November 2008

UK Pre-budget Report- a small boost for science and research?

As a director of a small business I wasn’t overly impressed by measures to support businesses outlined today in the UK Pre-Budget Report.

However I was intrigued by an entry in the small print on the fiscal stimulus (government spending) at page 113 as follows:

“£442 million to accelerate support for around 25 capital projects to improve Further Education infrastructure and around 50 projects to improve facilities at Higher Education Institutions, and to bring forward development of scientific research facilities and improvements to university research infrastructure;”

It will be interesting to see the detail of this in due course from the UK Dept of Innovation, Universities, and Skills – a small boost (or at least bringing forward expenditure) for science and research infrastructure ?

Keeping the Records of Science Accessible: Can We Afford It?

The Alliance for Permanent Access has just completed its annual conference (Budapest, 4 November) : this year the theme was the economics of archiving scientific data.

The Alliance’s international membership includes strategic partners from the research community, libraries, publishers, and digital preservation organisations. Participants called upon the Alliance to act as an umbrella organisation to secure sustainable funding for permanent access in Europe.

A comprehensive conference report (complete with photographs conveying the atmosphere!), together with the powerpoint presentations, abstracts and authors biographies is now available online.

Study on Digital Preservation Policies published

My Google alerts have just drawn my attention to a review in the Caveat Lector Blog and hence flagged to me the publication by JISC of our recent study on Digital Preservation Policies. A bit more information on the study and links to the report follow below. Our aim was to help institutions and their staff develop appropriate digital preservation policies and clauses set in the context of broader institutional strategies so we hope colleagues will find a lot of value in the report.

A major business driver in all universities and colleges over the past decade has been harnessing digital content and electronic services and the undoubted benefits in terms of flexibility and increased productivity they can bring. The priority in recent years has been on developing e-strategies and infrastructure to underpin electronic access and services and to deliver those benefits. However any long-term access and future benefit may be heavily dependent on digital preservation strategies being in place and underpinned by relevant policy and procedures. This should now be an increasing area of focus in our universities.

The new study aims to provide an outline model for digital preservation policies and to analyse the role that digital preservation can play in supporting and delivering key strategies for Higher and Further Education Institutions. Although focussing on the UK Higher and Further Education sectors, the study draws widely on policy and implementations from other sectors and countries and will be of interest to those wishing to develop policy and justify investment in digital preservation within a wide range of institutions.

Two tools have been created in this study and can be downloaded as PDFs from the JISC website:

1) a model/framework for digital preservation policy and implementation clauses based on examination of existing digital preservation policies (main report);

2) a series of mappings of digital preservation to other key institutional strategies in UK universities and colleges including Research, Teaching and Learning, Information, Libraries, and Records Management (appendices to the main report).