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For repositories to succeed they
have to end. Reflections on (not
just) the UK repository scene
Dr Torsten Reimer
Head of Research Services
Torsten.Reimer@bl.uk / @torstenreimer
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8357-9422
Open Repositories 2018, Bozeman MT, 6 June 2018
Authors do not care about
repository systems
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbain/33169141452/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
Readers do not care about
repository systems
https://www.flickr.com/photos/p_marione/10353933614/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
What matters is the repository
function, its purpose
https://www.flickr.com/photos/missrogue/1064784666/ CC BY SA 2.0
The repository function is the
same as that of a library: help
people to find, access and use
information – persistently.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewgustar/16793367681/ CC BY ND 2.0
You don’t need a local system to
deliver this function.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/han_shot_first/7771438844/ CC BY 2.0
We too often think about locally
developed systems.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukluk/207619079/ CC BY 2.0
As a result we build local
systems, and, from a global
perspective, maintain them badly.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/waynerd/6677201937/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
Conceptualising the repository
service mostly as local repository
system has dangers:
•Inefficiency (duplication of effort)
•Systems-over-service approach
•Over-customisation hinders
interoperability and staying up-
to-date
We should focus on repository
services instead of systems.
We should ask ourselves whether
it is always best to develop and
host our own repository system.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/betsyweber/8734581153/ CC BY 2.0
www.bl.uk 11
UK context: why do we care?
• UK has very strong mandates:
– Government assessment of universities
requires open access for articles, with
green OA as default route
– Research Councils require open access to
articles; green default for most universities
– Research data has to be made available
for 10 years minimum
• Substantial increase in OA material:
– 54% of UK articles available openly within
12 months in 2016 (vs 32% globally)
– Imperial College example: 300 manuscripts
deposits in 2012, 11,000 in 2016
https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/monitoring-transition-open-access-2017.aspx
www.bl.uk 12
What the UK could have done in 2012
• Procure preservation
solution
• Procure access
solution
• Mandate deposit of
all scholarly content
on this platform
• Provide portals for each higher education organisation (HEI)
• Provide interfaces so HEIs and other platforms can push
and pull content
Discovery & Access
Humans Machines
National preservation solution
Content deposited by
Machines Authors
www.bl.uk 13
Repositories as a national concern
• In February 2016, the Department for Business, Innovation
& Skills published an independent report on open access,
written by Professor Adam Tickell.
• One of his recommendations was “that the British Library,
Research Libraries UK and the Society of College, National
and University Libraries (SCONUL) convene, with
appropriate support, to advise as to the best mechanisms to
ensure that there is at least one permanent copy of an
open access publication and that due regard is given to
long term curation of digital assets.”
www.bl.uk 14
UUK repositories working group
• Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group with different
stakeholders (government, funders, research organisations,
publishers, libraries)
• A repositories working group was set
up to look into Adam Tickell’s
recommendations.
• Meetings throughout 2017, a
workshop at the British Library and
a survey of repository managers
across UK universities.
• Report not yet published ->
take everything below as my personal opinion.
www.bl.uk 15
UK OA landscape - positives
Strong community
Track record for open
solutions
Jisc
services
UK PubMed
Central
Technical
expertise
EThOS
Many
repositories
Policies
www.bl.uk 16
Challenges, (not just) for the UK
1. Concerns about sustainability of the
underlying repository software package
2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration
3. Difficulties with integration with university
systems (other than CRIS)
4. Difficulties with maintaining custom
functionality
5. Issues with changing publisher and/or
funder policies changing compliance
status of articles
6. Lack of integration with identifiers
(such as ORCID or DOIs)
7. Limitation of reuse through deposit
licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g.
for text and data mining
8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to
support text and data mining
9. Linking publications to related datasets
(and vice versa)
10. Linking publications to relevant funders
11. Management effort for journal
embargoes
12. No or limited preservation functionality
13. Not enough resource to update from
older/out-of date version of repository
software
14. Not enough staff resource for
operational management
15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for
funder reporting
16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for
internal reporting
17. Technical support: lack of skills /
capability
18. Technical support: not enough capacity
19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in
subject/other institutional repositories
(REF OA policy)
20. Usability and user interface issues
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
www.bl.uk 17
Selected WG recommendations
• [Many recommendations on metadata, persistent identifiers etc.]
