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OARS (Behind the Scenes)

by Kay Richards on 2018-11-14T16:00:00+00:00 in Open Access | Comments


OARS is the institutional repository for the University of Suffolk. It is an online archive, which collects together all of our research, and scholarly activity, textual and non-textual, in a digital form, and makes it accessible to everyone.


But…what happens behind the scenes?

As an OARS administrator I am responsible for adding materials to the repository which can be an interesting and (sometimes) complex task.

Initially an author will self-deposit their paper (for example) into the repository.  Mandatory fields will be completed detailing what the item is, where it was published, and (if available) a full-text file will be included (usually the post-print version).After the initial deposit has been made its time for me to step in.

My first task is to ensure that all the required information is included in the OARS record.  Sometimes there can be gaps so I will initially search online for this information, looking for the article and seeing if I can piece together a complete record.  Significant dates can often be missing from records (especially accepted dates) and although these can sometimes be found online I will usually have to contact the author to establish these.  Any other missing information is also requested from the author.

If a full-text file was included as part of the deposit I also need to check with the publisher to establish which version of the paper they permit an author to archive in an institutional repository.  This is usually the post-print (final accepted version).  Providing the author has added the permitted full-text file I then have to edit the file to reflect the publisher’s requirements.  This usually means a set statement must be added to the file (stating where the final paper was published, and including the paper’s DOI/link).

Next I perform a final check to ensure the record is complete and the information is formatted correctly.Providing everything is as it should be I then click a button a make the record live!

The record is then available in a fully open capacity and can be viewed by anyone the world over (or even outside the world if there are any aliens with strong internet connections).

The process from an author’s initial deposit to making an item live in the repository can take some time but many authors understand the need for urgency and are very forthcoming when contacted for extra information, or post-print files.

Despite the complexities involved, I find the OARS deposit process to be very rewarding.  When an item is finalised and made live in the repository it is satisfying to know that another important piece of research is now available for everyone to see, and this perfectly showcases the wonderful work being undertaken at the University of Suffolk.

Further information about open access in general and OARS can be found here:




David Upson-Dale

Digitisation and Repository Assistant

Outside of work David has a number of interests and Hobbies.   Space travel, Gladiatorial combat, and flower arranging are just a few

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