MSc Dissertation: questionnaire

As part of her MSc Information Studies course, Leeds Met student Beth Hall is undertaking a dissertation investigating disciplinary differences in opinion of and use of open access repositories by research-active academic staff and postgraduate students.

Beth’s work will also provide useful information for the development of the Leeds Met repository and we would be very grateful if you could spend a few minutesĀ  completing her questionnaire (Leeds Met staff/postgrads only)

Technology and learning day

Dawn and me at the TEL Day 03/06/08

Appealing to peoples’ acquisitive natures, Dawn and I offered a small incentive to encourage people to complete our questionnaire at the TEL day on 3rd June (the lucky winner has been informed so I’m afraid if you haven’t heard then it wasn’t you!)

We ended up with 20 respondents and, from my perspective, some interesting preliminary data; reassuring in that it suggests there is already a good awareness about the yet to be implemented Leeds Met repository and also a reasonable general knowledge about Open Access with only 4 of the 20 respondents professing ignorance about the project and 14 saying they have “some” (12) or “good” (2) awareness of OA.

I realise this is a small sample and that attendees at this event may well be better informed about new technological initiatives within the university than the academic population at large but is is nevertheless encouraging to know that there is a kernal of folk for whom these ideas aren’t entirely new with almost half (9) of people also being familiar with publisher self-archiving policies.

Just one of our respondents had actually submitted an article to an Open Access repository; hopefully this number will increase dramatically once they have an institutional repository of their own!

The penultimate question in the OA section of the questionnaire focussed on 6 potential benefits of Open Access and asked people to rank them each from 1 (not important) to 5 (important). For the purposes of summary here I am regarding ranks 1 and 2 (not important); rank 3 (of medium importance); 4 and 5 (important). The full spreadsheet is available here.

a. Public have access to research they have helped fund through taxation

15 respondents considered this important; 4 respondents considered it of medium importance; 1 did not respond

b. Teachers/students have access to key resources without subscription barriers

18 respondents considered this important; 1 respondent considered it of medium importance; 1 respondent did not consider it important

c. Maximise research impact/increase citation of your work

12 respondents considered this important; 5 respondents considered it of medium importance; 3 respondents did not consider it important

d. Increased return on investment for funding bodies

10 respondents considered this important; 8 respondents considered it of medium importance; 2 respondents did not consider it important

e. Scholars in economically disadvantaged areas of the world (eg. developing countries) have greater access to published research

17 respondents considered this important; 2 respondents considered it of medium importance; 1 respondent did not consider it important

f. Reduced economic constraints on institutional libraries that can currently afford to subscribe to a relatively small sub-set of published research

17 respondents considered this important; 2 respondents considered it of medium importance; 1 respondent did not consider it important

The final question in the OA section asked:

“In the course of your online research, how frequently do you encounter resources that you are unable to access (eg. LeedsMet does not subscribe to the resource)?”

For half of respondents (10) this is a problem “occasionally” with 7 encountering it more frequently; only 3 respondents said this was “hardly ever” a problem for them.

This brief questionnaire is just a staging post on the advocacy journey but it has certainly been a useful exercise; aside from the data itself, both Dawn and I need volunteers from the university community to become actively involved in our respective development and evaluation processes and many of our respondents indicated their willingness to do just that. I hope that from this small but interested kernal we can begin to reach out to others, spreading knowledge and enthusiasm for Open Access and the Leeds Met repository as we go.

For a summary of the PERSoNA section of the questionnaire see PERSoNA NEWS

Software announcement

I can finally announce that intraLibrary from Intrallect has been selected as the software platform for LeedsMet Repository.

Originally designed as a Learning Object repository, intraLibrary is the platform behind JORUM and will need some repurposing to also serve as an Open Access research archive. During our rigorous selection process and after careful liaison with Intrallect, however, we have been satisfied that such repurposing is achievable and that the software will ultimately provide the best all round solution for our requirements. We now join Oxford Brookes University’s CIRCLE project in using this software to implement a single repository for research outputs and Learning Objects.

intraLibrary will be implemented and configured over the next few months and I intend to start uploading research material almost immediately. An official launch, however, is still some way off while the necessary customisation is carried out. For demonstration purposes, priorities will be:

  • Development of appropriate workflows for ingest of research materials.
  • Integration of an SRU interface to facilitate open search and retrieval of research content.
  • Work with Intrallect to incorporate embargo functionality in line with publisher restrictions.
  • Work with Intrallect to incorporate report functionality (number of hits/downloads etc) that can be used in advocacy to the university community.

As initially prioritised in the project plan and due to the considerable amount of customisation to be undertaken, our early emphasis will be on research outputs; appropriate liaison will also continue within the university regarding LeedsMet repository and Learning Objects.