NewSpace A monthly publication for the DSpace Community
Volume 1, Issue 4
|dspace.org stats: 20,778 visits, 149 countries, 63% new visitors - for March 2008|
In this issue:
Ellen Finnie Duranceau on Scholarly Publishing and Copyright
Tim Donohue on Configurable Submission
Conferences / Events
NITLE DSpace Workshops / Events
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Michele Kimpton - Executive Director
The DSpace user community just completed another successful User Group Meeting at Open Repositories 2008. OR2008 had over 450 attendees, and over 100 DSpace users. If you were not able to attend you will find all of the OR08 presentations here. During the DSpace User Group Meeting there were some excellent presentations on 1.5 that I recommend you review.
We are also in the process of releasing a DSpace user manual for 1.5, which should be ready by the first week of May. In the meantime, all 1.5 documentation is available with the code release.
During the User Group Meeting we also reviewed the Foundation?s priorities over the coming year, based on survey results and personal input from many of you. The full DSpace Foundation presentation can be found here. Some of the highlights of our planned activities over the next year include:
- Creation of a global outreach committee to help coordinate activities regionally for the promotion, adoption and success of DSpace. This committee will also give input to the priorities of the Foundation as it relates to needs of its users regionally.
-Development of a robust global service provider network to provide training, and technical support to the community.
-Project management and launch of DSpace 2.0. We will be developing a roadmap and process to get community input and participation this summer. In the meantime, if you would like to communicate what is important to you please log your request on the Wiki.
-Fundraising to sustain the Foundation. DSpace Foundation needs to begin raising funds early 2009 to sustain the organization. We will be working with the Board of Directors this summer to launch a funding plan.
If you would like to find out more information on any of these please email me at
. If you have interest in participating on the community outreach committee please email Valorie Hollister, our Community Outreach Manager, at
As always, if there is additional content that would be helpful to include in NewSpace, please email us at
with your suggestions.
|Ellen Finnie Duranceau on Scholarly Publishing and Copyright|
One of the biggest challenges institutional repositories face is researchers and faculty understanding their options and rights in the world of scholarly publishing. Although technology has helped to evolve publishing dramatically, many researchers still find themselves hobbled by copyright laws. DSpace Foundation recently spoke with Ellen Finnie Duranceau, a Scholarly Publishing and Licensing Consultant with MIT Libraries about author publishing rights.
What is your role at MIT?
?My position was created to support MIT faculty and researchers who have questions about their options and rights in the world of scholarly publishing ? essentially how to manage access to their work. Specifically, I'm responsible for developing and implementing a program to increase awareness among MIT faculty, researchers, and students about scholarly publication issues in the digital environment, and for establishing mechanisms to assist faculty with publishing choices, publishing agreements, and management of intellectual property. A key part of my role is also to work with library staff on scholarly publication issues and prepare communication tools they can use with their constituencies. My role also involves managing our licensing program ? including negotiating license agreements for content we purchase for access here. I've retained that part of my former position, so that we have a holistic approach to the intellectual property issues on the campus ? how research is created and shared at MIT as well as purchased for use.?
What is the biggest misconception about copyright laws as it relates to digital repositories?
?For authors, the biggest misconception probably has to do with whether or not they have the right to post their work in a repository. Authors in my experience don't have access to their publisher agreements to know what specific rights they have to post their work, and don't necessarily make an immediate connection between what they signed and rights to post in a repository. They also don't make the fine distinctions publishers often make between a personal web page, an institutional repository, and a subject repository, or between various versions of their papers.?
How does the administration at MIT support your efforts? What is the most important element of that support?
?When I meet with authors at MIT, I tell them right out that the Provost has funded my position. This bald fact signals in very tangible and clear terms that the Provost believes my role is important ? that MIT authors need and are entitled to support managing access to their work, and that he wants to be sure they have that support. There are other ways the administration provides support ? for example, when I wanted to offer a session for faculty on author rights, the Vice Provost for Research readily agreed to come and speak, despite a very packed schedule. And I've been given a quiet and convenient space to work in, which is no small matter on our campus.?
Do you believe that institutions should (or can) mandate deposits into a repository or at least certain types of deposits?
?I am a big fan of Harvard's approach ? a faculty-driven initiative with an opt-out path. From what I've heard from faculty here at MIT, they need and want clear, significant institutional support to make it possible for them to post their work openly on the web in a variety of venues, including MIT's DSpace. So some kind of institution-level action seems critical if one's goal is to have more open access to research. Like Peter Suber (Open Access Recommendations), I wish there were a better word than "mandate," because what I hear faculty wishing for is powerful institutional support to do what they want to do, and "institutional mandate" doesn't capture that.?
