DSpace is the most popular repository software in the world – up to 40% of all repositories use it. DSpace is free OpenSource software. Its development is coordinated by LYRASIS, an international non-profit consortium of system users, including Harvard, MIT and Cambridge. DSpace implementation is done in-house or through a certified partner.

PCG Academia is a Golden Partner of LYRASIS and is in the TOP4 contributors to the DSpace code, meaning we not only install, but also develop the software. We also adapt DSpace to the needs of Polish universities; the results of our work include WCAG 2.0 compliance, integrations with POL-on and PBN, Polish language version.

At the conference Digital Academic Repositories: people, tools and directions of change, organized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Jagiellonian University Repository, we met with representatives of universities for which we have implemented DSpace. We shared experiences with DSpace and implementation stories.

The meeting was moderated by Piotr Masalski, PCG Academia Business Line Director, and the guests of the panel were:

  • Dr. Leszek Szafranski, Deputy Director of the Jagiellonian Library;
  • Magdalena Rowińska, Deputy Director of the Warsaw University Library;
  • Dorota Wojewoda, Director of the Library of the Poznan University of Economics;
  • Olimpia Małecka, Head of the Scientific Information Branch, Library and Science Education Center, Poznań University of Life Sciences.

From a 3-person repository to a Jagiellonian University reporting center

The Jagiellonian Library’s history with DSpace dates back to 2013. At that time, the construction of the repository began, which was launched a year later. At that time, a team of three people worked on the development of the system.

DSpace was chosen as a result of analysis of the global repository market. The UJ team’s attention was attracted by the popularity of the system and the fact that it was OpenSource, which gave a lot of freedom to customize it. Equally important was the fact that repositories on DSpace are indexed in popular search engines, and thus the university’s output is easily visible on the web.

The goal of creating the repository was simple: to make the full texts of open access publications public. Over time, DSpace became the university’s reporting center. Today, the Jagiellonian University Repository is the basis for the university’s bibliography and reporting of publications to ministerial systems and for staff and faculty evaluations. Importantly, reporting of publications to OPI systems is automatic.

At present, the RUJ team consists of 11 people and is supported by the Office of Analysis and Reporting, while the repository itself is also staffed by faculty discipline coordinators. With the increasing amount of data, it was decided to separate the repository from analytics so that the latter could be more accurate and useful, not only for evaluation, but also for decision-making matters. It was decided to use the Sciencecloud system.

Dr. Leszek Szafranski sees the future of the repository in further expansion towards publication reporting and more complex systems, i.e. CRIS, which will also be built on DSpace.

Shifting to a Mercedes, or UW’s jump from version 1.8 to DSpace 7

The University of Warsaw had DSpace version 1.8 – one of the first versions of the system – running stably for 12 years. However, the university began to feel the need to create a “real institutional repository” – modern and attractive, and collecting not only PhDs, but the entirety of the university’s output.

The new UW repository is running on DSpace in the latest version 7, based on the latest technology and full of facilities. Faced with the old version 1.8, the new repository is “like a Mercedes.” – beautiful and functional, Magdalena Rowińska jokingly compared. The new UW Institutional Repository is now publicly available.

With the launch of the repository at the UW, and Sciencecloud before that, the Library’s situation is changing. Previously, the UW Libraries did not participate in the reporting process. It was handled by publication importers scattered throughout the university and the Research Service Office in the role of coordinator. Now the BUW librarians share responsibility for the data submitted via Sciencecloud to the ministerial systems.

“What we care about this year is creating such a workflow and such a model of cooperation that is optimal (…): an ecosystem from the researcher, through the repository and Sciencecloud, to those final links of the scientific publication workflow,” said the BUW Deputy Director about the upcoming plans.

DSpace in a smaller university – history of Poznań University of Economics

The origins of the repository at the Poznań University of Economics can be traced back to a project aimed at making the university’s publications available to students electronically and archiving dissertations.

Based on observation of other repositories and analysis of the literature, it was decided that DSpace would be the best solution. A big plus for the university was the openness and flexibility of the software. Particularly important in choosing DSpace was the support they were able to get by implementing the system. This is because this is a small university and the library does not have IT facilities. So the team wanted a company that would support them to have experience with DSpace and a contact with LYRASIS.

How do you plan a DSpace implementation? “First of all, you need to know what you want,” the UEP Library Director began. You need to have diagnosed needs and clearly defined goals. A plan of action is essential, as well as people in the team who can be relied on and who know what you want to achieve.

The next step is to choose a supplier who can offer specifics and efficient communication. “If you end up with a good supplier and implement this [software] using the project method (…), it’s a priceless experience, because it turns out that it can be done – even though we did it in the summer, when most people were on vacation!” said Dorota Wojewoda.

It took just two months to implement and design the repository (including the structure of the collection), along with providing an active instance that employees can add to it. The repository will be made public soon; final touches are still being made.

DSpace changes reporting at the University of Life Sciences in Poznań

In 2019, the University of Life Sciences in Poznań decided to implement new repository software that will both store information and support reporting. It was important for the university that the system not only handle publications, but also allow the collection of information about other ongoing work, such as projects or floristic work.

The university entered into a technical dialogue with various companies. In the end, DSpace was selected for the CRIS version for the repository and bibliography, and the Sciencecloud system for the analysis part. The latter solution was prompted by the university’s IT, Dorota Malecka recalls, and this was due to the non-overloading of servers – since Sciencecloud runs in the cloud. In the case of DSpace, the university chose to implement it on its own servers.

DSpace is also expected to allow the university to integrate processes related to the implementation of reporting, which are currently very dispersed: despite the university’s rather small size, there were 28 importers of publications alone, and more than 100 people involved in the entire evaluation and data entry process.

The library, together with the rectoral authorities, is working to create appropriate pathways for the flow of information at the university. It is also crucial to work with the researchers themselves and with all those who “enter any data anywhere.” The speaker also stressed the importance of good cooperation with the solution provider for the success of the project.