I’ve been looking at options for storing papers from bio-ontologies. All I want is a place to lodge PDFs, with some standardised Dublic Core metadata, and get a DOI out. It’s turning out to be surprisingly hard.

In the process, I have found that JISC has been funding a repositories programme. If you look at their architecture you see a depressing thing. They have actually got terrible idea that "institutional" and "subject" repositories should be built into their architecture. The point is that institution and subject should be just a part of the data model that are used to store papers; by making it explicit in the architecture, it becomes fixed, unchangable.

Why do I care? Well, first as a cross-disciplinary scientist, I am also scared of anything organised by subject — I always tend to fall between the cracks. As for institution, why would anyone thing that 100 year old, bureaucratic, administrative orgaisation of the employers of the paper authors are a good basis for organising modern science?

The best I could find is Depot, but this describes itself as a stop-gap till the authors get a proper institutional repository. Also no one is using it. It’s got one biological paper, and that’s under the subject heading of "Biology not elsewhere classified" — a sin against good classification if ever I saw one.

The subject classification comes from JACS. From their documentation,

C190 Biology not elsewhere classified Miscellaneous grouping which do not fit into the other Biology categories. To be used sparingly.

Entertainingly, this has a subclass (!!)

C191 Biometry Concerned with the quantitative techniques and measurement in the biological Sciences.

Which as well as being a contradiction, is a definition that is wrong.

Perhaps I should just give up and go home.

Originally published on my old blog site.