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SHERPA Project launched

Press release: 15 November 2002

The SHERPA project has now been officially launched. SHERPA is a three year project funded by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and CURL (Consortium of University Research Libraries) and forms part of the JISC FAIR (Focus on Access to Institutional Resources) programme. SHERPA aims to investigate issues to do with the future of scholarly communication and publishing. In particular, it is initiating the development of openly accessible institutional digital repositories of research output in a number of CURL universities. These so-called 'e-print archives' will contain papers by researchers from the participating institutions. The project will investigate the IPR, quality control and other key management issues associated with making the research literature freely available to the research community. It will also investigate technical questions, including interoperability between repositories (using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol) and digital preservation of e-prints.

SHERPA is hosted by the University of Nottingham and involves a number of partner institutions in the UK. The partners involved from the beginning are the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Oxford, Sheffield, and York, plus the British Library and the Arts and Humanities Data Service. Further partners will come on board as the project progresses.

SHERPA is now recruiting a Project Manager who can lead the project over the next three years. In the near future it will also be recruiting technical and administrative staff. There will be part-time project officers based at the partner institutions who will communicate with local academics and encourage them to use and contribute to e-print repositories. When the project staff are in place it is hoped that SHERPA will fast become a major force to be reckoned with in the current debate on the future of scholarly communication.

SHERPA is an important strand of the CURL advocacy campaign on scholarly communication. The project will maintain close links with the CURL Board and the Task Force on Scholarly Communication. It will also establish links with other key initiatives in this area, such as SPARC.

More information on the project is available at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk.

Stephen Pinfield
Director of SHERPA

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