario o reflexión en el panorama del acceso abierto por falta de ventanas y de rapporteurs. Hay muchos proyectos apasionantes de los que casi nadie ha oído hablar en el ámbito porque se están desarrollando en comunidades concomitantes con la del acceso abierto pero faltan los puentes que las comuniquen. Muchos debates enriquecedores que se quedan sin desarrollar, a menudo por falta de tiempo, pero también porque los medios disponibles no son los más apropiados.

    Este Blog de GrandIR nace así con la pretensión de contribuir a difundir reflexiones e iniciativas que puedan favorecer el debate en el seno de la comunidad. Como tal Blog de GrandIR, los contenidos serán mayoritariamente aportados -en cualquier idioma, preferentemente en inglés o castellano- por los integrantes de la spin-off GrandIR, pero el blog estará abierto a comentarios y eventualmente a posts invitados de otros miembros de la comunidad de acceso abierto.

    GrandIR: Who we are


      GrandIR startup was founded on Dec 2010 by three collegues from the Carlos III University Library in Madrid, Spain. Their goal was to provide technical services for implementing Research Information Management Solutions (mainly Open Access repositories) to the community of universities and research centres in Spain and beyond. The challenge lies in providing these technical services in an agile way from outside the institutions, playing the role of a reliable technical partner with regard to them - not just for dealing with specific technical issues, but also for doing joint scholarly work and project bids.


    As of March 2012, GrandIR are:

    Pablo de Castro, BSc in Physics, is Director and co-founder of GrandIR. He previously worked in communication and dissemination tasks for the e-archivo Institutional Repository (IR) team at the Carlos III University Library in Madrid. He also managed the Digital.CSIC project for setting up and developing an IR at the Spanish National Research Council/Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). Since June 2009, he coordinates the JISC-funded SONEX Workgroup for Scholarly Output Notification & EXchange, which performs analysis of interoperability issues with regard to research information systems.

    Mariano Navarro, GrandIR co-founder and Technology Manager, is Engineer in Computer Science. He previously worked at the Computer Support Service for the Carlos III University Library and in the Bank Management System sector. He contributes extensive expertise in programming and administration environments, as well as wide skills in the installation, customization and administration of content management platforms. As GrandIR Technnology Manager, he is in charge of providing the required support for specific technical challenges - relying for this purpose on a network of external collaborators when required.

    Miguel Almazán, GrandIR co-founder and Webmaster, studies Communication Systems Engineering at UC3M. Having also worked at the Carlos III University Library, he provides a technical and a content-oriented background at the same time. He currently deals with GrandIR website and social network profile maintenance while supplying additional technical expertise on development work.