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Homepage / Example of best practice on CORD #3 – project websites

Example of best practice on CORD #3 – project websites


banner saying 'carbon brainprint'

This time I’m looking at an example which takes advantage of the longevity of preservation on CORD and the provision of a DOI for each published item. At you will see the Carbon Brainprint item, which draws together various outputs from the Carbon Brainprint project of 2010. I recently worked with David Parsons (no relation!) to create this item.

The trigger for this work was an external enquiry from a researcher looking for models from a 2006 project by Cranfield University and Defra. They were available via a DropBox link, but this wasn’t easy to locate and could raise problems for long-term maintenance, not to mention it being less easy to cite – and we do like our citations! Although the project is long since ended, it was great to hear an enquiry confirming the outputs are still valuable and in use, so we moved the items to CORD at They’ve already had 14 downloads and hopefully we will see citation statistics appear soon.

Being so pleased with the new item on CORD, David and I turned our attention to the Carbon Brainprint project. David had a similar concern because the project website was a WordPress site requiring an individual to maintain it, which can be problematic with staff changes and busy workloads, but it’s really important to think about long-term maintenance of project outputs. So how did CORD help?

  • A permanent link: the DOI to the item on CORD means there is no maintenance of an external site or URL (although a project URL can be used and redirected to this content). It will always work and future-proofs us in case we change platform in the future: the DOI will still not change.
  • Resilience of maintenance: CORD is an institutional system and we will always have an admin or two who can update the record as required, so it does not rely on the availability of individual researchers.
  • Easy findability and citability: CORD is the obvious place to go for research outputs from Cranfield, and it is optimised for Google as well as being searched by other discovery tools. For external users wanting to locate research outputs, they are much more likely to find the items on CORD than to need to contact us and await a response – which saves them and us time!
  • Multiple teaser items: the case studies and final report were uploaded to the CERES repository so there was no need to keep them on CORD as well. However, short case study summaries had been produced and it was really easy to save these as pdfs and attach them to the CORD record as ‘teasers’. Hopefully these will grab people’s attention and give them a clear idea of each study, so they’re more likely to follow the links to download the full items.
  • Attractive landing page: we created just one record on CORD, containing all the project context, the pdf teasers, and links to the additional published pieces. With the pdfs readable within CORD (no download required), and the excellent user-friendliness of CORD, it makes a great single landing page drawing together the project.

Putting a small amount of extra effort in at the end of a project, to ensure the project website and outputs are accessible long-term is clearly well worth it – after all the effort of carrying out the work, it’s great to have such an easy way to showcase it in the long-term and ensure the work is appreciated as much as it deserves.

Georgina Parsons

Written By: Cranfield University

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