December 1, 2006

Calming a hostile critic of repositories

Filed under: Repositories — Neil Godfrey @ 2:25 am

Again re followup from my Hostile criticism of repositories post, here are some of the things that appeared to turn my friend around. They all grew out of time spent first clarifying her concerns (email and a couple of phone calls) by listening fully and sympathetically to her concerns, thus helping us in turn to see more clearly pressures academics are under:

  • Having sufficient recordkeeping and administrative metadata and backups in our system to be able to give her assurance of what had actually happened;
  • Reassuring her that what she was hearing from some of her peers about messy processes obliging academics to check out copyright details themselves was not the case at all, that the library would take care of that;
  • That the library was not “requiring” academics to submit all the details of the work themselves but that each Department could negotiate its own process, ‘Why not arrange for your research assistant to do it?’ etc.
  • Reassuring her that repository publishing processes do not require DEST approval, but that we only publish in accordance with copyright restrictions and her feedback from her Research Office and DEST re publication details for grants etc in no way affected what she might see in Google from us.

Not all academic departments are equal and some do not sustain a culture or whatever it is to support their academics in submitting to repositories. The only solution I could see here is for repository coordinators to work through the larger university administration, to get onside the VC’s and policy formulation people to support the institution’s departments and department heads in promoting the necessary culture.

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