Jisc Monitor and the importance of collaboration (by Brian Mitchell, Jisc Collections)

The nature of research is increasingly international in scope and requires collaboration and cooperation between people and organisations. In a similar vein, Jisc Monitor embraces such a combined approach. After all, there are other complementary projects and initiatives out there that are integral to the use cases areas that Jisc Monitor is seeking to explore.

One such project in the US is SHARE, the SHared Access Research Ecosystem, which is a higher education and research community initiative to ensure the preservation of, access to, and reuse of research outputs. The Jisc Monitor team actively contributes to their Technical Working Group, which is important for a number of reasons:

1a. Looking at the bigger picture

The work that we are doing is co-ordinated, and as such, we are looking to explore national and international possibilities to address common issues around Open Access, especially on two of Jisc Monitor use cases, namely the “Monitoring of all publication activity to ensure a clear understanding of what has been published” and the “Monitoring of all publication activity to ensure compliance with funder mandates”. For example we have been sharing information on and discussing what problem areas are we trying to address (user stories, problem statements and use cases); what information sources will be suitable to gather intelligence on publication activity; what metadata would we want to collect?; and what other Jisc projects and services will it be beneficial to collaborate with SHARE on?

Furthermore, SHARE has the backing of a number of prominent organisations: the Association of Research Libraries (ARL); the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) who have partnered to develop SHARE with significant input from the three associations’ member institutions and their broader stakeholder communities.  ARL’s members are 125 research libraries at comprehensive, research institutions—108 in the US and 17 in Canada. AAU’s membership is composed of 60 US and 2 Canadian preeminent public and private research universities. APLU’s members are 217 state universities, land-grant universities, state-university systems, and related organisations in all 50 states, US territories, and the District of Columbia. It also has the support of other organisations such as the Coalition for Networked Information, and is working with other organisations such as arXiv, CrossRef, PubMed Central, and the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

1b. Why is this important and how will this benefit UK institutions?

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) strongly believe that ensuring broad and continuing access to research is central to the mission of higher education. Research publications, research data, other research outputs, along with their associated metadata, should be publicly accessible and available for reuse, text mining, data mining, and machine reading. This accelerates further research and discovery.

The higher education community also has the responsibility to collect and preserve their researchers’ scholarly output for reasons beyond ensuring access, such as for institutional planning and for analytic purposes.

Additionally, the higher education community must support their researchers’ compliance with the growing number of funder requirements. ARL, AAU, and APLU envision SHARE as the means for the academy to tackle these critical issues.

When you consider all of the above, these are in essence what we are all trying to achieve in the UK so there is a strong sense of shared values. As we are speaking to many of the same stakeholders to achieve those aims, especially publishers and intermediaries, it makes more sense to look at solutions that can be achieved at a global level as this makes it much easier to obtain buy-in, support and co-operation from them as they are key to supplying much of the data that is required to make the outputs of research more publicly accessible and to comply with funder and institution mandates. Therefore by working together we all benefit!

2. Avoiding duplicating work

The intention here is to avoid duplication of effort as the activities that Jisc Monitor and SHARE are undertaking are complementary to each other. Relevant outputs will be shared across both projects in the spirit of Open Access and for mutual benefit.

3. Metadata and standards

International collaboration on the promotion and adoption of agreed metadata and standards enables information to be exchanged across multiple systems, fulfilling another of the Jisc Monitor use cases: “Standards development to enable efficient data exchange”.

4. Raising awareness of research outputs

International collaboration helps to raise the awareness on the outputs of publically funded research around the world.

On a broader level, there are also discussions taking place with the chairs of the SHARE steering group about ways in which Jisc and SHARE can work together on a range of Jisc projects (including Jisc Monitor) with the aim of organising a workshop on technical issues later in the year, targeting a variety of stakeholders. It is also important to note that Jisc Monitor is working closely with other related Jisc projects to ensure our work is ostensibly joined up and forms part of the package of Jisc work on scholarly communications.

Jisc have also started discussions with CHORUS and look forward to having more detailed discussions as soon as the opportunity arises. We are also in close discussions with CrossRef, which is the technical infrastructure on which much of CHORUS is based, and hope that CrossRef services can be one foundation for the Jisc Monitor prototypes especially for the monitoring publication outputs, monitoring compliance and interoperability use cases.

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