Durham Research Online – looking forward in 2021

Durham Research Online (DRO) is the university’s open access institutional repository, where anyone can find (and read!) lots of research articles, book chapters and conference papers by Durham authors for free. We’ve had some recent changes and we’d like to update you about these and remind you that we are here for you!

What is the point in an institutional repository?

With exercises such as the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), it is sometimes easy to forget that institutional repositories aren’t just something we have to check to make sure Durham research meets compliance for open access.  They serve a much wider purpose than this, in helping to ensure as much research is available to everyone with an internet connection as possible without hitting a paywall.  Examples of people our team have personally helped to access research through a repository include:

  • Sixth form students researching for a project to which they need academic material that is behind a paywall
  • Visitors to the library who can’t access our subscription resources from home
  • Alumni who want to continue their own personal research into their field before applying for Masters / PhD level courses but no longer have access to our online resources
  • Teachers accessing research to help with their teaching from the School of Education. ‘What makes great teaching?’ is consistently in the top ten downloads for DRO.
  • Parents accessing research about breastfeeding and baby sleep from the Anthropology department and research on autism and dyslexia from the Psychology department
  • We’ve also had feedback from colleagues in the School of Education that DRO has helped researchers in Pakistan access important research when they did not have a subscription for the journal.

In an age of ‘fake news’, it is so important that people have the option to access peer-reviewed research before making decisions or if they want to question something they may have seen on social media – we hope that DRO and all of the other institutional repositories across the world can help with this.

DRO team

2021 has brought some changes to the team who look after our institutional repository, Durham Research Online (DRO).

Kelly Hetherington

Kelly started her new role as Repository Officer in January 2021.  Previously, Kelly worked as Repository Coordinator and was on secondment to Open Access Publications Officer – so hopefully a familiar ‘face’ (or email signature) to many of our academics.

Martin Gleghorn

In March 2021, Martin joined the team as Repository Coordinator.  Martin brings with him experience from the E-resources team in the library, as well as his experience as a PhD researcher and teaching assitant in the English department (Martin also kept this very quiet when he started, but he has a publication in DRO and you can also read his thesis in the e-theses repository!)

Following the whirlwind that was 2020 – home working, REF deadlines and reduced staffing due to Kelly’s secondment – we’ve decided that a push in our promotion and advocacy for our service is long overdue!

REF may be over, and academic departments are definitely breathing a sigh of relief, but we want to keep up the momentum of academics depositing manuscripts in Durham Research Online within 3 months of acceptance. It’ll make sure you meet university OA requirements and dare we say – any requirements for any future REF exercises. But what’s more – it can help make research more accessible to anyone, anywhere.

How can we help?

We keep the guides on our pages updated with how you can deposit your accepted manuscripts.  We also offer to upload your articles on your behalf if you send us a copy to dro.admin@durham.ac.uk as an attachment, with any relevant publication details.  We hope this makes the process as easy and painless as possible for you.

We are more than happy to meet through Teams to discuss any requirements or provide training on how to deposit and meet university open access requirements.  We also love to promote research on our Twitter page @DRODurham – please do follow us and get in touch if we can help you.

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