The train home…

I’m on the train, on my way back to Leeds from the 7th International Open Repositories Conference at the University of Edinburgh and though I’m disappointed not to be able to stay longer and for the céilidh this evening, I’m still able to participate remotely in the conference via Twitter and various blogs albeit on a rather slow 3G connection via my phone….which rather illustrates two of the themes of Cameron Naylon’s opening keynote yesterday; connectivity and low friction. And also, to some extent, his third theme of demand side filters in that I can tweet a link to this post tagged #or2012 and know that I am sharing with the colleagues I’ve met over the past few days.

(N.B. Cameron Naylon’s keynote is now available on YouTube)

I had volunteered to be a member of the blogging team for the conference answering a call from @OpenRepos2012 but in the end only managed to post one attempt at a live blog from the RSP Workshop on Monday “Building a National Network”. I’m afraid I can’t quite type or think fast enough for live blogging (though I did tweet a lot!) so apologies and kudos to Nicola for her detailed live blogs from various sessions and, in the spirit of Open, I’ll use verbatim / adapt exerpts from http://or2012.ed.ac.uk/category/liveblog/ to help jog my memory, fill in some of the gaps and report on the sessions that I attended with no further attribution (I hope this is OK, let me know if not, preferably not through your lawyer.)

I enjoyed Cameron Neylon’s keynote “Network Enabled Research” http://or2012.ed.ac.uk/2012/07/10/opening-plenary-cameron-neylon-network-enabled-research-liveblog/ though did notice one or two voices on Twitter sighing that it wasn’t terribly cutting edge and that we’d perhaps heard most of it before. May be so (for the record I think this is unfair) but Cameron himself acknowledged that he was preaching to the choir and more interesting to me are the vast swathes of heathens not yet (formally) converted to the Church of Open, to of whom Cameron’s ideas and those of the conference as a whole were, and continue to be, amplified through Twitter and other social media. I myself have over 600 followers on Twitter which is peanuts to some of the big Twitter hitters, and though I wouldn’t blame some of them for muting my conference output there is still a considerable amplification outside a specialised community to the global public. i.e. the customers of Open. And they want outcomes; not research outputs per se but meaningful outcomes from publicly funded research.

Another excuse for not blogging more during the conference itself was that I was somewhat preoccupied with my own Pecha Kucha that I delivered in the afternoon session on Tuesday and though I received a lot of positive (possibly polite) feedback I am by no means a conference veteran and was glad to get through my 20 slides without too much fuss, though I did wander off with the mic still pinned to my shirt, fortunately called back before I got to the loo (a la Frank Drebbin in The Naked Gun.) My PK was on “Open Metrics for Open Repositories” and the slides and associated paper are available at http://www.slideshare.net/MrNick/open-metrics-for-open-repositories-at-or2012 and http://opus.bath.ac.uk/30226/ respectively. I’ve learned a great deal more about metrics than I knew before the conference and will certainly be following up on IRUS-UK, for example, and one or two posters and relevant Pecha Kucha presentations. COUNTER compliance is certainly important and something that I think ukcorr should be advocating and, I believe, is all the more important since the Finch report.

I was particularly interested to learn about UK RepositoryNet+, based at EDINA, which is aiming to create a socio-technical infrastructure to manage the human interaction that helps make good data happen, and ultimately to justify the investment that JISC has made into open access and repository infrastructure by mediating between open access and research information management and differentiating between evolving models of open access and between various technical standards. Wave 1 is focussing on deposit tools (SWORD, RJ Broker), benchmarking, aggregation (RepUK, CORE, IRS) and registries (OpenDOAR, ROAR) to underpin Green, though, post Finch, it will also be necessary to consider Gold OA mechanisms more fully. Wave 2 will focus on “micro-services” (N.B. I don’t fully understand what this means…)

I participated in a break-out session on deposit and learned more about RJ Broker from Ian Stewart and was interested to hear the level of engagement from publishers though I’m not sure I’m entirely clear of the advantages over WoS / Scopus APIs increasingly implemented by CRIS (and repositories) though appreciate it could be a valuable alternative especially where institutions don’t subscribe to the commercial providers (it was pointed out though that CRIS aren’t generally compatible with SWORD which is the mechanism that RJ Broker utilises). There was an interesting and less formal discussion around some of this with JISC’s Balviar Notay, James Toon and others in the pub later and Balviar did convince me of the importance of RJ Broker in terms of cultural change.

This morning before I rushed off I attended a session on Augmented content, I confess to not fully understanding the technicalities of first presentation on “Augmenting open repositories with a social functions ontology” but it was interesting nevertheless and made me consider just how static and unsocial many of our repositories still are. “Microblogging Macrochallenges for Repositories” was good fun and I might even have a go at implementing it myself though did make me wonder whether there would be any issues with Twitter’s ToS. The 3rd and final presentation of the session was “Beyond Bibliographic Metadata: Augmenting the HKU IR” a very impressive CRIS like implementation of DSpace at Hong Kong University.

A cup of tea and half an hour’s networking brought us to my final session of the conference, another round of Pecha Kucha presentations collectively organised around “National Infrastructures” and including a presentation from UKCoRRs very own Paul Stainthorp. Paul’s slides are available at http://paulstainthorp.com/2012/07/11/oa-the-noo-my-ukcorr-pecha-kucha-slides-from-or2012-in-edinburgh/

All in all a hugely enjoyable and informative couple of days and with plenty more to come for those still in Edinburgh, the full programme is available at https://www.conftool.net/or2012/sessions.php and I for one will be keeping at least one eye on the #or2012 hashtag.

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