Policy for Transparent Access to Research Infrastructures at the Computer Centre of the University of Belgrade: TRAP-RCUB IT solution and organizational model for the implementation of institutional or thematic repositories


Introduction

The University of Belgrade Computer Centre (RCUB) provides a wide range of computer services to the faculties and institutes of the University of Belgrade (UB), as well as to the network of publicly funded research organizations in Serbia. It specializes in:

  • information technologies – the use of information systems and software development;
  • communication technologies – the use of computer networks and the development of internet-based infrastructure and communication services.

The adoption of the national Open Science Platform by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia in 2018 has resulted in a growing demand for repository infrastructure. To respond to this demand, RCUB has devised a complex IT solution, available under the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, which meets the technical requirements defined in the Open Science Platform and is compliant with relevant international guidelines for repository development and management. The service seeks to enable the implementation of the institutional, national and international Open Science policies and facilitate the adoption of Open Access and Open Science principles in Serbia.

In line with its mission and the role of a publicly funded academic service provider, RCUB wants to make this service available to all national public and civil society stakeholders on a non-for-profit basis with the aim of establishing a sustainable repository network interoperable with key international infrastructures and especially with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The ultimate goal is to help to create an environment for knowledge dissemination at the national level.

The purpose of this policy is to enable an open and transparent access to the service for a wide range of national public and civil society stakeholders, as well as to define the scope of the service, roles and responsibilities in its implementation, procedures, terms of access and use and fees.

General provisions and definitions

The University of Belgrade Computer Centre (hereafter referred to as RCUB) is the central hub for ICT-related services of the University of Belgrade. It also provides ICT services to other publicly funded academic and research organizations in Serbia. Its services range from technical infrastructure and communication services to highly specialized software applications.

This Policy applies to the TRAP-RCUB IT solution and organizational model for the institutional or thematic repositories (hereafter – Repository Infrastructure) developed by RCUB and guides the relations between the University of Belgrade Computer Centre and the Users of its Repository Services.

This Policy forms an integral part of any Repository Service agreement concluded between RCUB and the Users.

The objective of this Policy is to define the nature of the Repository Service, its position in higher education institutions, its technical specification, services included, provisions for the use of resources, time ratio, the formation of pricing, intellectual property rights, confidentiality obligations and dispute settlement procedures.

The following definitions are used in the Policy:

Repository - IT solution that implements institutional or thematic repositories for storing digital content and makes it available to a wider community in restricted and/or open access.

Repository Infrastructure (RI) – IT solution and organizational model for the implementation and maintenance  of institutional or thematic repositories, including:

  • the design of the software platform based on DSpace;
  • custom-made set of tools and external applications developed to improve DSpace functionalities and respond to users’ needs;
  • standardized workflows and quality control;
  • framework for the integration of repositories in international infrastructures;
  • custom-made design of technical support and training for repository managers and users;

Repository Service – a set of services related to the implementation and maintenance of the Repository Infrastructure , including related virtual resources and services, including:

  • implementation and maintenance of the customized software platform based on DSpace;
  • implementation and maintenance  of the custom-made tools and applications;
  • implementation and maintenance of standardized workflows and quality control;
  • technical and user support and training;
  • helpdesk centre operating 24/7 for the purpose of reporting issues regarding the service.

Resources – research infrastructure, developers, staff providing services to the infrastructure, computer resources, conducting the operation of the infrastructure, working, maintenance, development and training, time of the infrastructure.

Institution - a legal entity eligible to use the Repository Service, including, but not limited to, higher education institutions, research organizations, publicly funded institutions, a governmental or non-governmental organizations in Serbia.

Applicant – an Institution applying for and ordering Repository Services.

Commercial Offer is a document specifying financial terms and conditions under which the Repository Services are provided.

Agreement – an agreement on the provision of the Repository Services concluded between the University of Belgrade as a supplier and the User in accordance with the procedure established in the terms and conditions defined by the Agreement. The minimum agreement term is 12 months, with automatic renewal. The Agreement may be terminated by either party, giving a three-month written notice.

User – an Applicant who has been granted the use of Repository Services by signing the Agreement.

Internal User is a User, who is a member of the University of Belgrade (Faculty and Scientific-Research Institutes).

External User is a User, who is not a member of the University of Belgrade.

Service Operating Time – the period within which the Repository Service is operational and made accessible to the Users.

Service Maintenance Time – the period within which the Repository Service is being technically maintained according to the previously established and accepted technical plan, during which the Users will not be able to access and use the service.

Post-Cancellation Service Time – the period of time after the termination of the Agreement during which the Repository will be available, whereas only the minimum of maintenance services will be provided. Its guaranteed duration is specified in the Agreement with the User. The provided minimum of maintenance includes basic hosting that ensures operation and availability and administration of components and software for the purpose of operation and security, as well as data and configuration backup. It does not include updating or changes related to improving functionality and performance, beyond the level established during the validity of the contract, nor subsequent additions and improvements to the software or services, or some other developments and improvements. It also does not include technical support to the User or end-users. Service Level Agreement (SLA) rules for Service Operating Time also apply to Post-Cancellation Service Time.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Director of RCUB shall be in charge of the supervision of the specified Repository Services and related activities.

TRAP-RCUB Team, a designated multidisciplinary team, is in charge of developing, implementing, providing, maintaining, and operating the Repository Services.

The head of the TRAP-RCUB Team shall be in charge of managing the specified Repository Service.

Administrative Support Manager is a member of the TRAP-RCUB Team in charge of administrative procedures for the Repository Service provision.

