Open Repository

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The Christie NHS Foundation Trust case study

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Steve Glover, Library and Education Facilities Manager

Anne Webb, Library Operations Manager


1. What led your organization to set up a repository?

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust is one of Europe’s leading centres in the field of oncology and its related sciences. The Christie publishes approximately 350 peer-reviewed papers per annum in addition to many conference abstracts and other intellectual output. Founded in 1901, the hospital has a rich heritage and has over 9000 papers indexed in Medline and the major research databases. The repository will capture this output and provide a searchable index to keep this information in a central place accessible via the Internet.

2. What attracted you to a hosted repository solution rather than running a repository in-house?

The repository began as an in-house database written in SQL and searchable on the Internet but it became obvious early on that this solution had many limitations, e.g. the demand on inter departmental staff time, the need for technical expertise in database or repository software, and the utilisation of web 2.0 technologies.

Having looked at some university repositories and visiting Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008 we decided to choose a hosted solution.

3. What specific benefits attracted you to Open Repository?

There were a number of features of Open Repository that appealed to us as a medical research institute.

The Open Repository interface was customisable and appeared to integrate seamlessly with the organisation’s web pages. Also it seemed quite intuitive and easy for the end user to navigate.

The ease of populating the database by importing data from PubMed was particularly helpful for adding retrospective data. By inputting the PubMed ID much of the data fields were automatically populated. Another feature was the displaying of related articles in PubMed. It was important to keep control of the author information and the convention of assigning names to the papers. We wanted all papers authored by particular author to be listed under a single naming convention.

Data quality is important and the work flow options ensured the correct checking steps could be placed within the submission pipeline. The mapping feature allowed us to highlight the work of each department which is important when papers are authored by staff of different departments.

4. Which departments and/or or individuals have been involved in setting up and running your repository?

The repository was driven by the library with the backing of the trust research & development committee. The library provided R&D with lists of papers and abstracts for reports on an ongoing basis and frequently provided professors, doctors, and researchers with publication lists. Initially the repository project was implemented through an in-house solution (involving IT, the library and R&D) to showcase the institution’s research and provide a convenient point of access for staff research publications. This lead on to the current BioMed Central hosted solution.

As we are in the process of trying to deposit the data for the retrospective publications dating back to1950 we are managing the repository by mediating submission. It is the role of the repository librarian to manage the submission of current papers on a monthly basis. There is a small team of library staff employed on preparing the retrospective data for submission after checking by the repository librarian.

5. Where did the funding for your repository come from?

Funding for the purchase of the repository software was provided by the library and the NHS North West Health Care Library Unit. Annual maintenance is funded by the library and the retrospective data extraction is funded by the hospital R&D committee.

6. How easy has it proved to be to populate your repository with content?

The hospital publishes 300 – 350 papers per annum so placing new papers into the repository has been mediated by the repository librarian. Retrospective data is being deposited by publication year in a rolling programme moving backwards from 2008. The data has already been captured in a local database but this data must be upgraded and enhanced before being deposited. This ensures authority on the author names and journal names. We are also adding keyword meta data.
To encourage users to deposit we are mapping new papers to a department hierarchy within the communities. It is hoped that this will encourage scientists and groups to notify the library on publication. We hope to move to author submission but for data quality reasons final submission will remain with the repository librarian.

7. How has your repository helped you organization?

Primarily the repository will help showcase the research output of The Christie. Also Cancer Research UK, one of our main funding bodies is a supporter of open access publishing and many grant holders will be able to deposit into the repository to meet funding requirements.

8. How has your repository been received?

The repository has been received well by staff publishing within the trust. We have an outreach campaign planned for the coming months to demonstrate the repository and publicise within the organisation. We started with peer-reviewed papers but there has been a high demand to include meeting abstracts and posters. There is also interest in developing individual researcher pages within the repository.

9. How does your repository fit with your organizations open access initiative?

Funding for research comes from many sources. Cancer Research UK supports open access as does the National Health Service (NHS). Many of the research publications targeted by our doctors and scientists also support open access and make papers available 12 months after publication.

10. How do you see your repository developing in future?

The main function of the repository is to capture the intellectual output of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. We have begun by building the repository around peer-reviewed publications but we foresee this being only part of the story in the future.

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