Cranfield CERES


This case history looks at the development of Cranfield CERES (Collection of E-RESearch)(formerly QUEprints)since 2003. It covers the organisational context and repository missionÍ content in terms of size and research material type current deposit activity and growth phases of development - highlighting the research currently being undertaken by the, JISC funded, Embed project to increase the engagement of faculty, and develop new services which will help deposition and embed CERES into the organisational culture key challenges currently being faced and ways in which these are being addressed; and unresolved issues.

Organisational Context

Cranfield CERES (Collection of E­RESearch) is the institutional repository of Cranfield University, a wholly postgraduate research oriented institution which is active in areas including applied science, engineering, health, technology, management and defence.

Repository Mission

Given the focus of the institution on research, from the outset it was decided that the repository would act as a vehicle for facilitating access to a high quality subset of Cranfield's research. The prevailing culture, the emphasis on relevant and applied research and the importance of generating research income have all exercised a major influence on academic attitudes to contributing and using the repository. The requirement to develop a better understanding of these cultural issues has been a major factor in Cranfield's leadership of a JISC funded research project - Embed.

Overview of current contents

Content is restricted to full­text items only. The graphs below show the different types of research material in terms of both numbers and percentages.

Graph showing types of research material by amount: Theses: 852 CVs: 17 Technical Reports: 113 Working Papers: 477 Pre/Post prints: 552 Datasets: 1 Graph showing types of research material by percent: Theses: 42.3% CVs: 0.8% Technical Reports: 5.6% Working Papers: 23.7% Pre/Post prints: 27.4% Datasets: 0%

Current Deposit Activity

CERES was established in 2003 (under the name of QUEprints) and since that time has been supported through a mediated service. To date only a very small number of people have attempted to self­archive and we believe that this is symptomatic of the prevailing culture in which time is the commodity most highly valued by Cranfield researchers and academics. While there is strong institutional support there is not a formal mandate in place.

Development Phases

CERES is a mature repository and is one of two involved in the Embed project which is an enhancement project. We are currently investigating a new service model which includes a number of added value activities aimed at increasing academic support.

Institutional Embedding and Faculty Engagement

Significant success has been achieved through advocacy, however, the rate of growth has been slower than expected prompting the submission to JISC of the Embed proposal. The outcomes from the investigation are provided under key challenges and major achievements below.

Service Sustainability

This is being investigated under Embed and a new repository support team has been established to implement new service developments and test sustainability and transferability of the model to other institutions. A key element has been work undertaken with other collaborators including: a repository team at The Robert Gordon University (RGU) test groups of researchers at both institutions user study research consultants; Key Perspectives Ltd and multimedia and MIS experts drawn from across the University. We believe sustainability can only be achieved by harnessing a range of expertise to achieve integration with other University systems.

Measuring and Demonstrating Success

CERES usage shows a steady increase from June 2004 (when 440 Working Papers were added). The 1000th paper was added in September 2006, the 2000th in Jan 2008. The most popular item has been viewed over 2,800 times, and 87 items have been viewed over 1000 times. The average number of hits per item is currently 405.

Graph showing Cranfield QUEprints usage (Feb 2004­Jan 2008)

Key Challenges Faced and Major Achievements

The key challenge is to ensure that the service meets the needs of our research community which can only be done if we fully understand the various perceptions and motivations which determine the level of engagement. We have carried out a number of interviews with academics at Cranfield and RGU the main results of which can be summarised as follows:

  • Low Awareness
    • own Institutional Repository
    • external repositories (research behaviour)
  • Lack of Time
    • reluctance to self­archive (Cranfield) but this could differ at The Robert Gordon University according to culture
  • Little notion of depositing author's final version as opposed to final published version.
    • Authors don't have electronic files of published articles to hand.
  • Copyright Issues
    • no understanding of rights and 3 party copyright issues
  • Lack of Clear Dissemination Strategy
    • effect of RAE on attitudes to submission

We are addressing the issues identified above in the following ways:

  • New advocacy plan - both top down and bottom up the messages of which require continual reinforcement and the employment of a wide variety of approaches.
  • Experiments with producing multimedia podcasts to enhance content.
  • Linking to other related resources e.g. researcher profiles, related papers, datasets.

Important Unresolved Issues

At this stage we do not know to what extent the new service model will scale up to meet the new service content and through put that we are hoping to stimulate. Although we are well placed to work with the University on the development of its planning for future research evaluation (we are represented on the appropriate strategy committee) at this stage we cannot be sure what impact HEFCE's Research Excellence Framework will have on the future development of CERES.