The Department for Finances and Accounting of UB shall be responsible for invoicing and managing payments on a regular basis, whereas the Legal Department of UB shall be responsible for solving any issues which may arise during the term of the Agreement.

The User’s obligation is to appoint one or more persons in charge of the collaboration with TRAP-RCUB Team and supervise the services provided under the Agreement.

Pricing for Repository Services

Pricing for Repository Services is made under the principle of covering the minimum viability costs by collecting a flat-rate monthly fee. There is no initial cost payment. New features developed and implemented during the period of service usage are covered by the monthly fee, i.e. they are not charged additionally to the Users.

For higher education institutions and research organizations, where the primary function of the repository is to store and disseminate research outputs of their research staff, the price of the Repository Services is determined according to the User's type (Internal or External User) and the User size in terms of research staff (in FTEs).

For External Users that do not have research staff but rather use the repository to store and disseminate digitalized and cultural heritage content (e.g. NGOs, museums, archives), the fee is determined in each individual case between RCUB and the User.

  • Prices for the services provided to the External Users are calculated in accordance with the following principles:
  • The number of Research staff FTEs multiplied by a fixed amount specified in the Commercial Offer for the Provision of Service.
  • If the Repository instance is hosted by RCUB, the price is increased by a fixed amount specified in the Commercial Offer for the Provision of Service.
  • The price depends on the size of the institution, measured by a tier of 50 FTE.
  • VAT is calculated based on the total amount and added separately.

Prices for the services provided to Internal Users are calculated according to the same principles, but the calculated price is discounted by 33%.

Prices of the Repository Services provision shall be announced publicly. Prices may be reviewed if a User has specific requests not likely to be covered by the planned development or requires extra resources. Prices may be reviewed taking into consideration changes in economic conditions, maintenance costs, administration and other costs related to the Repository Service activities.

Applying for the Use of Repository Service

An Applicant, who wants to use or be entitled to use the Repository Service, submits an application/request to RCUB by email. The request is reviewed by checking the eligibility of the Institution, and the availability of the internal resources to provide the service. The final decision, either to reject or accept the application, is made by the Rector’s Board of the University of Belgrade.  

In case of increased demand for the Repository Services or lack of Resources, Internal Users shall have priority over External Users.

After the Application has been received and the decision to grant access has been made, the Administrative Support Manager prepares a commercial offer for the provision of service and sends it to the Applicant.

When the commercial offer is accepted by the Applicant, the Administration Support Manager prepares an Agreement.

Negotiations on the terms and conditions of the agreement may be done by email. The Agreement is concluded in writing and enters into force when both parties exchange the original documents signed by the relevant authority of each party.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Repository Service shall be provided to both Internal and External Users in compliance with procedures defined by the Agreement.

The Director of RCUB approves the Service Maintenance Time Schedule, under the assumption that the objective is to maximize the Service Operating Time.

The Service Maintenance Time Schedule is to be announced to the Users at least five days prior to the planned maintenance.

TRAP-RCUB Team guarantees the Service Operating Time of 99% in a period of one year.

Collection and Use of the Funds Received for the Provision of Repository Services

Income received from the provision of Repository Services has to be used for the up-keep, improvement and maintenance of the services. Other purposes might include (1) improvement of qualification of the staff conducting maintenance, and (2) salaries and other expenses directly related to the Repository Infrastructure activities.

The received income distributed is approximately as follows:

  • 20% for indirect costs (Finances and Legal Departments of UB, respectively)
  • 15% for the end-user support
  • 15% for equipment purchasing
  • 50% for salaries

Income tax for the University's service provision – income is calculated as a fixed part of the price of provided services, transferred to the Ministry of Finance Tax Administration.

Value-added tax (VAT) is transferred to the Ministry of Finance Tax Administration.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights Protection

The Director of RCUB must ensure that the personal information submitted during the process of depositing content in the repositories developed as part of the Repository Infrastructure, as well as the information automatically collected and stored when visiting these repositories, is used only for the purpose for which it is submitted and that it is not made available to third parties or used commercially.

All information marked as confidential by the User shall be treated by RCUB as confidential.

Ownership and management of intellectual property created while using the Repository Services, as well as confidentiality obligations are regulated by Serbia’s Law on Copyright and Related Rights and the Law on Personal Data Protection.

The code behind the Research Services, namely the customized software platform based on DSpace and the set of tools and external applications developed by RCUB, shall be the intellectual property of RCUB.

Intellectual property questions regarding the content produced and deposited into repositories by Users shall be specified in the policies of individual repositories.

Disclaimer

The content deposed in the Repository shall solely be under the responsibility of the User.

Under no circumstance shall UB and/or RCUB be liable for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the Repository Services or reliance on any content and information provided in the Repository.

Dispute Settlement

In case that the damage is made to the Repository due to the negligence or error on the part of the TRAP-RCUB Team, the problem shall be mitigated by rolling back the Research Services to the most recent back-up.

In case of disputes regarding the use of the Repository Service, intellectual property breach, or other basis directly related to the Research Services, the User may submit a written complaint to the Director of RCUB.

After the receipt of a written complaint the Director of RCUB shall refer it to the TRAP-RCUB Team for further review. Any claim or complaint must be reviewed and examined within 5 working days of the receipt. The TRAP-RCUB Team shall prepare an answer and send it to the User by e-mail within the following 3 working days.

In case a dispute is not settled, Users can protect their rights under the procedure established by the national legislature of Serbia, namely the Law on Obligations, the Law on Copyright and Related Rights, and the Law on Personal Data Protection.

Final provisions

This Policy shall be amended or repealed following a decision made by the Rector’s Board of the University.


Version 2, 11 July 2022