This blog is now closed.
The Repositories Research Team (RRT) was commissioned to examine the outputs of the JISC Repositories and Preservation Programme (RPP) projects in order to find evidence to support the synthesis and the evaluation of this programme. We did this by looking at projects across the programme, as previously prioritized by the programme managers. We looked at publicly available reports (mostly available either from project web sites or from the IE repository) including the project plans, progress reports and (where available) final reports.
The work represented in this blog is the first stage of the evaluation and synthesis processes, a stage that has been termed “trawling and tagging”. It involved members of the RRT reading through selected project outputs looking for evidence that supports the “benefits” outlined in the evaluation documentation produced by Andrew McGregor and the repository “roles” outlined in the synthesis documentation produced by Tom Franklin. Where any relevant evidence was found a short blog post was created to summarizing it and where it is to be found, with an optional comment on why it is significant. The blog posts were tagged against various categories, the most important of which being the relevant synthesis “benefit” or evaluation “role”. Other categories relate to projects and their management within JISC programmes, and the type of repository content being discussed, etc. The aim was to produce a sort of annotated index for the outputs of the programme to be used in the next stage of the process, that is the actual synthesis and evaluation of the outcomes. The RRT were not involved directly in this next stage.
We understood that it was not possible for projects to provide evidence for many of the things that they set out to do in the time available. For instance, increased citation requires there to be significant deposits to be accessed and then the people accessing them will have to write and publish papers; all of which may take two or three years. However, we wanted the evaluation to be evidence based, and for the synthesis to support change then it needed to be based on real evidence.
As the work represented in this blog progressed the process was refined, so that some of the earlier activity by the RRT may be inconsistent with what we came to see as the purpose of the blog. For instance some posts refer to claims by projects (“this project will increase the number of citations of papers deposited”) rather than firm evidence. Articles posted here should be considered as draft comments on the raw material for the synthesis and evaluation, identifying outputs which merit further investigation. This blog is not the synthesis or the evaluation output, we made it public as a somewhat experimental example of releasing research data as openly and as early as possible. We hope that doing this improved the quality of the data by encouraging input and feedback from projects and others in the community.
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Now the RRT project is finished, comments on this blog have been closed.