Innovation Support Centre Fri, 26 Jul 2013 16:25:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © Innovation Support Centre 2012 (Innovation Support Centre) (Innovation Support Centre) 1440 Innovation Support Centre 144 144 Innovation Support Centre Innovation Support Centre no no Closure of this Web Site Fri, 26 Jul 2013 16:25:35 +0000 Brian Kelly Following the cessation of JISC’s core funding to UKOLN the ISC Web site has been closed. An archive of the Web site has been created which can be accessed via the UK Web Archive.

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euroCRIS Spring 2013 Membership Meeting in Bonn Fri, 17 May 2013 00:57:26 +0000 Rosemary Russell SONY DSC

Just back from the euroCRIS Spring 2013 membership meeting which was held in Bonn this week, 13-14 May at the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). As well as being one of the main research funders in Germany, DFG is also one of the main providers of research information at a national level. There has been a recent upsurge in CERIF-related activity in Germany, as related in the many interesting national presentations. These included a significant initiative to develop a ‘Core Data Set’ for research activities in Germany. Leuphana University reported on use cases to reduce workload but also increase the quality of research reporting (since quality is valued most). Developments in Italy include a CERIF compliant open source CRIS in DSpace (as part of SURplus) at CINECA (with Hong Kong University as a partner). I presented a work in progress report on my current study for JISC addressing the use of CERIF CRIS in the UK.

The draft OpenAIRE guidelines for CRIS interoperation based on CERIF XML were announced. euroCRIS is a partner in several EU projects including OpenAIRE and the new PASTEUR40A project on OA and open data. Other euroCRIS news included the development of a CRIS ‘Reference system’ with data export in CERIF XML plus compliance testing. euroCRIS is also working on mapping CASRAI data profiles to CERIF; the CASRAI approach is bottom up and CASRAI top down, so the two complement each other. In closing the meeting, Ed Simons, the new euroCRIS president suggested that euroCRIS work has previously focused more on technical development of the CERIF model and implementation, whereas it’s now relevant to spend more time addressing business needs.

Story image

euroCRIS participants congregate for the official group photo at DFG
(photos by Pablo de Castro and Barbara Ebert)

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CERIF UK coordination meeting Fri, 08 Mar 2013 18:19:35 +0000 Rosemary Russell Brigitte Jörg, the CERIF National Coordinator at UKOLN organised a meeting last week to identify priorities for a UK CERIF roadmap building on current and ongoing activities. Brigitte’s blog includes a very useful slide of the current CERIF UK landscape – outputs from key initiatives were presented and discussed.

There is an ongoing need for alignment: given the requirements of different projects, and that CERIF can be interpreted in different ways, there are inevitable slight variations in mappings eg between CERIF in Action (CIA) and Gateway to Research. The need for collaborative working arose several times – the CIA project has experienced the advantages of institutions, funders and vendors working closely together. Stability is also a key requirement for successful software development (REF was cited as an excellent example of stability, with very few revisions); however research information management has been changing very rapidly recently, with many additional system requirements coming at one time. As ever, the issue of data quality came up, this time in discussion of GtR handling of many layers of data.

There are key UK sustainability issues to address, in the context of Jisc funding for RIM and CERIF coordination and support at UKOLN ending in June/July 2013. euroCRIS and CASRAI are potential homes for outputs, but investment is needed to support ongoing coordination effort.

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Pure UK user group meeting in Birmingham Wed, 06 Feb 2013 12:05:17 +0000 Rosemary Russell Last Friday (1 Feb) I participated as an observer in the second day of the Pure UK user group meeting in Birmingham (by kind permission of the outgoing Chair, Anna Clements). I’m planning an update to the Adoption of CERIF in Higher Education Institutions in the UK study and thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with some key people, which it was. It was interesting (although perhaps not surprising) that CERIF hardly got a mention, apart from by Anna (which appeared to be the norm!). CERIF is assumed as an underlying standard, but research managers have more important issues to engage with – such as REF…

Given the number of Pure users in the UK (21), it’s now a large group, with several working groups taking forward key issues outside meetings. Two members of staff from Atira participated – there was an good working atmosphere reflecting the positive relationships with Atira which institutions had previously reported.

Working groups reported on:

  • OA and repositories – including connectors for Scopus/WoS, APCs, work on OA metadata in CERIF (and with CASRAI)
  • data sets – minimal metadata as short term goal, with broader aims in long term; data sets are next big thing after REF!
  • student data – most institutions don’t allow students to update their own profile in the CRIS (because of the resource requirement)
  • activity data – work on UI, parallel CASRAI work
  • web services – as another interface to institutional data


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Managing ethics review information: RMAS-EE project Tue, 05 Feb 2013 18:32:57 +0000 Rosemary Russell Ethical approval is needed for most research work before it can be carried out although processes and requirements tend to differ across disciplines, funders and institutions. Many institutions use standalone systems to manage the approval process, with potential for duplication of effort, while Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) provide varying levels of support for ethical review information.

  • The CONVERIS CRIS does already support ethics review and is being used for this purpose by UK user institutions. However functionality is currently limited compared to what is being developed – Avedas are working with CASRAI (as described below) at the same time as reviewing institutional requirements in order to develop configurable forms, workflows and user rights for CONVERIS (systems programming changes are not anticipated). The CONVERIS specification will be aligned with CASRAI work.
  • Although Symplectic Elements could currently support the capture of ethics review information such as an ethics status flag, institutional users have not yet expressed this requirement; it is thought that most Symplectic users currently capture ethics information either offline or in pre-award/clinical trial systems.
  • Likewise Atira report that Pure users have not requested support for ethics review, so it is not currently provided within Pure (apart from a flag to remind staff to initiate ethics review) and there are no plans to change this for the moment.

Therefore while one of the drivers for the Research Management and Administration System – Ethics Extension (RMAS-EE) work was the need to raise awareness of the role that ethical review plays in research projects, another was to reduce administrative overheads. It was funded by the Jisc research information management (RIM) programme as a rapid innovation project, starting in July 2012 and finishing in December 2012.

As its name indicates, the project extends the work of the earlier RMAS project which developed a Procurement Framework to enable universities to purchase individual research management system modules using a simplified and much-shortened procurement process. It also developed tools and guidelines to help institutions integrate new modules with existing research systems and corporate systems. RMAS uses CERIF for the representation of data and worked with euroCRIS to extend the CERIF vocabulary to meet UK requirements. An Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) facilitates the exchange of messages (encapsulated in CERIF) between different research management applications.

The RMAS-EE project was based at the University of Kent, one of the three RMAS ‘pathfinder’ institutions. However the blog points out that the project team at Kent was not involved in the original RMAS project and was therefore dependent on RMAS documentation to understand the applications. The project consequently provided a useful case study for RMAS as a side product.

Prototyping the integration of the ethical review of research proposals into the RMAS framework was the central aim of RMAS-EE. Additional aims as indicated included informing the CERIF data standard so that it is better able to describe ethical review information.

The existing OpenEthics software was adopted to manage the ethics review process. The project planned to use the RMAS Supplier Agnostic Connector (which is based on a commercial product) between OpenEthics and RMAS to translate to and from CERIF. However investigation revealed that expected specifications were missing (for the proposal-created message in particular) so it was decided to use the project team’s expertise in Python to write the required software instead. Another issue encountered was synchronising users across RMAS and the OpenEthics system. A mapping solution was developed for the project, but this will be a problem that any other integration work will also need to address.

The original plan was to contribute to the CASRAI data dictionary as well as the CERIF standard; while this proved to be unnecessary to meet immediate project needs, the University of Kent is continuing to work with CASRAI on the structure of an ethical review application, which would allow interoperability of different systems for managing ethical review. Agreeing the status definitions (whether a project has been approved or not) will be the first step. The project participated in the inaugural CASRAI UK chapter meeting in December 2012. Avedas (developers of CONVERIS) are also part of the CASRAI UK Ethics Review working group.

