Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this study is to explore current practices, challenges and technological needs of different data repositories.Design/methodology/approach - An online survey was designed for data repository managers, and contact information from the re3data, a data repository registry, was collected to disseminate the survey.Findings - In total, 189 responses were received, including 47% discipline specific and 34% institutional data repositories. A total of 71% of the repositories reporting their software used bespoke technical frameworks, with DSpace, EPrint and Dataverse being commonly used by institutional repositories. Of repository managers, 32% reported tracking secondary data reuse while 50% would like to. Among data reuse metrics, citation counts were considered extremely important by the majority, followed by links to the data from other websites and download counts. Despite their perceived usefulness, repository managers struggle to track dataset citations. Most repository managers support dataset and metadata quality checks via librarians, subject specialists or information professionals. A lack of engagement from users and a lack of human resources are the top two challenges, and outreach is the most common motivator mentioned by repositories across all groups. Ensuring findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) data (49%), providing user support for research (36%) and developing best practices (29%) are the top three priorities for repository managers. The main recommendations for future repository systems are as follows: integration and interoperability between data and systems (30%), better research data management (RDM) tools (19%), tools that allow computation without downloading datasets (16%) and automated systems (16%).Originality/value - This study identifies the current challenges and needs for improving data repository functionalities and user experiences.


Authors

Khan, Nushrat;  Thelwall, Mike;  Kousha, Kayvan

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  • 1 reviewer
  • pre-publication peer review (FINAL ROUND)
    Decision Letter
    2021/08/09

    09-Aug-2021

    Dear Khan, Nushrat; Thelwall, Mike; Kousha, Kayvan

    It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript OIR-04-2021-0204.R1, entitled "Are data repositories fettered? A survey of current practices, challenges, and future technologies" in its current form for publication in Online Information Review. Please note, no further changes can be made to your manuscript.

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    Decision letter by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/07/23

    Thanks for the revision. The manuscript was well improved and ready to be published!

    Reviewed by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/07/09

    Thank you for addressing the issues which were raised in the original version.

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    Author Response
    2021/06/23

    Comments from Reviewer 1:
    In general, the paper is clearly written. However, there are issues with English expression. These include:
    Some awkward phrasing
    Colloquial (and non-objective) English, e.g. "astonishingly" (abstract)
    "DSpace" is wrongly spelled as "Dspace"
    "due to" should be changed to "because of"
    **The use of "probably" and "perhaps" is not based on verifiable evidence
    Response: Thank you very much for your comment and for pointing out the issues with English expressions. We have reviewed and addressed these issues throughout the article.

    Comments from Reviewer 2:
    Overall, the study is well designed with a rigor and well written with a good structure. I only have a few minor suggestions to improve the paper if the author(s) agree.

    1. It would be helpful to clarify the term "data support services" used throughout the article, specifically in research questions 1. What exactly the authors mean by “data support services” and what’s the scope of data support? General data support throughout data lifecycle?
      Response 1: Thank you for your comment. Research question 1 has been changed to “How do different types of repositories vary in their adoption of technical frameworks? Are additional data support services used by repository managers for data publishing and impact measurement?” to reflect this and necessary changes are made throughout the article as well.

    2. In p 7, section on Data reuse metrics, the study reported that 32% track data reuse cases in some format. I would wonder what were the examples of methods mentioned (since previous studies rarely reported how institutions track their data reuse other than citation tracking) and wonder if the authors collected any qualitative data about it. If the paper unpack "some format" used in practice, it would be interesting to learn.
      Response 2: We appreciate your insight on this and agree that it would have been more informative to collect qualitative data on the type of data reuse metrics tracked. However, the survey questions were designed to ask a follow-up question on tracking, display status of selected metrics and barriers to tracking if not tracked (qualitative). We intended to compare our results with Kratz and Strasser (2015) and adapted the questionnaire with the metrics used in their study. To clarify this, the following paragraph has been added to section Data reuse metrics in p8.
      “A follow-up question was asked to 32% repository managers who currently track data reuse – tracking and display status of specific metrics, and barriers to tracking these metrics in cases these are untracked.”

    3. This is just a very picky suggestion (and authors may not agree to do that) but I think changing the color scheme in Figure 1 would be helpful. Currently dark blue is used to indicate “not at all useful” and fainted blue is used for “extremely useful,” and readers’ eyes easily catches darker colors than fainted color. If the color scheme is reversed (e.g., dark blue for “extremely useful”, the chart would be more intuitively seen what would be perceived as “extremely/very useful” (which is more important for readers to catch).
      Response 3: Thank you for pointing this out. We agree that reversed order of colours would be more suitable and updated the plot as suggested.



    Cite this author response
  • pre-publication peer review (ROUND 1)
    Decision Letter
    2021/06/21

    21-Jun-2021

    Dear Ms. Khan,

    Manuscript ID OIR-04-2021-0204 entitled "Are data repositories fettered? A survey of current practices, challenges and future technologies" which you submitted to Online Information Review, has been reviewed. The comments of the reviewer(s) are included at the bottom of this letter.

