9 August 2011

Extending the open access debate at Repository Fringe

Another interesting and stimulating Repository Fringe was held in Edinburgh last week, coinciding as usual with the start of the Edinburgh Festivals and held right in the heart of the Fringe action. The theme was 'Repositories building bridges and social innovation', and we were treated to a wide variety of presentations and discussions. I attended Day 2 and my highlights are:

Anna Clements and Janet Aucock presented on the opportunities at St Andrews created by our Pure-Repository integration, emphasising the benefits of close working relationships as well as technical infrastructure.

The best audience reaction was undoubtedly for the presentation delivered entirely in song (Robin Burgess on the enhanced repository at Glasgow School of Art). Most interesting innovation for me was FigShare, a tool allowing researchers to 'publish all their data'. Developed by Mark Hahnel from a personal desire to share all the figures and datasets generated during his PhD, the FigShare repository now contains over 50,000 searchable, citable and reusable figures. Read more about FigShare FAQ.

I attended the round table discussion on Open Scholarship which explored ideas for 'opening' the whole research process, not just data and outputs. There was some difficulty in deciding whether a definition of Open Scholarship could ever be relevant across all disciplines, but we agreed it was about aspirations for sharing global knowledge rather than open access to 'stuff'.

Finally we were given a detailed insight into the motivation for Open Access in the humanities and the work of Gary Hall and colleagues, including Open Humanities Press and Liquid Books.

The trip to Edinburgh was nicely rounded off with some non-repository Fringe activities, the best one being a free show (just goes to show quality stuff can be free!).