Meet the new Publications and Repository Team at Queen Mary!

November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized by Sarah Molloy

Over the course of the last few months here at Queen Mary there has been a bit of upheaval in the Library.  As part of a wider review of services provided by the Library and elsewhere within the Student Services Directorate, the need to better and more sustainably support our research community was identified.  The results of this re-shuffle are being implemented this week, and I therefore wanted to announce some changes that will affect LEAP.

From Monday 25th November 2013, Queen Mary will have a new Publications and Repository Team, lead by Jeremey Claridge.  Jeremey will become the repository and publications system manager and overall guru of all open access related day-to-day activities.  Over the next few weeks and months, I look forward to introducing him to you all as he settles into his new role.  This means that I will be taking a step back  from the day-to-day management of the repository with more responsibilities for strategic development of all our services to support researchers.

You don’t get rid of me altogether though!  I will still have oversight over the repository and open access in my remit as Research Support Manager along with: establishing the new data management service, turning my attentions to long term preservation, working with the College Archives to explore overlaps between archive and repository environments and digital collections, and expanding our research skills offerings to students and early career researchers in partnership with the new Teaching & Learning team.

In the immediate future, there will of course be a period of handover; if you need to contact a member of the new team, drop us an email on

Open Access Week 2012: Opening Research and Data, Monday 22 October

October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized by Emma Golding

To mark the start of Open Access Week staff from LSHTM, Birkbeck, SOAS, LSE and City University London organised the above event to bring together academics, funders, students and open access advocates to discuss the increasingly important role of open access within the scholarly community and how to engage with the opportunities and challenges it has generated.

Having organised an event at LSHTM for Open Access Week 2011, Andrew Gray (LSHTM Research Online Manager) had the initial idea of joining forces with other ‘local’ repository staff to host a more collaborative event for 2012. After contacting repository managers in the Bloomsbury area (and slightly beyond) we had an enthusiastic group ready and raring to plan the event. Finding a venue during term-time wasn’t the easiest of tasks but we were able to hire a room at Birkbeck and all costs were split equally. Working collaboratively with other universities also meant we had quite a few contacts to approach as speakers. We were particularly keen on a speaker from RCUK following the recent debates on their open access policy. It took a little while to pull the programme together but with a couple of weeks to go we had all our speakers confirmed, including a representative from EPSRC.

By advertising the event on our websites, blogs, Twitter, LISTSERVS, the Open Access Week website, etc. we got delegates from a wide range of disciplines, not just those who work directly on open access initiatives but research degree students, departmental administrators, funded academics and publishers.

So to the day itself. The afternoon kicked off with Fred Friend, Honorary Director of Scholarly Communication at UCL, who provided the audience with an excellent summary of the history of the open access movement to date and his views of where we are now and how we can progress.  Following Fred, Stephen Curry (Professor of Structural Biology, Imperial College London), discussed a wide range of topics, including how he recently become engaged in the open access debate, the Internet and its impact on scholarly communication, the Finch Report and RCUK policy and his views on why we haven’t been able to reach the full potential of open access.

In the next session, Melissa Terras (Co-Director, UCL Centre for Digital Humanities) shared her experiences of the impact that using social media to promote her open access publications had on the number of downloads. I was particularly impressed by the statistic that the papers she made available in an open access repository and promoted via social media were downloaded 11 times more than those on the journal platform behind a paywall. Next up was Antonio Gasparrini a Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at LSHTM who is working on a 3-years MRC-funded fellowship. He spoke from a very practical perspective about his experiences of under budgeting for Article Processing Charges (APCs) in grant applications, the role of impact factors, copyright transfer and costs in selecting which journal to publish in and whether APCs are really value for money.

The final two sessions of the day were given to representatives from two major research funders. David Carr of the Wellcome Trust outlined the Trust’s open access policy and the launch of a new open access journal eLIFE which is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust. He also spoke about the benefits and challenges to opening research data and the importance of funders and institutions working together to overcome the barriers. Ben Ryan (Senior Evaluation Manager, EPSRC) who was speaking on behalf of RCUK, gave the audience an introduction to the background of the development of the much debated RCUK policy and clarified some of the points that I was previously unclear about.

The sessions that I personally found most enlightening were those given by academics currently engaged in making their publications open access. In my role as a Repository Officer at LSHTM I answer enquiries from academics concerning open access publishing, APCs and our repository but I don’t often get the chance to hear in such detail their thoughts and experiences on open access.

The day ended with a group discussion which covered topics such as confidentiality clauses in library subscription packages, publisher embargo periods for green open access papers in the wake of the RCUK policy and how other research outputs such as learned monographs can be made open access. As usual with such discussions more questions were raised than could be answered in such a short space of time but it was a great forum to start the debate which I hope will continue throughout Open Access Week and beyond…

EPrints irstats versus Google Analytics

January 12, 2012 in Uncategorized by Bernard Scaife

I am being asked about statistics which is never a good thing. We have both the traditional IRstats package running and are using Google Analytics on our repository. However, they appear to give different results and we’d like to know why so we can get a better understanding of what is being counted.