    The reviewer(s) have recommended publication, but also suggest some minor revisions to your manuscript. Therefore, I invite you to respond to the reviewer(s)' comments and revise your manuscript. You may also want to consider running this paper by a native English writer or even an editor, as there are a number of awkward phrasings and linguistic issues that need attention as well.

    Please also ensure that in doing so your paper does not exceed the maximum word length of 10000 words and that it meets all the requirements of the author guidelines at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=oir&PHPSESSID;=ubl727mru90lg3hc8sa5p5qrt2."

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    Once again, thank you for submitting your manuscript to Online Information Review. I look forward to receiving your revision.

    Yours sincerely,

    Prof. Kalpana Shankar
    kalpana.shankar@ucd.ie

    Reviewer(s)' Comments to Author:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    You are to be commended for undertaking research on such an important topic. A very interesting paper. Please see comments on review criteria for suggestions as to how to improve your manuscript.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: Yes, empirical.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: The literature review covers the key resources for each of the sub-topics.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: Yes

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?: Results are clearly presented

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: The authors have integrated their discussion points with both the literature review and their findings.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: Some very useful recommendations

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: In general, the paper is clearly written. However, there are issues with English expression. These include:
    Some awkward phrasing
    Colloquial (and non-objective) English, e.g. "astonishingly" (abstract)
    "DSpace" is wrongly spelled as "Dspace"
    "due to" should be changed to "because of"
    **The use of "probably" and "perhaps" is not based on verifiable evidence

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?: I believe so.

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.All peer review content displayed here will be covered by a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.: Yes, I would like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    This paper explores current practices, challenges and technological needs at different types of repositories. While there are significant amount of previous efforts to understand repository practices and challenges, one unique contribution of this study is on its comparative perspectives across different types of repositories.

    Overall, the study is well designed with a rigor and well written with a good structure. I only have a few minor suggestions to improve the paper if the author(s) agree.

    1. It would be helpful to clarify the term "data support services" used throughout the article, specifically in research questions 1. What exactly the authors mean by “data support services” and what’s the scope of data support? General data support throughout data lifecycle?

    2. In p 7, section on Data reuse metrics, the study reported that 32% track data reuse cases in some format. I would wonder what were the examples of methods mentioned (since previous studies rarely reported how institutions track their data reuse other than citation tracking) and wonder if the authors collected any qualitative data about it. If the paper unpack "some format" used in practice, it would be interesting to learn.

    3. This is just a very picky suggestion (and authors may not agree to do that) but I think changing the color scheme in Figure 1 would be helpful. Currently dark blue is used to indicate “not at all useful” and fainted blue is used for “extremely useful,” and readers’ eyes easily catches darker colors than fainted color. If the color scheme is reversed (e.g., dark blue for “extremely useful”, the chart would be more intuitively seen what would be perceived as “extremely/very useful” (which is more important for readers to catch).

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: Yes

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: Yes

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: Yes

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?: Yes

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: Yes

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: The paper provides a clear implication to the current practices.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Yes

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?:

    This journal is participating in Publons Transparent Peer Review. By reviewing for this journal, you agree that your finished report, along with the author’s responses and the Editor’s decision letter, will be linked to from the published article to where they appear on Publons, if the paper is accepted. If you have any concerns about participating in the Transparent Peer Review pilot, please reach out to the journal’s Editorial office. Please indicate below, whether you would like your name to appear with your report on Publons by indicating yes or no.All peer review content displayed here will be covered by a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.: No, I would not like my name to appear with my report on Publons

    Decision letter by
    Cite this decision letter
    Reviewer report
    2021/06/16

    This paper explores current practices, challenges and technological needs at different types of repositories. While there are significant amount of previous efforts to understand repository practices and challenges, one unique contribution of this study is on its comparative perspectives across different types of repositories.

    Overall, the study is well designed with a rigor and well written with a good structure. I only have a few minor suggestions to improve the paper if the author(s) agree.

    1. It would be helpful to clarify the term "data support services" used throughout the article, specifically in research questions 1. What exactly the authors mean by “data support services” and what’s the scope of data support? General data support throughout data lifecycle?

    2. In p 7, section on Data reuse metrics, the study reported that 32% track data reuse cases in some format. I would wonder what were the examples of methods mentioned (since previous studies rarely reported how institutions track their data reuse other than citation tracking) and wonder if the authors collected any qualitative data about it. If the paper unpack "some format" used in practice, it would be interesting to learn.

    3. This is just a very picky suggestion (and authors may not agree to do that) but I think changing the color scheme in Figure 1 would be helpful. Currently dark blue is used to indicate “not at all useful” and fainted blue is used for “extremely useful,” and readers’ eyes easily catches darker colors than fainted color. If the color scheme is reversed (e.g., dark blue for “extremely useful”, the chart would be more intuitively seen what would be perceived as “extremely/very useful” (which is more important for readers to catch).

    Reviewed by
    Cite this review
    Reviewer report
    2021/06/11

    You are to be commended for undertaking research on such an important topic. A very interesting paper. Please see comments on review criteria for suggestions as to how to improve your manuscript.

    Cite this review
All peer review content displayed here is covered by a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.