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Richard Finch, Academic Library Services Manager
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Over many years the Library has seen the provision of an institutional repository for research outputs as a key development. In-house experiments with DSpace began in 2006. Financial constraints and the need to secure support from the University’s research community meant that it was not until 2009 that the repository was included within the then Learning & Information Services departmental strategic plan.
The growth in the range and scale of university research, the awareness of developments in other institutions, and appreciation of the benefits of an open access repository to raise awareness of the University’s research outputs all helped to build the case for moving forward.
The University did not have the technical staff capacity to set up and maintain an in-house repository.
Open Repository offered an affordable solution with a flexible structure that met the University’s needs. It was re-assuring to know that the customer base included other UK Higher Education Institutions with comparable research profiles.
The project has been run by the Library’s E-Resources team reporting through the Academic Services Manager to the University’s Research Committee. The Head of Research advised on a pilot group of four research teams to work with initially to promote the deposit of research papers.
At the same time, the library team has worked with the University’s Research Office on processes for the deposit of PhD theses and the retrospective digitisation of theses requested through Ethos.
Researchers and research managers have been enthusiastic and supportive in general. It is taking time to engage individuals with deposit processes. The intention is for researchers to deposit themselves with checking done by the library team.
We are currently working closely with research teams to go through deposit processes in order to get authors engaged and depositing their work.
It is recognised by the University that the repository will both enable compliance with funders;’ requirements and provide a showcase for the University’s research (particularly important as the institution is not generally identified with research).
We are at an early stage. Feedback so far is enthusiastic and positive, and the benefits understood.
We expect that the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research and the Research Committee will mandate the deposit of university supported research outputs in UDORA (University of Derby Online Research Archive).
The current focus is on promoting the retrospective deposit of past research papers and PhD theses. Future plans envisage research teams developing their own presence on UDORA and possibly extending the scope for deposit to Masters level theses.
Support for setting up UDORA has been exemplary, in particular the rapid response to technical queries and “bug fixing”.
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