Questions that the inf11 programme has started to address

27 questions the inf11 programme has addressed

The information environment programme 2009-11 is a very broad programme consisting of over 100 projects covering a wide range of topics. The programme has produced many useful outputs ranging from advice and guidance to tools and standards. To help people find things from the programme that are of use to them we have put together a list of questions that the programme has addressed. The programme is still in progress and still producing useful information and tools so this list will be added to over time. This information has been prepared by the programme evaluators: Evidence Base.

  1. Would you like to discover if a change of system or process will bring benefits and result in a return on investment?
  2. Are you concerned about the long term preservation of your own or your institution's learning, teaching and research outputs?
  3. Would you like to improve your research information management?
  4. How can I prepare institutional research management systems to meet requirements for the REF?
  5. Would you like more information or support to establish or develop your institutional repository?
  6. What can your institution do to address the open agenda?
  7. How can I increase the impact of my (or my institution's) research?
  8. How can I keep abreast of developments in scholarly communications and open access publishing?
  9. How can I encourage a change in the scholarly communications process within my institution?
  10. How can I examine the costs to my institution of adopting different open access publishing options?
  11. How can people within my institution get access to full text UK theses?
  12. How can we improve the reach of our institution’s theses?
  13. What software are other institutions currently using? Are institutions using open source software?
  14. Is an open source software LMS viable for my institution?
  15. Are there any resources to help me plan and manage open source software?
  16. How can I improve the discovery of our library resources?
  17. How can I help my institution to realise the benefits of sharing learning resources?
  18. Are you interested in opening up and linking your institutional data? Unsure what the benefits could be?
  19. What information is there to assist me with estimating the cost of preserving my digital assets?
  20. How can I ensure long term access to the e-journals my institution subscribe to?
  21. Is there a better approach to managing our electronic library resources?
  22. How can I use existing institutional data (e.g. repositories, electronic resources) more effectively to inform future decision making?
  23. Why should my organisation make bibliographic metadata open?
  24. How can I find out if I am getting value for money from my e journal subscriptions?
  25. Can I get article level usage statistics for items held in repositories?
  26. Is local innovation important? How can it help my institution?
  27. What opportunities are there for developers?

1. Would you like to discover if a change of system or process will bring benefits and result in a return on investment?

Impact calculator from JISC InfoNet
The tool has been piloted in 6 different institutions (University of Huddersfield; University of Nottingham; University of Oxford, Bodleian Libraries; Cardiff University; University of Aberdeen; King’s College London) - you can view their final reports online. The impact calculator is now available for download to be used within institutions.

JISC InfoNet, along with pilot institution University of Nottingham, presented at the JISC 11 Conference – see more details in the virtual goody bag.

2. Are you concerned about the long term preservation of your own or your institution's learning, teaching and research?

The KeepIt project, led by University of Southampton, worked with a number of partners (UAL Research Online at University of Arts London; eCrystals Archive; EdShare; NECTAR at University of Northampton) to develop and implement preservation tools for repositories and provide training for digital preservation of repositories.

A number of training resources to support preservation of repositories were produced, including a modular course of presentations and tutorials covering:

  • Organisational issues (Module 1)
  • Institutional and lifecycle preservation costs (Module 2)
  • Describing content for preservation (Module 3)
  • Putting storage, format management and preservation planning in the repository (Module 4)
  • Trust (Module 5)

3. Would you like to improve your research information management?

The defining a new role: the embedded research information manager project at University College London (with British Library as partner) looked at the role of a research information manager and examined it in an institutional context. In the final project report you can read about their approach to “define the need, explore the benefits and risks, and evaluate the approaches for establishing an embedded research information specialist”. The report contains a number of recommendations which you may find useful to take note of.

The developing tools to inform the management of research and translating existing good practice study by Imperial College London and Elsevier looked at 21 higher education institutions with the aim of developing an understanding of the research management systems landscape and how HEIs were creating tools for managing research data. It also sought to share experience at Imperial with other HEIs in order to provide a resource for the sector. Its final report is presented as a resource for the sector

The University of Glasgow has been involved in a number of projects under the Information Environment programme to help embed the repository into general practice. These include Enrich and Enquire:

  • Enrich (end of project report) – embedded the repository into the research management process by integrating with the institutional research system.
  • Enquire (end of project report) – recording data in the repository about impact for a wide range of research outputs.

Also see the Research Outcomes blog which was used throughout both projects and is still used to document progress in this area. Glasgow is now at a stage whereby they can share the lessons they have learnt through this project - they are an exemplar case study demonstrating how the integration between a research system and a repository can bring benefits to the institution in terms of people (relationships), processes, and policies.

