SHERPA-LEAP (London Eprints Access Project, a partner in SHERPA) was established in February 2004 as a consortium of seven Higher Education institutions.  All were members of the federal University of London, whose Vice-Chancellor generously funded the project.  The aims of the project were to create eprints repositories, hosted centrally by UCL (University College London), for each of the partner institutions, and to populate those repositories through collaborative advocacy.  The seven development partners were:

  • Birkbeck
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Royal Holloway
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • UCL (Lead partner)

The partners contributed to the SHERPA DP project, which was led by the Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) and investigated shared preservation services for institutional repositories.

In 2005, funding was awarded for a second phase of SHERPA-LEAP, which saw the recruitment of a full-time Project Officer charged with expanding the consortium and delivering technical support to all the institutions of the University of London.  In this phase, the original partners’ repositories were migrated away from UCL to local platforms, and more institutions joined SHERPA-LEAP:

  • Goldsmiths
  • Queen Mary
  • The School of Pharmacy
  • School of Advanced Study
  • The Institute of Cancer Research
  • The Institute of Education

The phase 2 partners participated in the JISC-funded, LSE-led ShibboLEAP project, which created Shibboleth Identity Providers at seven LEAP institutions.

A third phase of SHERPA-LEAP, LASSO (LEAP Aggregated Search Service Online), began early in 2007, delivering a demonstrator cross-searching service for the consortium’s repositories.  In this period, the consortium also participated in the EMBRACE (EMBedding Repositories And Consortial Enhancement) project, led by UCL, which oversaw a number of technical enhancements to LEAP repositories and facilitated an external review by RAND Europe of the place of repositories in institutional strategy.

The fourth and final funded phase of SHERPA-LEAP, still supported by the Vice-Chancellor, ran until late 2010.  The main purpose of the fourth project phase was to capitalise on the success of LEAP as a networking forum, and especially to support the London repository managers in handling less well-understood types of digital content such as images and multimedia, electronic theses and primary data.  This change of emphasis from technical support to policy support saw the establishment of various working and special interest groups, which carried out in-depth exploration of relevant issues for the benefit of all the members of the consortium.

The LEAP Project Officer contributed a report on overlay journals to UCL’s RIOJA (Repository Interface for Overlaid Journal Archives) project, and the SHERPA-LEAP partners also contributed to the UCL-led MERLIN (Metadata Enrichment for Repositories in a London Insitutional Network) project, in which UCL and the University of London Computing Centre (ULCC) explored the application of off-the-shelf text-mining tools to repository search.

Although the funded phases of the original project are now at an end, SHERPA-LEAP continues as a regional forum for experience-sharing, networking and mutual support.

SHERPA-LEAP is indebted to its former Project Officers, Rebecca Stockley (2006-2008) and Josh Brown (2009-2010).


Projects to which SHERPA-LEAP has contributed include:

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