FAQ for JISC grant funding calls

There are a couple of grant funding calls out at the moment from the Digital Infrastructure team. These are in the areas of infrastructure for resource discovery and a combined call covering preservation, research information management and library infrastructure. This post summarises some questions and answers related to those calls. You’re welcome to post further questions as comments below, and we will answer them.

General questions and answers:

What type of institutional contribution can be considered reasonable?

Careful consideration should be given to the benefits (to the lead and any partner organisations) of participating in the project. Whilst the principal purpose of the work is as described in the relevant section of the call, it is sensible for project partners to undertake the work because it aligns with their own current strategic and tactical imperatives. Proposals should make the most honest assessment they can about the likely benefits that will accrue to their own organisation through participation in the project – and then reflect that in the organizational contribution section of the budget. Markers will reach their own conclusions about how plausible and transparent that assessment is and will take into account the different types and remits of the organisations involved.

Questions and answers around the Resource Discovery call (ref 13/11) have been as follows:

What Research Data is out of scope?

The focus of this call is on projects that work with metadata related to library museum and archive collections as well as resources held in digital repositories such as multimedia, research outputs, maps and special collections. Projects should produce a service that helps researchers, teachers or students discover and reuse any of the resources above. Services must be of use to more than just the host institution or department. If your project fits the description above then it is in scope. If your project is solely seeking to enhance or manage a set of data that has been created as part of a research project and is designed only for research then it is not in scope as the JISC “managing research data” programme is investigating this area.

Are partnerships welcomed in this call or would you prefer single institutional bids?
We will welcome any bids that include a partnership including those with other sectors or commercial organisations. We will expect any bid featuring partners to include a realistic assessment of the extra management overheads involved in managing partnerships in projects with short timescales.

Will bids that do not focus on open metadata be considered?
If the bid makes a good case for why a focus on open metadata is not possible but significant benefits can still be offered to the higher education sector then it will be considered. However this call is strongly focused on open metadata so projects are recommended to include a focus on open metadata if at all possible.

What will happen to prototype services at the end of successful projects?
JISC will work with project managers to assess the best way to develop any promising prototype services at the end of the project. This will happen after the project has ended and bidders do not need to allocate funding for developing prototypes.

Questions and answers around the combined Digital Infrastructure call (ref 12/11) are as follows:

Digital preservation:

What is the role of the Digital Preservation Expert Group (DPEG) and how will it be established? What is the relationship with the project?

DPEG will be setup and run by the JISC Executive and its principal purpose will be to provide advice and guidance to the JISC Preservation Programme. It will comprise of a group of invited experts with knowledge and experience relating to all aspects of preservation/curation practice and theory and will ensure that JISC work is: aligned with broader community requirements; being effectively disseminated and understood; and at the cutting edge of innovation.

It seems sensible to include input into the ‘Support and Enabling Project’ as part of its remit, given that an expert group of this type would be in a good position to provide valuable advice and guidance and practical help to the project. Proposals should anticipate using DPEG as the equivalent of a ‘steering group’ and should anticipate at least one interaction with them during the period of funding currently on offer.

This should not inhibit bidders from also contemplating a more focused project oversight group to adopt formal responsibility for the aims, objectives and deliverables of the project. The final governance and management arrangements for the project may end up needing to be finessed once the membership of DPEG is established and announced, as it is not inconceivable that the project partner organisations may include staff who will be invited to join the group.

Is research data in scope?

It is valid to generate proposals that cite the preservation of research data as an objective, either in the context of an active case study or as part of the enhancing capability work. It should be noted, however, that the Digital Curation Centre (DCC – http://www.dcc.ac.uk/) is specifically mandated to provide advice and guidance and support institutions to manage and exploit the value of research data so careful attention should be made in the proposal to acknowledging their presence in this area and to all of the resources and tools, and indeed the capability, that is already available.

Are there any other particular organisations or outputs that we should consider in terms of building the project team and plan?

Some organisations providing preservation support and advice are mentioned in the briefing paper and it might well be appropriate to have discussions with one or more of these bodies when considering the shape and structure of the team – particularly with reference to the Support and Enabling Project. Some indication in the proposals of familiarity with some of the existing tools and resources pertaining to preservation would be helpful and reassuring. The websites of the abovementioned organisations – as well as the JISC site – contain references to a diverse set of helpful resources.

Is the support project dependent on particular partners, for example some of those named in the briefing document, for example ULCC, UKOLN and DCC?

It is not ‘dependent’ on the formal participation of any particular organisation. One of the reasons that this work was issued as a call rather than being directly commissioned is that JISC wanted to see if imaginative and novel partnerships might emerge that could effectively address the work required. That said, the organisations referenced would all be suitable partners to undertake the work but the list is meant to be helpful rather than prescriptive. Proposals will be judged according to their likely ability to fulfill the objectives of the work. There is no a priori presumption that any specific type of partnership or consortium is most likely to succeed.

Library infrastructure:


What’s the relationship between the m-library community support project (strand C) and the projects in strands A and B?

The primary focus of the community support project is to review and synthesise existing research around user requirements and use of mobile devices within a library context. The project should build a body of evidence and practice around the notion of libraries and the provision of services and content to mobile devices, as well as provide evidence-based guidance to libraries how are developing mobile services. While the project is about supporting a wider community of practice, it will also draw upon the case studies developed as part of projects in strands A and B to help enrich its evidence base and provide concrete examples of m-library implementation. The support project should therefore consider how it might want to interact with the projects in the other strands, potentially through both face-to-face events as well as reviewing and incorporating their reports and ongoing progress posts.

Will any of the JISC services or data centres be required partners for the strand C support project?

No, there are no requirements for partnering with JISC services or data centres in strand C. Both Mimas and Edina are helping create a JISC mobile infrastructure, and have mobile at the heart of much of what they currently do and provide to the sector. Therefore it is expected that these services in particular would be consulted as part of the project work. The support project will need to consider the sustainability of its resources and web presence, and a JISC service may provide a potential avenue for this.

Are partnerships/collaborations essential for the mobile content projects in strand A?

No, projects in strand A (mobile content) are not required to have partners. However, JISC would welcome partnerships between content providers and libraries, and hopes that some of the funded bids will provide a partnership aspect.

Does the content forming the basis of projects in strand A have to be publisher content?

No, it is acceptable for ‘internal’ content to be used as part of strand A projects. This might constitute digitised content that the library owns, or wider institutional content such as OERs. What is important is that there is a clear user need for having this content discoverable and accessible via mobile devices.

Can proposals for the m-library innovation strand B projects include an m-learning focus?

The focus for strand B projects (m-library innovation) is on library services and systems. While there may be an inevitable overlap between the library and learning spheres, the proposals for strand B should clearly relate to the role and purpose of the library, rather than a more pedagogical role. However, as this strand is clearly about reconceptualising and innovating around library services, it is quite possible that a proposal could incorporate a pedagogical aspect into its vision for a mobile library service.

Research information management:

Nothing to add to the call text at the moment.