One of the project’s conclusions was that ‘ RMAS as a concept works brilliantly’. However the team has expressed several concerns about the broader RMAS environment. Firstly the lack of RMAS event specification and a production ready ESB means that integrating with RMAS is very difficult (it was acknowledged that only the team’s strong technical capabilities made this possible). Secondly, there is no evidence of an RMAS user community – when the project proposed a specification for discussion, there was no response. As a result it was not possible for the project to test the claim that integrating research ethics into RMAS allows enhanced reporting of ethical review data in the broader research information context, because there were no other systems to integrate with via RMAS.

The project has been useful in initiating further activity relating to ethics review in the international standards communities, specifically euroCRIS and CASRAI. It is less clear if awareness has been raised in the wider UK research information management communities (a diverse group). A key output of the project is the proposal to euroCRIS for including ethical review Status in the CERIF vocabulary. The terms are currently under consideration by the CERIF Task Group. As well as software outputs, the project has also made a lot of technical documentation available via the blog which could be useful for future RMAS integration work.


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Text mining: a survey Tue, 08 Jan 2013 11:37:38 +0000 Emma Tonkin Recent JISC-funded horizon-scanning work has included a workshop at OR-2012 and an associated book, currently under development, to be published by Chandos. We are now also running a survey on text mining.

As part of this work, we felt that it was important for us to talk to those engaged in text mining work both in the UK and internationally. This survey is intended to elicit a little information about the practices and challenges associated with text mining.

Important points to bear in mind:

  • Your input will be treated anonymously and your personal details will not be stored unless you ask us to do otherwise.
  • If you feel that you have more to say than the limited scope of this survey, then why not contact us directly? We would love to hear from you – and there are still opportunities to contribute to relevant chapters of the book.
  • If you think you know someone who should be involved, we’d be very grateful if you could pass this on to them.

We expect to publish the results in open-access form once the survey is complete.


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New TechWatch Report: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education Thu, 20 Dec 2012 11:38:22 +0000 lisrw JISC Observatory has published the final version of a report written for Higher and Further Education institutions entitled Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education.

This report provides an overview of ebook technologies currently adopted within institutions as they respond to the increasing growth in ebook reading in wider society as well as within academic contexts. It emphasises in its opening observations the importance of understanding how the adoption of ebooks should not be regarded as working towards the replacement of printed books, but rather as a means of providing a more diverse range of reading opportunities for students.  Its recommendations will be of interest to Higher and Further Education institutions as they plan for the changes in provision to students that will be driven by the increasingly rapid evolution of ebook technologies.

Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of Ebooks in Education examines the historical development and present context of ebooks, reviews the basics of ebooks technology and usage, considers scenarios for ebook adoption and usage in the Higher and Further Education context, addresses the challenges that are currently facing institutions and considers the future.

Production editing and project management of this report have been provided by the Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN.

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Snowball Metrics: vision for research information management in the UK Thu, 20 Dec 2012 00:59:33 +0000 Rosemary Russell The Snowball Metrics initiative held three workshops in different parts of the UK last week, addressing the ‘vision and challenges for research information management in the UK’. Prior to the workshops, participants were asked to identify firstly what they felt would make a significant difference to research information management in the UK today, and secondly, what is the biggest challenge that stands in the way of achieving this vision. Discussion topics included the following:

  • Interoperable data rather than integrated systems
  • Agreed business processes are needed as well as the data
  • Understanding the business need for collecting research information (institutions often collect more information than required)
  • Data quality versus quantity
  • Tensions surrounding research data use in allocating funding
  • Trust in how data may be used by other organisations
  • Identifying benefits of standardised research information/ metrics for researchers (eg discovering opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration in a large institution)
  • Persistent identifiers – eg person IDs (ORCID etc)
  • Managing definitions and vocabularies (eg agreeing definitions was the biggest challenge for the Gateway to Research)
  • CASRAI data dictionary (UK edition planned)
  • Strategic leadership in UK – BIS? (need to ensure realisation of efficiency benefits across the communities)
  • More coherence across RIM initiatives needed?
  • International perspective – eg Snowball global aims, CASRAI

A report based on input and workshop discussions is planned, to be shared with the wider community.

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REDIC project – contributing to improved information about research equipment in the UK Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:35:59 +0000 Rosemary Russell The JISC-funded REDIC (Research Equipment Database in CERIF) project has recently been completed and deliverables are becoming available to the community. It sits alongside several other initiatives addressing the lack of available information about research equipment. Most universities own large quantities of expensive research equipment  which can include individual items costing millions of pounds. There is no national database of equipment/facility data and moreover, desk research carried out by REDIC suggests that most universities do not maintain their own internal registers of equipment. The current initiatives tackling different parts of the problem are partly in response to the Research Council 2011 changes in how equipment is funded on grants; the aim is to gain the best possible value from existing capital investments (includes procurement efficiencies as well as promoting the sharing of equipment across institutions). In addition to REDIC, UK initiatives include:

  • The JISC-funded Kit Catalogue Project carried out during 2011 at Loughborough University delivered an open-source system available for any HEI to catalogue and share information about their research equipment. The catalogue implemented at Loughborough is publicly available
  • The University of Leeds together with its partners within the N8 consortium has developed and implemented a common taxonomy to categorise medium and large-scale research equipment
  • Funded by EPSRC, the Uniquip project aims to deliver a set of standards for cataloguing and publishing information about research facilities and equipment; partners are the Universities of Southampton, Leeds, Loughborough and Bath
  • The University of Bath has also integrated its existing >£10k asset register into Pure (allowing linking of equipment to other information such as outputs)
  • CASRAI UK is likely to take forward work on an authoritative list for equipment/facility.

REDIC is a JISC-funded rapid innovation project which ran from June to November 2012. Managed by the University of Edinburgh Digital Library, development was carried out by EDINA. The project has built a CERIF-compliant prototype system and infrastructure to support an authoritative registry of information about research equipment and facilities, intended for use by researchers. Making the prototype available in the CERIF format enables incorporation or referencing in local Current Research Information Systems (CRIS) or institutional repositories.

The prototype model is shown below.  SWORD is used as the deposit mechanism and DSpace as the record store. The use of Sword was a challenge initially because SwordV2 did not interface with DSpace in the way the project required. However this was fed back into the DSpace/Sword communities for discussion and resolution.

The core dataset used was recommended by the Uniquip project and acquired from Southampton via the site. Other datasets (such as the N8 taxonomy) can be added as required by adjusting the ingester. DSpace provides a facility to convert data to CERIF-XML. However some required data elements could not be mapped to CERIF – REDIC has therefore worked with Brigitte Jörg from the CERIF Support Project at UKOLN and initiatives at other UK institutions to suggest additional CERIF entities to be considered by the CERIF Task Group. CERIF 1.3 (in February 2012) previously included improvements to the equipment and facility entities.

The equipment and facilities contained within the register are each assigned a persistent identifier  (via the Handle System, as used by DSpace). The CERIF data model allows the linking of equipment to other information, such as people, projects and outputs (including research data) produced as a result of using the equipment; impact of use (and sharing) can therefore be captured.

REDIC has succeeded in bringing the concept of equipment/facility into the ‘information mix’ as an instrument of research. Together with the other equipment initiatives, REDIC is supporting steps towards the cultural change needed to achieve wider implementation and realise the benefits.

