This morning I popped along to the Physics & Astronomy leg of the CEPSAR coffee morning to give (what was supposed to be) a short presentation on ORO. As it turned out there were quite a few questions and quite a bit of discussion, meaning all in all I was there for about 45 minutes instead of my allotted 15. I don’t think anyone minded though. I didn’t spot anyone falling asleep anyway.
After initially fearing the worst when a few people put down their coffees and scarpered when the title slide of my presentation appeared on-screen, I was pleased to see 15 or so people grab a chair and settle down to listen to what I had to say. Bearing in mind we’ve also recently presented to PSSRI and E&ES, I think we can consider CEPSAR well and truly ORO’d for the time being.
Knowing that phisicists and astronomers are very used to using subject-based repositories and services like arXiv and ADS I paid quite a lot of attention to addressing the issue of ‘why deposit in yet another database?’ Actually, no one asked this question directly, but I still felt it was worth making this particular audience aware of the additional advantages to be had by depositing in your institutional repository. For me, there are three answers to this question:
1. To help showcase your institution’s research. Bearing in mind that I still come across people that weren’t aware the OU actually does any research, this is perhaps more important for us than many other institutions. Nevertheless (and I guess this depends on how allied the individual researcher feels to their current employer), I believe all academics should help where possible to contribute to their institution’s ’shop window’.
2. To be able to output from and link to ORO. For example, RSS feeds for your department, research centre, or research group; or perhaps a link through to your publications list on ORO from your own personal website. The point here is that ORO is not a static dumping ground. We’re thinking about and working on new ways to develop ORO as a service all the time. Unless your publications are in you won’t be able to benefit from these developments.
3. The citation advantage of Open Access. I spoke about recent research that suggests a significant citation advantage to making your work available Open Access. Yes this can be achieved by depositing your work in arXiv, but I suspect you improve your chances even further by also depositing in your institutional repository. Basically, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I was asked, quite rightly, about the time that all this takes – depositing in multiple repositories. To address this I included in my presentation a demo of how easy it is to import journal articles into ORO using the DOI (Digital Object Identifier), which nearly all online journal articles possess these days. In doing so, I also allayed fears that we expect our depositors to enter manually every single author of the paper, which, for physicists and astronomers can be quite a significant amount. The DOI import function will only pull in the first author, but that’s enough to deposit; library staff that are checking and verifying submitted items will do the rest.
All in all I felt most people seemed to find the presentation useful. Not only were there some interesting questions and discussion points, but some useful feedback as well. For example, when I mentioned that we are in the process of developing a cover sheet for full text items on ORO one member of the audience suggested we brand each page of the document (as arXiv does for instance), as many people might just bin the front page from a print-out. I’ll certainly discuss this further with my ORO colleagues as we develop this over the next few weeks.