From your prospective, what are some of the more compelling arguments for academics or researchers to deposit their papers into a repository?
?I tend to emphasize the MIT context for their work; the archiving function ? that their work will be available over time in ways that are not guaranteed for a standard web page; the persistent URL; and the increased 'findability' through search interfaces such as Google, since DSpace exposes their papers through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. We understand that researchers don't necessarily come to DSpace@MIT looking for MIT papers, so we work hard to make sure that our archive is indexed where the users do look.?
Have you been able to persuade researchers in favor of using the digital repository?
?I don't see myself as a persuader but rather as an educator and facilitator. I try to meet each individual where they are. Often, this means that we focus on retaining sufficient rights so the author can flexibly reuse his or her own work, including posting it on a personal web page and in a subject preprint server, and being able to reuse the charts and figures in publications and teaching. So our conversation might focus on using an amendment to a publisher's agreement. I would touch on the existence, purpose, and benefits of DSpace, primarily to plant a seed for future conversations.
One of the more rewarding conversations I've had about DSpace occurred just a few months after I took on my new role. A faculty member learned I was newly identified with copyright support and DSpace, and contacted me with his innovative idea of using DSpace to create a preprint archive for his relatively small, international group of mineral and rock physicists. It was energizing to be a small part of a project that could extend MIT's DSpace services in a new and significantly helpful way, and to work with a faculty member who could see DSpace at the heart of the process of sharing his research.?
What recommendations can you make to other institutions as it relates to educating their communities about copyright laws and depositing papers or research into a digital repository?
?I'm only 17 months into my new role, and I'm still trying to map out answers to these questions for MIT. So I don't pretend to have gospel to share, and could learn a great deal from the readers of this newsletter. Most of what I've learned in the last 17 months is largely common sense:
For those institutions that don?t have a resource like you available, are there regular activities (seminars, presentations, meetings, etc) that you would recommend they hold as a part of their digital repository efforts?
- Having a point person to keep momentum and focus on the issues is critical. If we want to do anything in the copyright support/IR arena, it is going to require significant resources.
- We need faculty to talk to faculty.
- It's important to listen ? we need to use our community's vocabulary, not our own, and to understand needs and concerns.
- Getting the word out on a campus about a new service or idea ? even one that is useful and meaningful to the audience ? requires an ongoing, multi-channel strategy and it would be hard to overestimate how difficult it is.
- Expecting individual faculty members to spend time depositing papers into an institutional repository is not a feasible means of building a large collection of research.
- Individual faculty members need tangible and specific support from their institution if they are to consistently and legally make their research openly available.
- Building relationships is the most important thing, at the beginning, in the middle, at the end, and at all points in between!"
?One of the big challenges is preparing an entire group of people ?not just one person or small group ? to feel comfortable and confident in having conversations about various intertwining aspects of scholarly publishing issues. I've been offering regular seminars for library staff involved in outreach to faculty and these have worked well here at MIT to meet this need. The staff who've come to the working sessions I've offered have indicated that just having time away from the rest of their jobs to think about scholarly publishing issues is helpful. Having tools for library staff is also useful; I've been working on some templates and resources for our staff. I've recently been offering a seminar called "Publishing Smart" for graduate students, focusing on issues of interest to them like journal quality and the publication process. In this discussion, I cover publication agreements, copyright, and places (including DSpace) that one's work can be posted if one retains rights. This seminar has been very highly rated by participants.
At least at MIT, faculty and researcher time is at a premium and extra meetings are not popular. Though we've offered a seminar or two, we've primarily tried to use existing faculty gatherings and channels to reach them. I've been recording podcasts (MIT Libraries Podcasts on Scholarly Publishing) so that faculty views on issues related to copyright and scholarly publishing can be more widely shared. The podcasts are being downloaded quite heavily, though whether from inside or outside MIT I'm not sure! These are some of the methods that have worked well at MIT in the past year, and certainly they could be carried out without having a position dedicated to copyright and scholarly publishing, though it would be harder.?
Are there any differences to copyright laws outside of the USA? Are you aware of any countries that are more/less stringent than the USA?
