The Digital Repository of Scientific Institutes (RCIN) was established in 2010 as a result of a bottom-up initiative of the institutes.
Its mission is to digitize and disseminate as well as to ensure permanent access and long-term digital archiving of scientific resources. In particular, RCIN actions are focused on literature, scientific objects as well as data from both the collections of Partner libraries and the results of research and work carried out in the Institutes forming RCIN.
The basis for the creation and development of RCIN is the RCIN Consortium Agreement, which defines, among others, principles of cooperation, operational maintenance, sustainability, collection development, and sharing of data in RCIN.
Resources deposited in RCIN are organized into thematic collections and subcollections. The content of each of them is briefly described on the portal. The main collections are compiled jointly by all partners. Depending on their content, partners' collections and sub-collections are shaped by librarians or researchers appointed by a given partner (custodians of a given scientific collection). Data provided by partner institutions is accepted only if it is aligned with the description of the collection and if its format is on the list of RCIN-supported file formats (https://rcin.org.pl/dlibra/text?id=InformacjeTechniczne). In principle, the items which are selected for digitization are unique, important in the context of scientific use as well as relevant to long-term preservation. Hence, the objects available in RCIN do not duplicate those available in other digital libraries or Europeana. We also respond to readers' desiderata. In the case of scientific resources, the decision-making criterion often related to the preservation of a given collection, its value for future generations of researchers, or the potential for its reuse in various context (e.g. commercial).
The need to create a new collection, modify the data schema, add a new data format or implement other changes is discussed during the work of the Substantive Support Team. Based on decisions made relevant adjustments are executed.
It is assumed that the RCIN will operate indefinitely. However, the Consortium Agreement allows withdrawal of a partner. In that case, resources of this partner will be withdrawn from both the RCIN platform and the RCIN preservation database and handed to the withdrawing party. It is worth emphasizing, however, that if a consortium partner is dissolved, the resources of that partner will remain on the RCIN platform or will be managed in accordance with the decision of the dissolved party.
The metadata structure adopted in RCIN (https://rcin.org.pl/dlibra/text?id=struktura_danych) is based on Dublin Core (and Darwin Core) formats along with API which allows to retrieving RCIN resources.
References are included in the Dublin Core format according to Europeana guidelines, so that they can be easily transferred to Europeana via the national aggregator (FBC, http://fbc.pionier.net.pl/). Scientific data, especially biological collections, require additional metadata attributes. These were added as extensions to the base Dublin Core, either as Darwin Core elements or other dedicated fields. This has resulted in a significant extension of the list of metadata fields. Therefore, in order to facilitate data entry and reduce the possibility of errors, separate data entry forms have been created/ The forms are available for the library (literature), archaeological, geographical, and natural collections. All data editors (curators) receive online or onsite training with written userguide. In addition, each of the partners conducts internal training for new editors (curators). Moreover, during the work of the Substantive Support Team, all new arrangements/decisions are forwarded to the representatives of partners who pass them further to all curators working with RCIN platform.
In addition to metadata, each object has information about the type of license under which it was made available and the rules on how to use it. Thus, with the extensive use of free Creative Commons licenses, the RCIN platform contributes to the process known as opening science resources for reuse. In RCIN, we provide not only historical items (books, magazines, maps) already included in the so-called Public Domain, but also currently published scientific journals or books and large collections of research data (from the humanities, social, natural and medical sciences). A small part of these resources, due to copyright protection, is not yet available in open access. They are successively opened as their protection period expires or the required licenses are obtained. RCIN has been operating since 2010, during which time, for example, CC license versions changed. As a result, items in RCIN have been made available under different licenses and versions of these licenses over the years.
The decision to accept a given resource into RCIN is made by designated editors (curators) who representat Institutes partnering in RCIN. This is done in agreement with the custodians of the collections, e.g. librarians or researchers who have produced the scientific data. If it is necessary to remove an item from the RCIN, its identifier remains unchanged and, most often, information about the reason for its deletion is also included. Hence, once the item is published it is available under its identifier despite it current state (available or deleted). However, deleting items is extremely rare.
If needed, the objects can be updated. In such a case a new version of the object is created (both in the presentation and archive systems). However, previous versions are still available in the system.
Data deposited in the repository is managed by the partners who provide the resource. Curators from a given partner (based on the type of license obtained from the author) decide how a given item will be made available. For instance one can initially limit access to the library premises only, and then, after a specific period of time make the item available in open access manner.
In case of scientific resources that are sensitive (e.g. species endangered to extinction ), it is agreed that the scope of published information is decided by the custodians of individual collections, with the priority of sharing information on biodiversity as complete as possible. In justified cases, if it has been assessed that the publication of full information may cause damage to the species or the environment in which it occurs, the data is limited adequately to the degree of this threat. For example, georeferences are currently added mainly to public domain maps, mill collections, or selected archaeological data, often with a high approximation. On the other hand, the medical file, for example, is anonymized in such a way that it is impossible to identify the patient's data.
In rare cases, when self-depositing takes place, the owner of the deposited resource grants an appropriate license to a specific RCIN partner, and only then the editor of this partner, after having verified the data, makes the deposited resource public. Currently, only researchers employed by the partners of the RCIN Consortium have the right to self-deposit. They deposit their scientific papers, mainly as pdf files, which are in line with the RCIN collection profile and accepted file formats.
The collected materials are described,digitized and made available in the RCIN platform (the files are optimized for online use) and master files are archived in the National Data Warehouse (nation-wide archiving e-infrastructure) using the dArceo long-term preservation system. This is done under the control of the digitization workflow management system dLab, while the RCIN platform is built upon dLibra digital repository system– (for more details see https://dingo.psnc.pl).
Obviously, RCIN resources can be found not only through its main portal, but also through Google and Google Scholar. And also in the nationwide catalog of scientific libraries NUKAT - http://katalog.nukat.edu.pl or the worldwide catalog WorldCat - https://www.worldcat.org. The links in the bibliographic descriptions of the aforementioned catalogues refer to full texts of many items in RCIN.
The RCIN is also used as a publishing platform by some of the institutes forming RCIN. In case of journal titles that are also indexed in the most well-known commercial scientific databases, such as SCOPUS by Elsevier or Web of Science, these databases refer users to the full text of articles published in RCIN (as the publisher's portal). Other databases, such as BazEkon, the Polish Digital Libraries Federation, Europeana, BASE (created at the German University of Bielefeld), OMNIA or the largest Chinese aggregator of scientific resources and many others, also aggregate resources from RCIN for their users. The solutions used in the RCIN database support these activities.
RCIN is registered in the Open Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR), thus the articles contained in it, bearing unique permanent identifiers, e.g. DOI, published under free licenses without a temporary embargo, meet the requirements of Regulation No. 38/2020 of the Director of the National Science Center on the determination of the POLICY OF THE NATIONAL SCIENCE CENTER ON OPEN ACCESS TO PUBLICATIONS, of May 27, 2020.
RCIN has already received co-funding from the EU twice - https://rcin.org.pl/dlibra/text?id=Projekty . On one hand, these funds enabled its creation, on the other, they also support the development and sustainability of our platform. The ongoing maintenance and development of the platform is financed by contributions from Partners.
Currently, RCIN has millions of users from all over the world. We are glad that we can participate in such a great undertaking.
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