George is an Institutional Repository Co-ordinator at the University of Strathclyde. His interests and expertise are in structured open data, especially within repositories and semantic web contexts, information retrieval, distributed digital repositories and human-computer interaction.
Q: What does Open Access mean to you?
A: Aside from the usual reasons why Open Access is important, I like to remember that Open Access is about resource discovery. It is about cracking open the sum total of human knowledge in a way that machines can understand and, by extension, providing it in a way which enables users to find scholarly content more easily and, of course, in an unrestricted way.
International Open Access Week is approaching soon but, to be honest, we don’t tend to have plans for Open Access week because at Strathclyde every week is Open Access week! I think there might be quite a few UK institutions that operate in a similar way. In the UK we are fortunate that there is a powerful regulatory aspect to the REF2021 Open Access Policy which ensures researchers take better notice of the open science agenda.
Q: How do you think that CORE’s mission is important?
A: CORE’s mission goes to the heart of open scholarship or open science. It is, essentially, about collecting, promoting and enabling programmatic access to the knowledge commons. The ‘programmatic’ part is important because it can be forgotten in our discussions about open science. The labour that goes into delivering repository content and data, through the commitment of academics, repository assistants and managers and so forth, is so much more valuable when aggregated. Aggregation enables the data and the content to be re-used in novel and unanticipated ways, the applications of which further promote the spread of research knowledge.
Aggregation enables the data and the content to be re-used in novel and unanticipated ways, the applications of which further promote the spread of research knowledge.
Q: How do you plan to use CORE at your institution?
A: We already use the CORE Dashboard to monitor the harvesting status of Strathprints, our institutional repository. But we also make use of the CORE Recommender and its data within Strathprints pages. The Recommender has been very useful in delivering a better, more interactive experience for users, and its deployment – back in November 2017 – was an important ‘white hat’ improvement we rolled out to Strathprints. The Recommender is, in many ways, the quintessential example of how CORE goes to the heart of open scholarship; promoting related open content within the knowledge commons in order to promote the spread and consumption of knowledge.
We have plans to better promote CORE as a basis for text and data mining (TDM), especially among our researchers in the social sciences and humanities. There is a keen digital humanities interest here and text-mining is a key component – the tools and data CORE makes available supports TDM in a way few others do.
CORE Discovery is also something we intend to pursue, both on our repository but also with our local users via the browser extension. The question users need to ask themselves is, why wouldn’t I install and user the CORE Discovery browser extension?! The Discovery plugin will be implemented on Strathprints soon hopefully, for the same reasons we integrated the Recommender. Spread the knowledge beyond your repository, especially when your repository suffers a glut of metadata-only content.
Q: Why did you decide to become a CORE ambassador?
A: Because CORE is the very crystallisation of open repository infrastructure – and this needs to be promoted by everyone. The services offered by CORE, and the tools that have been built on top of CORE data, are the very essence of Open Access and open scholarship more generally. At a time when closed, proprietary systems appear to be demonstrating some popularity CORE demonstrates what can be achieved when everyone uses open standards and protocols and promotes open scholarly content.