Jisc activity supporting REF OA compliance

Jisc has been working closely with HEFCE to coordinate activity to support institutions in achieving compliance with the policy on Open Access and the REF. Further to the release of the REF information requirements we would like to outline the work and planning taking place.

Potential Services

1) Jisc Publications Router (formerly Repository Junction Broker). This automates the direct delivery of scholarly works (Green/Gold OA and/or pre-embargoed records) from multiple suppliers (such as publishers or subject repositories) to the appropriate institutional repository. It already passes on full-text feeds from Europe PubMed Central, and is now working to add a range of additional sources and increase institutional participation to receive content. Since the release of the REF requirements earlier this year we have been investigating how the Publications Router could best support the capture of authors’ accepted manuscripts (AAMs) as part of this developing service. For a more detailed update on this work please read the following blog post.

Metadata Consistency

Various stakeholders are now capturing information about research outputs in a variety of systems. As a result, a pressing need has developed to enable these different systems to communicate with each other, and pass data between them. For example, institutions have repositories and CRISs. Funders also wish to capture details of outputs of research they have funded. In order to achieve that, the metadata describing these outputs needs to be framed in a consistent way. The following initiatives address this aspect.

2) RIOXX Metadata Application Profile and Guidance. The RIOXX application profile has been developed with close input from RCUK and HEFCE to meet their policy requirements. RIOXX was designed to support consistency across key metadata fields to facilitate the tracking of research outputs across scholarly systems, support reporting to funders in the required format and support interoperability.

Note that implementing RIOXX will not cover all of the REF reporting requirements but it certainly will provide consistency for key fields. RIOXX 2.0 is still in beta phase as we are waiting for the final recommendations from NISO on two of the entities (licence_ref and the free_to_read tag) that are in the application profile.

We are currently developing the EPrints RIOXX plug-in and we are currently in the process of contacting possible early adopters for the EPrints RIOXX plug-in and want to have a range institutions (about 10) test the plug-in. The aim is to have this plug-in ready for wider use in early January 2015. We are also planning an approach with DSpace.

3) Open access (OA) is one of the three areas of focus for the CASRAI-UK pilot projects. This group brings together representatives from UK research funders, institutions, CRIS vendors and repository software suppliers to discuss where there are opportunities to align on common terms and vocabularies to support OA reporting.

The group will initially build on the Jisc End-to-End OA Pathfinder project workshop in setting out the OA requirements and how they translate to repository systems. It will also build on the extensive work done on the Vocabularies for Open Access Project (V4OA) and the RIOXX metadata application profile and guidelines. Doing this broader mapping in a central place will hopefully make it easier for institutions to see what the best approach is for particular OA entities within their systems.

One result of this mapping may be the development of plug-ins for repositories to ensure their metadata fields include those needed to comply with the next REF. The demand for this might well be affected by the increasing use of CRISs for research reporting purposes, something we will need to gauge carefully. We are already speaking to CRIS vendors about RIOXX terms and will need to engage them in this wider activity. We hope to move this forward soon, now that the REF information requirements have been released – watch this space for further updates.

Implementation and support

4) The Jisc OA Good Practice initiative helps to support universities’ OA implementation, through sharing examples of good practice. To enable this, nine Pathfinder projects have been commissioned to develop shareable models of good practice thereby enabling their own and associated HEIs (30 in total) to find out what works best in implementing OA, in a variety of institutions across the sector. There are a series of workshops/ events and online interactions – from webinars, to guest blogs – by which, HEI managers (e.g. librarians, research managers, repository managers) are able to share and improve understanding and good practice around OA implementation. We encourage people to sign up to the OA Good Practice list ( or follow us on Twitter (@OA_GoodPractice) to receive updates and participate in the planned activity where possible.

5) Repository Technical Support. As part of a package of measures to support repositories, we will be working with the Repository Support Project (RSP), which is based at the University of Nottingham, to co-ordinate technical support in the uptake and integration of RIOXX and a number shared services such the Publications Router, mentioned above. There will be a series of workshops/webinars focusing on technical issues, the dates of which will be announced soon, building on our co-ordination with the vendors of the systems that institutions use. We are planning an initial workshop on issues of de-duplication and updating metadata records – those created upon acceptance will need updating when the version of record is published, for example. There will also be an information resource to help you find the best contact for technical advice and guidance on any of the Jisc initiatives covered in this post.

A further important Jisc initiative is the Jisc Monitor project. This is investigating the feasibility of services that to help universities show compliance with funder OA mandates and monitor APC payments. It is looking into the sector’s needs and priorities, and will propose steps to address them such as prototype services, recommendations on standards, improvements to existing services or systems and best practice for various stakeholders. Its findings will inform projects and services right across Jisc’s offering, including those described here, helping us to meet your institution’s needs.

In summary

These initiatives are at various stages of development – we will keep you posted on their progress via this blog. Do also keep an eye out for our updates through UKCoRR and the OA Good Practice lists, for example. If you have any specific questions, please reply to this blog and the appropriate contact at Jisc will respond to you.

By Neil Jacobs

JISC Programme Director, Digital Infrastructure (Information Environment)

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