?I'm not equipped to discuss copyright laws outside the US, but one difference between the US and other countries in relation to institutional repositories is that some other countries (such as the UK and Australia) have a form of national research assessment that requires faculty to report
their publications, and IRs have become a useful tool to manage that process. So while those countries no doubt have similar copyright issues with publishers and open access repositories, they have more of a tradition of academics reporting publication information to their institutions than we do here in the U.S.?
Is there anything else you believe might be helpful to the DSpace community?
?There's a lot being said about the failure of institutional repositories to deliver on their early promise. I think we're just sorting out how to position IR software and services on campuses in ways that work, and to develop features and functions that meet user needs. It's not surprising it's taking a while to accomplish that. It's also not surprising how difficult it is to redirect resources for new functions like IR development and support. DSpace is a platform with great potential, and while we need to improve the platform continually based on what we learn, IRs are an important new tool that will help support the evolution towards a more open environment for scholarly communication.?
Helpful Links on Scholarly Publishing
Retaining Rights & Increasing the Impact of Your Research
Managing your copyrights: What can faculty and researchers do?
What can students do?
Common misperceptions about author rights
Faculty and researcher perspectives
Sample Copyright Amendment Form from MIT
Publishing policies of research funding agencies
Tim Donohue on Configurable Submission Process
The DSpace 1.5 item submission process is now more configurable and customizable. Institutions can rearrange steps, eliminate steps or add custom steps more easily. DSpace Foundation recently spoke with Tim Donohue, Research Programmer & Technical Lead for IDEALS, the institutional repository at the University of Illinois. Tim is a DSpace Committer, as well as the lead developer for the new configurable submission process. To see more technical details, click here. For Tim?s presentation on submissions last year at OR2007, click here.
What were the key reasons to modify the submission process?
?We went through some DSpace usability studies at University of Illinois and received comments back that the submission process needed to be more simplistic and the ordering of the steps ? where things come in the process ? needed to make more sense. Our first objective was to build something that would allow us to re-order steps and also potentially remove a few steps.?
How is the submission process different? How is it useful?
?In the submission interface, DSpace displays the bubbles or balloons at the top of the screen and each one of those bubbles corresponds to a step. At the most basic level, the configurable submission in DSpace 1.5 allows you to re-order and re-shuffle the current submission steps any way you want. And while that?s not absolutely amazing, it is advantageous when comes to addressing common end user concerns. For example, at the University of Illinois we found that users didn?t like the fact that the license information came at the very end of the process. We were worried that some of the faculty or researchers would go through the entire submission process, give us all this great information and then get hung up at that license step and either not know what to do or need to stop the process there in order to go and ask questions. We didn?t want them to stop at that point ? we wanted them to be able to ask any questions right up front. So, one of the first things we wanted to do was to take that license step and move it to the beginning of the process. But as we started building it out and we realized that was a potential that we?d want to eliminate steps or add some brand new steps to the submission process."
How can the new submission process make using DSpace easier for the end user?
?Out of the box, the default submission process in 1.5 is the same as 1.4. But the submission process in 1.5 now allows the institution to do some usability modifications. In other words, it allows steps to be re-ordered and potentially more easily customized in order to make the submission process easier for the end user.?
Can you have a different submission process for different collections?
?Yes, you can re-order, eliminate or add custom steps for a specific collection within your repository ? so you can have a different submission process for different collections.?
Why was it important to separate the flow of steps from the DSpace processing code?
?In Dspace 1.4 the entire submission process was handled by a single Java servlet, which is a lot of Java code, and the entire process was hard coded within that Java code. This architecture made it overwhelming if you wanted to rearrange steps or add a new step within the submission process. First, you had to dig into this gigantic, thousand line servlet and try to find the place where that step was. Then you?d have to move it within that servlet to a different location ? and know exactly where you need to move it to. This made it very, very difficult make changes. So, the very first part of what I did was to take that overwhelming servlet and break it apart into smaller processing step classes, so that each step has it own little bit of processing code.That bit of step processing code would just follow that particular step around no matter what order you wanted to put that step in the process. Basically the gigantic Java servlet ? that single submit servlet ? became a series of smaller processing classes and a XML configuration file which helped define the order of the steps as they occur within the process.?
What level of experience do you need to modify the submission process? Are there things a repository manager can do or a Java background to make modifications?
?The basic ordering of steps can be easily modified by anyone who installs DSpace or potentially even a repository manager who has some comfort with XML structure. If they move a step definition within the XML configuration file, that step would come at a different point in the submission process. The elimination of a step is equally simple. In addition, if another institution has built a completely custom step, that custom step is supposed to be as stand-alone as possible. So, if the University of Illinois builds a custom step, it can be shared with other institutions by providing you with that little bit of Java code ? and no matter how technical you are ? you can place that code in the proper place and edit your configuration file and everything should work.