JISC InfoNet has produced a Research Information Management InfoKit. Drawing on the experience of a range of institutions this resource is structured under three themes: business case, systems & data, implementation. It provides good practice and lessons learned which will prove of enormous benefit to other institutions who find themselves following this same path.

4. How can I prepare institutional research management systems to meet requirements for the REF?

The EXRI-UK project (Exchanging Research Information in the UK) looked at possible options for a UK wide research data exchange standard. Its final report recommends the use of CERIF as the standard.

TheReadiness4REF project (see also project website) examined the CERIF data model by mapping it to the repository and other research systems within the institution. The work of the project enhances the repository to enable links between systems, so for example the item record in the repository could link to information in the CRIS about the funding body, the bid, and other relevant project documentation.

Watch this short introductory video to the project, from the programme start-up meeting:

Embed code - <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fljy9GAXdQg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

The project worked with a number of case studies (Goldsmiths College, University of London; Kingston University; University of Reading; University of Leicester; University of the Arts; University of Ulster) to test the feasibility of the CERIF4REF schema, a bespoke version of CERIF. A report summarising their responses is available online.

The Readiness4REF project presented at the JISC 2011 Conference; view the presentation online.

The R4R team have also undertaken the Measuring Impact under CERIF (MICE) project, which will extend CERIF4REF to record evidence of the impact of research.

5. Would you like more information or support to establish or develop your institutional repository?

The Repositories Support Project (RSP) has been working with many institutions throughout the JISC Information Environment programme, not just those involved in JISC projects. RSP provide a range of online guidance and support for those seeking to develop, embed and manage institutional repositories. This includes web based advice and briefing papers, workshops, advocacy, a budding scheme and onsite consultations. RSP also host a number of events, and offer an enquiry service.

JISC InfoNet, in association with the RSP, has produced a Digital Repositories InfoKit which provides a simple guide for setting up and running digital repositories.

The RoMEO service offers information about publishers' policies with respect to self-archiving pre-print and post-print research papers. On it you can find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.

6. What can my institution do to address the open agenda?

JISC has supported a number of developments in the open agenda, and recently considered their policy in relation to the Open Agenda. The information environment programme has supported a variety of different areas incorporating areas of the ABCD of Open Scholarship. Specific highlights of work from the programme which support the open agenda include open access publishing (see Q8-12), open source software (see Q13-16), open educational resources (see Q17), and open data (see Q16, 18, 22, 23).

The Strategic Content Alliance has produced an IPR toolkit which is primarily aimed at non-experts who are likely to have some kind of involvement with IPR and licensing issues relating to e content as part of a broad range of other activities in which they are involved.

7. How can I increase the impact of my (or my institution's) research?

Open Access publishing can enable researchers to reach a greater audience and be more cited; institutions to gain an enhanced reputation as their research becomes more visible, funding agencies see a greater return on their investment, and publishers find that the impact of their journals increases. Activities within the Information Environment programme have gone on to strengthen and support JISCs role in this area. JISCs contribution to Open Access developments are summarised in the report Open Access for UK Research - JISCs contribution.

Further information about JISCs work is available on the JISC Open Access webpage.

See Q 8-12 for practical ways to support Open Access at your institution.

8. How can I keep abreast of developments in scholarly communications and open access publishing?

The Research Communications Strategy work investigates and coordinate many of the emerging themes, ideas and developments in the field of research communications. It monitors and influences emerging trends and provide guidance on innovations made possible by these changes.

The RCS blog provides up to date information on developments around open access publishing. The blog also includes an Open Access Answers section which aims to provide answers to a wide range of common questions around open Access Publishing. This includes topics such as open data; copyright, institutional benefits and current trends. The information is backed up by evidence sources and links to further information and organisations of relevance.

9. How can I encourage a change in the scholarly communications process within my institution?

The JISC Scholarly Communications Action Handbook provides guidance and suggested actions, in an effort to address researchers' scholarly communication concerns and improve current practices. The handbook has sections relevant to all stakeholders in the scholarly communications process and provides links to sources of further information. Over 90 different actions to support open access publishing are suggested.

The IE programme has undertaken work to provide support for Open Access Week through the development of five resource packs. These include briefing papers on topics including: Funding Open Access Developments; Putting Open Access Policies in Place; Copyright and Licensing. These briefing papers are supported by video interviews and actions and questions for particular stakeholder groups to consider. A Microsoft Word version of the resources is available too from the news page.

