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EPSRC Digital Repositories e-Science Network

Posted by Marcus Zillman

EPSRC Digital Repositories e-Science Network

The proposed Network is motivated by the potential for synergy between two fields of technology and technique, e-Science and Digital Repositories, and the benefits that will be obtained by increasing interaction and cooperation between researchers and practitioners in these fields. This was recognised by the keynote speech of Tony Hey at the Open Repositories 2007 conference. Tony Hey, currently VP of External Research at Microsoft Research, and former Director of the UK e-Science Core Programme, called for an integration of repositories into the new scholarly life cycle envisioned in e-Research. The digital material generated from and used by academic and other research is to an increasing extent being held in formally managed digital repositories. In many cases, these systems are used currently to hold relatively simple objects, for example an institution’s pre-prints and publications, or e-theses. However, some institutions are beginning to use them to manage research data in a variety of disciplines, including physical sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities, in part as a result of various programmes funded by the JISC. Repositories are changing not only in the type of content that they hold, but also in the ways they are used. A major motivation in setting up and populating digital repositories has been (and is) to make the results of research available to a wider audience, by encouraging or in some cases mandating deposit and open access principles. Repository software is, however, becoming more sophisticated, allowing complex digital content to be stored in such a way that its internal structure and external context can be explicitly represented, managed and exposed. A particular feature of the proposed Network is that it will operate across disciplines, including the arts, humanities and social sciences as well as the sciences in the narrower sense, as the technologies addressed are trans-disciplinary. They will strive to encourage inter-disciplinary contacts and collaborations, and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise gained within one discipline to other fields. Moreover, given the range of potential applications of the technologies, they do not expect interest in the Network to be restricted to the academic world, but also to include non-academic institutions. Consequently, they will encourage industrial participants, including commercial companies, cultural heritage organisations (e.g. museums, art galleries, and historic libraries), the media, and public/government bodies. This has been added to Research Resources Subject Tracer™ In formation Blog.

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