• A study into the feasibility of a national preservation solution be
undertaken, recognising that the British Library and Jisc are key
stakeholders.
• HEIs, Jisc, subject repositories and other stakeholders take
forward as a high priority improvements in the user experience.
• A study be conducted to explore the need for national repository
solutions or ‘hubs’ for one or all of the big challenges –
discoverability, sustainability and preservation. This study will
consider costs and benefits, and ultimately seek to define the
guiding principles and services […].
www.bl.uk 18
A national preservation solution?
• The British Library is already preserving the nation’s
published output, working with UK legal deposit libraries.
• However, we are only allowed to give access on our
premises and it doesn’t cover UK content not published by
UK publishers (unless it is in our web archive). So the
current solution isn’t fit for (this) purpose.
• A solution wouldn’t require a single national repository. It
could be done by pushing/pulling content from repositories
to one or more preservation platforms. From a preservation
perspective this may be better than a single system.
www.bl.uk 19
A national discovery solution?
• [Isn’t that Google? ;-)] May or may not be useful, but does
not require a single, national repository.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/62954923@N03/15625479052/ CC BY 2.0
www.bl.uk 20
What could a national repository fix?
1. Concerns about sustainability of the
underlying repository software package
2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration
3. Difficulties with integration with university
systems (other than CRIS)
4. Difficulties with maintaining custom
functionality
5. Issues with changing publisher and/or
funder policies changing compliance
status of articles
6. Lack of integration with identifiers
(such as ORCID or DOIs)
7. Limitation of reuse through deposit
licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g.
for text and data mining
8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to
support text and data mining
9. Linking publications to related datasets
(and vice versa)
10. Linking publications to relevant funders
11. Management effort for journal
embargoes
12. No or limited preservation functionality
13. Not enough resource to update from
older/out-of date version of repository
software
14. Not enough staff resource for
operational management
15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for
funder reporting
16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for
internal reporting
17. Technical support: lack of skills /
capability
18. Technical support: not enough capacity
19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in
subject/other institutional repositories
(REF OA policy)
20. Usability and user interface issues
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
www.bl.uk 21
One system to rule them all?
• A singe repository platform sounds tempting.
• However:
– Can one monolith meet all needs?
– Competition has benefits!
– It is getting easier to exchange data
between systems.
– Multi-tenancy is hard.
– Resilience vs. single point of failure,
– Local resistance to giving up in-house system
• With a government mandate unlikely and no obvious technology
solution a gradual move to more shared services seems a more
likely solution. If they are good enough, we might still get there.
www.bl.uk 22
The British Library in this space
• A new service strategy for
the Library’s role as the
national research library.
• Key element: enhance
the national collection by
services that open up and
help to sustain a global
knowledge environment.
http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.409
www.bl.uk 23
Repository related plans
• Re-develop national
preservation system (>5m
items, petabyte-scale) into
multi-tenancy service
• Develop access layer with
multiple (logical) repositories
• Pilot for a multi-tenancy
(12 partner organisations)
access repository
• Consider national OA
preservation approach
• Discussions with Jisc and
others on partnerships
Preservation Layer
Services Layer
Access Layer
EThOS Data.bl.uk
BL
Institutional
Repository
Partner
Repositories
www.bl.uk 24
Concluding thoughts
• Stop customising and forking.
• Think in service, not systems
terms.
• Only develop your own systems if
you can do it better than others.
• Can we at least gradually move to
more shared services please?
• We need an internationally
coordinated approach to
preservation.

