Christina's LIS Rant
Monday, October 22, 2007
  ASIST2007: The Future of Institutional Repositories
The Future of Institutional Repositories: The experts and audience debate
Sunday, October 21, 2007, 1pm

Robin Peek, Simmons
Dorothea Salo, MINES at UW
Sarah Shreeves, IDEALs at UIUC
Leslie Chan, Toronto, T-Space

(maybe Michael Leach, his plane is late)

Soo Young Rieh – MIRACLE project

R.P – OA the drama of it all.{PRISM’s motto could be all will be ok if you make oa go away}
Appropriations bill through the House for NIH to require open access. Last week, statement from White House threatening to veto this bill (not for oa reasons).

D.S. – 2 scenarios for how OAs will be in 10 years. Rosy view – OAs hitch their wagons to cyberinfrastructure, data curation, escience movements and support this work and integrate into this movement. Pessimistic scenario – OAs happy talk themselves out of existence, not understood, not resourced, running on poor platforms, Eclectic collections are a strength. Repositories are better placed to make the changes in scholarly communication work for libraries.

S.S. – 10 years is a really long time. Most research universities will have IRs. IRs will go in several different directions: historical collections and records, on piece of a suite of services in scholarly communication, a focus on both. Increasing number of institutions who abandon their IRs – but this is problematic due to promises made upon start up. More consortia to save resources. Reliant on colleague librarians be part of the IR project, are educated in scholarly communication, and are active in outreach efforts to faculty.

audience q: do you think one of the reasons IRs haven’t been successful is that they’re in the library, or are library-based instead of community based.

L.C. -- the more successful IRs are those that have a clear mandate, not the ones who are keeping up with the Joneses. Mandates can make a huge difference. Specialized vs. distributed repositories (PubMed Central vs. a diversity of smaller ones such as molecular biology and astro ones). Scholarly societies should view IRs as opportunities rather than threats. In the case of anthro – very mobile, and may not be affiliated with a large institution so this is more important to have a place to archive data, publications, etc. Why couldn’t AAA develop a harvester to grab things from IRs, from museums, from NIH, and from subscription info to make a better resource. Green and Gold, but also capturing the gray literature.

D.S. – community based is great, but need the library colleagues to get the conversation started.

S.S. – they tried at UIUC to make researcher pages where faculty could make portfolios and link to work both in and outside the repository but these haven’t been heavily used. This has only worked when she has done the deposit for the faculty member. She also has support from the office of the provost. Subject liaisons are so critical to making those connections

q from the audience: is the reason the faculty isn’t depositing things themselves related to the non-usability of the software

SS – we’ve done a lot to try to make it easier. Faculty are uploading things to their disciplinary repositories. Working on trying to get citations off of annual reports, but that’s complicated.

RP – I find it difficult for myself to remember about pre-prints, post-prints, permissions

L.C. – mandates are happening more and more. In Europe and the UK there are more policies to require. Scholarly societies.

SR – I’m on the board of d-list, but I find it difficult to put information there. If you put things in and IR what value are you adding? What is the service model? Shift from getting content to providing a service.

SS – so shift to a model where services are offered, depositing to disciplinary, doing this consulting service, doing data curation, etc.

SR – colleges are emphasizing teaching materials and students work which seems valuable

Audience comment – supports projects on Wisconsin Center for (?), he ingests about 15k digital objects a month, all types of items. He is central to all of the information services, he deals with copyright, he can surface whatever information is necessary, it relies on how it supports the work.

RP – it can’t interfere with my work. We’ve missed something by considering IRs as something different. We are different but we can still learn from electronic publishing or digital libraries research. We’re not taking lessons that came before us, we’re siloed.

Audience – this seems like a lot of what was coming out of the Rochester study, that the faculty wanted a collaborative effort

question on developing countries
LC – moral obligation to create, share, disseminate knowledge. A lot of research is being published in journals that aren’t accessible.

my question: wouldn’t it be better to increase participation in publisher’s access to developing countries for better quality access.

LC – missing research that is relevant to health concerns in the southern countries. quality is building, getting people together to control quality and vet materials. Relevance has to be addressed.
Comment from audience – are these publisher systems sustainable? the coverage isn’t complete.