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Ariadne Issue 70 Now Available Mon, 17 Dec 2012 17:21:27 +0000 lisrw Colleagues in the Innovation Support Centre have contributed articles to the recently published Issue 70 of Ariadne. Brian Kelly with co-authors Dominik Lukeš and Alistair McNaught highlight the risks of attempting to standardise easy-to-read language for online resources for the benefit of readers with disabilities. Far from rejecting the intentions of the W3C/WAI Research and Development Working Group (RDWG), in ‘Does He Take Sugar?’: The Risks of Standardising Easy-to-read Language, the authors seek to explain the complexities involved in expressing and understanding language and why a one-size-fits-all approach may not be the only solution. Instead they point to the importance of contextualisation and other elements which they consider will in the long run work more effectively.

In addition we are pleased to provide a further article on the subject of CERIF following the appearance of JISC Research Information Management: CERIF Workshop in Issue 69. We are indebted once again to Rosemary Russell who, together with the CERIF Support Project National Co-ordinator based at the Innovation Support Centre, Brigitte Jörg, reports on the bi-annual euroCRIS membership and Task Groups meetings which took place in Madrid on 5-6 November 2012. The report covers the range of meetings and activities arranged for those days including sessions from national groups, a CERIF tutorial and a session on identifiers.

The new issue has as usual a wide range of feature articles, events and book reviews and we hope that Ariadne’s policy of publishing on a wide range of topics will ensure that there is something there to interest as many of its readers as possible. We hope you will enjoy Ariadne  Issue 70.

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CASRAI UK ‘chapter’ meeting Fri, 14 Dec 2012 01:23:46 +0000 Rosemary Russell The inaugural meeting of the ‘UK chapter’ (terminology may change!) of CASRAI (Consortia Advancing Standards in Research Administration Information) took place on 10 December in London, convened by CASRAI and JISC. CASRAI collectively develops and maintains a data dictionary for terms used in research information management, in order to ensure that terminology is used consistently across the stakeholder communities and data can therefore be easily exchanged. It also promotes best practice for data exchange and reuse. CASRAI is an international organisation which has grown out of a base in Canada – research isn’t confined to national boundaries.  Strategic partners include JISC, euroCRIS and VIVO.

So the idea is to develop a UK edition of the CASRAI dictionary, which will build on the existing dictionary to include additional lists required by UK research organisations. Some of these may be unique to UK needs but others could be adopted more widely in time. There will therefore be a common core dictionary, with extra layers to meet national needs. Some requirements will also be discipline-specific. The main aim of the meeting was to decide priority areas for the UK, working towards a first release of a UK edition in June 2013. This is an ambitious timescale but work is not starting from scratch – the aim is always to reuse existing terminology work where possible. CASRAI standards are all about harmonisation rather than uniformity or a lowest common denominator approach, which often has limited success.

The CASRAI dictionary is also a very good fit with the CERIF data model, since it provides the missing business agreements which are not covered by CERIF. Some initial work on ‘CERIFying’ the dictionary has already been carried out. However a variety of storage models are possible (eg CERIF, VIVO, LATTES, proprietary) and likewise exchange models (eg CERIF-XML, VIVO-RDF).

A number of priority areas for the UK were identified and scoped during the meeting with the managers of current UK initiatives addressing those areas. The key topics discussed were:

  • Research ethics review: definitions for content of messages indicating ethics application status (the Research Management and Administration System Ethics Extension (RMAS-EE) project funded by JISC will provide key input) – a full ethics review profile would require a lot more effort
  • Data management plans: the DMP Online tool developed by DCC will be a key content resource (work carried out by the CERIF for Datasets project is also relevant; the Research Councils are key stakeholders here)
  • ‘Authoritative lists’
    • Facilities and equipment – the taxonomy developed by the N8 Consortium is being used by others included the Uniquip project
    • Institutions – HESA is the authoritative source for UK institutions but is there a requirement for a consolidated international list?
    • Person names

Profiles for research outcomes and impact were raised as potential UK requirements although this needs further scoping because of time constraints. Open access issues were also highlighted. Some further prioritisation will be needed to ensure an achievable workplan.

The UK CASRAI initiative working alongside the common global harmonisation effort and using the CERIF data model, offers an exciting opportunity to improve the interoperability of research information management systems internationally.

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“Top 10 Tips on How to Make Your Open Access Research Visible Online” Published in Jisc Inform Wed, 12 Dec 2012 14:44:11 +0000 Brian Kelly The Jisc Inform Newsletter (issue 35, December 2012) features an article by Brian Kelly on Top 10 tips on how to make your open access research visible online.

The article is based on a blog post originally published on the Networked Researcher blog which was tweaked slightly and republished on the Jisc blog. The version published in the Jisc Inform newsletter includes a series of images to accompany each of the ten tips.

The tips were originally developed to accompany a series of presentations given at the universities of Exeter, Salford and Bath during Open Access Week. These presentations were based on the experiences gained in use of social media to help maximise access to peer-reviewed publications. In particular the tips documented the experiences of use of social media services such as blogs, Twitter and Slideshare  to help maximise the readership of a paper entitled “A Challenge to Web Accessibility Metrics and Guidelines: Putting People and Processes First“.

As a reminder, here are the ten tips:

  1. Be pro-active
  2. Monitor what works
  3. Make it easy for readers
  4. Don’t forget the links
  5. Encourage feedback and discussion
  6. Develop your network
  7. Understand your social media network
  8. Know your limits in the social media environment
  9. Seek improvements
  10. Participate!

The article expands on these tips slightly, but doesn’t address the limitations which will be inevitable when seeking to provide advice in the form of ‘top tips’. However the tips are themselves extensible and, as described in tips 6, 7 and 8 you will need to Understand your social media network; Know your limits in the social media environment and Seek improvements.


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Call for Chapters: Working with text Thu, 06 Dec 2012 19:16:19 +0000 Emma Tonkin Call for chapters

Working with text: Tools, techniques and approaches for text mining

Text mining tools and technologies have a long history in the repository world, where they have been applied successfully for a variety of purposes. These vary from pragmatic aims such as enabling document search and browse facilities, linking related documents, identifying copies or facilitating the deposit process, to support tools for academic research. The latter category includes supporting research on the basis of a large body of documents, facilitating access to and reuse of existing work, and connecting the formal academic world with areas such as the traditional and social media. Research areas as diverse as biology, chemistry, sociology and criminology have seen effective use made of text mining technologies.


However, the uptake and hence the impact of these tools has been uneven. Several obstacles to development and deployment are frequently cited, including the maturity, complexity, and in some instances cost of software packages, as well as scarcity of relevant technical skills. Text mining methods and tools can be fragile and complex, requiring significant set-up time and effort. Projects making use of text mining may also suffer from legal obstacles, such as copyright and intellectual property considerations. The benefit to be gained from deployment of text-mining tools in areas such as institutional repositories or as a research tool in its own right may be difficult to predict without a costly pilot project.


Authors are invited to submit original, unpublished chapters describing research in relevant areas and/or reviewing relevant literature and trends.


Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:


  • Discipline-specific research involving text-mining: bioinformatics, chemistry, the social sciences, etc.
  • Techniques in text mining: sentiment analysis/subjectivity analysis, opinion mining, affect analysis, metaphor analysis, etc.

  • Legal and ethical aspects of text mining/analysis.

  • Current developments in text mining.

  • Metadata extraction from document text, including formal and informal metadata: ontology extraction, document indexing, document classification, and evaluation of metadata quality.

  • Text mining for document categorization or summarization.

  • Text mining over the social web: community detection, timelines, etc.

  • Evaluation of text mining tools, open-source or commercial: case studies and findings.

  • Procurement and evaluation of text mining tools.



Chapters of 4,500-9,000 words in length should be prepared in either Word or LaTeX. As chapters will be reformatted during the publication process, authors are advised to concentrate on content rather than formatting. Please include any images/graphics as separate files; images/graphics should be 300dpi or better and designed to be readable when printed in greyscale.

Files should be submitted by email to Emma Tonkin <>. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis.


