On 31 July 2014 ROER4D attended the launch of the University of Cape Town’s new Open Access institutional repository, OpenUCT. This new repository, designed to curate the entirety of UCT’s scholarly output – traditional academic publications, grey literature and other non-standard academic products, and teaching and learning content – is the culmination of three years of work by the OpenUCT Initiative, a Mellon Foundation funded project.
The OpenUCT repository builds on the existing UCT OpenContent directory, which curated and profiled Open Educational Resources produced at the institution since 2010. The OpenContent directory was funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation and this pioneering project was led by Eve Gray and ROER4D PI Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, and was managed by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT). ROER4D Sub-Project 4 Lead Researcher Glenda Cox has been involved since 2010 and her responsibilities included managing and sustaining the directory as well as advocacy work. An OER grant system was introduced in collaboration with OpenUCT, which supported time-strapped lecturers who were interested in contributing OER but lacked the time and capacity to develop materials without extra support, in the form of resources or student assistance. Glenda also initiated the Vice Chancellor’s Open Educational Resources Adaptation programme (2013-2015), a student-centric programme designed to increase the number of resources in UCT OpenContent. ROER4D Data Administrator Thomas King has been and continues to be involved in coordinating a group of postgraduate student assistants in sourcing and adapting existing teaching and learning content into OER. This Vice Chancellor’s project will in future include a close collaboration with the library who will be taking over the responsibility of day to day management of the repository from CILT.
OpenUCT’s ambition to curate both teaching and learning content (Open Educational Resources) and scholarly outputs (Open Access materials) is a novel approach, but one that aligns with academics’ desires to have a single storage point for all their intellectual outputs. Considerable effort was put into the repository design process to ensure that a range of metadata fields applicable to both OER and OA materials were available, using DublinCore as the metadata standard. One of the advantages of a single platform for both OA and OER materials is that it allows for the creation of ‘rich’ resources – scholarship linked to data linked to teaching materials, all within the same resource platform. For an example of one such rich resource, please visit Sally Hofmeyer’s resource Secretarybird Sagittarius serpentarius Population Trends and Ecology: Insights from South African Citizen Science Data.
As part of ROER4D’s ambition to provide access to its resources as and when they are produced, rather than only at the end of the project, we intend to use OpenUCT as one of our curation and dissemination portals while continuing to investigate the affordances of other spaces such as Figshare.