Re: Repository effectiveness

From: C Oppenheim <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 15:10:08 +0100

Steve makes an excellent suggestion for further JISC work. I would be happy to support such an initiative, which should involve experts in usability studies.

From: American Scientist Open Access Forum [AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM_at_LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG] On Behalf Of Steve Hitchcock [sh94r_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK]
Sent: 20 September 2010 14:10
Subject: Re: Repository effectiveness

The points made by Sally and Charles suggest that the 'why should I bother (to self-archive)?' question is likely to be the primary thought among authors new to open access repositories. This isn't surprising and the effect is easily underestimated in our own enthusiasm. This is the problem addressed by mandates and other initiatives, but clearly there is further to go and this needs continued momentum.

It is often convenient or tempting to assume that when a tool or service is not used as widely as expected that this may be something to do with system, software, interface, etc., but this tends to overlook the more fundamental problem of this question above. In fact, it is hard to measure the effectiveness of such aspects unless people are using them properly as intended.

Nevertheless, my suspicion is that the usability of repository interfaces as a broad topic has been inadequately investigated and therefore, as also indicated in this thread, there may be weaknesses. A quick scan of Google Scholar reveals some work, but not an extensive list and not all recent. It's not clear if such weaknesses might affect all repositories, some repositories depending on software used, or - since repository interfaces are customisable - individual or local repositories. There may be scope for the current JISC projects on repository deposit, such as DepositMO, to look at this.

Steve Hitchcock
IAM Group, Building 32
School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7698 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

On 20 Sep 2010, at 12:56, Sally Morris wrote:

> I'm not sure Charles is right - certainly, in the study I carried out for
> the Bioscience Federation in 2007/8, of 648 who said they did not
> self-archive, only 42 said they didn't know how, or had no access to a
> repository or support for self-archiving, while a further 23 said they
> didn't have time. 'Too difficult' was not mentioned at all
> Sally
> Sally Morris
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex, UK BN13 3UU
> Tel: +44 (0)1903 871286
> Email:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Behalf Of C Oppenheim
> Sent: 20 September 2010 11:41
> Subject: Re: Repository effectiveness
> I am inclined to think it is a combination of the two; on the one hand,
> it's not a high priority in the eyes of many researchers; and on the other,
> they perceive (wrongly) that it is a chore to self-archive. Indeed, the
> idea that it is a chore may be a convenient justification for failing to
> take the matter seriously. Having, say, a librarian to take on the job of
> doing the self-archiving helps, but doesn't totally overcome some
> academics' resistance.
> I also agree that for a mandate to be effective, there must be negative
> consequences if the academic does not co-operate.
> Charles
> ________________________________________
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Sally Morris [sally_at_MORRIS-ASSOCS.DEMON.CO.UK]
> Sent: 20 September 2010 11:36
> Subject: Re: Repository effectiveness
> I am not convinced that the primary obstacle is the difficulty of deposit.
> The impression obtained from the studies I did was that the majority of
> scholars did not know (or had a very vague and often inaccurate idea) about
> self-archiving, and most had no particular interest in depositing their own
> work
> A question of mote and beam, perhaps?!
> Sally
> Sally Morris
> South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex, UK BN13 3UU
> Tel: +44 (0)1903 871286
> Email:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Behalf Of Leslie Carr
> Sent: 20 September 2010 10:21
> Subject: Re: Repository effectiveness
> 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 - 18:37:30 BST

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