{as both KT and I wanted to point out immediately – this whole relevance thing is baloney. If that’s all we’re publishing, then that’s all that will go in our IRs as well as our journals. New journal from BioMed Central (I think) on neglected diseases}

LC – there won’t be any access to backfiles
SS – personal experience in Kampala Uganda. They have and IR that was set up for them by Bergen. They are excited about sharing results. Dspace is unreliable for them, they don’t have the expertise to maintain it, bandwidth is sorely lacking. They’ve decided to use it for internal knowledge sharing. Still having issues getting faculty to deposit. We’re not helping the bandwidth, it can take the better part of a day to download a pdf.

LC – a pdf isn’t free if you have to pay for an hour to download it. Try to band together and create a consortium for infrastructure. Program in Brazil where they can give a server with all of the software pre-installed and then the central university technical office can support.

audience – are there attitudes on the behalf of the faculty?

RP – “I have everything I need, there’s nothing in my world I can’t get”. It’s hard to get researchers at top schools to buy in because it’s additional effort. Estimates that it takes 5-10 minutes are way underestimating what it takes someone who doesn’t understand metadata, copyright rules, etc.

Funding sustainability – how will IRs be funded in the long run
DS – DASER, Stevan Harnad said if libraries drop the ball, where is open access going to find another sucker? Could cyberinfrastructure go to OAs and that’s a model. Consortia – yes, to a certain extent, but a lot of the marketing, training, etc., has to be done on a local level. You still have to allocate resources for staff, etc.

RP – not reasonable to have an IR for every institution. There are so many other things to do with IT on campuses.

LC – consortia, senior policy makers understand that it’s a fundamental thing for scholarly research.

SS – if we can present IRs as a set of services…don’t advertise the IR as IR, but as a service

S.R. – in their survey, where did your funding come from. Most time, did it without any resource planning (oh, it’s open source). ARL directors started this and use dspace. Smaller universities use ProQuest and other packages because they can’t support the programming. They didn’t have a long term funding model and they didn’t think it would be that costly.

question from audience – what about outsourcing? how would that make you feel if it were a purchased service so the technical part was outsourced.

SS – there is outsourcing going on. The digital commons software (was ProQuest but is now back to bepress?). With outsourcing what commitments are you making when outsourcing? Not saying I wouldn’t trust a vendor, but you’ve got to look at the agreement. (trustworthy repository checklist?)

DS – technical work is the least of it, it’s everything else that takes the work.

Parting shots:
LC – google is the elephant in the room, offering to digitize our materials but keep the copies. our students might put their stuff everywhere, like youtube, etc., but not in the IR.

SS – services. do a better job of respecting disciplinary differences when talking to faculty (see history faculty). easier to convince a department head than an individual faculty member. Promotion of the college. An area ripe for discussion is the place for IRs in supporting small science and interdisciplinary scientists. Long term planning is required, these are infrastructure.

DS – IRs are in trouble. Original paradigm in trouble – view of donations by voluntary faculty who would push buttons on their own. We need to find better approaches to content recruitment. How can we invent workflows to get content. Capture deposits to SSRN and Arxiv. Capture publications made in IEEE journals that allow self archiving.

RP – IR model was a good experiment. Some things we try will fail, but that’s how we’ll learn.

audience question: IR is an alternate publishing model, can we learn from what publishers have done, it will cost us a lot more to add these additional services on.

RP – mistake #1, should never have given the impression that it would be free. We don’t teach people how to be publishers.

LC – new systems for quality and peer review. PLOSone.

SS – report on university presses had some interesting suggestions for how libraries could partner with them

audience q – is anyone doing anything at fedora.

DS – fedora is difficult to support technically. So much has to be built from the ground up. There are many unique installations that we can’t learn from each other.

SS – it’s very programmer intensive You wouldn’t want to do it just for the IR but for a whole set of library services.

LC – new Mellon Foundation and Moore Foundation grants to help with interface and with usability.

[my comments: we have to understand why scholars publish. Not really altruistic, but for recognition and advancement. Even for large departments, there may not be that many people who really publish in the same exact area. Putting stuff in a collection bound by affiliation instead of bound by subject or equipment use, or whatever, will not make it findable, because it won’t be with similar works, and people won’t find things. There’s a lot of chaining and browsing instead of searching. That’s why the disciplinary repositories are more attractive. It’s only the bosses who will profit from the increased social capital of the organization. Libraries should capture and load things from the disciplinary archives.]


Thanks, Christina!

The audience commenter involved in archiving that you mentioned was David Sleasman of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, formerly of the Internet Scout Project.
Thanks for doing and posting these notes. Very useful.
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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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