GA has been tracking pdf downloads using their asynchronous code  from at least 1 Oct 2011. In GA, we downloaded a list of all pdfs downloaded between Oct 1 2011 and 18 Dec 2011.In irstats, I downloaded monthly download counts of papers for Oct 1 2011 and 18 Dec 2011.

Starting with eprints top 10

EPrints monthlydownload counts (screenshot) shows the top 10 papers for the period

And alongside them, here are the equivalent downloads for GA for the top 3

Eprints id Eprints downloads GA downloads GA (all)
58 (top paper) 2130 9 155
2819 900 1 4
2050 880 13 21

Now the top downloads for GA top 10

Eprints id Eprints downloads GA downloads GA (all)
1134 (top paper) 0 77 292
6091 1 75 271
6587 3 30 34

So there is no direct correlation between the two systems. Presumably, Irstats should be the more comprehensive as it has access to the server-side for tracking requests for pdfs that are downloaded direct from a search engine result list. GA cannot do this as far as I can see, although in many case, users will click a full eprints record first and *then* download (which will be recorded). However, why do we have situations where GA records more pdfs being downloaded than EPrints? All comments/theories welcome.

Queen Mary Research Online: launched at last!

July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized by Sarah Molloy

It’s been a long time coming, and I have to admit that sometimes I didn’t think we’d get there; but at last Queen Mary (UoL) finally has a publicly accessible institutional repository, Queen Mary Research Online.  Hurrah!

Our collections are somewhat modest so far (but 100% full content), but now that I have something to demonstrate, I am hopeful that things will start to appear.  We currently have approximately 1000 items somewhere in the repository (some embargoed, some in the workflow, some openly available; including eTheses), not bad for a year’s graft.

Not one for resting on my laurels, I am now investigating ways to improve the searching, browsing and more ways to reuse the data/linking.  We might also make a few modest tweaks to the interface on the admin side so that managing items is easier.  If you’re a DSpacer and have made improvements to the workflow or reporting, please do tell!

The curious case of duplicate links in the Collection index

June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized by Sarah Molloy

I thought I’d post an update on the state of play with QMRO.

We’re currently working on a bug that is causing items to be assigned to the same Collection in DSpace twice.  The result is that a duplicate link appears in the Collections index for the item pointing to the same URL.  Not only is it very untidy (I’m a librarian, these things should be neat and tidy) it also makes browsing to see what we have; which should still be possible given our number of records, quite impossible.  Items can legitimately belong to more than one collection in DSpace, but they are not supposed to be able to belong to the same collection more than once.

Needless to say, our IT Services people are working on it, but it is causing us to delay public launch of the service still and this is becoming a source of frustration, not just for me but for our senior executive who are very keen to see it go live.

Any thoughts people may have very welcome!

In the meantime, I am working on my academic colleagues; encouraging them to put content in and to start thinking about Open Access more widely.  So far, they seem to be quite receptive, although this might be so that I’ll stop banging on about it and leave them in peace!

Thoughts, useful contacts and general moral support all gratefully received

SarahM, Queen Mary

London conference on OA publishing in the arts and humanities

May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized by Peter Webster

The School of Advanced Study is staging a one-day conference on this topic, in London, on Friday July 15th.
This symposium brings together academics, journal editors, publishers, librarians, funding bodies and repository practitioners to consider issues of particular concern in the arts and humanities. It will examine the economic and public policy aspects of humanities OA, as well as the different modes in which OA is currently delivered for scholars in the humanities.

Confirmed speakers include Professor Shearer West (AHRC), Neil Jacobs (JISC), Dr Paul Ayris (Director of Library Services, UCL) and Tessa Harvey (Wiley-Blackwell).

There will also be presentations on OA journals produced by commercial publishers and on campus, and from specialist humanities repositories, including SAS-Space.

The conference is free to attend, with lunch provided. For further details, and to reserve a place, please contact Dr Peter Webster (

A provisional programme is available at:

RSP Survey & Cerify

May 13, 2011 in CRIS by Richard Davis

Two bits of news just passed through my Tweetdeck that I thought worth sharing, in case any of you missed them.

  • The JISC Repositories Support Project is surveying the UK research repository scene. and has an online questionnaire aimed at repository managers. You can find out more about it on the RSP Blog (and maybe even win an Ipod shuffle if you enter before July 31st). The results should make interesting reading as a snapshot of the repository landscape, and no doubt help us all determine what we are doing well, and what we could do better.
  • For anyone with a current interest in Research Information Management systems, the work of UKOLN’s Cerify project looks to be particularly valuable. A closed “data surgery” event for the Cerify project partners is being held next week; but it looks like there will be public outputs, and, sooner or later, practical advice on the process of implementing the CERIF research information management standard. (The JISC RIM programme is managed by our good friend and former LEAP colleague Josh Brown.)

