Dr Andrew Spicer is a Reader in Cultural History in the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education. He is also the Director of the Visual Culture Research Group, and the Principal Investigator of an AHRC funded research project which is investigating the work of the film producer Michael Klinger.
Andrew is fully committed to the idea of open access, explaining that
it can only be a good thing if my work is accessible to students and other scholars. As far as we can with the Michael Klinger project a lot of material is placed online and shared with whoever might be interested in using it.
Andrew’s first encounter with the UWE Research Repository was when RBI (Research Business and Innovation) said that this would be where REF materials would be stored. By his own admission, Andrew is something of a technophobe, so asked the Repository Team to add his work for him. This all went smoothly, but after attending a Repository Training session Andrew is now more confident at adding his own research to the repository. He says that ’it is actually very straightforward. It was vital to do some hands-on stuff, just to sit down with somebody there and just to go through it’.
Andrew claims that although communication from RBI was the immediate reason he added material to the repository, he began to see it as an opportunity. One particular reason he likes adding material to the repository is that
you have a chance to lead in your own stuff rather than rely on publishers’ blurbs… you can focus on one particular facet. Publisher’s blurbs are trying to serve too many different audiences, so often they present the books in a rather more general light than I think is necessary. The repository is a means by which the author can reclaim his work slightly.
Other types of material, not just journal articles and book chapters, can be added to the UWE Research Repository. For Andrew, this could include pieces he has written on British filmmakers for encyclopedias and dictionaries, conference papers, and interviews. For all these the Repository Team will check any associated copyright conditions before adding the material to the repository. For example, for book chapters there is often a one or two year embargo before we can make the full text of an item visible.
Andrew thinks that for interviews and conference papers especially the UWE repository
is a huge plus…, because where else do you put them? Sometimes they go on the websites of the host of the conference and so on, but they only stay there for a limited period. I think that’s a really positive and important function of a repository, to gather material that’s more ephemeral… I would like to see them on the repository for people to look at”.
Andrew recognises that there are still some barriers to adding this sort of research to the repository, especially from researchers in art and design:
There are a few people in the department who are sceptical about the repository. It’s because they feel they will lose control, or lose rights over their work. They’re also worried about the quality of the reproduction on the repository. And for quite understandable reasons they’re keen that their images or their installation work or their design work is seen in its proper form rather than in a kind of fudgy, pixilated version of it.
These are fears that the Repository Team are keen to address, and are willing to talk to art and design researchers with these concerns in order to find a way forward.
Of course, there are always improvements that can be made to any system, and Andrew’s suggestions include things that may be incorporated into the repository in the future. He suggests having
a way of the author ranking the stuff in the repository - showing the first thing I would like people to see to represent my work as a whole. Within that, maybe there could also be groupings of stuff, because my work would group into three main clusters, one around British cinema, one around masculinity and one around film noir. I think it would be rather nice if there could be a way in which items could be sectioned.
There are a number of reasons for Andrew wanting to share his work with as many people as possible. He explains some of these reasons below:
It has improved access… I suspect judging by some of the e-mails I receive my research would have been seen on the repository - I’m not quite sure how they would have come across it otherwise.
This can, of course, be a two-way process – Andrew also searches for other researcher’s work and knows ’from my own Google searches on people that if there are repository agreements in their university they can sometimes come higher (in the rankings)’.
Perhaps most importantly of all,
People are engaging with my work. They’re e-mailing me and we can have dialogues that way. You can start networking in a meaningful way, creating dialogues with people who, most of the time, you’re actually not aware they’re working in that area. I think increasingly it’s also the way Research Councils are thinking. They place greater stress on sharing, and networking, partnerships and so on.
If you would like to learn more about open access, the UWE Research Repository, the work of Repository Team, or just ask us a question, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can visit the UWE Research Repository at http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk.
Alternatively have a look at the link below:
· Sign up for a training session: http://www.uwe.ac.uk/library/eprints/training.htm