Monday, 24 October 2011

OPEN ACCESS WEEK: What did we learn from the University of Leeds Reposit questionnaire?

Earlier this year, we distributed a questionnaire as part of the JISC funded RePosit project. The project reviewed the relationship between central research information systems (concentrating on Symplectic Elements) and open access repositories.

We had a great response (362) to our online questionnaire from a good mixture of academics and administrators across all Faculties.

Lessons learned: the questionnaire timing was good. 4th July - 5th August; £100 Amazon voucher provided a useful incentive (91% of respondents gave us their email so they could be entered into the draw).

Our lucky winner, drawn at random, was Dr David Owens from the Institute of Health Sciences. David is pictured above receiving congratulations from the University Librarian, Dr Stella Butler.

Some key findings for Leeds (Part 1)

1. Awareness

Awareness of Symplectic is good; awareness of the repository not as good – though there is a wide variation across different roles. Overall awareness of the White Rose Research Online Repository has risen across all staff roles compared with the results of a 2008 questionnaire (distributed as part of the JISC funded IncReASe project).

Lessons learned
  • Awareness levels for White Rose Research Online are best (71%) amongst more senior University staff (Professors, Senior Lecturers). We need to increase awareness – particularly amongst Lecturers and Research Fellows.
2. The ‘new’ deposit route (via Symplectic)

Researchers at the University of Leeds deposit their papers into White Rose Research Online using a “Full Text Tab” in Symplectic Elements (i.e. the University’s Publication Database). We hope the deposit process is straightforward – but is it?

Those who had used the “Full Text” tab to deposit were reasonably positive about the experience: 71% thought deposit was quick; 61% though it was easy. On the other hand, 33% thought upload was confusing. Of course, these rating are from a relatively small number of respondents who had used the deposit tab to deposit their research.

We asked “Would you recommend that a colleague uses the Symplectic interface to upload to the institutional repository (White Rose Research Online)?” Only 7% said ‘no’ but 58% said ‘don’t know’.

Lessons Learned
  • We need to improve awareness of the Symplectic based deposit route.
  • This deposit route should be closely monitored to make sure that the process is as simple and transparent as possible.
  • More widespread uptake of the new deposit route is needed to gather representative feedback on the depositor experience.

3. Who Deposits and Why

There weren’t many surprises here about motivators/inhibitors – our findings are similar to other research. The biggest deposit motivators were the desire to share research and to raise individual profile.

Why don’t people deposit? We know awareness is an issue but taking this out of the equation, the main inhibitors were: (i) worries about copyright (ii) not enough time (iii) not knowing how to upload. Some depositors pointed out OA was already taken care of for their work either through a subject repository (arXiv) or because they publish in OA journals.

Deposit (using the Symplectic based deposit tab) is usually undertaken by the author but a significant minority of authors have their work deposited by administrative staff. Depositors would like to re-use their deposited content in various ways, the most popular being:
  • URL for dissemination to publicise the work
  • Evidence of impact
  • Statistical reports showing usage

Lessons learned

  • More copyright reassurance is needed.
  • A simple, online deposit guide may help.
  • We need to close the feedback loop with depositors – regular (but not overfacing) reports on their deposit profile, uptake by their School and Faculty, and, importantly, download statistics
4. What support do depositors want?

Online guides and copyright support were the most popular from the options we offered in the questionnaire. However, many respondents gave us free text answers and their suggestions were: admin support, a better understanding of the benefits of deposit, bulk upload options, automatic harvesting (from personal web sites), a link with the University web site.

Depositors want information about the repository by email, and want online support (an e-tutorial).