Important Dates/Deadlines


24-Dec-2012 Title/Abstract submission for preliminary approval

4 -Jan-2013 Author notification

11-Feb-2013 Manuscript submission deadline

24-Feb-2013 Author notification




This book is scheduled to be published in 2013 by Chandos, a leading international publisher with specialisms in Library Management, Information Management, Social Media and the Web; it will be distributed in the United States via the American Library Association. It will be available both as a printed publication and as a freely available Open Access resource, increasing the visibility of the final work. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit

Please note: although this book is to be made available as an Open Access resource, authors/contributors will not be expected to pay a fee.

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euroCRIS membership meeting in Madrid Thu, 08 Nov 2012 23:59:47 +0000 Rosemary Russell Just returned from the euroCRIS membership meeting in Madrid, the largest to date, with around 80 participants. euroCRIS  is showing a steady growth in membership, at around 15% per year. It was particularly interesting that the takeup of CERIF in the UK in the last few years was acknowledged as an important strategic breakthrough for the standard. In addition, the JISC Research Information Management Programme was cited as an example to follow! JISC funding of a number of small UK-based projects has been seen to have had a big impact.

An Ariadne article on the meeting is in the pipeline, so some selective points of interest follow here in the meantime:

  • A new euroCRIS board has just been elected (now with 50% women members)
  • CRIS 2012  in Prague this year was also the largest euroCRIS conference to date – interest in CERIF CRIS is growing at many levels
  • euroCRIS is continuing to grow its strategic partnerships – an agreement with COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) was signed during the meeting
  • CERIF 1.5 has been released – a major upgrade this time
  • The Linked Open Data Task Group has carried out a mapping of VIVO and CERIF  (a potential use case is performing analytics on VIVO and CERIF data)
  • A new Task Group on impact indicators was introduced at the meeting
  • The Snowball Metrics ‘Recipe Book’ was distributed – designed to facilitate cross-institutional benchmarking (and will be CERIF compliant)
  • Despite a lot of interesting CRIS activity in Spain, no Spanish CRIS are currently CERIF compliant – although there may be scope for alignment of CVN (a national system for exchanging standardised CV information) and CERIF; however this is not straightforward, since CVN is researcher-based. There is a wide range of CRIS in use, unlike in the Netherlands (where METIS is used by everyone) and the UK (three systems) which makes coordination more complicated. Spain has the same issues as other countries with person IDs.
  • Three Italian research organisations have recently merged into CINECA. Planning to implement CERIF using open source software is already underway, which will bring 100 Italian research institutions into euroCRIS
  • A session on identifiers covered current work by the CERIF Task Group to incorporate federated identifiers into the CERIF model, effectively opening up closed internal systems to the outside world; ORCID could be one of the person IDs assigned
  • A Directory of Research Information systems (DRIS) is being developed; the system is currently being populated by euroCRIS members in a trial phase, before being opened to the wider public to input their CRIS details.  The DRIS could in future act as the basis for a portal to access heterogeneous CRIS

With the new euroCRIS board in place from January 2013, there are likely to be some changes afoot next year. Presentations from Madrid should be available shortly on the euroCRIS website.

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OpenAIREplus and CERIF Wed, 31 Oct 2012 22:04:06 +0000 Rosemary Russell The second OpenAIRE conference will be held at Göttingen State and University Library, 21-22 November 2012. As well as presenting results from the OpenAIRE project the programme will also ‘give insight into the OpenAIREplus project, which will link publications to research data, enabling seamless access to scientific knowledge’. euroCRIS is working with OpenAIREplus (via the Greek National Documentation Centre, EKT-NHRF) to align the OpenAIREplus data model with CERIF in areas where there is conceptual overlap. OpenAIREplus will support import and export of data to CERIF XML so that information in CRISs can be ingested into the OpenAIRE portal and CRISs can also use OpenAIREplus data in other applications. CERIF is able to represent the OpenAIREplus concept of ‘enhanced publications’, since it captures semantic relationships between multiple objects using ‘link entities’ (which include a temporal and role-based structure). Each component of an enhanced publication represented in CERIF can be assigned a unique ID.

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CERIF in Action workshop Wed, 24 Oct 2012 15:38:30 +0000 Rosemary Russell UK higher education interest in CERIF continues unabated as demonstrated by the numbers registering for the CERIF In Action (CIA) workshop held in London last Friday. The event was moved to a larger venue given the level of interest, and even then we almost ran out of chairs. Participants were mainly from university research systems/support offices and libraries, with others from the Research Councils and Current Research Information System (CRIS) vendors.

CIA Wordle

The CERIF in Action project forms part of the JISC Research Information Management programme third phase (RIM3). This phase has focused on business to business information exchanges between live systems. CIA has therefore developed a standard CERIF-XML schema and built plug-ins to import and export data in this format for CRIS, repository and Research Council software. Two business processes were chosen: exchanging data between partner institutions (eg when an researcher moves to a new institution) and uploading grant-level information to the RCUK Research Outputs System (ROS).

At the workshop institutional project partners successfully demonstrated the use of these plug-ins with their live systems: the University of Cambridge demonstrated the uploading of publications data to ROS via their Symplectic plug-in and the EPrints plug-in was shown in action by the University of Glasgow.

Dale Heenan revealed huge predicted savings in reporting cost per RC grant per year from using CERIF eg from the highest cost of £15.40 for manual single reporting to £0.50 using CERIF bulk reporting. Further detail on these figures would be useful.

It was interesting that the content of the workshop amply illustrated that leadership in implementing and embedding CERIF in UK research information infrastructures is now coming from RCUK and HEFCE – this was identified as critical in Stuart Bolton’s business case report back in 2010. RCUK indicated that they are using the valuable work produced by JISC programmes and putting it into production systems. Testing of the Gateway to Research within the Research Councils also starts this week.

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Using Social Media to Enhance the Visibility of Open Content Mon, 22 Oct 2012 08:44:06 +0000 Brian Kelly Open Access Week 2012
Brian Kelly will be giving a series of presentations across the UK during Open Access Week on how social media can be used to enhance the visibility of research papers hosted in institutional repositories.

The week begins with a 60-minute talk on “Open Practices for the Connected Researcher” which will take place on Tuesday 23 October at the University of Exeter as part of its series of Open Access Week events.

Brian will give a 30-minute talk entitled  “Open Practices and Social Media for the Connected Researcher“  on Thursday 25 October at the University of Salford as the featured invited presentation for the University’s celebrations for Open Access Week.

Finally Brian Kelly and Ross Mounce, a PhD student and Open Knowledge Foundation Panton Fellow at the University of Bath, will launch the social media programme for researchers with a 60-minute session entitled  “Open Access and Open Practices for Researchers“.

The slides to be used in the presentations will be available with a Creative Commons CC-BY licence. In addition the slides for the presentation at the University of Exeter are available on Slideshare.

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TechWatch Report on eBooks in Education: Call for Comments Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:12:14 +0000 lisrw JISC Observatory has released a preview version of a forthcoming TechWatch report: Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of eBooks in Education. Comments are welcome on this report to help shape its coverage and guidance to Higher and Further Education sectors. The feedback period is open from 27 September to 8 October 2012.

While ebooks can justifiably be described as mainstream in the consumer realm, this report considers their enormous potential to Further and Higher Education institutions over the next five years. Specifically, this report: 1) introduces the historical and present context of ebooks; 2) reviews the basics of ebooks; 3) considers scenarios for ebook adoption and usage; 4) addresses current challenges; and 5) considers the future.

Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of eBooks in Education updates previous research on the usage and adoption of ebooks within academic institutions, examining recent developments. Many institutions, conscious of the uptake by their students and staff of ebook technologies, are considering how to adopt ebooks and organise their support more effectively in a number of contexts.