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For repositories to succeed they have to end. Reflections on (not just) the UK repository scene

  • 1. For repositories to succeed they have to end. Reflections on (not just) the UK repository scene Dr Torsten Reimer Head of Research Services Torsten.Reimer@bl.uk / @torstenreimer http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8357-9422 Open Repositories 2018, Bozeman MT, 6 June 2018
  • 2. Authors do not care about repository systems https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonbain/33169141452/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  • 3. Readers do not care about repository systems https://www.flickr.com/photos/p_marione/10353933614/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  • 4. What matters is the repository function, its purpose https://www.flickr.com/photos/missrogue/1064784666/ CC BY SA 2.0
  • 5. The repository function is the same as that of a library: help people to find, access and use information – persistently. https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewgustar/16793367681/ CC BY ND 2.0
  • 6. You don’t need a local system to deliver this function. https://www.flickr.com/photos/han_shot_first/7771438844/ CC BY 2.0
  • 7. We too often think about locally developed systems. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mukluk/207619079/ CC BY 2.0
  • 8. As a result we build local systems, and, from a global perspective, maintain them badly. https://www.flickr.com/photos/waynerd/6677201937/ CC BY NC ND 2.0
  • 9. Conceptualising the repository service mostly as local repository system has dangers: •Inefficiency (duplication of effort) •Systems-over-service approach •Over-customisation hinders interoperability and staying up- to-date
  • 10. We should focus on repository services instead of systems. We should ask ourselves whether it is always best to develop and host our own repository system. https://www.flickr.com/photos/betsyweber/8734581153/ CC BY 2.0
  • 11. www.bl.uk 11 UK context: why do we care? • UK has very strong mandates: – Government assessment of universities requires open access for articles, with green OA as default route – Research Councils require open access to articles; green default for most universities – Research data has to be made available for 10 years minimum • Substantial increase in OA material: – 54% of UK articles available openly within 12 months in 2016 (vs 32% globally) – Imperial College example: 300 manuscripts deposits in 2012, 11,000 in 2016 https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/monitoring-transition-open-access-2017.aspx
  • 12. www.bl.uk 12 What the UK could have done in 2012 • Procure preservation solution • Procure access solution • Mandate deposit of all scholarly content on this platform • Provide portals for each higher education organisation (HEI) • Provide interfaces so HEIs and other platforms can push and pull content Discovery & Access Humans Machines National preservation solution Content deposited by Machines Authors
  • 13. www.bl.uk 13 Repositories as a national concern • In February 2016, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills published an independent report on open access, written by Professor Adam Tickell. • One of his recommendations was “that the British Library, Research Libraries UK and the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) convene, with appropriate support, to advise as to the best mechanisms to ensure that there is at least one permanent copy of an open access publication and that due regard is given to long term curation of digital assets.”
  • 14. www.bl.uk 14 UUK repositories working group • Universities UK Open Access Coordination Group with different stakeholders (government, funders, research organisations, publishers, libraries) • A repositories working group was set up to look into Adam Tickell’s recommendations. • Meetings throughout 2017, a workshop at the British Library and a survey of repository managers across UK universities. • Report not yet published -> take everything below as my personal opinion.
  • 15. www.bl.uk 15 UK OA landscape - positives Strong community Track record for open solutions Jisc services UK PubMed Central Technical expertise EThOS Many repositories Policies
  • 16. www.bl.uk 16 Challenges, (not just) for the UK 1. Concerns about sustainability of the underlying repository software package 2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration 3. Difficulties with integration with university systems (other than CRIS) 4. Difficulties with maintaining custom functionality 5. Issues with changing publisher and/or funder policies changing compliance status of articles 6. Lack of integration with identifiers (such as ORCID or DOIs) 7. Limitation of reuse through deposit licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g. for text and data mining 8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to support text and data mining 9. Linking publications to related datasets (and vice versa) 10. Linking publications to relevant funders 11. Management effort for journal embargoes 12. No or limited preservation functionality 13. Not enough resource to update from older/out-of date version of repository software 14. Not enough staff resource for operational management 15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for funder reporting 16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for internal reporting 17. Technical support: lack of skills / capability 18. Technical support: not enough capacity 19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in subject/other institutional repositories (REF OA policy) 20. Usability and user interface issues https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
  • 17. www.bl.uk 17 Selected WG recommendations • [Many recommendations on metadata, persistent identifiers etc.] • A study into the feasibility of a national preservation solution be undertaken, recognising that the British Library and Jisc are key stakeholders. • HEIs, Jisc, subject repositories and other stakeholders take forward as a high priority improvements in the user experience. • A study be conducted to explore the need for national repository solutions or ‘hubs’ for one or all of the big challenges – discoverability, sustainability and preservation. This study will consider costs and benefits, and ultimately seek to define the guiding principles and services […].
