Tag Archives: CRIS

CRIS and repositories (draft briefing)

I’m just going through old files before I leave my current post and uncovered this which I drafted for the Repositories Support Project (RSP) several years ago but which was never used. As the RSP is now defunct, I’m linking it here in case it might be of use to someone:

Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) and repositories

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CRIS and retirement of repositories?

Recently there was a discussion on the UKCoRR mailing list around whether institutions implementing CRIS (Current Research Information System) like Pure (formerly Atira, now owned by Elsevier) might retire their repositories in favour of a single system.

Other CRIS systems include Converis (now part of Thompson Reuters) and Symplectic Elements (part of Digital Science’ portfolio) N.B. Elements is more publication management system than full blown CRIS, and unlike Pure, does not manage files in its own right; it needs to be integrated with a traditional repository so retirement is not an option.

As an addendum it is worth noting that all three systems are owned by well known commercial organisations operating in academic publishing and scholarly dissemination*, diametric to the Open Source credentials of EPrints and DSpace repositories, still by far the most popular systems for managing open access research in the UK and globally, whether on conjunction with a commercial or part of a homebrew institutional CRIS.

* see related discussion from Stevan Harnad and with his typical candour –
Elsevier’s PURE: self-interest and exploitation

The responses are presented below, summarised by Dimity Flanagan from the London School of Economics; sources have been anonymised:

Part One: Retiring

– Retiring the repository for the launch of Pure next year

Part Two: Future unclear

– In the process of purchasing a CRIS. At this stage it is unknown what will happen to the eprints repository. Will it be a second repository for non REF eligible items? The institution is planning to expand its research activities hence the CRIS purchase. Librarian predicts the repository (which is quite small) will eventually be phased out.
– Has the research portal and eprints. Considering retiring eprints as they are largely duplicate systems.
– Likely to retire Eprints repository and use PURE Portal as the publications repository – this is purely because the technical support is not available to integrate the two systems. Believe that they can both fulfil the university’s needs. As the Research Division will use Pure, it will be easier to work with them.

Part Three: Pro repository (for now)

– Has a Pure portal with metadata but has integrated the system with the DSpace repository which is where full text can be accessed. This is kept under review – the connection does cause technical problems but want to be sure that the Portal can offer everything.
– Our take has always been that the repository is for much more than articles, hence it has inherent value in itself as a means for managing the structured digital collections of the University.
– Do not have a commercial CRIS. The research system, finance system and repository are linked and cover all functionality.
– Our decision has been to continue our ePrints repository in parallel with PURE, and at time of writing I cannot foresee us retiring it. The arguments surrounding this decision for institutions is a horses for courses game but I think it is important to be clear that having PURE’s front-end product (known as the Advanced Portal) is not the same as having an ePrints or DSpace repository, nor does it offer comparable functionality. E.g

1. Maximising discovery potential of research content (The Pure Portal is not properly supported by Google Scholar, for example – but also suffers other discovery impediments)
2. Exposing content easily via OAI-PMH (PURE offers clunky/limited OAI-PMH support)
3. Undertaking digital preservation or curation activities and/or ensuring persistent access to research outputs (PURE offers zero features in this area, inc. no linkage with Arkivum…)
4. Using mainstream repository protocols such as SWORD or participating in many mainstream repository developments (PURE offers limited or zero support….)
5. Ensuring compliance with metadata applications profiles, such as OpenAIRE, RIOXX v2, etc. (Limited compliance with prevailing metadata application profiles…)
– Kept both (but not connected), the logic being that it would be good to have a service to meet the broad university requirement for capturing research information (the CRIS) AS WELL AS having a set of services based around a repository infrastructure (Dspace in our case) that could be implemented as required for focused purposes.


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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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