This report provides an overview of many ebook technologies currently adopted within Higher and Further Education institutions as they start to embed the use of ebooks. It also takes into account various consumer ebook technologies that have developed rapidly over the last few years, as these consumer technologies have increased demand for ebooks within academic contexts by learners. The report also examines: how ebooks are being adopted within academic libraries; how ebooks are being used for learning and teaching; how ebooks have practical impacts on a broad range of areas, including scholarly publication. In so doing, it also addresses key technical and cultural issues likely to be faced by institutions as they respond to opportunities and challenges in adoption of ebooks.

Thom Bunting and Richard Waller (UKOLN ISC) have been responsible for the project management and production editing of this most recent in a series of TechWatch reports. In their work on this forthcoming TechWatch, they liaised closely with its author James Clay (ILT Learning and Resources Manager at Gloucestershire College) as well as more broadly with many others in the JISC Observatory team (notably Li Yuan, Scott Wilson, and Phil Barker of JISC CETIS) and in Higher and Further Education institutions across the UK and internationally to coordinate input into this report.

If you would like to read Preparing for Effective Adoption and Use of eBooks in Education, and send your views on its content, see the JISC Observatory Web site for explanations of how to provide feedback.

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Interviews with innovators: Adrian Stevenson Wed, 19 Sep 2012 11:53:11 +0000 Thom Bunting Opening and connecting data silos with Linked Data

Adrian Stevenson (Mimas) discusses work using Linked Data as means of opening up and connecting library and archive collections. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview  calls attention to some initiatives based on Linked Data approaches to opening up access to important datasets and resources.

Conducted in support of the JISC Observatory and as part of our Interviews with Innovators series, this interview is available in video as well as audio format. See below our interview transcript.

Link to lightning Interview with Adrian Stevenson

Adrian Stevenson is Senior Technical Innovations Coordinator (as part of the libraries and archives team) at at Mimas, a national centre for technical innovations and data hosting based at the University of Manchester. Adrian currently works on Open Data and Linked Data projects, including: the ’Linking Lives’ project, which uses archival Linked Open Data to build an interface based around names; the ‘Discovery‘ initiative, which is promoting aggregated open data for libraries, archives and museums.  For more information, see

Transcript: Lightning interview with Adrian Stevenson

My name is Adrian Stevenson and I work as Technical Innovation Support Coordinator at MIMAS, which is a data centre and innovation centre based at University of Manchester. In terms of recent technology that interests me, I’ve done a lot of work in the Linked Data field which has been very popular over the last number of years. I’ve been working on a number of projects outputting Linked Data from libraries, museums and archives (particularly libraries and archives) data areas. It’s an interesting space and seems to be offering some benefits.

Q: Why do you consider this to be important?

I think Linked Data is part of the whole thing of getting data out of its silos, where it has often been trapped in websites and databases. Whilst there are lots of challenges in the Linked Data area, it’s potentially a way of getting stuff out on the web and using the web as a database of sorts: a large database. It also goes hand-in-hand with the Open Data movement, and people often talk about Linked Data and Linked Open Data (LOD) as very much being the same thing — which they’re not, actually, though they do work hand-in-hand. When you put your data out there in RDF, in Linked Data form, it makes very much sense for it to be open in terms of getting the benefits from it by doing it that way.

Q: What promising developments have you seen in this area?

JISC is funding lots of really good stuff in this area. I’ve worked on a project called LOCAH, which has been producing Linked Data, and at the moment we are working on a project called Linking Lives, which is essentially taking our archival Linked Data and trying to mesh it up with other Linked Data sources that are out there. Very typically this is often Wikipedia, which remains very much a hub in the Linked Data space. But we are really trying to link it up with anything else we can find, from JISC-funded projects.

Q: Where do you see benefits from this work?

Benefits come from recombining data sets in interesting ways. It helps mutually to enhance those data sets: instead of archival data being just about archives. If for example we can link to the BBC then we can potentially link to a movie and we can point to an interview and point to whatever archive holdings are to be found across the country. Generally, by bring these things together that enhances their individual value and it gets more out of the data really.

Q: If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

It’s still challenging and people talk about it being hard to do, which begs the question of what is hard. It still feels like it is quite slow-moving. There are not that many tools and you tend to have to be hand-coding things quite a lot of the time. And when you are bringing data sets together often there are challenges: for example, Linking Lives is very much about people’s names so if we have stuff on Bertrand Russell or Beatrice Webb and we want to link to stuff that DBpedia have got or to another service, we have to deal with the incompatible ways that names are used as names are very messy, so matching up data is actually quite tricky. Licensing of data is also another very typical issue I suppose and this is where the whole Open Data movement is trying to move things forward. So the more open the data is the better really. Yes, there are obstacles. Yet although it seems like it’s quite slow there seems to be a moving in the right direction. We saw recently that Library of Congress is looking at Linked Data solutions potentially to replace MARC as the way to go with bibliographic data. So it does look like it may stay the course.

Q: Could you say something briefly about the First World War project that you have been working on?

The First World War project is a bit more about Open Data and about the whole ethic of trying to promote that. Basically, we have just started this project so we are very much in the process of working out how we are going to do things. But the idea is that we will be looking at what open APIs are available for resources that have Open Data about World War I. At the moment we are in the phase of really looking into what’s out there ourselves. We are also working with some people at King’s College and in fact phase one of the project is called ‘Contemporisation’ and that’s really about finding out what’s out there. From our perspective, MIMAS  are working on phase two and that’s about specifically focusing on Open Data APIs. So it’s going to be interesting to see what data and what things we can find in relation to World War I. We might be surprised: there could be more than we expect, and that could be quite a challenge. We will then create a meta-API. Though we’re trying to avoid that word meta-API, we are basically trying to build an aggregation layer on top of what we find. So that is called the World War I Aggregation Exemplar Project and it’s part of the JISC-funded Discovery Initiative and that’s very much about Open Data and aggregating Open Data. We are attempting to build a layer over the top that brings information about World War I and the last stage of the project will be to build a couple of interfaces. We are going to be working with some external suppliers to build those interfaces. So it’s a very interesting project and timescales are very tight: we’re intending to have everything done by July this year so there are certain risks there you might say. It looks to be a very interesting area and there’s quite a lot of interest in the whole World War I space and I’m excited to be a part of that.

For more discussions of technical innovation in Higher and Further Education, see our Interviews with innovators and our complete list of podcasts available from UKOLN Innovation Support Centre. RSS icon Subscribe to our podcast feed to hear the latest from innovators discussing technical developments relevant to Higher and Further Education.

]]> 0 0:00:01 Adrian Stevenson (Mimas) discusses work using Linked Data as means of opening up and connecting library and archive collections. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview calls attention to some initiatives based on Linked Data approaches to opening u[...] Adrian Stevenson (Mimas) discusses work using Linked Data as means of opening up and connecting library and archive collections. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview calls attention to some initiatives based on Linked Data approaches to opening up access to important datasets and resources. Podcasts no no
Interviews with Innovators: David Shotton Tue, 18 Sep 2012 10:06:49 +0000 Thom Bunting Extending semantic publishing to enrich research literature and research data

David Shotton (University of Oxford) discusses work extending semantic publishing to enrich research literature and research data. Recorded at a EuroCRIS workshop, this interview calls attention to developments to enrich research communications, including machine-readable metadata with “links to related data resources and mashups with other data that’s available on the Web”.

Conducted in support of the JISC Observatory and as part of our Interviews with Innovators series, this interview is available in video as well as audio format. See below our interview transcript.

