The EXPLORER project is a JISC funded project lead by De Montfort University.  It is working towards enhancing and embedding DORA (De Montfort University Open Research Archive) within DMU systems and processes.

DORA was established in late 2004  and as an operational service in late 2007 following a mandate from the University Research Committee.  Using DSpace open source software, DORA has been created to store, preserve, and make available the institution’s research outputs. The University is committed to open access for its research, and DORA is fully compliant with Open Access protocols.

Since September 2008, DORA has had a full time officer within the library responsible for its operation.  A high-level Steering Group, chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), has been established to guide its development.  The further development of DORA is also an objective in the Annual Plan of the University Research Committee and a key element of the Research Support strand in the University’s Information Strategy.

DORA currently contains approximately 4100  records, which are a combination of metadata and full-text.  Electronic deposit of doctoral theses became mandatory from January 2009, and these will also be held within the repository, thus creating a comprehensive and accurate record of the University’s research outputs. The University is an Open Access Sponsor of EThOS.

Project Aim:

The aim of the project is to combine the use of tools and applications and good practice developed by various institutions during previous JISC projects to enable the enhancement and embedding of the DORA repository (De Monfort University Open Research Archive) within the DMU research environment.


The EXPLORER project is intended to enable this change and hence improve the service provided by DORA.  This will be completed by the adaptation and application of the work done in previous JISC projects in this area.  The work to be carried out is expected to result in:

  • An increase in the number of records in DORA by 1,500
  • Development and implementation of workflows and processes to further embed DORA into the DMU research environment
  • Tools to allow the expansion of DORA and to assist in embedding DORA into research systems
  • The further development of DORA towards becoming a self-sustaining archive
  • Improvements to the working processes of research and research support staff at DMU with respect to research

Outline of the work of the project

The work of the project is being completed by a small project team working with other DMU staff members where appropriate.  Technical work will be carried out to enable enhancements to DORA which will improve the processes of submission and allow for the ready submission of a wide variety of output types.  Particular focus is on non-text items and how they are displayed within DORA.  DORA will also be set up so that it can interact with DMU systems, including the expected new website, which is intended to reduce the need to input output data repeatedly.

A focus group will also be set up to garner information about users and their requirements.  A questionnaire will also be distributed to the research community at DMU.  The results of these, along with experience and expertise from other institutions which have carried out similar work, will inform and improve the systems and processes surrounding DORA and its purpose.

Following the completion of this project it is hoped that DORA will have matured into a useful, reliable, fit for purpose repository for use by all researchers at DMU.