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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

JISC report on digital repositories

Rachel Heery and Sheila Anderson, Digital Repositories Review, JISC, February 19, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) Digital Repositories Programme is initiating a programme of work to assist deployment of digital repositories within the learning and research communities. This review is intended to provide useful background information for participants in this call....The recommendations made by this report are based both on a review of current activity and on contacts made with a number of interested parties....Scholars need to share their research results (and the data these are based upon) more quickly and easily than is available to them through the usual publishing route and are therefore arguing that their publications should be deposited in e-print repositories, and the underlying data in either institutional or subject repositories for sharing with others. However it seems that this is sporadic and more advanced in some subject areas than others. In the research context, scholars are more likely to think along subject lines and to share, and indeed be working with colleagues based at different institutions nationally and globally....

'Concluding Recommendations....[3] Repository developments should demonstrably be set within the strategic aims of the host institutions or funding bodies and clearly relate to the strategic aims and objectives of the organisation bidding for funds buy-in from institutional and other senior management must be assured for future sustainability. For example, JISC should consider funding projects seeking to use e-print repositories to support the RAE process. [4] Repository developments should, depending upon their primary focus, relate to the processes and practices of research, teaching or learning buy-in from the community is unlikely to be extensive unless this happens. JISC should identify current practice of researchers, teachers and learners, and seek to base services on supporting their needs. [5] Support for the research infrastructure should be undertaken in collaboration with the Research Councils and in particular, with the RCUK Digital Curation and Archiving Working Group....[7] Continued support will be required for establishing institutional repositories JISC may wish to consider funding a co-ordinating 'focus' initiative to provide technical support and support with policy and advocacy issues. [8] A different kind of support may be required for those institutions unable to provide their own repository infrastructure. JISC may want to consider providing a national service that smaller and less well funded institutions could use to provide repository services and functions on their behalf. JISC. [9] As more and more content becomes available it will become increasingly important to join-up content held in different places. JISC may want to consider funding projects that seek to find and link content held in different types of repository e.g. e-prints with data; learning objects with publications, and to investigate the challenges posed. [10] JISC should consider funding further technical development to support the provision of additional repository services. These could include 'smart tools' for automatic data extraction, automatic classification etc....[11] JISC should also address the issue of sustainability of repository software. [12] JISC should consider further work on IPR and authentication/authorisation mechanisms that would allow some content to be widely shared, and others to be available to more limited groups e.g. students studying on a particular course, or colleagues working on a research project. [13] JISC should consider investigating how more informal networks for sharing content and pre-prints might be supported, and mechanisms for incorporating shared content into a more managed repository framework at some point in the lifecycle.'

Also see the report's Annex 1 (Focus Group Report), Annex 2 (Software Developers Survey), and Annex 3 (Teaching and Learning Perspective).