Re: Repository effectiveness

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 10:20:30 +0100

On 19 Sep 2010, at 16:09, bjork_at_HANKEN.FI wrote:

> Firstly I have recently uploaded my central 30 articles to our (D-Hanken) repository,
> In what I would consider best practice fashion. You can check the results at
> This took me about one week’s workload in all including finding the proper files, reformatting the personal versions, checking the copyright issues etc. The actual task of uploading, once I had everything ready, took perhaps the six minutes suggested, but all in my experience around an hour would be more appropriate.

Thanks for providing some actual experience and feedback to the list. I have had a look at your user record in your institutional DSpace repository, (how is that related to your home page?, is the material automatically generated by the repository for inclusion in the home page?) and the 24 items that are available for public view (perhaps some are stuck in the editorial process?) appeared at the following times
3 items on 2010-Apr-28
5 items on 2010-Jun-01
8 items on 2010-Jun-17
5 items on 2010-Aug-12
3 items on 2010-Aug-16
DSpace does not reveal whether you submitted them in a single batch and the library processes batched them up, or whether you deposited them in batches and they were made available immediately.

I think that the pattern of deposit is important in determining the overall impact of the workload on the author - and more importantly, on the psychological impact of the workload. It must be the case that depositing thirty articles seems like a substantial administrative task, especially when there are so many other activities demanded of an academic's daily time. Even five or six items a day is a substantial diary blocker! This is the backlog phenomenon - any new repository (or new user) has to face the fact that getting started is the hardest part of using a repository. Depositing a reasonable representation of your recent (or historical) output is A Huge Chore. However, once you have achieved that, then the incremental workload for depositing an individual paper when you have just written it seems trivial. Especially compared to the job of sorting out the references :-)

This was certainly the case for our (school) repository in 2002, when we decided to mandate the use of EPrints for returning our annual list of research outputs to the University's admin office. (Stevan may remember this!) People whined, people complained, people dragged their heels, but ultimately they did it. But the following year, there were no complaints, just a few reminders sent out. And an incredibly onerous admin task (a month's work of 6 staff to produce the departmental research list) was reduced to a 10 minute job for one person (using Word to reformat the list that EPrints provided). And since then, we haven't looked back.

There is a report available which details the study we did at that time to determine the effort involved in self-deposit:
It includes all the data that we collected, and some visualisations of the Web activity that was involved in depositing several hundred records. That is where the 6 minute figure comes from, if you are interested.

> We are helping out some other key researchers at my school to upload and there are many non-trivial task. For instance researchers in Finance whose ”personal versions” consist of text files and several tables which are provided to the publishers as sheets in excel files. There may be several hours of work to format a decent personal version of such a papers. Since some of best authors are very busy (dean and vice dean of the school) this has to be done by admin staff.

You can make a "Sunday best" version of the papers and the spreadsheet tables, or you could just deposit the texct and the tables separately - if that is acceptable to the authors. (This is a common phenomenon in Open Educational Resources - people's teaching materials are never finalised, and there are always just one or two more adjustments to make to prepare them for public view. And so a desire for the best sometimes means that material is never shared.)

> Secondly the situation reseachers face in making the decision to upload a green copy resembles the situation faced by any individual deciding whether or not to take into use a new IT system. There is a large body of literature on this in Information Systems (my field) research and the UTAUT model :...I would suggest that using a model like these to model how rational scholars behave could be could quite fruitful, rather than staring from scratch.

It would be interesting to analyse some of the Open Access experience from the last decade in terms of these models, but we are not starting from scratch in this area. The MIS models are very general, and the OA experience is very specific. Harnad, for example, maintains a list of 38 rationalisations that people make against the use of repositories: . Still, adopting an accepted theoretical framework to talk about this issues can't be a bad thing!

> Uploading green copies to a repository may not be so different from starting a profile and uploading stuff to Face Book or other similar voluntary IT acts we have to decide on.
Except that voluntary participation in Facebook is a million miles away from formal scholarly communication, in ways that we can all articulate at the drop of a hat. "Publish or perish" for one!
Les Carr
Received on Mon Sep 20 2010 - 11:24:14 BST

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