Link to lightning Interview with David Shotton

David Shotton (University Emeritus Reader and Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College) is based in University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology and leads the Image Bioinformatics Research Group (IBRG), which is dedicated to research and the development of best practice for the sharing and reuse of biological research data (particularly images). Current interests and R&D activities include developing services for managing research data (DataFlow Project) and work in semantic publishing (developing exemplar articles and the SPAR Ontologies for describing all aspects of publishing, bibliographic entities and citations). Recent developments include creation of the Open Citation Corpus (containing the bibliographic citations from the reference lists in all the Open Access articles within PubMed Central) and MIIDI (Minimal Information standard for reporting an Infectious Disease Investigation). For more information, see:

Transcript: Lightning interview with David Shotton

My name is David Shotton and I work in the Zoology Department of the University of Oxford. I am a lapsed cell biologist and I spend all my time these data trying to get biological data onto the web but one of my other key interests is in semantic publishing: how we can enrich the literature.

Q: Which recent innovation in technology most interests you and do you consider this important?

Well the things that have been involving me most over the last little while have been developing ontologies for this semantic publishing domain and then extending those to cover research data and, most recently, data management plans so that the whole area of research endeavour can be described in machine-readable metadata.

Q: Where have you seen promising developments related to this?

One of the nicest things over the last year has been a series of meetings that have surrounded the future of research communication, which has brought together technologists and researchers and publishers and other interested parties. This culminated in the publication of the Force11 white paper last October and was sent to the UK government and to the Royal Society to inform their data collection activities.

Q: What do you see as the ultimate benefits?

Well what we are trying to work towards is research communications that are more expressive than the static PDF, which just replicates the printed page, so there would be user interactivity and there would be links to related data resources and mashups with other data that’s available on the Web and all sorts of things like that.

Q: And does this very much rely on openness?

Yes, another thing is the increasing openness for research publications but also for data sets and improved links between datasets and publications. Just so people can find their way around research outputs more easily and that datasets can be more easily reused. This helps get more value out of the research that was commissioned in the first place.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand, what obstacles would you remove?

Well I would remove the copyright barrier to text-mining of published journal articles. And I was very encouraged by the fact that someone from Oxford University Press phoned me very recently saying they had read the Force11 white paper and would like me to address them to discuss how they should change their working practices. That would be one of the things I would like them to consider: make their open access journals truly open, with the content to be re-used and not just read, and to make their literature citations open so they could be integrated with other peoples’ literature citations and things like that.

For more discussions of technical innovation in Higher and Further Education, see our Interviews with innovators and our complete list of podcasts available from UKOLN Innovation Support Centre. RSS icon Subscribe to our podcast feed to hear the latest from innovators discussing technical developments relevant to Higher and Further Education.

]]> 0 0:00:01 David Shotton (University of Oxford) discusses work extending semantic publishing to enrich research literature and research data. Recorded at the EuroCRIS workshop earlier this year, this interview calls attention to developments to enrich research[...] David Shotton (University of Oxford) discusses work extending semantic publishing to enrich research literature and research data. Recorded at the EuroCRIS workshop earlier this year, this interview calls attention to developments to enrich research communications, including machine-readable metadata with "links to related data resources and mashups with other data that's available on the Web". Podcasts no no
Interviews with Innovators: Andrew Laughland Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:55:29 +0000 Thom Bunting Using smart phones to improve data-gathering in academic research

Andrew Laughland (University of Hertfordshire) discusses the potential for academic researchers to transform data-gathering via smart phone technology. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview explains how the rapidly increasing availability of smart phones presents researchers with opportunities to improve the reliability and scope of research data.

Conducted in support of the JISC Observatory and as part of our Interviews with Innovators series, this interview is available in video as well as audio format. See below our interview transcript.

Link to lightning Interview with Andrew Laughland

Andrew Laughland is currently a doctoral student at University of Hertfordshire in the School of Psychology (with a first degree in Physics and Masters in Medical Physics). Previously he worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as a consultant assisting non-profit organizations and businesses with IT infrastructure, web presence, Web 2.0, Social Networking, RSS, podcasting and cloud computing.

Transcript: Lightning interview with Andrew Laughland

My name is Andrew Laughland and I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Hertfordshire in the School of Psychology. My first degree is in Physics and a Masters in Medical Physics and then a career in Health Physics, Health Information, and then the pharmaceutical industry with an IT focus.

Q: Could you tell us about an innovation that you believe will be important over the next 3 to 5 years?

My interest is in mobile phone technology, and some people would argue that’s not a new innovation. But my interest is in a new use of smart phones and smart phone apps. Typically the smart phone apps from the iTunes store or from Google are delivered to the customer and it’s about giving the experience to the customer in a game or in an app that helps the customer book something or find something. What I am interested in is an app that helps the researchers in the university to get information from people using the apps. So we use the fact that people are carrying smartphones around with them all the time, that they’re in their pockets and they can whip them out and give us some sorts of information, but rather than in being for their benefit it’s for the benefits of the researchers at the university.

Q: What do you see as the potential benefits of this?

A lot of what I have come across in Psychology has been done on paper, so there are studies looking at memory or experience of depressions, feelings or anxieties, and those typically require people to carry a little book around with them, and a pen in their bag and the risk there is that people don’t always record things or they record them without immediacy about when they record their information. So my thesis is that people carry phones around and they’re in their pockets; for eample, mine’s in my pocket at the moment, so I can just whip it out if there’s something that happens relevant to the study that I’m in. So I’m arguing that people can record data more quickly and have some benefits of a time-stamp on the data and I’m hoping that people will record more information as it’s made more convenient. And from a researcher’s point of view, researchers know that time that data was recorded and can be certain that it’s not recorded later in the evening or the day before they go in to see the researcher to hand the information back.

Q: Do you see examples of this happening now?

I think this is fairly novel. I think that, with thousands of apps out there, they all seem to be delivering the experience to the consumer and I have not seen a great deal of people using this to deliver the benefits to anyone of than the person using the app.

Q: What challenges do you foresee in the next few years?

I think the challenges at the moment are in the deployment to different platforms: the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and then perhaps the Windows mobile phone. There’s quite a lot of work to deliver to multiple platforms but there are initiatives to make that easier. And I think that disappointment is that a lot of the mobile companies and the manufacturers seem to be suing each other and I think that’s constraining innovation and delaying the deployment of new technologies and ideas.

Q: If you have a magic wand, what would you change?

I think it comes back to that: make the legal patent issues go away and reduce the barrier to the development of the apps and the deployment of the apps. There is still quite a high learning curve in terms of delivering to an Android and then delvering to an iPhone, with different programming languages to learn and different gatekeepers and different things you have to get past in terms of the certification and approval process. The ideal is to make that much reduced and make it easier for researchers who are not IT professionals to create their data-gathering tools without having to go through a huge learning curve or pay a third party to build applications for them.

For more discussions of technical innovation in Higher and Further Education, see our Interviews with innovators and our complete list of podcasts available from UKOLN Innovation Support Centre. RSS icon Subscribe to our podcast feed to hear the latest from innovators discussing technical developments relevant to Higher and Further Education.

]]> 0 0:00:01 Andrew Laughland (University of Hertfordshire) discusses the potential for academic researchers to transform data-gathering via smart phone technology. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview explains how the rapidly increasing availability of smart [...] Andrew Laughland (University of Hertfordshire) discusses the potential for academic researchers to transform data-gathering via smart phone technology. Recorded at Dev8D 2012, this interview explains how the rapidly increasing availability of smart phones presents researchers with opportunities to improve the reliability and scope of research data. Podcasts no no
Launch of JISC Observatory Report: Preparing for Data-driven Infrastructure Mon, 17 Sep 2012 10:00:48 +0000 Brian Kelly The JISC Observatory has published the latest TechWatch report on Preparing for Data-driven Infrastructure, which highlights approaches institutions should consider if they wish to exploit a data-driven infrastructure.

In light of increasing requirements for Higher Education institutions to manage their data more effectively, we are seeing a move in systems design towards a ‘data-centric architecture‘. For example, the requirement by HEFCE for institutions to publish Key Information Sets (KIS) data provides one example of the move towards greater transparency for institutional business processes. The detailed reporting required in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) serves as another example.