10. How can I examine the costs to my institution of adopting different open access publishing options?

The IE programme funded the highly influential study: The Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the costs and benefits. It looked at looked at three models of scholarly publishing:

  1. Subscription access, where readers are charged and the use of material is restricted;
  2. Open Access publishing, where access is free and publication is funded from the author’s side;
  3. Open Access self-archiving, in which authors post their work in online repositories, making it free to all via the internet.

The research and findings reveal that core scholarly publishing system activities cost the UK higher education sector around £5 billion in 2007. Using the different models, the report shows what the estimated cost would have been:
  • £230m to publish using the subscription model
  • £150m to publish under the Open Access model and
  • £110m to publish with the self-archiving with peer review services plus some £20m in operating costs if using the different models.

    The IE programme also funded the report Modelling Scholarly Communication Options: Costs and Benefits for Universities.This built on the previous report and looked at the individual institutional model and what the likely outcomes would be if an institution moved to Open Access.

    A briefing paper derived from it: How to build a case for university policies and practices in support of Open Access. This provides an overview of the economic model JISC has developed to help universities and calculates the costs and benefits of different modes of scholarly communication. The model calculates the costs of these alternative forms of communication, identifying and then attaching costs to each element in the scholarly communication lifecycle.

    11. How can people within my institution get access to full text UK theses?

    The programme funded work on the EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) which has developed into a full service now hosted at the British Library: EThOS aims to enable end-users to access the full text of electronically stored UK theses, in secure format, via a single web interface.

    12. How can we improve the reach of our own institution’s theses?

    The EThOS service is supported by the EThOS Toolkit which shows how theses produced by students at your institution can be accessed, via EThOS, from the British Library or from your institutional (or consortium) repository.

    13. What software are other institutions currently using? Are institutions using open source software?

    The HE Lib Tech wiki is a resource which, in addition to sharing news and relevant publications, lists details of the software different institutions are using. As it is a wiki, this can be edited by any wiki members so you can update your own entry if necessary. View the pages for HE Systems Review and E-resource management systems for details of software institutions are currently using.

    JISC OSS Watch run surveys across the FE and HE sector every two years to gain an understanding of where institutions are in terms of usage and views towards open source software. You can view the results of the 2008 survey, and the 2010 survey was published earlier this week.

    14. Is an open source software LMS viable for my institution?

    The Exploring Open Source Viability project recently investigated the viability of an OSS LMS using the UK Core Specification for LMS. They were testing viability of the Evergreen software, and you can see their results of scoring Evergreen pre release 4 of version 2.0 marked against the UK Core Specification v3.0. In summary, the project concluded that open source software, in this particular case Evergreen, was a viable option for an LMS.

    Shortly after the close of this project, Staffordshire University became the first UK University to choose an open source LMS (Koha).

    15. Are there any resources to help me plan and manage open source software?

    JISC OSS Watch is an open source software advisory service which promotes awareness and understanding of the legal, social, technical and economic issues that arise when educational institutions engage with free and open source software. It does this by providing free unbiased advice and guidance to UK higher and further education and providing resources through its website.

    16. How can I improve the discovery of our library resources?

    A number of projects in the JISC LMS strand looked at improving the interfaces and visibility of library resources on the web including widgets and plugins to enable users to search for resources or manage their account from outside the LMS - such as from the VLE or from within Facebook.

    A number of libraries have been developing discovery layers to enhance their OPAC. Both KEVEN and SWWHEP used an open source solution, VuFind, to enhance their OPAC interface. This sits on top of the LMS and can be easily customised to suit your needs. The SWWHEP project brings together the resources from three different universities (each using a different LMS) and Metalib federated search, demonstrating that this software can be used as a customised discovery layer across a number of different collections.

    Also look out for developments from the Resource Discovery Taskforce, where a number of projects are beginning to investigate how library, museum and archive metadata can be reused to enhance existing services and build new resource discovery and management tools.

    17. How can I help my institution to realise the benefits of sharing learning resources?

    The JISC Open Education Resources programme (see phase 1 and phase 2) has developed a number of different projects in this area; the information environment programme has worked to understand the technical infrastructure needs to support this.

    The Open Educational Resources Infokit has been jointly funded JISC and the HEA. It aims to aims to both inform and explain OERs and the issues surrounding them for managers, academics and those in learning support. It is aimed at senior managers, learning technologists, technical staff and educators with an interest in releasing OERs to the educational community.

    The Digital Repositories Infokit covers using repositories to manage teaching and learning resources.

