Report on USTLG meeting, Robinson Library, University of Newcastle

4th March 2003

Roger Hines, Sheffield Hallam University

Julia Dagg, University of Sheffield


E-Prints UK

Ruth Martin, Project Manager

Ruth started with some good basic definitions of some of the terms used.

"An e-print is an electronic copy of an academic research paper, either before the stage of refereeing and acceptance by a scholarly journal ("pre-print") or after ("post-print")."

"An e-print archive is a repository of metadata and sometimes the full text of e-print papers. It provides a simple interface to allow the depositer to enter the metadata for the article as well as attaching the full text. "

"OAI(Open Archives Initiative)-compliant e-print archives share the same metadata to make their contents interoperable with one another and thus allow the metadata to be harvested by other OAI-compliant archives."

and one I have added myself from the Dublin Core site

"The simplest definition of metadata is " structured data about data."Metadata is descriptive information about an object or resource whether it be physical or electronic..Metadata can be generated either "by hand" or derived automatically using software."

Ruth then gave an overview of the E-Prints UK project which is part of the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) FAIR Programme (Focus on Access to Institutional Assets).

E Prints UK basic aim is to develop a series of national, subject-focused services through which the higher and further education community can access the collective output of e-print papers available from compliant Open Archive repositories, particularly those provided by UK universities and colleges.

Its basic model is to "harvest" E prints from UK institutions , create metarecords from the data , return that data to the institutions for their own use and also make the data and in some cases links to full text available from the RDN ( Resource Discovery Network) and from the RDN subject portals

"to take full advantage of the possibilities for disclosing institutional research, not only does the material have to be made available but there have to be complementary services that provide easy access to it; e-Prints UK will provide one such service."

The service would provide a subject classification, an author name check/authority service and a citation analysis.

Ruth showed the following picture created by Andy Powell of UKOLN that clearly illustrates the outcome of the project.


The initial problem faced by the project was the present lack of UK created data to harvest and the possibly controversial decision had been made to harvest data from outside the UK, so data harvested would be data used within the UK as well as data created within the UK

The project is working towards producing a metadata standard base on the Dublin core***. This standard would be made available to the wider community.


***What is the Dublin Core?

"Dublin Core metadata is used to supplement existing methods for searching and indexing Web-based metadata, regardless of whether the corresponding resource is an electronic document or a "real" physical object.

The Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (DCMES) provides a semantic vocabulary for describing the "core" information properties, such as "Description" and "Creator" and "Date".

Dublin Core metadata provides card catalog-like definitions for defining the properties of objects for Web-based resource discovery systems.




Susan Ashworh - Project Manager (Advocacy)
William Nixon- Project manager (Service Development)

Data-providers for Academic E-content and the Disclosure of Assets for Learning, Understanding and Scholarship

Though this is the official acronym the name was thought of first and the acronym was worked out to fit the name, as the Daedelus web site says" An architect, able to arrive safely at his destination seemed a fitting choice for a project to build a range of open archives services and to unlock access to academic content."

Daedulus is part of the FAIR programme (Focus on Access to Institutional Resources (FAIR)

Susan Ashworth was leading the advocacy thrust of the project and William the service development. I found this structure interesting as it is clear from this and other e-print projects that merely setting up a technical infrastructure is not enough and a lot of effort has to go into encouraging and enthusing staff to contribute until a critical mass of material is available and archiving in e-print collections becomes second nature and a natural part of the academic process. The target for the project was to have 700 items by 2005

As Susan explained the project would explore not only the technical issues , standards, formats etc but also the cultural and organisational issues.

Concerns that had already emerged included

The Glasgow archive would be in 3 parts

It was hoped that this structure would help overcome some of the concerns already identified

A range of software would be used during the project and this would help in the aim of the project to produce

  • "A program of studies, workshops and reports which chart the issues and challenges of the project and provides exemplars of best practice "
  • Even though one of the outcomes of the project was to create a local search service to search across the three collections the archive was not seen as being in competition with subject based archives but rather would be a complementary resource. 