Within this context of increasing regulation from government and changing requirements from Higher and Further Education agencies and other stakeholders, institutions need to find a sustainable approach to managing data.

To meet the new regulatory requirements in an efficient and sustainable way, the HE sector has seen the emergence of innovative approaches to ‘data-driven infrastructure’ where it is access to data (from institutions and agencies) that determines the shape and function of that infrastructure.

As our HE institutions face increasing requirements to manage data more effectively, this could mean, for some institutions, a shift in emphasis in systems design towards a ‘data-centric architecture’. In any case, if our institutions are to exploit an emerging data-driven infrastructure, they will need to understand what this entails.

The JISC Observatory’s report on Preparing for Data-driven Infrastructure highlights approaches which institutions can take in responding to these strategic drivers in order to adopt a more data-centric approach. The report includes a description of data-centric architectures and an overview of tools and technologies (including APIs, Linked Data and NoSQL) together with a review of architectural approaches which institutions will need to consider.

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Interviews with Innovators: Mark Cox Thu, 09 Aug 2012 14:54:03 +0000 Thom Bunting Impact of mobile devices on e-learning and IT services planning

Dr. Mark Cox (King’s College London) explains how mobile devices are re-shaping support for e-learning in Higher Education.  Recorded at a EuroCRIS workshop, this interview discusses how student uptake of mobile devices is radically changing technology planning on campus.

Conducted in support of the JISC Observatory and as part of our Interviews with Innovators series, this interview is available in video as well as audio format. See below our interview transcript.

Link to video recording of interview with Mark Cox

Dr. Mark Cox is ISS Customer Services Research & Learning Development Manager at King’s College London. He oversees development and maintenance of the King’s research management system (the Research Gateway), and is the Project Manager of the College’s VRE Project. As part of the JISC R4R project, he has gained an extensive knowledge of CERIF, and has worked with developers to construct a ‘CERIF wrapper’ for the Research Gateway. He is also a member of the REF Data Collections Steering Group, and of the JISC RIM expert working group. For more information, see:

Transcript: Lightning interview with Dr. Mark Cox

I am Dr. Mark Cox, my job title is Research and Learning Development Manager, and my role is at King’s College London as part of the ITS Department.

Q: Could you tell us what you see as especially interesting and important over the next five years in technology?

I think the biggest thing, and unusually considering what I am actually here for today which is about research, I actually have a responsibility for e-learning at King’s College at the moment. And I think one of the issues that is likely to be quite dramatic over the next three to five years is the amount of learning that gets done on mobile devices. The whole iPad and tablet explosion I think it would be fair to say has probably changed the way that students are actually going to learn in the future. That’s what I think is one of the biggest things.

At the moment we are implementing a new e-learning system and we are looking at that rather in an ‘old-fashioned’ way though it’s not really that as it is only a couple years old: the model of students going into a student computing room and sitting in front of a PC and working with the technology that way. Of course that’s going to move to a completely different set-up now with the mobile and tablet devices.

Q: What are the challenges now that model is changing?

The challenges are keeping up-to-date with that change. There’s a big issue around cost because if you actually want to try to work out how students are going to use those devices you actually have to purchase those devices yourself. And that’s still not generally seen as something that’s almost legitimate at the University. Spending money on iPads is still seen as questionable (why are you doing that why are you buying yourself a toy?).

If the students have all got them and they’re able to connect to our e-learning system, then we’re already talking about apps on the mobile devices part of which would be to act as part of the e-learning system. Again, how do you test all these things? How do you actually deal with that?

Just keeping up with technology with technology is a challenge: three years ago we didn’t know much about iPads, and certainly not about other tablet devices, so how can we predict what the next steps will be?

Q: What do you see changing in the next three to five years, and what do you expect?

Two things I suspect will change. One is about the way that academics teach: what does this mean for the material they are going to put in place? Secondly, chances are the amount of support that we need to provide: this is now ‘bring your own technology’ and this is not something that we can control and this is not just a student computing room where is something goes wrong you just wipe the machine and re-image it. This is your own technology and if you cannot actually make it work what do you do? How do you support the student? How do you know about and deal with an Android browser vs Safari vs Firefox etc. There are lots of issues around how to keep the support for those things current.

Q: Who is involved with this sort of work at King’s College or elsewhere? Is it very diverse in terms of who is involved in looking at these sorts of challenges?

It’s fairly diverse yet moderately well linked. Certainly the IT Department effectively deal with the back-end system, the e-learning system. We’re looking at how we deal with support for the mobile devices, which is very difficult. Obviously we’re looking at what type of apps we could put in place and that potentially gives us a way to at least put some semblance of structure around this area because if you have one app that students will access then that’s at least one consistent thing that you can hold onto.

Around e-learning we have something called the Technology Enhanced Learning Forum, which is chaired by our Vice-Principal for Education so she has a big involvement in that. She has just created an new Technology Enhanced Learning Centre for which there is a director starting soon. They are going to pick up the issues around the way that you teach with technology. So I think they are looking more at what’s good practice area. Obviously we look after technology and they look after good practice.

Then each of the academic areas, each of the schools, they all have people who would be classified as learning technologists and they are the people who help their academics to make sure that the materials they put up are there in the first place and hopefully be given some sort of steer on what’s good and what’s bad.

Q: If you have a magic wand, what would you do?

I think about the finance issue, and if I could wave a magic wand and say ok we are going to buy an iPad for everyone in the University that would be one great thing. We tried to actually entertain that and buy iPads and then had them stolen, which is not good, as they are desirable objects so that’s a bit of a problem. I think I would like there to be a considerably larger amount of support for technology-enhanced learning. In the college, it tends to be a few experts and particularly people who have done it for a while and know a bit about it. What you tend to find is that sometimes they can frighten off the beginners. And these people who have done it for years say “Oh, this is the way forward: you need a repository for this”. They blind them with science. Better support across the board is something that I think would be useful.

For more discussions of technical innovation in Higher and Further Education, see our Interviews with innovators and our complete list of podcasts available from UKOLN Innovation Support Centre. RSS icon Subscribe to our podcast feed to hear the latest from innovators discussing technical developments relevant to Higher and Further Education.

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Pure goes live at the University of Bath Fri, 03 Aug 2012 16:37:19 +0000 Rosemary Russell The first phase of the Pure CRIS rollout at the University of Bath started in July, when the system was made available to all academic and research staff. Having reported on CRIS and CERIF developments for JISC for the past couple of years, being able to access (and use) information about my own research in a real live system is exciting stuff!

A user profile has been set up for all academic and research staff, so on logging into the system for the first time, existing data can be accessed on research grants and contracts, publications and postgraduate research students. Information in the profile has been taken from several University systems including human resources, the EPrints instutional repository, finance and the student system. I can report that the interface is very user friendly, having just added a new publication (including full text) to my profile. For now, staff can only access their own research information; at a later date tailored views will be possible, so that eg Heads of Department will be able to view departmental data. There is a facility to create CVs and bibliographies and later this year automatic population of personal web pages will be available. The Research Development and Support Office provides a Pure User Guide and a series of training workshops is being held from July until end September.

The REF module will go live at the end of September, with a ‘dress rehearsal’ exercise planned to start in October. The Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN will also be working with University of Bath colleagues to test REF submission from Pure using CERIF; a CERIF XML template is currently being developed with HEFCE.

The institutional repository will be populated via Pure from now on – adding a full-text document to a publication’s record automatically adds the full-text document to the corresponding record in the IR. However, like many other UK universities, Bath will assess the requirement for a separate repository in the medium term, if it can be demonstrated that Pure is capable of replicating EPrints functionality.

The reporting module is due to be launched in November, following further development work by Atira to cater for specific UK reporting requirements.

