DSpace is the most popular digital repository in the world, used by many institutions globally, including Princeton, Cambridge and Humboldt University. Most often, DSpace is used as an open access and research management tool by academic libraries and other higher education institutions.

The software was designed in 2002 by MIT and Hewlett-Packard. It is now developed and maintained by an international community of companies and experts, and that community is coordinated by LYRASIS, a non-profit organization.

PCG Academia partners with several global Higher Ed organizations, like Times Higher Education, Blackboard (that is now part of Anthology), Inspera and also Lyrasis. As a certified partner of Lyrasis, PCG Academia delivers various services around DSpace, including migrations, integrations, and customizations.

In the discussion panel Magda Sochacka – responsible for international development – talked with Piotr Masalski – Director of Research Information Management Systems at PCG Academia about newest version of DSpace – DSpace 7, its benefits and possible integrations.

Piotr explained the value of the DSpace migration project for the Jagiellonian University and also the role of PCG Academia in the implementation process.

In the second part of the webinar Łukasz Danak from PCG showed a demo of a repository based on DSpace 7 CRIS version together with some interesting functions, and  how to navigate through the repository interfaces.

DSpace – why is it so popular and what are the benefits of the newest version?

DSpace has nearly 3,000 active installations in more than 120 countries and has over 30% of the global market share. Many of these clients have still the older versions of the system. However as the end of life of these versions will be next year, many clients will probably move to the newest 7th version.

First of all, DSpace 7 is build on new technology. Thanks to Angular framework, it is highly customizable and can be better adjusted to some specific needs, when it comes for instance to the graphic design aspects. What is very important, is that the backend of the system is still based on traditional Java language that is fully compatible with the old data model in the previous versions of DSpace but it now has full REST API that gives more flexibility.

Secondly, the new version has a more friendly, easy to use interface. For example, there is a widget for duplicate detection and license selection assistance. And finally, it is now very easy to integrate DSpace with other systems.

DSpace 7 offers important integrations out of the box such as OAI-PMH that is responsible for data harvesting for example for Google Scholar or ORCID integration. The other available integrations are CrossRef that helps you while depositing new publications, and with Scopus, Web of Science and PubMed. All these can save a lot of manual work and avoid errors that can be committed with manual data entry.

DSpace and CRIS – can DSpace 7 serve as CRIS?

There is a CRIS distribution of DSpace. It extends the standard DSpace features with the support for decentralized and self-service researcher profile management. Moreover, it integrates with dozens of external data sources, to retrieve bibliographic and bibliometric data of publications and scientists. It is possible to extend an institutional repository to fully functional Current Research Information System based on DSpace.

Experience with migrating the repository of a leading university in Poland to DSpace 7

The Jagiellonian University, the Top 1 University in Poland has been using DSpace repository since 2014. It stores close to 250 000 records. Almost one third of those include full text publications.

First works that we have carried out for the Univresity, consisted in integrating the repository with internal IT systems, such as ERP, RIM, SIS, as well as external ones –  like ORCID, Google Scholar and Sherpa Romeo. Just after DSpace 7 was released, the Jagiellonian University decided to start the migration process, also with assistance of PCG Academia.

After just a few of weeks we were able  to migrate some collections the 7th version, which was a perfect proof of concept.

The whole process went smoothly and showed that DSpace 7 is able to handle such a big data set.

PCG Academia services around DSpace

Due to the fact that DSpace is an open source software, it is very easy to install “from scratch”, adjust it a little bit and launch as repository in a very short time. However, when it comes to more sophisticated projects, universities should definitely consider working with a certified supplier that can help at the different stages of the project like building specification, creating unique graphic designs and building custom modules and integrations.

PCG Academia can assist institutions both at the installation of DSpace, moving to the newest version of DSpace 7, or with any technical challenges that come along.

DSpace 7 CRIS version – demo

In his demo presentation Łukasz showed DSpace 7 CRIS version created and enhanced by PCG Academia. On the example of widgets and search bar he showed how PCG created some custom features to better address the needs of the university. He also showed, using filtering as on example, how new DSpace 7 technologies provide instant feedback and smoother user experience.

Łukasz also presented how DSpace 7 repository can display different data integrated from external resources such as AltMetrics, Dimensions and PlumX available in the details of the publication or profiles of the author from Scopus, Web of Science or ORCID available in the author’s details. The strength of DSpace 7 is that thanks to various integrations all elements of the repository are interconnected and easy to switch between.

We kindly encourage you to contact us and submit any questions, comments and suggestions regarding the DSpace 7 and CRIS.

Questions and answers

How long does an implementation take and is the time affected by customizations?

It depends on the complexity of the implementation: additional modules to be developed and the integrations to be done. A proof of concept can be done in a few weeks even for a large university. However when there is a sophisticated brand book to be covered, and guidelines relating to graphics design, it can also take a few months.

Typically CRIS systems are compatible with CERIF standard, while institutional repositories use Dublin Core. Is this issue resolved with DSpace 7?

When it comes to repositories, Dublin Core is a standard that is very good for describing publications and other items. However, with Current Research Information System, we need other standard to fully describe for instance infrastructure, patents, projects or grants and the recommendation here is CERIF standard. It is maintained by the European Union and it is a very good standard that the DSpace 7 release is fully compatible with. You can export all of the entities that are based on DSpace 7 into a CERIF model and you can start building your repository.

What are the release plans for DSpace after the 7th version?

The maintenance of the 7th version is planned in the product roadmap. We will have another release in October and from the roadmap probably two or three more releases in the next year. Regardless there is already an additional roadmap for the eighth version and what is very important and interesting is that you can be a part of it.

DSpace community has national groups that can help you to be a part of the project and enable you to participate in this planning and developing of the DSpace software.

How does a migration look like? Do you set up a new instance of the system or upgrade the existing one?

You can do both, it would depend on the complexity of the system itself. If you have a clean installation based on fourth, fifth or the sixth version you can convert the data and do the migration process just as it is on your database. However when you have some modification, especially when you modified the core, you added some modules, you have a custom graphics implementation, you should consider starting from a clean installation and building these modules again in the different technology. As mentioned before, the technology is completely different, it is based on Angular framework in front-end and based on Java in the back-end, but a little bit different version. It is compatible though, with a good development team you can do it as well. It is very good to have some cooperation with a professional supplier that could help you with this process and plan it from the beginning with specification, that should guide you through this process and advise you to choose a the best way to do your migration.

When exactly is the date for the version 5 end of life?

 The end of life is planned to be the end of this year for the 5th version and, because we have a lot of repositories based on the 6th version, for 6th version it is going to be the end of June 2023. It is recommended to migrate to the 7th version.

Would it be easy to adapt DSpace to other languages?

It is very easy and DSpace is available “out-of-the-box” in many languages, Spanish, German, French and English. We as PCG Academia can also help you with this, we contributed to Polish language version. It is really easy to develop a version regardless of the language.

Regarding the statistics, would it be possible to obtain data on views or downloads between periods (dates) or group them, for example, by authors, by communities or by sub-communities?

A mechanism, that is a standard in DSpace, can obtain the statistics and this data can be used the way suggested in the question. However it might require some additional development. In the 7.2 version are some statistic based on geography – for instance a map – so yes, the data can be used in some other dimensions.