The reason for being involved in the creation of an Institutional Repository
Creating an Institutional Repository (IR) is about connecting people to people, building on the external reputation of your organisation and increasing access to health and care research funded by public money.
You can chose from bespoke software systems, content management systems, library management systems (LMS), or more straight-forward solutions, for example, Excel spreadsheets and Access databases.
Why I chose to use my LMS for an IR.
- I wanted to keep it simple.
- I didn’t want to make the IR a silo. I wanted to raise awareness of knowledge outputs to help put people in touch with one another, and raise awareness of library and knowledge services at the board and throughout the organisation.
- I wanted to do it within my current budget.
- Using my LMS means customers find staff papers when they are looking for books on a topic, this is an added bonus.
- As long as the outputs can be found, for me, the system is not the most important thing. I felt it was better to do it, rather than wait for a gold standard system which may not be affordable.
- I wasn’t convinced a new system would offer us enough added value, or could offer much more than my LMS could offer. Our system is web-based.
- To buy a bespoke system would not just cost an initial outlay, but ongoing maintenance costs and potentially storage costs too.
- Using our LMS increases the scope of the system and provides additional justification for its maintenance.
- My longer term plan is to link to open access articles where they are available. If I can’t link to full text access, I can still raise awareness of the research. The full text can be sourced though the library.
- If the research is already available via a university repository or an organisation’s internet page, I plan to explore if I can link to it. However if the content is in PubMed Central, I will link to that, as I hope the links are less likely to break.
- I don’t store the full-text, I would need additional storage space on our server and copyright can complicate this.
- Cross linking is important to me, to make the content easy to find. Like many LMS I can create links to specific collections. I have a link which displays all staff papers via our Trust research department.
Hints and Tips to get going
- The time it takes to set up an IR will depend on how research active or publication active your organisation is.
- Try and pick a system that won’t become another legacy system or a silo, use one your Trust can easily support.
- Start with items in the public domain and build on that if you can.
- Start with staff papers as they are relatively easy to find. Begin by importing citations and use author affiliation searches.
- Start with the current year; then build on this as far back as you need/want.
- Seek work experience, college/university work placements and pre-employment placement opportunities, these can help you get an IR up and running and to help maintain it.
- Consider sharing staff from research departments. It is a shared priority, so see if they can enter some of the information into your system, or can you raise awareness or support them with theirs?
- If you are storing or linking to internal documents choose a method that will keep them internal (e.g. password protected or on an internal system). Often LMS have hidden categories which can be seen with a password.
- If you are going to use a straight-forward solution like Excel, then ensure you get advice from library colleagues to make sure you get the best out of it. Items can be categorised, filtered and pick lists created to provide consistency.
- Speak to library colleagues who you know have an IR or ask the members of the IR task and finish group to buddy you up with a colleague who can help.
Library Service Manager
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
(Members of the IR task and finish group are Lesley Allen, Vicky Bramwell, Dominic Gilroy, Hugh Hanchard, Jackie McGuire, Sue Robertson and Caroline Storer)
A snapshot of NHS LKS provision
What involvement do NHS LKS have in the provision of institutional repositories? What systems are in use? What content is included? How much do they cost to run and what is the commitment in terms of staff time? These are just some of the questions posed by the recent Institutional Repository Survey conducted across the NHS in England.
The survey forms part of a wider project undertaken by members of the Institutional Repository Project Group which ultimately aims to identify the many factors/issues that need to be considered, highlight examples of good practice and make recommendations for the provision of institutional repositories. While the final report, conclusions, and recommendations will be released at the end of the project (end of 2017), the survey results are being released now in the interests of timeliness and at the request of many of the survey participants.
The full survey report available here offers an insight into current practice within the NHS and partner organisations around institutional repositories. The report, representing responses from 43% of NHS LKS in England, contains valuable insights from those with and without repositories highlighting:
- Systems in use and those explored by colleagues
- Resources required – both financial and in terms of staff time
- Evaluative commentaries from participants
Survey data has been anonymised where possible. If library managers wish to contact a service using a specific repository system, please contact a project group member (detailed below) to be referred on to the appropriate service for advice and information.
The survey findings will be incorporated into the final project report.
Hugh Hanchard – Library Services Manager – South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Dominic Gilroy – LKS Development Manager – Yorkshire and the Humber
On behalf of the Institutional Repository Project Group
(Caroline Storer, Sue Robertson, Lesley Allen, Jackie McGuire, Vicky Bramwell and above)
Research is firmly embedded in the NHS Mandate 2017 – 2018 (see Objective 8 “To support research, innovation and growth”). It probably didn’t need a directive to point out the importance of research to patients and patient care. Research is also core business for NHS libraries. This is a reflection on how we can make research a distinctive part of our service offering. It’s based on personal experience and best practice using the tried and tested ‘n things’ model.
- Go to the Research Committee It’s a safe bet that no one ends their career wishing they had gone to more meetings. However, in something as diverse as research in a large organisation the Research Committee can be the best place to get an overview of current and new research activity. If you are not on the committee as a member, you could ask to be an observer or to be circulated the minutes.
- Collaborate with your Research Department If you can make friends with your nearby Research Department team there are opportunities to collaborate on events or projects to make life a little easier (and fun?) for your organisation’s researchers. Mid Cheshire are planning a Research Expo for June and Wirral are coordinating a Randomsied Chocolate Trial to celebrate this year’s International Clinical Trials Day (May 19).
- Host your organization’s publications database Creating a database exists at on a continuum starting with a quick and dirty solution using freemium reference software (Zotero / Mendeley) and ends with Institutional Repository. The library is the natural home for this project. It also contributes to Knowledge Management objective viz, connecting with corporate knowledge, mapping knowledge assets; collating and enabling shared access to directories; policies, guidance and protocols. Knowledge about the usefulness of a database or Institutional Repository will vary so it may just be a case of carpe diem or getting on with it.
- Be the source of information about the research landscape Make the library the centre for information about research methods, academic writing, training courses, support for research, regional and national organisations, newsletters, research information on social media. You could add this into your social media, current awareness mix or set up a separate space for researchers. (See NWAS LKS Case Study on using Yammer).
- Be the publications expert for your trust Publication isn’t as easy as it was. There are choices and decisions to be made. Choosing Open Access (Green/Gold), avoiding predatory publishers, fulfilling funding requirements, funding Article Publication Fees (APCs), navigating journal rankings, choosing appropriate journals, copyright, promoting your research and more. Being the expert and the place to go for information for help adds real value, especially for early career researchers.
- Offer researchers a bespoke service Clearly all our users are at heart researchers from the humble diploma to post doctoral students. Even if it doesn’t change the service you offer badging part of your service as for researchers can make promoting the library to the research community easier and give you a seat at the research table. This also fits with LQAF 5.3i Library/knowledge service staff support the research activities of the organisation[s] served.
- Develop your research skills Nothing helps you to understand the viewpoint of a researcher better than being one yourself. Opportunities for librarians to get involved in research are out there, and may vary from co-authoring a systematic review to getting to grips with qualitative research methodology (as did a bunch of clinical librarians from the NW not long ago).
Matt Holland, NWAS LKS and Victoria Treadway, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. NWAS LKS is supported by HCLU North.