Jane Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, and Pure Project Sponsor, has said that the implementation of Pure is a major step forward in how  information about research is handled at the University. It’s certainly looking good from a researcher point of view.

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Ariadne Issue 69 Now Available Fri, 03 Aug 2012 15:34:45 +0000 lisrw Ariadne 2012 banner
Ariadne Issue 69 has been published recently with its usual mix of features both technical and more wide-ranging together with event reports and a raft of reviews on recent publications. This issue includes a technical feature from Thom Bunting of the Innovation Support Centre who has described in some detail the requirements, choices and decisions before the ISC team responsible for the re-development of Ariadne Web Magazine. In Moving Ariadne: Migrating and Enriching Content with Drupal  Thom recounts the recent migration to a database-driven CMS, Thom reminds us of a key challenge: the migration of so much and not entirely homogenous content.   He describes the post-migration review of the articles on the new platform, and the measures adopted to ensure a higher degree of consistency which would then make it possible to expose the publication’s depth of content far more effectively. Thom then proceeds to an examination of the ‘contrib’ and other Drupal modules and the effect their deployment has on the new functionality that Ariadne now offers. His conclusions offer other developers a view of how the technology has responded to the challenges posed by the re-development of a publication the size of Ariadne.

At the same time, Rosemary Russell of the ISC has contributed a report on the recent JISC Research Information Management: CERIF Workshop in which she provides readers with a firm grounding in the current activity of the CERIF Support Project at the Innovation Support Centre as well as an introduction, if one is still necessary, to Brigitte Jörg, the new National Coordinator for the Project. Rosemary provides an overview of the current CERIF landscape in the UK, reporting on the state of RIM-related activity in the UK currently as well as the rate of CRIS (Current Research Information System) procurement since the first Pure system in the UK was procured jointly by the Universities of Aberdeen and St Andrews in May 2009. She also covers UK involvement with euroCRIS and other international initiatives, the outcomes of the HE Data and Information Landscape report, the launch of a test version of the ‘CERIFied’ Research Outputs System (ROS), and the effect of the Gateway to Research (GtR) over this year. Rosemary supplies details of other developments as well as discussions and issues that arose during what was clearly a successful workshop organised by UKOLN.

Further information on Issue 69 is available in a news feature on the UKOLN Web site.

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Talk on “What Does The Evidence Tell Us About Institutional Repositories?” Tue, 17 Jul 2012 14:29:08 +0000 Brian Kelly As described in a recent post  a paper by myself and Jenny Delasalle entitled “Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories?” was presented at the Open Repositories conference, OR 2012. This work was based on activity undertaken by the UKOLN ISC to explore ways in which content hosted in institutional repositories can be made easier to find. Increasingly such work is informed by evidence-based approaches which seek to interpret quantitative evidence of the value of particular approaches.

A talk entitled  ”What Does The Evidence Tell Us About Institutional Repositories?” has been accepted for presentation at the Internet Librarian International, ILI 2012 conference. This talk, which will take place in session B203 on  Evidence and impact, will build on the ideas described in our paper on “Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories?” as well as  the paper on “Open Metrics for Open Repositories by Brian Kelly, Mark Dewey and Stephanie Taylor of the ISC at UKOLN together with Nick Sheppard, Jenny Delasalle, Owen Stephens and Gareth Johnson. The ILI 2012 presentation will also provide an opportunity to present additional findings from our RepUK work, together with our effort with UK Repositorynet+.


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Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories? – the Video Summary Fri, 13 Jul 2012 13:37:41 +0000 Brian Kelly As described in a recent post, two papers on work which has been carried out by UKOLN ISC staff were presented at the Open Repositories 2012 conference: Open Metrics for Open Repositories by Brian Kelly, Nick Sheppard, Jenny Delasalle, Mark Dewey, Owen Stephens,Gareth Johnson and Stephanie Taylor and Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories? by Brian Kelly and Jenny Delasalle.

The paper which asked Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories? has  been summarised in a post on the UK Web Focus blog. At the OR 2012 conference itself this summary had to be given in the challenging context of 21 one-minute madness summaries. A video recording of the presentation, lasting 58 seconds, is available on Vimeo and a screenshot is illustrated below.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Note that you can also view the accompanying poster (in MS PowerPoint, PDF and TIFF formats) and a  slidecast (slides with accompanying audio) of a rehearsal of the presentation, which lasts for 4 minutes 47 seconds, which is  also available on Slideshare and embedded below.

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Papers Presented at Open Repositories 2012 Conference Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:52:31 +0000 Brian Kelly Two peer-reviewed papers which were accepted by the programme committee of the Open Repositories 2012 Conference have been presented at the conference.  The papers were:

Open Metrics for Open Repositories, Kelly, B., Sheppard, N., Delasalle, J., Dewey, M., Stephens, O., Johnson, G. and Taylor, S. OR2012: the 7th International Conference on Open Repositories, 9-13 July 2012, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Paper: [About] – [PDF format] – [MS Word format]

Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories? Kelly, B. and Delasalle, J. Open Repositories 2012, 9-13 July 2012, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Paper: [About] – [PDF format] – [MS Word format]


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Innovation Zone: Support for Developments in Repository Infrastructure Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:56:14 +0000 Stephanie Taylor Thom Bunting gave a presentation  on the Innovation Zone as part of the UK RepositoryNet+: showcase of Wave 1 service components and ideas workshop for Wave 2 session at OR2012.

Thom explained that the Innovation Zone is a JISC-funded initiative focussing on supporting developments in repository infrastructure in the UK, managed by the Innovation Support Centre at UKOLN and the RepositoryNet (RepNet) at Edina. Support is within four main areas:  technical knowledge-exchange through expert workshops;  sharing of key information on repository components and use cases via a knowledge base;  trials of APIs with developer communities through DevSCI; and the incubation of prospective services, an area currently under development and available soon.

Thom is keen to hear from anyone who has repository-related service with an API they would like to trial with developers. The Innovation Zone is able to offer help in putting you in touch with developers and making links with other projects in complimentary areas of work.

The incubation aspect of the Innovation Zone support will be available soon and can help with new development initiatives such as repository infrastructure innovations, prospective components and microservices. Again, Thom is keen to hear from people who have projects that could benefit from incubation.

To find out more and engage with the  Innovation Zone, leave a comment here and/or contact Thom.



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Adding Google Juice To Your Repository Wed, 11 Jul 2012 10:08:55 +0000 Stephanie Taylor

Brian Kelly of UKOLN ISC presented a poster in the Poster Minute Madness session on Tuesday, promoting the paper “Can LinkedIn and Enhance Access to Open Repositories?” which he co-authored with Jenny Delasalle of the University of Warwick. The poster focusses on the importance of adding ‘Google juice’ to your institutional repository by generating more links to individual papers deposited in an IR.

Brian has the largest number of downloads from OPUS, the IR of the University of Bath and he has an h-index of 11 for his papers on accessibility in particular are being well-cited. Research carried out by Brian and Jenny suggests that the large number of downloads and citations may be due to inbound links from popular services such as LinkedIn and

More research needs to be done in this area, but should repository managers be acting on the current findings? There are obvious benefits of actively encouraging researchers to link to their papers from popular profile services used by their fellow researchers. Jenny’s review of the sector suggested repository managers are not being pro-active in promoting the use of such services. Why is this? What, if any, are the barriers?

Brian wrote a blog post that summarises the paper and another about the poster session. Jenny has blogged further thoughts on the original paper as part of this ongoing discussion.

For those not able to attend or wanting another look, there is a SlideShare presentation available,  based on the poster.

The debate carries on, so if you didn’t have time to contribute during the session or you weren’t able to attend the conference, please join in by leaving a comment on Brian’s blog and/or tweeting at Brian and Jenny.


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