History of the Router – it started on the back of an envelope

Envelope concept image

The Jisc Publications Router has its origins in the preceding Open Access Repository Junction (OA-RJ) project which itself continued on from the work carried out on the Depot.

The Depot bridged a gap for researchers before a specific local institutional repository was available to them. It aimed to make more content available in repositories and to make it easier for researchers to have research results exposed to a wider readership under open access. The Depot is still available and providing researchers with a repository at http://opendepot.org/

One of the objectives of the Depot was to devise an unmediated reception and referral service called the Repository Junction. The Junction collected information in order to redirect users to existing institutional repository services near them. Institutional affiliation of potential depositors was deduced through an IP lookup and external directories were queried to find an appropriate location for deposit. This facilitated the redirection of a user to the most appropriate repository. If none of the suggested repositories were suitable for the researcher they could still deposit in the Depot.

OA-RJ started as an investigation to improve the simplistic approach of the Repository Junction and provide a service within the Jisc information environment. After consultation with other technologists in the Repository community it because clear that there were two workflows that should be addressed. Firstly that the deposit object could be data-mined for additional information on the author affiliation and, secondly, that the object could be, itself, deposited into repositories. This second workflow could solve the many-to-many problem of research publications with multiple authors from multiple institutions who require their publications be deposited in multiple locations. The aim was to minimise effort on behalf of potential depositors while maximising the distribution and exposure of research outputs.

The foundation for OA-RJ can be seen in the ‘back of an envelope’ diagram (above) born from a meeting between Theo Andrew, Jim Downing, Richard Jones, Ben O’Steen and Ian Stuart. With smoother edges the above diagram looks like this:tidy concept image

OA-RJ then split into discovery and delivery providing services for each. The Repository Junction would discover repository targets while a standalone broker would enable content providers to make deposits with multiple recipients. OA-RJ became two distinct projects as part of the UK Repository Net+ (RepNet) infrastructure project; Organisation and Repository Identification (ORI) handling the discovery while the Repository Junction Broker (RJB) dealt with delivery. ORI is now an Edina micro service providing APIs to access authoritative data on organisations and repositories. The latest phase of RJB is the Jisc Publications Router.

The Router is a service based on the RJB application. The Publications Router aims to deliver open access content in a format that can be understood by institutional repositories. Having evolved from the projects outlined above the Router automates the delivery of research publications from multiple suppliers (publishers, subject repositories) to multiple institutional repositories. The Router parses the metadata to determine the appropriate target repositories based on the authors responsible for the output and transfers the publication to the institutional repositories registered with the service. It is intended to minimise efforts on behalf of potential depositors in order to maximise the distribution and exposure of research outputs.

The envelop sketch is now a fully realised service.

You can view blog posts from the previous incarnations of the Router at the following URL but we will highlight some of these older posts in the future: https://oarepojunction.wordpress.com/

If you have any queries about the Publications Router please contact the Edina Helpdesk or email Edina@ed.ac.uk.