    The JISC CETIS service (JISC Centre For Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards) engages with the JISC community to develop, and facilitate effective implementations and use of, the open standards needed to:

    • implement flexible and adaptive learning environments, learning services and learning resources;
    • increase the choice of available systems and software by helping to maintain a healthy open market;
    • support the development of the capabilities and good practices within community member institutions needed to:
      • Implement and adapt learning environments to meet their strategic goals
      • Support their approaches to learning
      • Improve the quality of their learning processes and the outcomes for learners
      • Reduce their costs over the longer term through the effective use of open standards

    CETIS also provides information about metadata, standards and operability relating to Open Educational Resources. Useful links can be found on the CETIS OER pages.

    Jorum is a JISC-funded Service in Development in UK Further and Higher Education, to collect and share learning and teaching materials, allowing their reuse and repurposing. This free online repository service forms part of the JISC Information Environment.

    18. Are you interested in opening up and linking your institutional data? Unsure what the benefits could be?

    The LUCERO project (Linking University Content for Education and Research Online) supported development of open institutional data by sharing datasets and applications at http://data.open.ac.uk (in a similar way to http://data.gov.uk). Current and future datasets at the Open University include publications, podcasts, course data, open education resources, data from the LMS, and public information about the institution including staff, locations etc.

    A number of other institutions have followed in this example with the developments of open datasets from University of Oxford, University of Southampton, and University of Bristol.

    ResearchRevealed Project at Bristol University have implemented semantic web technologies locally over their repository and other information management systems - this has now provided them with the ability to make inferences over their content. Having the content well managed locally in their repository supported this process.

    The dotAC Project ran from the University of Southampton) and showcased some of the potential for HE linked data by producing a sample browser for information about UK HE, based on linked data converted from institutional repositories (listed in ROAR) and the JISC project database.

    For more information about how opening up your data in a similar way can bring advantages to your institution, see the LUCERO blog post on Wider Benefits to Sector & Achievements for Host Institution.

    Also see Q23 about open bibliographic metadata.

    19. What information is there to assist me with estimating the cost of preserving my digital assets?

    The LIFE (Life Cycle Information for E-Literature) project developed a methodology for modelling the digital lifecycle and calculating costs of preserving digital information over specified time periods. In its latest phase (LIFE3) it has produced a predictive costing tool which will make it easier for organisations to plan for the preservation of digital content.

    The Keeping Research Data Safe 2 (KRDS2) project built on the work of the first Keeping Research Data Safe study which had developed a cost model and identified cost variables for the preservation of research data. The final report includes a survey of cost information for digital preservation and in depth cost information for 4 organisations (the Archaeology Data Service, National Digital Archive of Datasets, UK Data Archive and University of Oxford) presented as case studies.

    20. How can I ensure long term access to the e-journals my institution subscribes to?

    E-journal archiving has been a key concern for a number of years, reflecting a change from print to electronic journals. The PECAN project (Pilot for Ensuring Continuity of Access via NESLi2) and the PEPRS project (Piloting an e-journals preservation registry service) explored ways of sustaining value by maintaining access to journal content.

    In addition to this, a recent draft white paper on E-journal Archiving for UK HE Libraries, has looked particularly at addressing the economic case for e-journal archiving and at examples of good practice including four case studies.

    21. Is there a better approach to managing our electronic library resources?

    There has been much interest in the area of developing the library infrastructure, incorporating a number of savings through potential shared services. This includes the current joint project with JISC and SCONUL examining ERM requirements with sixteen UK universities to gather information across eighteen different use cases with the ultimate aim of considering a shared ERM across the sector.

    The resource discovery task force is another example of a shared vision for the future of resources. A number of recently funded projects are looking to start the process to move towards this vision. You can sign up to a newsletter to be notified of future developments in this area. (see Q23 for more information).

    22. How can I use existing institutional data (e.g. repositories, electronic resources) more effectively to inform future decision making?

    A key development to support future planning is the body of work in the field of activity data. Eight projects have recently been funded in this area; many of the projects plan to use activity data to aid future business planning and support. Between them, the projects are gathering data from a number of different resources such as the LMS (circulation data), electronic resource statistics, repository searches, VLE usage, physical visit logs, and website logs. These projects build on the previous work of projects like MOSAIC, which looked at activity data of library resources to consider how this data could be used at an institutional level and possibly beyond this. Although the projects have only recently started work, they are short projects and you can follow their progress by subscribing to the synthesis blog.

    Other activity data projects also include PIRUS2, Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Stastics 2 (see Q25), and JUSP, Journal Usage Statistics Portal (see Q24).

