PRIMO: Practice as Research in Music Online

Project Manager: Professor Katharine Ellis, Institute of Musical Research, University of London, 2009

PRIMO was a research project that produced an open-access multimedia repository for people working in practice as research,specifically in music, which had “traditionally lacked research support structures beyond the standard form of print journals with notated music examples”.

“Why ask practice-based researchers to describe their work [i.e. through written publications] when they could demonstrate it more effectively?”

The aims of the project were
• To add to the research infrastructure by offering research practitioners a new kind of publication platform tailored to their needs.
• To overcome the IPR difficulties associated with online performance of in-copyright music.

PRIMO uses e-prints institutional repository software, and via the use of wikis gives users clear instructions on the kinds of files that are suitable for uploading, and the sort of metadata that needs to accompany the submission – with advice on naming works and wording abstracts to allow research outputs to be found by search engines. Metadata fields that are available to the public cover things like performer or researcher , date,  venue, website, context of the performance,  acknowledgements of funding, and third-party copyright etc. as well as contact details of the researchers involved.

There is extensive guidance on copyright, both for those submitting and those viewing material. Indeed, according to the report, the project manager’s highest priority for the first six months was discussion with IPR experts and with PRS for music, trying to sort out ways to keep the site legal, yet still be able to stream and allow downloading of material. The requirement for all users wishing to download files to create an account and log in, creates a user profile that gives an indication of their location (e.g of their IP address) which allows for geo-blocking of content that is prohibited from download outside the UK, important if the site is to comply with PRS licensing.

The site contains both audio and video files which illustrate research processes through “actions rather than description”. These files can be downloaded and cited, and each downloadable file is accompanied by a creative commons license. Uploaded research files are subject to peer review, making PRIMO a “creative mix between the peer-reviewed journal and an institutional repository”.

The final report on this project is available here

And PRIMO itself is here:


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