    Scholarly communication and institutional archives
    Tom Graham - Newcastle University Librarian and Chair of the CURL

    Tom challenged the idea that there is a crisis in scholarly communication. There is a problem for libraries created by serials price inflation but is there a problem in actual communication between authors and readers? There are informal channels of communication forming a new "invisible college", conferences form a forum for initial dissemination with refereed journals forming only part of the overall communication network. There have also been responses by librarians and the scholarly community to the issue. Librarians and academics are co-operating with publishers to resolve some of the difficulties. There are also developments such as SPARC and Biomed Central which are offering alternative funding models. But again the question was raised – what are these developments responses to – the serials price hike or a genuine crisis in the communication process itself?

    Tom then looked at where Institutional Depositories could fit in. Are they part of the response to the perceived problems with the current model of scholarly communication or a development in their own right which could be used to provide an alternative to the current model of scholarly communication? He suggested a number of roles for these and posed the question: which was the most significant from the institutional perspective? Steven Harnad (, a major driver of the scholarly communications debate, had suggested that depositories key role was to maximise the impact of the research effort.

    He then went on to discuss institutional archives in more detail: the benefits to the institution and the impact on it of setting one up and what was actually involved in doing so. He ended by returning to the issue of scholarly communication. Institutional archives would be a way of improving dissemination of research but would provide neither competition nor co-operation with the existing model.

    The session ended with a lively debate with contributors from the floor taking up Tom’s challenge and arguing that there was a genuine crisis as the current model was driven by the need for profit rather than the desire for dissemination and that there were very real issues relating to intellectual property.



    IPR: barrier to open access?
    Elizabeth Gadd - RoMEO Project Officer, Loughborough University

    Elizabeth gave a report on the RoMEO project which is looking at the rights issues relating to Open Archives metadata. She described the two main IP issues relating to open archives: the rights to the metadata in the record and the rights of the author(s) of documents deposited. With regard to the former, Open Archive software adds metadata and creates a record for each item deposited. The Open Archives service provider may therefore wish to protect its rights to this data. Though access to the information is freely available the service provider would want to protect the data from copying, even by another freely available service. Moreover, there is the potential for the data to be extracted, repackaged and sold. With regard to the intellectual property of the author(s), the metadata offered the opportunity for these to be recorded within the archive so an issue to be considered is how author(s) would like their rights to be protected and asserted in an open access regime.

    She went on to look at the key issues in relationship to the current commercial model which would have to be addressed to enable open archives to become established.. Publishers currently try to require that authors hand over all rights to the distribution of their research so that the ability of authors to self-archive pre- or pos-t publication is very limited. There are a number of issues which have been glossed over with this model which will now have to be addressed: Who owns the copyright in the first place? Is it the author(s) or is it the University as employer? What about material included in the article where the copyright belongs to a third party? Project RoMEO included an academic author survey which demonstrated that many academic authors were not aware of the extent to which they sign away their rights to publishers, that many of those who were aware were unhappy with the situation, that many would like to self archive but were concerned about the implications for publication in the normal way. The development of alternative models of scholarly communication, including self-archiving and increasing awareness of the IP issues has led to some relaxing of this restrictions but they are still a problem.

    Elizabeth therefore looked at the way the issue of depositing in an open archive could lead to a move from the current model to one where the University and author retain all rights and merely assign only a licence to publish to a commercial publisher. This would enable academics to preserve all that depends on the current commercial model (RAE, promotion, tenure) while enabling them to take advantage to the improved opportunities for dissemination via open archives. In practice, many academics have been challenging the publishers’ claim to exclusivity and publisher’s have also been more conscious of the potential for employers to challenge rights assignment by employees (especially when the employer is the US government). She explored what we as librarian’s could do in lobbying our institutions and raising awareness amongst academics of the issues.

    Finally she looked at the proposed RoMEO solultions: a list of SA-friendly journals, rights metadata to give documents protection in an Open Access environment, metadata rights solution to protect metadata in OA environment, collating approaches to the relationship between authors and Universities.