On thumb twiddling

Well. I bet you are wondering what has happened to my experiment in Open Access Publishing, where I am putting papers up online in our institutional repository, and sharing the best tales behind the papers here.

If it has stalled, its certainly not my fault. Finding drafts of things is much easier, so far, than I had imagined – I’m the messiest person in real life, but turns out I’m pretty organised, informationally. No. The slowness comes from – shall we call it a pipeline?

I’m currently waiting on over ten papers to go “live” in our institutional repository, since I have uploaded them. I’ve been waiting on them to go live for a month. I have no idea how the process works. I submit papers: I wait. I get no email to indicate progress. Sometimes the person (and it is a person, they make a note on the record) deletes the file, with no reason given. I upload it again. It gets deleted. I send emails. They are ignored. I send more emails. They get replies from an email address that doesnt give the person’s name, just the “institutional repository”. I reply to those emails. They are ignored.

And so it goes. Lessons in black-box service provision, if ever there was one. Absolutely infuriating. I can see how people give up on uploading things to institutional repositories. I simply dont have the time to hassle them into providing the service they are supposed to. I am not asking them to do anything difficult, after all: just to mount a file. Italics here means: grrrr.

But I shall plug on. I’ve started complaining further up the tree – hopefully it will trickle down and eventually I shall have something to show for all my hard work – which they say they want to show off. Hmmmm.

I didnt count on the institutional repository itself to be a barrier in making my work available through open access. It means I have actually stopped submitting things. What’s the point? I have 100+ more papers to put up there. Why should I waste the time in submitting things if they are ignored?

I also made the decision to blog once about each research project, and tweet the remainder of papers that come out. The LAIRAH project, for example, which I blogged about below, also featured others papers that are freely available for download on the institutional repository. I’ll list these at the end of this post: they made it through the barrier previously.

But for the more interesting stuff – and what tales I have to tell you! – you’ll have to wait til someone (and it is a someone, not an anonymous pipeline, repository, or computer – how we hide behind these terms!) presses the button to make more stuff live. And stops deleting things willy nilly. Sigh.

Warwick, C., Galina, I., Rimmer, J., Terras, M., Blandford, A., Gow, J., and Buchanan, G. (2009). “Documentation and the users of digital resources in the humanities“. Journal of Documentation. Volume:65, Issue: 1, Page: 33 – 57.

Warwick, C., Terras, M., Galina, I., Huntington, P., Pappa, N. (2008). “Library and Information Resources, and Users of Digital Resources in the Humanities”. Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems. Volume 42 Number 1. p. 5-27.

Warwick,C. Galina, I., Terras, M., Huntington, P., and Pappa, N. (2008). “The Master Builders: LAIRAH research on good practice in the construction of digital humanities projects” Literary and Linguistic Computing 23(3), 383-396.


Update: within 24 hours of throwing my rattles out the pram, things are moving, and we have action. Am pleased to say that finally we are making progress. I’ll be able to start posting things again on here next week, as a result. Hurrah!

5 thoughts on “On thumb twiddling

  1. Interestingly I started work in our institutional repository (http://kar.kent.ac.uk/) this week. It seems we made the decision some time ago to allow academic staff (or academic support staff) to add records directly to the repository. This has, as I'm sure you'd imagine, caused some problems (poor records, duplicate entries, copyright breaches) rather different to the model you are working with, but the deletion woes you speak of got me thinking. The one thing KAR really bang on about is academics checking their work against http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/. If you are sure the files you uploaded are not in copyright, perhaps thrusting Sherpa/Romeo at the repository humans may aid your cause.

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