Building a custom step does requires some Java knowledge ? it is not very difficult Java ? but somebody who is knows a little bit about Java should be able to build a custom step.?
What is a non-interactive processing step?
?Non-interactive steps are a new idea we came up with to have an ?invisible? step which never has a user interface. Rather, it performs some sort of backend processing during the submission process. For example, we?ve built one at the University of Illinois that fills out default values for the initial questions that normally appear at the start of the submission process. The default DSpace submission process requires information about whether or not the item has more than one title or if it has been published before or if it will have more than one file. These initial questions set up the entire submission process. So, if you answered that the item only has one title, then you are only provided one title box. However, we found the answers for these questions at our institution to be always the same ? we always wanted to enable the ability to have multiple titles and or upload multiple files. So rather than asking those questions, we?ve pre-populated those values by building a custom, non-interactive step. In addition, we removed that ?initial questions? step altogether, so that default page which requests that information never appears to the end user. This custom step is one that we are planning on sharing with other institutions. As with the rest of custom tools for DSpace 1.5, we are still working on the best way to do this sharing as there is certain to be a lot more of this sort of code sharing in the future.?
What is the difference between customizing and configuring?
?Configurable means you can flip switches for different options in DSpace to change how something works or looks from the out of the box default. These options are already built and it is just a matter of turning them on or off. Customization refers to changes that add new features or functionality. For example, changing the DSpace interface to match your local institution look and feel would be a simple form of customization. So as we refer to changes with the submission process, re-ordering steps or eliminating steps are considered configuration changes, while adding brand new step is considered a customization.?
Can you use a patch for the new submission process for DSpace 1.4 or do you need to upgrade to 1.5?
?I highly recommend against using any of the previous patches for the submission process on 1.4 because they are not as stable as the new code available in the 1.5 release. This is especially true for Manakin, as none of the 1.4 patches work well with Manakin. However, in 1.5, the configurable submission works well with both the JSP user interface and Manakin. So, any institution that wants to use Manakin and configurable submission should really upgrade to 1.5.?
Is it possible to configure or customize the submission process regardless of which user interface you chose to use ? DSpace JSP vs. Manakin XML?
?I worked very hard to make sure the functionality was the same between the JSP interface and Manakin XML interface. Admittedly, the out of the box Manakin XML interface looks quite a bit different, but that is just how it looks. At the new submission level there is no difference between the two and you?ll have the same options in either.?
Are common customizations/configurations for the submission process easily sharable between DSpace instances?
?I envision that there will be many institutions that would want to share the custom steps they create and other institutions that will be very interested in getting these custom steps so that they don?t have to build them themselves. The configurations are very easy to share ? it is just a small XML configuration that you would add to your configuration file. In addition, the steps should be as stand-alone as possible so that you can easily share the Java source code for your custom step. At a basic level, you should be able to take both the Java source code and the small XML configuration, add them to your DSpace instance and everything should work.?
What should the DSpace community do to prepare to take advantage of the new submission process?
?I?d recommend reading through the 1.5 documentation because there is a lot of new documentation around the submission process, especially around the re-ordering of steps and how you can create new steps. You can also begin thinking more about how you?d like to change the submission process and what past usability studies may have found at your institution in terms of trying to simplify the submission process for your faculty and staff.?
Are there any additional improvements or developments planned on for the submission process?
?There is nothing else planned, but since this is the first full fledged release I?m sure there will be changes ? adding new features in order to make it easier to configure the process, adding more custom steps or adding non-interactive processing steps as options for the out of the box version of DSpace.
There are a couple non-interactive processing steps we?d like to add at the University of Illinois that could help out during the submission process and make it go faster. One of them is to attempt to make the submission process a little ?smarter?. For example, after a user uploads a file within our process we?d like to attempt to extract some basic metadata from the file ? for example, identifying that it is a Powerpoint file so therefore it is probably a presentation. If it?s a file we can grab more information out of, we may even be able to help by pre-populating a few metadata fields rather than having the users fill them out. Another potential idea is to perform a behind the scenes virus scan of a newly uploaded file. If we find the files has viruses then during the verification process, we can notify the user that their file had a virus and the system had to delete or modify it and request a virus-free one. It would be helpful to catch this sort of thing at the point of upload, to ensure we are not redistributing a file with a virus."