Monday, November 21, 2011

Deeply Unfashionable

The repository I've always been deeply unfashionable. I hung onto my flares long after most people went straight legged, didn't catch on to cyberpunk until the noughties, etc. In truth, it's never bothered me. So on Friday when I went to chat to the wise elves who run our institutional repository, I asked for something deeply unfashionable - some blue skies thinking. Specifically, I asked for an author-centred view of the repository biz.

While our repository has nice stats on each individual submission, this makes life hard for authors who want to commit to the repository in a sustained way. What it needs is a dashboard which gives individuals an overview of activity on all their submissions so they can easily gauge their personal impact. I thought this might be tricky, but the elves didn't blink. Institutional logins do away with all the usual problems surrounding author ID.

Recently I wrote about what it would take for me to make the institutional repository my first choice publishing destination. Since then I've been doing some more thinking about this. If I'm going to commit to the repository in a sustained fashion, I need some form of peer review. And for a repository, that means post-publication peer review. At this point, we had a nice chat about the difference between a repository and an archive (confusing if your repository is called an archive). If there are other places to get my work peer-reviewed, I can't afford to damage my personal impact by dividing the social media campaign I need to mount around my publication between the primary publications site and the repository, so the repository loses out unless it completes. Happily the elves were very open to this idea, although there will be difficulties to be faced which are more political then technical.

Since repositories are dependent on authors, it makes business sense to keep the customers happy. Maybe there are blue skies just around the corner.


  1. Funny thing: sometimes it just takes a little conversation...B-)
    I may have revolutionised our submissions to our premier funding agency, by pointing out to them that one can in fact download ALL one's publication from online databases - rather than having to enter them one by one, 5 fields per record.... No-one had told them before.

  2. PS: only the oughties for cyberpunk?? AJ!