Tag Archives: EPrints

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.


CORE “Similar documents” widget

What with the Finch report making a bit of a splash right now and by all accounts downplaying the role of repositories and Green Open Access (expect a formal response from UKCoRR in due course, though in the meantime see this critical overview from Peter Suber – https://plus.google.com/109377556796183035206/posts/DsBAeSCofDX) it seems like a good time to remind ourselves of some of the exciting developments in repository world that should help us make Green a more viable alternative to Gold than the Finch report might seem to suggest. One such (technical) development is the Connecting Repositories (CORE) project at the Open University who have developed a widget that can be embedded in your local IR to generate links to similar documents from other repositories harvested by CORE.

The original CORE project focussed on harvesting papers from repositories and used text mining techniques to calculate ‘semantic similarity’ between different papers. This data was published openly, but not really in a format that could easily be used by others (at least outside a specialist community) so the CORE team have developed some simple javascript that, in theory, can be dropped into any repository setup and that will take the current document being displayed in the web interface and, if it is present in CORE data with some similar documents listed, will display links back to those documents in the CORE interface (these papers may come from any CORE harvested repository).

Obviously this means that CORE needs to be harvesting full text from your repository with a reasonable success rate for the plugin to work effectively (data on whether your repository is being harvested is available at http://core.kmi.open.ac.uk/repository_analytics/), although where there are no similar documents it should do nothing, so it won’t do any harm in any event.

The plugin is based on JQuery (jsonp call) which is compatible with any browser and any library system and can be styled to fit the UI of any repository. Currently ORO is the only repository to have implemented the plug-in (see this example record – http://oro.open.ac.uk/7123/) where it works only for full-text resources, though the team have developed an update that recommends full-text resources to metadata records (i.e. if there is a record in repository A that is metadata only, it will try to recommend related papers that do have full-text available), the update also filters duplicities and is more flexible.

The widget is currently available as a plug-in for EPrints from http://core-project.kmi.open.ac.uk/files/widget3.0.zip and the team are considering making it available from the Bazaar but are happy to assist in implementing in repositories running on other software.

Contacts are:

Owen Stephens (CORE Project Manager) – owen@owenstephens.com / @ostephens

Petr Knoth (Research Associate from the OU working on CORE) – p.knoth@open.ac.uk

Chris Yates (Systems Librarian at the OU who has implemented the plug-in in ORO) – c.s.yates@open.ac.uk / @chris_s_yates