    23. Why should my organisation make bibliographic metadata open?

    The Resource Discovery Taskforce (RDTF) has been established by JISC and RLUK (Research Libraries UK) to implement a programme of activities to define the requirements for the provision of a UK infrastructure to enable libraries, archives, museums and related organizations to share resources to support education and research. The taskforce discussed the area for a year before producing a vision designed to steer activity until the end of 2012. The focus of this activity is on metadata from libraries, musuems and archives that can assist end users in discovering and accessing objects and resources. However the RDTF work has been designed to ensure that relevant content from higher education and other sectors can be built into any services that are produced.

    Currently 8 projects are being funded to begin to address the challenges that need to be overcome at the institutional level to realize the RDTF vision. The projects are focused on making metadata about library, museum and archive collections openly available using standards and licensing that allows that data to be reused.

    In addition the Open Bibliographic Data Guide provides libraries, museums and archives with information about opening up bibliographic data and provides examples to draw upon. The report provides recommendations on how you might provide metadata to be involved in RDTF.

    Read and subscribe to the RDTF newsletter to keep up to date with developments and events.

    24. How can I find out if I am getting value for money from my e journal subscriptions?

    Libraries spend millions of pounds on electronic journals each year, but gathering statistics about their use hasn't always been easy. Diminishing budgets must demonstrate value for money, and reliable data is key. Comparative usage statistics help evaluate the impact of e-resources and inform future purchasing decisions. The Journal Usage Statistics Portal (JUSP) provides a "one-stop shop" for libraries to view, download and analyse their usage reports from NESLi2 publishers.

    JUSP allows libraries to:

    • Collect COUNTER-compliant usage data and generate reports
    • View titles with high usage
    • Analyse trends and usage over time
    • Complete annual SCONUL returns for titles provided by NESLi2 publishers
    • Separate journal back-files from current collections
    • Include usage data from intermediaries and hosts
    • Compare usage of different NESLi2 deals

    It is free to join JUSP and realise these benefits; simply contact jusp@mimas.ac.uk or visit the JUSP website.

    25. Can I get article level usage statistics for items held in repositories?

    At the moment it is not possible for publishers, repositories and other organisations to generate and share authoritative, trustworthy usage statistics for the individual articles and other items that they host. The PIRUS 2 (Publisher and Institutional Repository Usage Statistics) project has led innovative work which has demonstrated that individual article level usages statistics are technically feasible to produce and are seen as valuable to a range of stakeholders. It has also demonstrated a business model which could be developed further. A final project report will be made public soon and recommends further advocacy work to bring the vision identified through PIRUS2 into being.

    If you’re interested in local usage statistics for your repository and you have eprints then it might be worth taking a look at the meprints plugin. Meprints provides authors with a dashboard that reports all of the statistics about their items in the repository.

    26. Is local innovation important? How can it help my institution?

    Local innovation can be utilised as a way of solving institutional problems, often beginning as small scale experimentation and, if successful, moving on to a larger funded project which is customised to your institutional needs.

    A number of projects within the Information Environment projects arose from local innovation within an institution. University of Huddersfield have been involved in a number of projects such as MOSIAC (Making Our Scholarly Activity Information Count) and LIDP (Library Impact Data Project), both of which initially arose through local experimentation with innovative ideas. University of Lincoln have also utilised local innovation, setting up informal “un-projects” to begin experimentation before applying for funding. Jerome was one such project that began as an un-project and has since received funding through the Information Environment programme. Joss Winn from Lincoln explains this process in more detail on his blog.

    The Rapid Innovation Projects also supported the notion of local innovation. 41 projects were funded for 6 months to test new technologies for their suitability for education and research and developing genuinely useful prototypes that solve end user problems. These projects demonstrated the value of institutional developers in fostering innovation and provided a like minded community of developers to exchange ideas. Many successful outputs were developed some of which have gone on to be developed further. You can see a summary of some of the most successful projects from the rapid innovation programme in the Toolshed publication. This publication also included a map overview of all the rapid innovation projects.

    27. What opportunities are there for developers?

    DevCSI (Developer Community Supporting Innovation) helps higher education software developers by providing opportunities for them to learn, network with their peers, share ideas, collaborate and innovate on common problems therefore supporting a ‘community’ of developers in the HE sector. This provides career and learning development opportunities for developers as well as a forum to undertake innovation in HE. This is useful for institutions as it provides opportunities for developers to learn from peers and to bring that knowledge to bear on the problems faced by their institutions.

    DevCSI runs and support events for and by developers, these events are open to all HE institutions and are generally free to attend providing very useful personal development opportunities that will benefit the individual and the institution. DevCSI also provides a forum to engage end users, funders and senior managers in the innovation process.

    Details of devCSI events can be found on the devCSI calendar. Reports from past events can be found on the blog. Details of devCSI’s big annual event for developers, dev8D can be found on the dev8D site.