Statistically relevant

April 27, 2011 in Ars Technica by Rory McNicholl

Over the last year or so we’ve installed and configured (in some cases reconfigured) the IRStats package for several of the LEAP repositories, including those hosted by ULCC. It seemed a good moment to share a few thoughts about the process of getting “all statted up” with EPrints.

By default, and without any further action, IRStats provides a kind of smorgasbord control panel, demonstrating the many optional graphs, charts and list available. You can see an example on our own ULCC Publications repository.

More recently we’ve seen growing demand among repository managers to share data on downloads with both their depositors and users at large. It’s really important for repository managers to select carefully which statistics views they actually want or need to display – we can only suggest things we think might work. Once you’ve decided on the views you want, we can look at the most effective ways to display them: and this is why I’ve been having fun souping up some of the displays already offered by IRstats.

The first display we’ve been working on is the Statistics digest. These are common enough and we’ve used the example of UCL Discovery repository as the basis of work for both SAS-Space and SOAS institutional repository.

The second approach has been to re-style the IRstats “dashboard” view to lay the graphs on top of each other and then use some Javascript to handle the tabbed navigation. This seemed a more elegant approach than inserting lots of charts in the abstract page itself (as, for example, at ECS EPrints). I’ve used this display technique to display statistics for individual eprints for the School of Pharmacy, as well as SAS and SOAS.

IRStats on School of Pharmacy EPrints
The tabbed display of graphs and tables was also combined with a ‘modal box’ display that keeps the height of page the same (for example on this Abstract page at SOAS. At the bottom of the Abstract page I’ve added a statistics section showing the number full-text downloads, and a link that displays detailed stats in an overlaid box.

This method doesn’t just work for individual items, but can be used on other datasets in too. For example, on SAS-Space we have added it to the bottom of their Collection browse pages, so that at the bottom of each Collection view there is an opportunity to view download statistics for that collection as a whole.

Additionally in SAS-Space, since it is a repository for a number of discrete institutes, there was a requirement for institutional editors to have access to their own institute’s statistics. To achieve this, I allowed access to a constrained version of the IRStats control panel for editor-users who had the appropriate editorial permissions for the institute in question. (Unless you are a SAS-Space editor, you won’t be able to access this.)

Which statistics views to insert as tabs is the decision of the repository manager. Views we’ve used include:

  • Monthly downloads
  • Daily downloads
  • Unique visitors
  • Referrers
  • Search Engines
  • Top 10 items downloaded (only for a Collection, Repository or Division)
  • Top 10 search terms

From a technical point-of-view, we will have to review these configurations when we upgrade to EPrints version 3.3, possibly later in the year (if it’s released!!), in conjunction with our VM infrastructure migration, and start doing things with EPStats rather than IRStats. But we now have an effective framework for adding statistics quickly to any EPrints installation.

Importing to eprints from Sirsidynix Symphony LMS

March 14, 2011 in Uncategorized by Bernard Scaife

We need to do this for our new DERA repository because a lot of the records of e-only official publications – complete with
their often broken links :) are already catalogued there. I can export the records as marc exchange from the system, used the fantastic MarcEdit tool to convert to MARC21XML and then use a custom php script to convert this to EP3XML for importing. I’ve done this successfully in our “traditional” eprints repository. For example, to import theses records where we now have some digitised abstracts to link in.

It all works fairly smoothly although there is bound to be a simpler way. Would be interested to know what do others do.

Handy Hints: MIME-Types

March 11, 2011 in Ars Technica by Rory McNicholl

Some repositories have reported issues with Microsoft “DOCX” files, which IE8 in particular may treat as a ZIP file. This is a potential problem with all the current slew of MS file types. The solution is to add the following entries to your web server configuration.

Extension MIME Type
.xlsx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet
.xltx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.template
.potx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.template
.ppsx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.slideshow
.pptx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.presentation
.sldx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.slide
.docx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document
.dotx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.template
.xlam application/
.xlsb application/

Exactly how you (or more likely your system manager) achieve this depends on your Web platform (e.g. Apache, Tomcat, IIS) but whoever runs it should be able to make the necessary changes, and once the Web server is restarted, the new types should be picked up. (We’ve just done this for the ULCC-hosted repositories.)

MIME-Types” have a long and chequered history as a way of identifying file types to internet applications. To some extent IE8 is correct to infer (in the absence of better information from the Web server) that .docx files are ZIP files, because MS Office Open XML formats are bundled using the ZIP compression tool. But in general what one really wants the browser to do is pass the file to an Office application, not WinZip.

Ironically, it seems other browsers do correctly infer MS OOXML file types.