  • 18. www.bl.uk 18 A national preservation solution? • The British Library is already preserving the nation’s published output, working with UK legal deposit libraries. • However, we are only allowed to give access on our premises and it doesn’t cover UK content not published by UK publishers (unless it is in our web archive). So the current solution isn’t fit for (this) purpose. • A solution wouldn’t require a single national repository. It could be done by pushing/pulling content from repositories to one or more preservation platforms. From a preservation perspective this may be better than a single system.
  • 19. www.bl.uk 19 A national discovery solution? • [Isn’t that Google? ;-)] May or may not be useful, but does not require a single, national repository. https://www.flickr.com/photos/62954923@N03/15625479052/ CC BY 2.0
  • 20. www.bl.uk 20 What could a national repository fix? 1. Concerns about sustainability of the underlying repository software package 2. Difficulties with CRIS system integration 3. Difficulties with integration with university systems (other than CRIS) 4. Difficulties with maintaining custom functionality 5. Issues with changing publisher and/or funder policies changing compliance status of articles 6. Lack of integration with identifiers (such as ORCID or DOIs) 7. Limitation of reuse through deposit licence (‘all rights reserved’), e.g. for text and data mining 8. Limited/no facilities (such as API) to support text and data mining 9. Linking publications to related datasets (and vice versa) 10. Linking publications to relevant funders 11. Management effort for journal embargoes 12. No or limited preservation functionality 13. Not enough resource to update from older/out-of date version of repository software 14. Not enough staff resource for operational management 15. Reporting facilities not sufficient for funder reporting 16. Reporting facilities not sufficient for internal reporting 17. Technical support: lack of skills / capability 18. Technical support: not enough capacity 19. Tracking/integrating AAMs deposited in subject/other institutional repositories (REF OA policy) 20. Usability and user interface issues https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1136075
  • 21. www.bl.uk 21 One system to rule them all? • A singe repository platform sounds tempting. • However: – Can one monolith meet all needs? – Competition has benefits! – It is getting easier to exchange data between systems. – Multi-tenancy is hard. – Resilience vs. single point of failure, – Local resistance to giving up in-house system • With a government mandate unlikely and no obvious technology solution a gradual move to more shared services seems a more likely solution. If they are good enough, we might still get there.
  • 22. www.bl.uk 22 The British Library in this space • A new service strategy for the Library’s role as the national research library. • Key element: enhance the national collection by services that open up and help to sustain a global knowledge environment. http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.409
  • 23. www.bl.uk 23 Repository related plans • Re-develop national preservation system (>5m items, petabyte-scale) into multi-tenancy service • Develop access layer with multiple (logical) repositories • Pilot for a multi-tenancy (12 partner organisations) access repository • Consider national OA preservation approach • Discussions with Jisc and others on partnerships Preservation Layer Services Layer Access Layer EThOS Data.bl.uk BL Institutional Repository Partner Repositories
  • 24. www.bl.uk 24 Concluding thoughts • Stop customising and forking. • Think in service, not systems terms. • Only develop your own systems if you can do it better than others. • Can we at least gradually move to more shared services please? • We need an internationally coordinated approach to preservation.